Billionaire Terry Gou Makes Bid For Taiwan Presidency, Promising Peace And Prosperity

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Terry Gou has finally ended months of speculation by confirming on Monday that he will run as an independent candidate in Taiwan’s next presidential election.

“The era of entrepreneur’s rule has come,” Gou said in a press conference in Taipei. “Give me four years, and I will develop technology and the economy, enabling Taiwan to surpass Singapore within 20 years and become the ‘richest in Asia’ in terms of per capita GDP.”

The founder of Foxconn, formerly known as Hon Hai Precision, will likely be pitted against three other candidates in the election that’s scheduled to take place in January 2024. Gou will be competing against Lai Ching-te of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Ko Wen-je of the Taiwan People’s Party, and Hou Yu-ih from the China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT).

Gou singled out the DPP for criticism during his briefing for leading Taiwan towards the danger of war and failing to improve the economy. He said his experience in finance and management would enable his administration to double Taiwan’s economic growth rate.

The run up to the election is taking place at a time of escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the democratic island. Beijing has been ramping up pressure on President Tsai Ing-wen by staging military exercises around the island.

“Faced with the potential dangers in the Taiwan Strait and the dynamics between China and the United States, Taiwan absolutely must not become like Ukraine, and I will never allow Taiwan to become the next Ukraine,” Gou added.

The billionaire has long harbored political ambitions, but Foxconn’s dependence on China is seen by many as a means for Beijing to apply pressure on him. Foxconn is one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers and a key Apple supplier.

Gou tried to address the concerns by stating that he’s prepared to “sacrifice” his personal wealth in exchange for peace with China, while asserting that his only investments in mainland China are part of Hon Hai Precision. “I have never been under the control of the People’s Republic of China,” he added.

Gou, whose fortune is currently estimated at $7.2 billion on Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires List, stepped down as Hon Hai’s chairman to make his first attempt at running for president in 2019. He dropped out of the race that year after failing to win the KMT’s nomination. Gou sought to secure the party’s support again this year, but the KMT instead selected Hou Yu-ih.

To qualify as an independent candidate for the upcoming 2024 race, Gou will need to get around 290,000 voter signatures by early November.

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