《TAIPEI TIMES》 UMC founder to donate NT$3bn for Taiwan’s security

United Microelectronics Corp founder Robert Tsao is interviewed in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA

2022/08/06 03:00

/ Staff writer, with CNA

Robert Tsao (曹興誠), founder of contract chipmaker United Microelectronics Corp (UMC), yesterday pledged to donate NT$3 billion (US$100.17 million) to help Taiwan bolster its defenses as China launched intensive military drills around Taiwan.

Tsao, who gave up his Republic of China (ROC) citizenship to migrate to Singapore in 2011 in part because of lingering dismay over government restrictions on UMC’s ability to invest in China, has recently become a vocal critic of Beijing.

At a news conference in Taipei, the entrepreneur described Chinese maneuvers as “unbearable insolence” and said the donation would be aimed at shoring up Taiwan’s security and defense posture.

The funds would support defense education for individuals or groups to help Taiwan resist Beijing’s cognitive and psychological warfare campaigns, and also go toward countering Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cyberattacks and hacking activities against Taiwan, he said.

Tsao said he was still thinking about how the funds would be used, but suggested that the establishment of a foundation could be an option.

In a statement he released separately yesterday, Tsao called the CCP a “hooligan” and a “local ruffian,” and he urged Taiwanese advocating unification with China to “draw a clear line” and keep a distance from the authoritarian regime.

A normal civilized country should value human rights, the rule of law, democracy and freedom, but “the CCP advocates totalitarianism, deceit, hatred and violence,” Tsao said.

“Everyone should understand that I am not doing it [the donation] for the sake of fame or fortune. I’m not interested in politics or elections, either,” he said. “I just hate the CCP’s lies and violence, and hope to leave a piece of pure land and a blue sky in Taiwan for those who speak Chinese.”

Tsao’s attacks against China sharply contrast with his behavior when he ran UMC more than 15 years ago.

He led a team to set up Hejian Technology (Suzhou) Co in China’s Jiangsu Province in 2001, which triggered an investigation by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government at the time led by then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Because of the investment in Hejian, UMC was charged with breach of trust and violation of the Business Entity Accounting Act (商業會計法) in 2005, but was found not guilty in 2010.

Tsao stepped down as chairman of UMC in 2005.

In January 2011, Tsao, who was unhappy with the DPP’s crackdown on UMC’s investment in China, accepted an invitation from the Singaporean government to obtain Singaporean citizenship, giving up his ROC citizenship in the process.

In 2013, UMC took Hejian under its corporate umbrella after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took office and allowed the company to build an 8-inch wafer fab in China.

Although he is no longer a ROC citizen, Tsao in March said that his two sons remain ROC citizens and would fight the People’s Liberation Army were China to invade Taiwan.