Date
11 December 2016
Terry Gou’s connections in Taiwan and heavy investments in China would make him a good choice to many Taiwanese and Beijing politicians. Photo: Reuters
Terry Gou’s connections in Taiwan and heavy investments in China would make him a good choice to many Taiwanese and Beijing politicians. Photo: Reuters

Terry Gou to follow in Trump’s footsteps?

The surprise win of Donald Trump means the age of political outsiders is coming.

Terry Gou, chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (Foxconn), is said to be considering running for Taiwan president against Tsai Ing-wen in 2020.

The business tycoon reportedly held a secret meeting on the night of the US election to work on their response to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s shocking victory.

During the meeting, he reportedly asked his staff, “What do you think if I run for president in 2020?”

Gou, 66, had previously talked about four major complaints about Taiwan’s status quo — a widening wealth gap, a rigid labor policy, an indecisive administration and an awkward global position in which Taiwan fails to benefit fully from the Chinese market while also making little progress in expanding its global reach.

Yet, Gou rejected the report, calling it “nonsense.” Nevertheless, Taiwan media continues to speculate about it.

In a Taiwan Apple Daily poll, up to 62 percent of respondents said they would vote for Gou while Tsai got a 24 percent support rate.

Even Kuomintang chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu applauded the idea, saying “Gou will be very popular if he runs for president. He is a good candidate”.

Hung said the Kuomintang will consider getting Gou to join the party and support him to challenge Tsai in 2020.

In fact, Gou has a pretty good chance of getting elected if he ran.

Gou has done business with China for a long time and placed a substantial part of his wealth there. Beijing is quite familiar and comfortable with him.

Also, Gou is considered an old-time entrepreneur with strong connections with both the pan-blue and pan-green camps.

For example, Shen Fu-Hsiung, a leading politician in the pan-green camp, has openly supported Gou to be the next president.

Tsai’s poor performance is also a key factor.

Since taking office in May, Tsai has done little to boost the ailing economy. Nor did she give any concrete direction on how to move forward.

Tsai’s support rating is sinking fast.

In a recent poll, 42.8 percent of respondents said they are unhappy with her, surpassing the 41.7 percent that are satisfied with her performance.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 22

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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RT/RA

Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist

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