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Foxconn Billionaire Terry Gou Denies Ever Considering Solo Run to Lead Taiwan

Debby Wu and Iain Marlow

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Foxconn founder Terry Gou never considered an independent run for Taiwan’s presidency, a spokeswoman for the electronics tycoon said, after Gou lost the nomination to lead the island’s opposition party into January’s election.

Speculation that Gou will leave the Kuomintang to pursue leadership of Taiwan is a “fake issue,” his spokeswoman Amanda Liu said in a text message on Tuesday. Gou’s response comes one day after Han Kuo-yu, the firebrand mayor of the southern port city of Kaohsiung, overcame Gou and three other candidates in the party’s presidential primary.

Liu declined to elaborate further when asked if Gou still intended to seek Taiwan’s presidency in another capacity, leaving the door open to speculation that the tech tycoon -- who in June quit as chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Foxconn’s main listed arm -- would find another way to run in the election. A solo bid by Gou could have a significant impact on the outcome, likely siphoning votes from the KMT as it tries to unseat incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen.

Shares of Hon Hai climbed as much as 2.8% to their highest in about two months as investors expect Gou to focus more on the company.

Power Broker

The 68-year-old is a major power broker in the global electronics industry, with unusually strong ties to both the U.S. and China. He built Foxconn Technology Group from a maker of television knobs into a global powerhouse that is now Apple’s largest supplier and China’s largest private employer, with as many as 1 million mostly migrant workers assembling everything from iPhones to Dell desktop computers.

Earlier: China-Friendly Mayor Tops Foxconn’s Gou to Vie for Taiwan Leader

Gou also has ties to U.S. President Donald Trump, agreeing to build a 13,000-worker facility in the state of Wisconsin in exchange for more than $4.5 billion in government incentives.

Hailed by Trump as “one of the great deals ever,” the project has since been criticized for low-paying jobs and sudden dismissals. Foxconn says the plant is on track to begin producing LCDs next year.

--With assistance from Miaojung Lin and Adela Lin.

To contact the reporters on this story: Debby Wu in Taipei at dwu278@bloomberg.net;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Edwin Chan, Karen Leigh

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