Friday, August 28, 2009

Ctrip takeover as a window on Taiwan's debate on China

Some have assumed under Ma Yingjiu's leadership further substantial economic integration with Mainland China was a given for Taiwan. At least they did until Ma's ratings were thrashed by the ramshackle government response to Typhoon Morakot. However, even before this natural disaster, the media commentary on Ctrip's (China's Travelocity/Expedia) unannounced effective takeover of a controlling share of ezTravel, its Taiwanese equivalent, demonstrates the deep fissures in Taiwan on the issue of economic integration. The narrowly focused economics media, such as CENS, treated this news without alarm (link here) and the China Times, which occupies the middle ground in Taiwan's political specturm with a slight tinge of KMT blue, even heralded it as creating a Chinese travel services brand (link here) but the very green (i.e. pro-Taiwanese independence) Liberty Times treated it with alarm as an invasion by a Chinese company which was just masquerading as a foreign firm (link here).

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