Foxconn, the primary manufacturer of iPhones for the American tech behemoth Apple, is under investigation in China. The Global Times, a state-run media outlet, reported that officials have carried out tax inspections at Foxconn’s operations in the provinces of Henan and Hubei. In response, Foxconn has stated its commitment to full cooperation with the investigation.
The company, also known as Hon Hai Technology Group, emphasized its dedication to legal compliance worldwide. “Legal compliance everywhere we operate around the world is a fundamental principle of Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn),” the firm mentioned in an official statement.
Interestingly, the investigation’s timing coincides with Foxconn’s founder, Terry Gou, running as an independent candidate in Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election. This election is anticipated to significantly influence Taiwan-China relations, especially given the escalating tensions between the two regions. Gou, with his extensive experience working in China, presents himself as an alternative to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), perceived as antagonistic towards Beijing. Despite this, Gou has publicly stated his lack of fear towards China, even challenging them regarding Foxconn’s assets.
The Global Times hinted that many in Taiwan believe the investigation is a consequence of Gou’s presidential bid. However, the newspaper also quoted experts who view the probe as a routine tax inspection. Some speculate that the investigation might be a retaliatory move by China against the US, given Foxconn’s significant role in producing Apple products. Rachel Winter, an investment partner at Killik & Co, expressed, “It does feel like this might be a bit of a retaliation to the US sanctions.”
The broader geopolitical context, including Beijing’s assertive claims over Taiwan and the US’s diplomatic stance, adds layers of complexity to the situation. As the investigation unfolds, its implications for Foxconn, Apple, and the intricate web of international relations remain to be seen.