Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te on Tuesday hit out at China over its probe of major Apple supplier Foxconn, saying Beijing should "cherish" Taiwanese companies and not put pressure on them during an election.

Foxconn is facing a tax probe in China, two sources close to the company said on Monday, confirming a report in China's state-backed Global Times.

The sources said they believed it was disclosed for political reasons tied to Taiwan's January elections where the company's founder Terry Gou is running as an independent candidate for president.