After nearly five years of consideration and two failed bids for the nomination, the founder of Apple’s largest supplier running Become the President of Taiwan.

Foxconn founder and former chairman Terry Gou He announced on Monday that he would run as an independent candidate in Taiwan’s presidential election in January next year after another defeat for his second time leading the opposition Kuomintang. Gou has joined a fierce race to replace outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen, who is ineligible to run again due to term limits.

As independent candidate, Foxconn founder now needs 290,000 voter signatures to november 2 to make his bid official.

This campaign is crucial not only to cross-strait relations, but also to the world. The U.S. relies on chipmakers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), East Asia’s largest company by market value, to fuel its high-tech economy.

Under Tsai Ing-wen’s presidency, Beijing has taken a more aggressive stance toward the self-governing island. The Chinese government considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has not ruled out using force to prevent it from declaring formal independence.

Gou had harsh words for the Democratic Progressive Party, which has governed Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen was elected president in 2016. Her more anti-Beijing stance contrasts with her support for the KMT, which has closer ties with mainland China.

Guo Taiming said: “In the past seven years, I have witnessed Taiwan from prosperity to cliff.” say mondayciting his dissatisfaction with the economy, defense and foreign policy.

“If we don’t retreat now, it will be too late to save Taiwan from falling. We must bring down the DPP,” he continued.

Guo said he ran Anti typhoon Promised to bring “50 years of peace” to the Taiwan Strait and promised to help Taiwan surpass Singapore in per capita GDP.

Who is Guo Taiming?

Gou founded Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (better known internationally as Foxconn) in 1974.

The supplier opened its first factory in mainland China in 1988. The company employs hundreds of thousands of workers at its factories in mainland China, including a sprawling factory in Zhengzhou that makes iPhones for Apple.

Gou is estimated to be worth nearly $7 billion Bloomberg.he is still largest shareholder Apple iPhone maker relies on China for production about 70% its income.

Gou has previously run for the presidency. In 2019, he resigned as chairman of Foxconn ahead of the last election. At the time, however, he came in second in the Nationalist presidential primary.

The billionaire declined to run as an independent candidate at the time, and the party ultimately lost to the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen.

cross-strait relations

Gou supports closer ties with Beijing.in an article for Washington post In July, he called on Beijing and Taipei to resume negotiations under the “one China” framework, which stipulates that only one country covers China and Taiwan — although the two sides disagree on what exactly that means.

Yeh Hilton, a Taiwanese journalist and news analyst, said Gou was less hostile to Beijing than the DPP, “especially because his company Hon Hai is one of the largest employers in mainland China”. “Not surprisingly, he said he would work to rebuild relations with China, which had declined significantly under Tsai’s tenure,” he continued.

Beijing accuses the DPP of pursuing formal independence, a red line. Mainland China has imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions on the self-governing island and has conducted military exercises near it.

The Democratic Party claims to have We have the right to Has independent relations with other governments, but has not officially declared independence.

The United States formally recognizes Beijing’s position on Taiwan, but does not “endorse it” and does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country.

However, Washington has developed close economic and political ties with Taipei, including the sale of arms. US politicians such as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have also visited Taiwan. For its part, Beijing has criticized any US engagement with Taiwan as “interfering” in its internal affairs.

Opposition split

The DPP and its candidate, Vice President Lai Qingde, should face a difficult election next year.the party poor performance Its domestic policies, including its handling of COVID-19, were criticized in local elections last November.

However, if Gou becomes a candidate, he can ultimate help DPP. Ye said that if Gou succeeds in becoming an official candidate, “it will split the opposition, and the opposition will have three main non-DPP candidates”.Recent opinion polls show that the Democratic Progressive Party ranked firstahead of Ke Wenzhe of the Taiwan People’s Party and Hou Yuyi of the Kuomintang.

In his campaign manifesto, Gou called on the three opposition candidates to unite and launch a campaign to overthrow the DPP. “The big question is whether the opposition really wants to win. If we do, we have to be united.” monday said.

“I’m not sure (Beijing) would be happy to see the opposition split further, which would help the DPP,” Ye said.

Foxconn’s large presence in mainland China has raised concerns that Beijing could threaten the company to influence Gou’s decisions.

The company did not immediately respond wealthrequest for comment, but noted in a statement Bloomberg “Guo Taiming has handed over the baton four years ago and no longer participates in the company’s daily management.”

Foxconn founder says in statement that Beijing will not threaten the company because it will discourage Foreign investors pour money into China.

But Gou said he was willing to take a hit from China. “If the Chinese regime threatened to seize the company’s property in China, I would say, ‘Yes! Please do it!’,” He said. “I can sacrifice my personal wealth in exchange for Taiwan’s peace.”

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