A Taiwanese media mogul whose pro-China statements have outraged many on this island of 23 million people is on the verge of seeing his empire and influence grow even larger.

Next month Taiwanese regulators will rule on Tsai Eng-meng's bid to take a 32 percent share — through his son — in the Next Media Group, owned by Hong Kong's Jimmy Lai, an outspoken anti-communist reviled in Beijing.

Critics say this new level of media clout could stifle Taiwan's press competition and undermine its young democracy. They point to Tsai's apparent willingness to use his media holdings' consistently laudatory coverage of China to advance his substantial mainland business interests.