News / Asia

Taiwan Fights to Keep Homegrown Tennis Star

Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan, left, and Shuai Peng of China pose with their trophies after winning against Ashleigh Barty of Australia and Casey Dellacqua of Australia in the Women's doubles final match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon,
Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan, left, and Shuai Peng of China pose with their trophies after winning against Ashleigh Barty of Australia and Casey Dellacqua of Australia in the Women's doubles final match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon,
Ralph Jennings
Taiwan cheered tennis star Hsieh Shu-wei's women's doubles victory at Wimbledon earlier this month. But celebration turned to shock when Hsieh indicated she was considering a sponsorship deal that would mean switching citizenship to her homeland’s arch-rival, China.
 
Taiwan produces few internationally known athletes, and the island cannot fly its official flag at the Olympics because old political foe China does not allow it.
 
So after 27-year-old tennis player Hsieh Shu-wei won Taiwan’s first Wimbledon title on July 6, the image-conscious government in Taipei sprang into action. Officials rallied potential sponsors to keep the star at home, instead of giving up her Taiwanese citizenship in exchange for a lucrative deal from a Chinese company.
 
Wang Shui-wen, deputy director of the Taiwan’s Sports Administration, said four Taiwanese companies have offered sponsorships, enough to meet Hsieh’s financial targets and keep her citizenship on the island.
 
Wang said he is confident that Hsieh will stay in Taiwan. He said the sports administration thinks Hsieh Shu-wei was raised by Taiwan and that Hsieh is very important. He adds that as a government department, to promote sports is a responsibility so it wants to support her in finding corporate sponsorships.
 
Local media reports said the mainland Chinese sponsor, a liquor company, wants to give her $1.63 million to represent Qinghai province in China’s far west. But her father and de facto spokesman said Hsieh will not consider that offer unless the Taiwanese sponsorship deals fall through.
 
China sees self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory rather than a country and tries to limit its international clout. The two sides have been separately ruled since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s. Since relations began improving in 2008 along with China’s growing wealth, Beijing has used a range of financial incentives to draw the island closer.
 
Taiwan’s sports administration said heavyweight local companies Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor, China Airlines and oil supplier CPC Corporation Taiwan have given Hsieh sponsorship offers. The fourth firm is a lesser known Taiwanese maker of plastic adhesive tape.
 
The player’s father, Hsieh Tzu-lung, said talks with the four are ongoing.
 
Criticized locally for considering the China deal, Hsieh played down her quest for money and talked up her homeland at a July 12 news conference in Taipei.
                       
The player said she wants all Taiwanese contestants to get proper sponsorships, not just herself because she won at Wimbledon. She said it is good to have some resources but that she would be happy if she could help other Taiwanese athletes.
 
Sports management experts said valuable sponsorships are notoriously tough for female athletes as men dominate televised sports in much of the world. Taiwan’s best known female athlete, world No. 10 ranked golfer Yani Tseng, also once struggled to find deals so she could travel around the world playing in professional tournaments.
 
Taiwanese media reported that the tennis champion now receives $50,000 in sponsorships from local companies, not enough to pay the minimum of $134,000 spent every year on travel and training. Hsieh’s father said the chief obstacles are airfare and competition entry fees, but would not say exactly how much the player needs.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
July 18, 2013 12:40 PM
well, seems Taiwan is living within China's shadow. so accept the fact and integrate with China. We are all Chinese anyway.


by: gfk from: Australia
July 17, 2013 5:44 PM
Good on her. 50k is not enough. If the local Taiwanese companies are so stingey as to only give her a miserly 50k then no wonder she is looking to China.


by: Anon243 from: Taiwan
July 17, 2013 10:54 AM
Just let her go... Why would you want to keep that kind of citizen anyways? She's a sell-out. Why let her keep the Taiwanese citizenship is beyond me but not beyond politics... Haggling over citizens is not even a good strategy in the long run because China has allot more financial firepower anyways.

In Response

by: Chung Hoa from: Taipei
July 17, 2013 11:23 AM
Very good opinion from Anon243, I like your ideas. This kind of people, very selfish because of money, she sold her conscience. The Taiwanese government extremely stupid trying to bring this traitor back, for what? Taiwanese people must join hands to blame this girl not to win her back. Too shameful with this girl who sold her own motherland. Down with you girl

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid