Billionaire founder Terry Gou , a major Apple supplier through Foxconn (2317.TW), has successfully gathered three times the required number of signatures for his candidacy in Taiwan’s presidential elections, as announced by the government on Tuesday.
Expressing gratitude for the “enthusiastic support” from his backers, Gou pledged to diligently work towards achieving “peace across the Taiwan Strait.”
In August, Gou declared his candidacy, aiming to unite the opposition and prevent Taiwan from becoming “the next Ukraine.” He blamed the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for escalating tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory.
Foxconn chief in 2019
Having resigned as Foxconn chief in 2019, Gou needed around 300,000 voter signatures by Nov. 2 to qualify as an independent candidate, according to election regulations. Surpassing this requirement, the election commission confirmed over 900,000 valid signatures. Gou now has until the following Friday to formally register his candidacy.
At 73, Gou is one of four candidates for the January election. Opinion polls indicate he is the least favored, trailing behind the front-runner, Lai Ching-te of the DPP, and the current vice president.
Maintaining a low profile since a Chinese newspaper implied a tax probe into Foxconn’s China operations due to Beijing’s discontent with his campaign, Gou has not commented on the matter. The Chinese government dislikes Lai, viewing him as a separatist, while Lai insists that only Taiwan’s people can determine their future and has repeatedly offered talks with China, which Beijing has rejected.
Although China has not confirmed the Foxconn investigation, Taiwan’s National Security Council head, Wellington Koo, stated that China “definitely” does not want Gou to run, fearing he could split the opposition vote.
The other two opposition candidates have shown little interest in collaborating with Gou, instead discussing cooperation against Lai.
On an earnings call, Foxconn Chairman Young Liu, when questioned about potential political risks from Gou’s election bid, stated that Foxconn founder Gou had the right to make his own decisions. He added that the company has prepared for all possible cases and wished Gou the best.