Terry Gou resigns as Foxconn chair to run for president of Taiwan

Foxconn Technology Co (TPE: 2354) will see its founding chairman, Terry Gou, resign for a political bid over the Taiwanese presidency, the New York Times reports.

A Decisive Newcomer

Gou said his reason for running came to him in a dream, which was of much note in Western media.

Mazu, a patron deity for seafarers with widespread popularity and a major temple in Taiwan, came to Gou in a dream to ask that he run for President. Gou told a crowd of journalists, “Mazu said I must take care of the youth. I must do everything I can to help those who are struggling,” the Times reported.

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Gou is expected to aide his campaign by tapping into his purported net worth of more than $7 billion, built by guiding his multinational electronics company’s success. Foxconn is one of the industry’s most significant companies, famously contracting with Apple for iPhone assembly.

A Contentious Political Field

Taiwan’s presidential election in 2020 may see Gou face off against one of several opposing party politicians. Incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen announced in February her intention to run again, to finish her agenda and maintain a relatively unyielding stance against pressure from the mainland to integrate.

Tsai’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party, has traditionally supported a clear policy of nation-state sovereignty and independence for Taiwan against mainland China. Gou’s party of choice, the Kuomintang (KMT), have been far more comfortable with Chinese Communist Party contact. Tsai’s predecessor, a KMT acolyte, built a historic closeness to the Communist Party Chinese, which Tsai reversed with an eye toward Taiwan’s more southernly neighbors instead.

Gou faces his KMT primary challenge from recently elected Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu, who surprisingly won his mayorship in a pro-independence stronghold.

Tsai’s former premier, William Lai, stands in the way of her party nomination as an opposing candidate, having announced his bid in late March. Despite abysmal approval ratings and mock poll results, Tsai retains support from the party’s political class.

Taiwan Policy Toward China Under Spotlight

The 2020 Taiwanese presidential election likely won’t be built on the sole issue of Taiwanese independence. Tsai’s administration has suffered in the public eye amid economic underperformance, for instance. Her frequent takes on social issues have served to divide her political supporters, too.

This doesn’t change the fact that when Tsai made a public rebuke of a January Xi Jinping address implicitly calling for a “one country, two systems” approach to Taiwan-China relations, her approval ratings jumped by more than 10 percent.

“The president’s popularity stayed at 24.3 percent last month, but jumped sharply to 34.5 percent – the highest in six months – because of her rebuke of Xi’s speech and her pledge to safeguard Taiwan and the public well-being,” the South China Morning Post quoted Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation President Michael You Ying-lung as saying at the time.

You, a hardline member of Tsai’s party, reportedly opposes Tsai’s reelection bid.

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