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Foxconn tycoon draws criticism after entering race for Taiwan presidency

Terry Gou generates media buzz after Sea Goddess tells him to run for president

Terry Gou after officially registering as KMT candidate, April 17

Terry Gou after officially registering as KMT candidate, April 17

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following Foxconn Tycoon Terry Gou’s (郭台銘) announcement on Wednesday, April 17, that he would enter the 2020 Taiwan presidential race, media outlets at home and abroad are shining a light on his often business dealings and making comparisons to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Gou who is entering the race as a candidate in the Kuomintang Party’s primary election, captured the attention of Taiwan on Wednesday after declaring that the sea goddess Matsu spoke to him in a dream and instructed him to run for the office of president.

International media outlet CNN published an article shortly after Gou’s announcement reporting on the controversial Foxconn facility being constructed and facing setbacks in Wisconsin, and also making note of Gou’s friendship with Donald Trump.

Taking a lead from CNN, the pro-KMT news outlet China Times followed suit with an article drawing attention to Terry Gou’s history of “unfulfilled promises” with regards to his “commendable” business plans and proposals which Foxconn never made good on.

From Vietnam, India and Indonesia in Asia, to Brazil and the United States in the Western Hemisphere, China Times reports that since 2011, Gou has made pledges between US$30 million and US$5 billion that have failed to materialize.

The BBC network has described Terry Gou as “China friendly,” and raised speculation about how Gou’s business interests in China, where Foxconn employs about one million people making iPhone components, might impact his decisions regarding foreign policy if he were able to successfully win the election.

The Japanese newspaper, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, has reported that Gou’s leadership in his company style is “dictatorial,” which may not bode well for Taiwan if he finds himself in the office of the presidency. The Japanese newspaper speculates if Terry Gou does win the election, and is forced to leave his position as Foxconn CEO, that it could mean “chaos” for the business operations of the tech manufacturing giant.

Somewhat concerning, one of the most glowing report on Terry Gou’s candidacy for the Taiwanese presidency came from the Global Times, a state backed propaganda blog of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The Global Times article, a collaborative effort by three authors, declares that Gou has “wide scale support” within Taiwan, while claiming that Gou’s run means people in Taiwan are “eager for change.”

Gou still faces several challengers in the KMT before he will be able to secure the nomination. A decision on the KMT nominating process and possible selection of a candidate is expected by the end of April.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), currently facing a dilemma of choosing between incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) or former premier William Lai (賴清德), recently announced that the party’s primaries would be delayed until late May.