It was inevitable that Foxconn Expertise Group chairman Terry Gou’s Wednesday announcement he’s working for president of Taiwan would invite comparisons to Donald Trump. Each males are brash billionaires who declare their enterprise expertise qualifies them for political management. Gou has mentioned he was impressed partly by Trump’s instance. They share a passion for baseball caps.
The similarities have been overdrawn. The dynamics of Taiwan’s political system bear little resemblance to these of the USA. And, in contrast to Trump, Gou runs a $170 billion enterprise that actually issues—for Taiwan, the remainder of China and your entire international financial system.
International buyers appeared satisfied by Gou’s resolution to toss his hat into the political ring. On Thursday, shares of Foxconn, formally referred to as Hon Hai Precision Business Co., jumped 6%, and the corporate’s listed associates did even higher. Taiwan shares rallied throughout the board.
Some market pundits speculated Gou would champion a extra business-friendly agenda for Taiwan and convey stability to the self-ruled island’s tumultuous relationship with Beijing. Others hailed his private rapport with Trump, commander-in-chief of Taiwan’s most necessary strategic ally.
The euphoria is misguided. Gou’s political prospects are unsure. He has declared he’ll marketing campaign as a member of Taiwan’s opposition occasion, the Kuomintang (KMT). However to safe the occasion’s nomination, he’ll have to influence occasion stalwarts he’s a greater candidate than Han Kuo-yu, the charismatic KMT politician lately elected mayor of Kaohsiung, the southern port metropolis that could be a bastion of the ruling Democratic Progressive Celebration.
Gou is definite to tout his success as a businessman and the in depth community of relationships with Chinese language political leaders he has cultivated over almost three many years of working factories on the mainland. Within the political realm, these achievements might show liabilities quite than belongings.
Gou runs Foxconn with an iron fist. Even admirers fear his temperament is ill-suited to a democracy as boisterous as Taiwan’s. Tsai Ing-wen, the incumbent president, homed in on Gou’s imperious administration fashion this week by noting that whereas he could also be accustomed to being “the boss of a giant firm,” as Taiwan’s president, he’d have “23 million bosses, so you must modify your angle a bit.”
In the meantime, the huge scale of Foxconn’s operations in China—the corporate operates factories in a dozen mainland provinces and is China’s largest non-public employer—create potential for battle of curiosity that make Trump’s enterprise dealings in Russia appear trivial.
The extra speedy query is: Who will run Guo’s enterprise whereas Guo is working for workplace? Foxconn says Gou will stay chairman however is stepping again from day-to-management. He has no clear successor. The corporate counts on iPhones, which it assembles for Apple, for about half of its whole income. However demand for smartphones has peaked and Apple is beset by rivals. The Monetary Instances observes that Foxconn now faces “extra critical challenges than at any time in its 45-year historical past.” Bloomberg‘s Tim Culpan, who has coated Gou for 20 years, factors out that the Taiwanese billionaire “stays a hands-on micromanager” and worries that in his absence, “there’s each probability that the underlying companies would falter for lack of route.”
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