In the past week, an argument has broken out in Taiwan regarding the re-launch of the Taiwan.com portal.
Owners of the Taiwan.com name, Hong Kong-based China.com Corp. (CCC), and a Taiwanese CD-ROM manufacturer, CMC Magnetics Corp., formally announce last week that they had partnered to operate the portal in Taiwan.
However, controversy erupted in Taiwan’s political and media circles over CCC’s financial connections to Xinhua, the official news agency of the Chinese government.
A government official in Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Commission (MAC) lamented over the possibility that a perceived Chinese government-backed site may confuse people as being “actual” information about Taiwan.
Another local news report criticized Hinet, a Taiwan government-owned ISP, for putting a banner ad on the Taiwan.com site.
Hong Kong’s Technology Post, a publication of the South China Morning Post, Tuesday reported that the controversy was also fueled by the listing of the portal on Taiwan ISP Chunghuan Co.; the listing for Taiwan.com was apparently under the China heading.
Some Taiwanese political leaders were so enraged by this listing that they demanded that there be an investigation into whether Chunghuan has financial ties to Beijing.
Other industry observers feel that the controversy is unwarranted.
“This is really nuts,” said one observer. “I don’t think all the commotion is deserved since there really doesn’t seem to be any misleading information about Taiwan on the Taiwan.com site.”
Moreover, China.com’s partnership with CMC is an attempt to localize the portal for Taiwanese users’ tastes, according to the Hong Kong-based Internet company.
Ellen O’Gorman, the media and promotions manager of China.com, told internetnews.com that CMC was brought into the Taiwan.com operation to provide more localized entertainment content.
“Taiwan.com is [still] owned and operated by China.com Corporation,” said O’Gorman.