Terry Gou is the multi-billionaire who founded Foxconn; a company deemed the world’s biggest electronics manufacturer. It also grew to become the largest private employer in China. Gou stepped down when he wanted to run for presidency but stayed on as the director. However, you might know that while it is widely known as Foxconn, the official name is Hon Hai Precision. With such a reputation, it is no wonder that the company can afford to buy five million doses of COVID-19 to donate to the Taiwan government. Besides his philanthropy, here are other facts to know about Gou.
1. Donald Trump Inspired Him to Run for Presidency
In August 2019, an aide to Gou disclosed that the business mogul was seriously considering running for presidency. Despite not being chosen by the party, Gou was interested in becoming president and even resigned from Foxconn as the chairman, hoping to clinch the KMT party primary, which he lost. He cited that since another entrepreneur, Donald Trump, had won the top seat without any prior political experience, he was inspired to try his luck. Unfortunately, Gou stepped down from his presidential bid but clarified that he would still be active in politics.
2. He is the Richest Person in Taiwan
According to Taiwan News, Gou is the wealthiest in Taiwan and the 369th richest person worldwide, with a net worth of $7.6 billion. In 2010, he slipped from the first position to the fourth after being overtaken by the Wei brothers, who own major Chinese instant food brands. At the time, his fortune decreased from $7.3 billion to $6.9 billion. However, other sources claim that the richest man in Taiwan is Zhang Congyuan, with a net worth of $13.8 billion.
3. He is a Spiritual Person
Although Gou said that former US President Trump inspired him to run for the presidency, he still received a divine intervention. According to BBC, the billionaire businessman revealed that sea goddess Mazu appeared to him in a dream urging him to deliver Taiwan. He added that since Mazu had nurtured him from childhood, he would follow the goddess’s instructions. Gou said that if he would not be selected, it meant he had not worked hard enough but would still support the elected candidate.
4. He Does Not Like Taking Responsibility
In 2010, 18 Foxconn employees in China attempted suicide, and one of them shared her story. You would expect the billionaire to be sympathetic to the plight of his employees and make some changes, but Gou was the least concerned. Instead, he said that while in Taiwan, companies are not held responsible for employees who attempt suicide, in China, corporations are accountable because the workers live and sleep in the company’s dormitories. Therefore, Foxconn maintained the illegal overtime hours while requiring job applicants to take a psychological test.
5. He is Aggressive
Michael Marks, the former Flextronics CEO, told Forbes that he has never met anyone as aggressive as Gou. According to Marks, the Taiwanese businessman pushed to invest in GoPro. Gou met Nicholas Woodman and was impressed, saying that the GoPro founder was forward-thinking. However, at first, Woodman rejected the offer of doing business with Foxconn, explaining that he felt his company was a small fish. With time he changed his mind, and the deal ended up being transacted over a meeting in Taiwan and was sealed by scribbling on a napkin.
6. He Comes from Poverty
As published by Time, Gou’s parents fled to Taiwan from mainland China in 1949. He was born in Taipei in 1950, but the family barely had enough money or food to live by, so they relied on the US missionaries. As disclosed by the article, they lived in a single room for 11 years. Gou would attend the church where the missionaries would hand out food.
7. His Mother Gave Him a Loan to Found Foxconn
They say nothing compares to the love of a mother. Besides nurturing us, mothers will do anything to ensure their children succeed, and that was the case with Gou’s mother. After working as a shipping clerk, Gou was ready to tap into his entrepreneurial spirit, but he did not have enough money to start the capital. Therefore, his mother lent him $7,500, which the businessman used to purchase molding machines for Western television knobs. The ambitious entrepreneur then went to the US for 11 years to get clients for his products, soliciting business from the likes of IBM.
8. He is Not Afraid to Fail
Most entrepreneurs do not even take off because they are afraid of failure, but Gou does everything possible to be successful. For this reason, he was not scared to leave Taiwan and his family to be in a strange country. According to Business Standard, he is quite a strategist, knowing how to place himself at the right places to seize an opportunity. Upon arrival in the US, he booked a motel next to IBM and got an appointment that opened doors for him to be a supplier. Therefore, even while other Taiwanese entrepreneurs feared to shift production to China, Gou established a factory in Shenzhen.
9. His Wife Left Him after He Announced Presidential Bid
Gou announced on April 17, 2019, that he would help KMT to select a suitable candidate. By April 25, 2019, the business mogul said that his wife had left him for suddenly jumping into politics. According to him, Delis Tseng could not forgive him for going into politics, and although he knew where she had gone, he did not divulge the information saying he did not want her to be harassed. Gou further remarked that he had taken on the extra responsibility of caring for his children without Tseng.
10. He Does Not Take Kindly to Blackmail
According to Medium, Gou had an extramarital affair in the 1990s with a bar girl named Chen Chung-mei. The girl hired a private investigator to film her and Gou having sex to use the tape to blackmail the businessman. However, the wise Gou had police arrest the private investigator and his lover and sued them for extortion.