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eCounsel group

A boutique firm with unparalleled expertise in business and technology. We have good command of industrial ecology and legal practice, and have undertaken highly regarded cases. Because the small business scope, we pay more emphasis on effectiveness and efficiency, and choose clients with deliberation. The managing partner not only has extensive experiences in various legal issues more over than 20 years, but invests and manages several technology companies. In addition, he always checks each case rigorously. Clients’ business objectives are our primary focus. To achieve the same in the most cost-effective fashion trumps all seemingly sophisticated legal discussions.

The Hypocrisy of Apple in Communist China

2017 - 12 - 05

“We believe that our presence in China helps promote greater openness and facilitates the free flow of ideas and information… We are convinced that Apple can best promote fundamental rights, including the right of free expression, by being engaged even where we may disagree with a particular country’s law.” – Cynthia Hogan, Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs, Apple Inc. 11/02/2017

This year, Apple has removed hundreds of apps from its China Appstore under the Chinese government’s recent attempt to strengthen its notorious Great Firewall. The hundreds of removed apps include a significant number of 674 VPN services and one of the biggest communication service, Skype. Apple’s compliance with the local cyber security rules can be linked to its newly established iCloud data centre in Guizhou, China, of which would not be possible had Apple actively rejected China’s censorship.

Apple’s removal of apps not only alienate some developers, but also two U.S. senators, Patrick Leahy and Ted Cruz, who publicly asked Apple to push back against censorship in China.

In response to the senators’ letter, Apple claimed that not only does the Appstore remain a “powerful platform for human experssion…” without these hundreds of removed apps, but also that Apple can do a better job promoting human rights “by being engaged even where we may disagree with a particular country’s law.”

We find this response to be an utter hypocrisy as more than 1/5 of all Apple’s profits come from China and that the communist nation is the tech giant’s second-largest market. It would be a business suicide for Apple to disaffect the communist party for causes like human rights and freedom of speech, of which are great principles but not business savvy.

Last month China’s Tencent surpassed Facebook in valuation and became the first Asian tech firm to reach $500 billion. The growth of Tencent also made its founder, Pony Ma, richer than Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, while both Google and Facebook are still blocked in China. The take-home message here can be summarised in one sentence:  Show your unquestionable loyalty to the party, and we make you the richest man in the world.


China’s Tencent surpasses Facebook in valuation a day after breaking $500 billion barrier – CNBC

Apple’s decision to remove VPN apps from the App Store in China explained by Tim Cook – INDEPENDENT


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Internal Control Systems : Born With Flaws (Part 3)

Corporations create affiliated companies for synergy, business development or horizontal and vertical integration. But they seldom take the operations of the affiliated companies into account then designing the internal control systems. 內控機制的先天缺陷-關係企業之內部控制遭到忽略 公司為了水平整合、垂直整合、綜效考量及業務拓展等因素經常必須設立關係企業,但是部分公司在設計內部控制制度時未將關係企業的整體營運活動一同考量,容易造成內控的漏洞。實務上,時有母公司未於內部控制制度中訂定子公司的內部控制作業、未督促子公司建立內部控制制度、亦未對子公司執行稽核作業。 某些上市、上櫃公司因為經營規模龐大,通常都在國外擁有關係企業,但是因為語言因素以及管理成本之考量,對於關係企業的內部控制要求僅止於案時提供其財務報表,方便總公司編制聯合財報。如此一來,縱使企業有良好的內部控制制度,若未確實要求關係企業遵循,也是枉然。總公司內稽人員只能以書面方式複核關係企業所給予之內控自評結果,效果有限。 關係企業的內部控制制度如果被忽略也會造成嚴重的後果。首先,關係企業營運的好壞會影響到企業本身,不論是在投資的獲利方面或是商譽方面都有舉足輕重的影響,若是因為關係企業營運上出差錯,企業本身也會因此受牽連。除此之外,一定規模以上的企業每年都必須請會計師簽證期財務報表,而公開發行公司也必須製作關係企業的聯合財報。舉例來說,資產負債表是財務報表之其中一種,必須經過會計師簽證的,而關係企業在資產負債表上是以長期股權投資的項目來呈現,如果會計師想了解該表上長期股權投資損益數字的正確性,則勢必必須也去了解關係企業的財務報表及相關內部控制制度。 縱使關係企業有了內部控制制度,也還沒完!總公司在查核關係企業、分公司或其他營業據點之工作上仍然會有實際上無法解決的齟齬。以下以證券商查核公司之實務為例:…

Internal Controls: Understaffed

Another problem in internal control practices is that they often exist to keep up the appearance. The department of internal control exists only for compliance’s sake. 實務上最常見的另一個問題就是內部控制制度流於形式,淪為一個僅僅為了符合法律規定而存在的編制。由於管理階層對於內部控制制度的不重視,造成公司不願花費成本聘請太多內部稽核人員,而使一個人員須負責超過其負荷量的業務,稽核品質可想而知。 在有分公司的情況下,一位總公司的稽核人員除了要負責數個業務單位之查核工作外,還要外加每個月出差至公司其他營業據點或應受查單位從事查核工作,從事相關工作的稽核人員根本不可能深入了解所轄查核業務的內外規以及實際運作的全貌,外加分公司人員由於自身業務忙碌、怕麻煩或其他自身利益之考量,往往不願意全力配合調查或是提供完整資料,而最後稽核人員迫於時限壓力,還是得交出稽核報告以及查核明細表,在這種工作底稿都未能完整取得之前提條件下,內部稽核的高調唱得再響,實際上也歸於枉然。 1. 請參行政院勞工委員會,職業類別薪資調查報告,民國95年6月。 ↩