Gou with Terry Branstad, the United States Ambassador to China in December 2017
8 October 1950
Banqiao, Taipei County, Taiwan
|Occupation||Founder and Chairman of Foxconn|
|Net worth||US$10.6 billion (August 2017)|
Terry Gou (Chinese: 郭台銘; pinyin: Guō Táimíng; born 8 October 1950) is a Taiwanese tycoon who is the founder and chairman of Foxconn, the world's largest contract manufacturer of electronics, with factories in several countries, mostly in mainland China where it employs 1.2 million people and is its largest private employer and exporter.
Gou was born in Banqiao Township, Taipei County (now Banqiao District, New Taipei). His parents lived on mainland China's Shanxi Province before the Chinese Civil War and fled to Taiwan in 1949, where Gou was born. His father was a career police officer. As the first child of his family, Gou received education from elementary school to post college. After graduation, he continued to work in a rubber factory, working at a grinding wheel, and medicine plant until the age of 24. Gou has two younger brothers, Tai-Chiang Guo and Tony Guo, who have both become successful businessmen as well.
Terry Gou founded Hon Hai in Taiwan in 1974 with $7,500 in startup money and ten elderly workers, making plastic parts for television sets in a rented shed in Tucheng, a suburb of Taipei. A turning point came in 1980 when he received an order from Atari to make the console joystick. He further expanded his business in the 1980s by embarking on an 11-month trip across the US in search of customers. As an aggressive salesman, Gou broke in uninvited into many companies and was able to get additional orders, despite having security called on him multiple times.
In 1988 he opened his first factory in mainland China, in Shenzhen, where his largest factory remains today. Operations in China took on a mammoth dimension when Gou vertically integrated the assembly process and facilities for workers. The manufacturing site became a campus that included housing, dining, medical care and burial for the workers, and even chicken farming to replenish the cafeteria.
In 1996, Hon Hai started building chassis for Compaq desktops. This was a breakthrough moment that led to building the bare bones chassis for other high-profile customers, including HP, IBM, and Apple. Within just a few years, Foxconn grew into a consumer electronics giant.
Gou is also the main owner of the HMD Global, which is the company founded in 2016 to sell Nokia branded phones. HMD buys the R&D, manufacturing and distribution from FIH Ltd, which is part of Hon Hai group.
Gou drew controversy when comments he made during a board meeting about employees were translated into English as "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache." Through Foxconn, Gou would protest that the translation was poor and took his comments out of context.
In the 2012 Taiwan presidential election, Gou endorsed Ma Ying-jeou, stating that Ma was an "experienced, outstanding helmsman." After Donald Trump won the 2016 United States presidential election, Gou was the subject of a spoof open letter in Bloomberg, in which author Tim Culpan was severely critical of Trump. The article was mistakenly reported as having been written by Gou himself. Earlier that year, it was widely reported that Gou was considering a 2020 Taiwanese presidential bid, and speculation continued into 2017.
Gou and his first wife, Serena Lin (林淑如; Lín Shúrú; 1950–2005), have a son who works in the film and real estate industries and a daughter who worked in the financial sector. Gou founded an educational charity with Lin in 2000 and intended to eventually give away one third of his wealth to charity. After Gou's wife died, Gou's daughter assumed leadership in the charity.
In the 1990s, Gou had an extramarital affair with Chen Chung-mei, a bar girl according to Gou, who then had a private investigator video tape Gou and her having sex in order to blackmail Gou for money. While Gou first agreed to pay the money, when they next met he had police arrest Chen and the private investigator, Hsu Ching-wei, and sued them for extortion, stating he knew the affair would become "exposed one way or another".
In 2005, Serena Lin died of breast cancer at the age of 55. Gou's younger brother, Tony Guo, died in 2007 of leukemia. Also that year, Hsu Ching-wei accused Gou of having an affair during the 1990s. Gou married his second wife, choreographer Delia Tseng (曾馨瑩; Zēng Xīnyíng; born 1974) on 26 July 2008. Tseng and Gou have three children. Together, they have decided to give 90% of Gou's wealth away.
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