China initiates an investigation into Foxconn, the largest iPhone maker

China has launched an inquiry into Foxconn, a prominent Taiwanese company known for manufacturing iPhones for Apple. The investigation includes tax inspections at Foxconn facilities in two Chinese provinces, Henan and Hubei, as well as on-site inquiries into land use by key Foxconn businesses. The Chinese state media reported these developments, raising questions about the motives behind the investigation.

Foxconn, one of the world’s largest employers, pledged to cooperate with the investigation and assured that they are committed to legal compliance worldwide. The company, known as Hon Hai Technology Group, produces various electronic products and is crucial to Apple’s supply chain for iPhones and other devices.

Foxconn’s founder, Terry Gou, is currently an independent candidate in Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election scheduled for January. His candidature carries significance, given the increasing tensions between Taiwan and China. Gou has presented himself as an alternative to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which Beijing views as adversarial.

The investigation into Foxconn has raised suspicions in Taiwan. Some believe that it may be linked to Gou’s presidential bid, but Chinese experts argue that this is a routine and legitimate tax inspection. Still, the timing of the inquiry, amidst geopolitical tensions, has sparked discussions about its potential implications.

Analysts suggest that this move could be seen as a way for China to retaliate against the US sanctions by targeting Apple, one of America’s most successful companies. The US has imposed sanctions on China, particularly in the tech sector, to curb its technological capabilities. In this context, targeting Foxconn could indirectly impact Apple, potentially causing disruptions in its global supply chain.

While Foxconn deals with the investigation, the upcoming Taiwan presidential election will likely carry significant weight in determining the island’s future relationship with China. This investigation comes at a time when Beijing’s claims over Taiwan have become more assertive, making the election outcome even more critical.