April 16, 2019 / 8:02 AM / 2 months ago

Foxconn chairman to withdraw from daily operations, considers presidential run

(Reuters) - Foxconn’s Chairman Terry Gou said on Tuesday he is considering contesting Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election and the company said he would withdraw from the daily operations of the world’s largest contract manufacturer.

Terry Gou, founder and chairman of Foxconn, shows his cap to Paul Ryan, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, during an event that marks the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, in Taipei, Taiwan April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

- Gou is Taiwan’s richest person with a net worth of $7.6 billion, according to Forbes.

- Taiwan is gearing up for presidential elections in January at a time of heightened tensions with China.

- Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is due to hold its annual general meeting in June.

- Founded in 1974, the Foxconn group is the world’s biggest contract manufacturer, assembling goods for various global tech firms, but analysts say it relies on Apple for more than half its annual revenue.

COMMENTS:

YAO CHIA-WEN, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TSAI ING-WEN:

“I don’t really think he’s going to run for the presidency. Politics is different from business and Taiwan’s politics are very complicated. I doubt if he’s really willing to tackle such complicated matters.”

“If he’s going to represent KMT, many leaders from the party would be upset.”

LO CHIH-CHENG, DEMOCRATIC PROGRESSIVE PARTY LEGISLATOR:

“As the president and chairman, how can he balance his own interests and the interests of the country? That will be the challenge if he’s going to run.

“First of all, if he wants to run, I don’t think he will run as an independent candidate. The KMT (Kuomintang) has already said that he is still a valid member of the KMT, so if he enters the primary, then obviously he is going to represent the KMT. He’ll carry some of the baggage that the KMT has. Those are things he needs to sort out.”

SHANE LEE, POLITICAL SCIENTIST AT CHANG JUNG UNIVERSITY IN TAIWAN:

“I don’t think the United States would be too happy to see him running because he is close to China and, right now, the U.S. is wary about China.

“Because he has a lot of wealth in China, in other words, China has some control over him, so I think the U.S. government would have to be very cautious about him running for political office.

“It’s not good news for Taiwan. He has too much at stake, politically. He has too much stake in China, so I don’t think he would do anything against China and this of course is not acceptable for the Taiwanese.

“I’m not sure his political skills are good enough to be the president or to be dealing with China. In the business world he may be. It’s quite a different arena, I don’t know if he will be as successful in the political arena. As of now I don’t think he’ll run.”

STEVEN LEUNG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT UOB KAY HIAN IN HONG KONG:

“The company (Hon Hai) relies very much on Gou and his way of leading the firm, it is very difficult to find someone to replace him if he leaves the company to run for the presidential election.”

“If he announces he will run for the election, it is bad news for the company.”

Reporting by Donny Kwok in HONG KONG, Catherine Cadell in BEIJING and Yimou Lee in TAIPEI; Editing by Aaron Sheldrick

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