Taiwanese food chain runs ad on One China

TAIPEI • A Taiwanese food chain with outlets in China has taken out an advertisement pledging support for the One China principle.

Hai Pa Wang's ad, placed in a Taiwanese newspaper on Monday, also denies talk the firm maintained close relations with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's family.

The ad ran just days after the firm was fined 400,000 yuan (S$82,000) for food-safety violation in Chengdu, China. Its stores in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shantou have also been undergoing regular official inspection, said Nikkei Asian Review.

This, reported China Post, has led to speculation that the move was made to publicly appease Beijing.

Last Friday, Mr Zhang Zhijun, the director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said his country welcomed investments from Taiwan but did not want those who supported Taiwan's independence to make money in the world's second-largest economy.

Hai Pa Wang earns a large chunk of its revenue from selling frozen food and operating restaurants in China. It is widely seen by Beijing as pro-independence, due to its founder's reported ties to the Tsai family, said Nikkei Asian Review.

In the ad, Hai Pa Wang said the only business it had with Tsai's family was a leasing contract for a commercial building in Taipei City.

The firm said that it was completely managed by company boss Chuang Jung-de's family, adding that no other families - including Ms Tsai's - held a stake in the firm.

Ms Tsai's office has slammed what it calls Beijing's political interference in the operations of Taiwanese businesses in China.

Taiwan's National Security Bureau deputy director-general Chou Mei-wu told lawmakers Hai Pa Wang was likely to have been pressured into publicly endorsing the One China principle because of Chinese scrutiny over its taxes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2016, with the headline 'Taiwanese food chain runs ad on One China'. Print Edition | Subscribe