Who is Terry Gou; the former Foxconn CEO with links to Apple now running for president of Taiwan?
Terry Gou’s run for the Taiwan presidency marks his second attempt at the disputed role
The 2024 Taiwanese presidential elections are due to take place on January 13 2024, and a new nominee has been added to the ballot paper at the 11th hour. Terry Gou was once the CEO of the billion-pound enterprise Foxconn, but to show his dedication to not only the race but the position of president of Taiwan, has stepped down from his position.
"I am the only entrepreneur with the practical management skills. I am an entrepreneur with nearly five decades of practical experience — who else is better suited to lead Taiwan's political sphere?" Gou said, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency. His political platform is led by Gou acting as a representative of the mainstream consensus, aiming to bring together various perspectives and stakeholders to navigate Taiwan's political landscape effectively.
Then there is the contentious matter of Taiwan’s status as an independent, sovereign state, which Gou emphasizes his independence from Beijing's influence. Gou aims to unite the opposition in Taiwan and prevent the country from facing a situation similar to Ukraine's, alluding to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He is concerned about the escalating military drills conducted by China around Taiwan and wants to ensure Taiwan's sovereignty and security.
His candidacy is not a done deal. Taiwanese law requires Gou to garner signatures of at least 1.5% of the electorate — that's about 290,000 signatures — within 45 days of his formal application to run as an independent candidate.
The campaign marks the second time that Terry Gou has run for president: In 2019, he stated that he was inspired by a dream in which the sea goddess Mazu told him to step up and make efforts for Taiwan. However, he dropped out of the race after losing the presidential nomination from Taiwan's main opposition party.
Who is Terry Gou?
Born on October 8, 1950, in Taipei, Taiwan, Gou's life story is the definition of a rags-to-riches tale: his parents fled mainland China to Taiwan following the Chinese Civil War in 1927, where Gou's father served as a police officer in Taiwan, and the family lived in a single room within a temple for over a decade.
After attending naval college, Gou worked as a shipping clerk for several years, but his passion for entrepreneurship led him at the age of 23 to found Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd, armed with a $7,500 loan from his mother. With just 10 employees and a handful of plastic moulding machines, Gou began producing consumer electronics components. Throughout the 1980s, Gou expanded Foxconn's operations and ventured into electronic parts manufacturing. His strategic decision to focus on producing components for major tech companies would prove pivotal to Foxconn's growth and success.
That same decade, he embarked on an extensive tour of the United States, where he pitched Foxconn's offerings to various companies, leading to Foxconn’s first factory outside of Taiwan in Shenzhen, China in 1988. This marked the beginning of Foxconn's global footprint and its subsequent rise as a manufacturing powerhouse. Over the years, the company diversified its operations and became a critical partner for tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Tesla, and Nvidia.
Gou's engagement in Taiwanese politics showcased his dedication to his country's welfare and the preservation of its identity. His bid for the presidency in 2019 and his renewed candidacy in 2024 reflect his desire to serve Taiwan and protect its sovereignty. Gou's commitment to unifying opposition and addressing national security concerns resonated with many who shared his vision for a strong and independent Taiwan.
What is Foxconn’s link to Apple?
Foxconn is a primary manufacturer of iPhones, assembling these iconic smartphones for Apple. They handle various stages of the production process, from assembling components to the final product. The company also provides a range of components used in Apple's products. These components include display panels, connectors, cables, and other intricate parts that are crucial for the functioning of Apple's devices.