Apple Online denies unauthorized sale of its website in Taiwan

06/16/2022 10:58 PM
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CNA file photo
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Taipei, June 16 (CNA) The legal representative of Apple Online, which is headquartered in Taipei, on Thursday dismissed reports that the handover of its news website announced June 8 was unauthorized.

"There is no such thing as the unauthorized disposal" of the website Apple Onine, said Ip Yut-kin (葉一堅), the legal representative of the Taiwan branch of Apple Daily Publication Development Ltd., the subsidiary of Hong Kong media group Next Digital Ltd., which owns Apple Online.

Ip made the statement in a letter to Apple Online employees after Next Digital, which is currently in liquidation proceedings, denied on Tuesday media reports that it had sold the Apple Online news website in Taiwan, suggesting that the sale announced on June 8 was unauthorized.

In an announcement on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company's liquidators refuted "certain media reports" stating that it had disposed of its business in Taiwan for over NT$300 million (US$10.1 million).

The company's liquidators said they will "take necessary action" if any unauthorized disposal of its business has occurred, the announcement said.

In the letter, Ip also said that Apple Online's planned mass layoffs in August are because the company's remaining funds are expected to be used up before September following the disruption of capital inflows after its sister Hong Kong Apple Daily had its assets frozen in a national security probe last year.

However, most of the company's employees will be transferred to the new owners, Ip said.

He also promised to hold a labor-management consultation meeting to protect the rights and interests of all employees.

On Tuesday, Taipei City Department of Labor said Apple Online had submitted plans to lay off 280 employees in August.

Taiwan's laws require employers to disclose large numbers of layoffs 60 days in advance.

In May last year, Next Digital stopped publishing Taiwan's print-version of the Apple Daily, citing declining readership and advertising revenues, but it has continued to operate as an online news site.

(By Wang Hsin-yu, Matthew Mazzetta and Evelyn Kao)

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