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HK-based TV network Phoenix TV reportedly ceasing Taiwan ops

HK-based TV network Phoenix TV reportedly ceasing Taiwan ops

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Hong Kong based television network Phoenix Television will reportedly cease operation in Taiwan after the Taiwanese authorities designated the company as a China-owned enterprise.

In Taiwan, minister of economic affairs Wang Mei-hua said the department had fined Phoenix Television in September 2021 after its transfer of ownership, as it failed to meet the requirement of the 30% cap on Chinese investment in any Taiwanese business. The Taiwanese authorities also required Phoenix Television to remediate after the transfer of ownership. According to Taiwan's SET news, although Phoenix Television was required by the Taiwanese authorities to complete remediation by 14 May 2022, the media company replied that it will dismiss its staff before the deadline.

Taiwan's Liberty Times reported that Phoenix Television was planning to close its operation in Taipei in May. All 25 Taiwanese employees will be dismissed after the company failed to reach a consensus with the authority. 

In June 2021, Phoenix Television was sold by founder Liu Changle to Bauhinia Culture (Hong Kong) Holdings and Shun Tak Holdings' subsidiary Common Sense. Bauhinia Culture Holdings is a state-owned company with business including media, art and culture. Currently, Bauhinia Culture (Hong Kong) Holdings takes control of about 21% stake in Phoenix Television, while China Mobile (Hong Kong) also owns an about 20% stake in the media company. The Taiwanese authorities require businesses to observe the required 30% cap on Chinese investment in any Taiwanese business.

According to article 73 of Taiwan's "Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area", unless permitted by the competent authorities, any individual, juristic person, organisation, or other institution from China, or any company it invests in any third area, may not engage in any investment activity in Taiwan.

Phoenix Television boasts several channels, including the Phoenix Chinese Channel, the Phoenix InfoNews Channel, the Phoenix Chinese News and Entertainment Channel which broadcasts in Europe, the Phoenix North American Chinese Channel, the Phoenix Movie Channel and the Phoenix Hong Kong Channel. Moreover, information from Phoenix Television's website unveils that the company has a number of foreign news bureaus, including Taipei, the US, Japan, the UK, France, Russia, Iran and Australia.

Although based in Hong Kong, Phoenix Television said it targets Chinese communities around the world.

Phoenix Television could be the second media company that needs to cease operation in Taiwan in less than two years. In late 2020, Taiwan refused to renew the licence of CTi as it was widely regarded as pro-Beijing. Taiwan's National Communications Commission once said that there was clear and specific evidence of CTi’s violations, including a surge of complaints filed by viewers since 2017, internal controls on news reporting and accusations of newsroom interference by major shareholder Tsai Eng-meng. In a statement, the National Communications Commission said the interference violated its internal guidelines, while the management of the newsroom did not object any interference from the major shareholders.

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