Alibaba's Ma says to provide requested documents to Taiwan government

Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma gestures while giving a speech at National Taiwan University in Taipei March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Alibaba Group Holding will provide Taiwan with the information required about its business, Executive Chairman Jack Ma said on Tuesday, after the government ordered the Chinese e-commerce giant to withdraw from the island within six months.

Ma told reporters in Taipei that Alibaba’s mistake was the “lack of sufficient communication” with the Taiwanese authorities. Earlier, the company said it had set up its Taiwan branch in accordance with regulations “at the time”.

“We fully understand the requests that Taiwan has made this time,” Ma told reporters.

“Alibaba is not a company that gives up easily,” he added, when asked if the company would quit Taiwan, where it has been operating since 2008 and has about 300,000 customers.

On Monday, Taiwan’s investment regulator said Alibaba had violated rules required for a Chinese company and had to quit the island. It was also fined T$120,000 ($3,824)..

Chinese investments into the island are regulated strictly because mainland China is still considered a political enemy despite growing trade and economic ties since the late 2000s.

China deems Taiwan a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to take it back, particularly if the island makes a move toward independence.

Taiwan’s investment regulator said it had been looking into Alibaba Group’s shareholding structure since it went public in the United States last September and had requested documents from the company to clarify, but those documents were not provided.

Additional reporting by JR Wu; Edited by Kavita Chandran and Miral Fahmy