17LIVE founder launches news site following failure of Apple’s online offering

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Taipei, Aug. 30 (CNA) Entrepreneur Joseph Phua (潘杰賢) on Tuesday announced the launch of Next Apple News, a new company that is expected to employ 96% of Taiwan Apple Online’s laid-off workforce, following a a failed bid to buy the tabloid. to place.

The announcement comes a day before the shutdown of Taiwan Apple Online, which laid off its entire workforce following the arrest of founder Jimmy Lai (黎智英) under Hong Kong’s national security law. in September 2021, and the freezing of the assets of parent company Next Digital. .

Phua, the Singaporean co-founder of Taiwan-based live-streaming platform 17LIVE, told a press conference on Tuesday that Next Apple News will officially launch on September 1.

He added that 96% of Taiwan Apple Online’s 280 employees had agreed to move to the new company.

The upcoming Apple News will be funded solely by Turn Capital, an investment firm chaired by Phua, and is expected to receive an annual investment of between NT$300 million (US$9.86 million) and NT$400 million, according to Phua.

Taiwan Apple Online had announced on June 8 that it had been sold to an anonymous buyer, believed to be Phua.

However, no application has been filed with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) for the deal to be considered, and on Tuesday Phua said the acquisition was called off after alleged Taiwan Apple Online owner l Hong Kong businessman Kenny Wee (黃浩), did not provide him with the necessary legal documents.

Phua said he was invited by Wee to invest in Taiwan Apple Online. According to media reports, Wee claimed that he was granted the right to dispose of Taiwan Apple Digital’s assets by a Hong Kong court following Next Digital’s failed takeover bid.

Although Phua did not elaborate on Wee’s role in the Taiwan Apple Online acquisition, Next Digital has always denied Wee’s ownership claims, insisting that the issue of the failed takeover of Wee had been settled out of court.

On Tuesday, the MOEA said it had received a trademark registration for Next Apple News from Phua, adding that it would review the case to determine if the company’s logo bears any similarities to that of Taiwan Apple Online.

Turn Capital is allowed to operate Next Apple News because the media is covered by its operating license, the ministry said.

However, any new influx of media investment will be subject to review under the related Foreign Media Investment Caps Act, the MOEA added.

Besides co-founding 17LIVE, Taiwan-based Phua is also one of the founders of dating app Paktor.

(By Yeh Kuan-ying, Chao Ching-yu, Wang Hsin-yu, Cheng Hung-ta and Shih Hsiu-chuan)

End article/ASG

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