Foxconn's Terry Gou Drops Out of Taiwan Presidential Race


Foxconn's Terry Gou Drops Out of Taiwan Presidential Race
© Getty Images News/Koki Nagahama

Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of Foxconn and a major supplier to Apple, has unexpectedly withdrawn from the race to become Taiwan's next president, just hours before the candidate registration deadline.

A Sudden Retreat from Politics

Gou, who is known for his success in the international business arena, announced his decision to withdraw from the presidential race without citing a specific reason.

"I have never yielded in the battlefield of international business,” Gou stated. “For the future of the Republic of China, choosing to yield is all the love I can give to my homeland," he added, using Taiwan's official name.

This sudden move came as a surprise to many, considering his previous commitment to the race. His running mate, Tammy Lai, also confirmed on Facebook that they would not appear on the 2024 ballot. This announcement effectively ends Gou's campaign for the presidency, scheduled for January 13, 2024.

Background and Political Aspirations

A self-made billionaire with limited political experience, Gou initially entered the political fray as an independent candidate in August and even stepped down from Foxconn’s board to focus on his campaign.

He had previously run for election in 2019 but did not succeed. Gou's withdrawal follows a failed attempt to create a joint ticket with main opposition candidates Hou Yu-ih of the Kuomintang and Ko Wen-je of the Taiwan People’s Party.

His efforts to unite the opposition and present a formidable challenge to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party collapsed publicly, with Gou trailing far behind in polls.

Business Challenges and the China Factor

Foxconn, established in Taiwan in 1974 as Hon Hai Precision Industry, has grown into a global electronics manufacturing powerhouse under Gou's leadership.

However, Gou's presidential bid was not without controversy. Shortly after announcing his candidacy, Chinese state media reported that Foxconn was under investigation in China for land use and tax issues. This probe followed Gou's assertive remarks that he would not be swayed by Beijing, despite his extensive business dealings in China.

Gou's political ambitions and his recent withdrawal from the presidential race have sparked discussions about the intricate relationship between business leaders and politics in Taiwan, especially against the backdrop of the island's complex relations with China.