China’s government played down claims investigations into Taiwan-headquartered Foxconn’s taxes and land use on the mainland were politically motivated, insisting the actions are standard law-enforcement activities, an official told Bloomberg.

Zhu Fenglian, a Beijing-based representative handling ties with Taiwan, suggested in a briefing today (25 October) the probe may cover more than Foxconn’s business, citing social and trade duties, Bloomberg wrote.

Foxconn stated it will cooperate with the investigation.

The contract manufacturer is a key supplier for Apple and employed more than 1 million people in China at its peak, including up to 350,000 workers at its largest iPhone assembly plan in Zhengzhou, the capital of east-central Henan province.

Foxconn founder and former chairman Terry Gou is a presidential candidate in elections to be held in 2024.

Richard Windsor, founder of industry blog Radio Free Mobile, and Alastair Newton from consultancy Alavan Independent, wrote they believe the probe is either another warning shot at Apple, or a message regarding the election in Taiwan.

The pair stated that at first glance, the review is a surprise since China’s economy is stagnant and youth unemployment is high.

However, they added supporting China’s government is more important than economic recovery.

Reuters reported Taiwan’s VP and presidential candidate Lai Ching-te criticised the probe, arguing China should not put pressure on local companies during an election.