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Taiwan wants and needs Starlink, but local law is blocking a deal

After three years of discussions, negotiations between Taiwan and SpaceX to provide Starlink to that nation broke off in 2022 because of a local Taiwanese law that requires local ownership of at least 51%.

SpaceX would not agree to these conditions, and ended the negotiations. In response, Taiwan has been struggling to get its own communications satellite into orbit, with limited success.

To address that vulnerability, the Taiwan Space Agency (TASA) intends to launch its first self-made low-Earth orbit communication satellite in 2026 and at least one more by 2028, Director General Wu Jong-shinn said. Taiwan also will have rockets capable of carrying payloads weighing over 100 kilograms, he added in an interview.

Since the country doesn’t yet have those rockets, this plan remains dependent on foreign launchers. Moreover, to be effective in low-orbit will require not two satellites but a constellation of 20 to 30. Taiwan is years from being to launch such a constellation.

It seems Taiwan is cutting off its nose to spite its face by not changing this ownership law. Its entire internet access is dependent on 14 undersea cables, and China has already demonstrated the ability to destroy these cables when it cut two in February. No foreign operation is going to give up its ownership to make a deal in Taiwan.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.


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  • Gary H

    This social values pact will be used by the CCP to eliminate foreign control of Tesla’s technology in China…ie nationalization of Tesla, China.

  • Cotour

    Something to understand about China:

    This is the problem with a command economy, it is based in insane Communist / Socialist / Capitalist theory.

    Why is it necessary to lie and cheat?

    Because they have to le and cheat.

  • Jeff Wright

    Reagan and Nixon capitalism was based on cheap Communist labor…so it’s a wash.

    And factories closed here.

    Yeah…real hero’s those two.

  • pzatchok

    When my old company bought several Chinese manufacturing plants we also signed the same type of social deal.

    Over all it not a terrible deal.
    It has NO effect on anything outside of China.
    It does require a company do local charity work to gain credits.
    They lose credits if their facilities are found to be unsafe in any way. We immediately updated those new plants to American safety and fire standards.
    The plants though did come with residency campuses for the workers. Cheap collage like dorms with restaurants and shops. We upgraded those for the workers. It turned out it brought them up to the best in the province. Sold off the shops and eateries. Eventually added sports fields.
    It turned out it was all cheaper than a simple raise for the employees. And they liked it.

    In the end it was nothing more onerous than Californian environmental regulations, business fees, fines and taxes.

  • Cloudy

    On its face, the Tesla deal may not be to bad. The same goes for many other deals in China. The problem is that China has no checks and balances. The Communist party can enforce the deal on Tesla, but there is no way for Tesla to enforce the deal on the Communist party. Nothing stops the party from using such tools as selective enforcement to further its own interests, or the interests of some venal official.

  • pzatchok

    Its the same here in America.

    I have seen environmental laws applied very differently depending on the company being targeted.
    The same with employment laws and pretty much just about everything.

    Heck even I have used a little personal influence in my life. I used my grandfathers rank to keep out of the dirty jobs in basic and AIT. After that I,,,,,,, well lets drop that one.

    But yes America can be just as corrupt as anyplace if not watched.

    China could use the parties power and political officials could use the social policy against them, but the old are they will not because they want foreign investors just as much as anyone else in the rest of the world.

    Just like in the rest of the world. Money is power. He who has it can bend the powers to be their way when they need to.
    Good people know they have that power but do either do not use it or keep it very very quiet.
    Bad people will inevitably abuse the power.

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