Taiwan tycoon’s absence due to China trips: Next

Hon Hai chair Terry Gou needed to explain U.S. plans to China: magazine

Hon Hai Precision Industry chairman Terry Gou. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. Chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) was absent from his company’s post-Lunar New Year ceremony due to frequent trips to China possibly related to planned investments in the United States, Chinese-language Next Magazine reported Wednesday.

Gou, one of Taiwan’s wealthiest businessmen, runs one of the world’s biggest electronics contract makers, known as Foxconn, and has also taken control of Japan’s ailing Sharp Corporation.

He has recently been torn between plans to invest more in the U.S. in a response to President Donald Trump, and his interests in China, where Foxconn runs huge manufacturing complexes which turn out electronics products for major world brands, such as Apple Inc.

When Hon Hai held the traditional back-to-work ceremony at its headquarters in Tucheng, New Taipei City, following the end of the Lunar New Year on February 6, Gou was unexpectedly absent, Next Magazine noted.

The report explained the fact by saying he had flown to the Chinese city of Shenzhen in the company of most of his company’s senior managers. At the local Foxconn plant, he had held a key meeting to discuss the group’s future operations, Next reported. The meeting also involved a teleconferencing discussion with Gou’s deputy, Tai Jeng-wu (戴正吳), Sharp’s CEO in Osaka, according to the magazine.

Next suggested that the Taiwanese tycoon also hosted Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma (馬雲) and SoftBank Group chief Masayoshi Son (孫正義) at the Shenzhen plant. The three Asian business leaders reportedly promised Trump they would set up more businesses in the U.S. and create thousands of jobs.

In Gou’s case, he reportedly plans to invest US$70 billion (NT$2.1 trillion) and create 50,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, reports said.

Just before and after the Lunar New Year, he paid short visits to Beijing where he tried to persuade the Chinese government that his plans for investments the U.S. would not adversely impact his expansion in China’s province of Guangdong, Next said.

Gou has vehemently denied suggestions in the Taiwanese media that he was considering a bid for president in 2020.