Who is Terry Gou?
Terry Gou is a Taiwanese business giant who founded the company Foxconn. He is popularly known as the ‘Donald Trump of Taiwan’, due to his striking similarities with the current US President—both have immense wealth, influential business empires, are married more than once, and have young wives. Gou is the founder and chairman of Hon Hai (later known as Foxconn), a Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturing company. Initially starting off as a manufacturer of plastic parts of television in 1974, Foxconn today has become the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer with high-profile companies such as Apple, IBM, Compaq, Ninetendo, Wii U, Nokia, Playstation 3 and XboxOne as its customers. Foxconn operates assembling factories in mainland China to make Apple’s signature products, including iPhone and iPad. What’s more, it is the largest employer in China, with more than 1.2 million people either working for it directly or indirectly as exporters of its products. Terry Gou’s life is inspirational owing to the fact that without having any godfather in the field of business, he showed to the world that hard work and dedication is what one needs to zoom up in life. With a net worth of $10.6 billion, Gou is the third richest person in Taiwan and the first in terms of popularity surpassing even the current Taiwanese president. His influential personality in the Taiwan Strait has made him unarguably the most powerful man in Taiwan's business community.
Childhood & Early Life
Terry Gou was born on October 8, 1950 in Banqiao, Taipei County, Taiwan. His father was a career police officer. His parents had lived in mainland China’s Shanxi Province until 1949 when they fled to Taiwan.
He was the first-born son of the couple. He had two younger brothers, Tai-Chiang Gou and Tony Gou both of whom became successful businessmen as well.
Gou received his formal education from an elementary school post which he attended college.
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Upon graduating from college, Terry Gou started working in a rubber factory. His early days also included stints working at a grinding wheel and a medicine plant. Working odd jobs continued until he turned 24.
In 1974, Gou founded his own company Hon Hai. With as little as just $7500 and a staff of ten elderly workers, he started the business of manufacturing plastic parts of television sets in a rented shed in Tucheng, a suburb of Taipei.
The initial breakthrough in Gou’s career came when he received an order to make console joystick from Atari in 1980. Not only did it give his business a new prospect but it also helped him in achieving economic prosperity.
With a vision to further expand his career, Gou went on an 11-month trip to the US, looking for customers. Blessed with aggressive sales skills, he contacted many companies despite being uninvited and managed to get additional orders.
In 1988, Gou set up his first factory in mainland China in Shenzhen. Till date, the factory remains the largest one amongst the many that he has. Expansion took a colossal size when he started vertically integrating the assembly process. The campus site where his factory was located turned into a single-place solution for Gou with all facilities streamlined within it – housing, hospital, dinning, chicken farming, and even burial ground.
In 1996, Gou’s company, Hon Hai started building chassis for Compaq desktops. It turned out to be a highly profitable venture for Gou. Very soon Gou started building bare bones chassis for other high-profile customers including HP and IBM. When Gou inked a deal with Apple Inc, it marked the beginning of an era of unprecedented growth and profitability for his company.
Hon Hai, which was soon re-christened with a trade name Foxconn, became a giant in consumer electronics production. With a clientele comprising top brands under its belt, it rose phenomenally, becoming the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer.
In 2012, Foxconn acquired a 10 percent stake in the Japanese electronics company Sharp Corporation, for US $806 million, and purchased up to 50 percent of the LCDs produced at Sharp's plant in Sakai, Japan. Four years later, Foxcomm bought the company, making it the first foreign takeover of a major Japanese electronics company. Foxconn also acquired Nokia mobiles in 2016.
Gou’s company, though known globally as a manufacturing giant, has acquired a bad reputation due to the spate of suicides committed by Foxconn workers. At least 14 workers killed themselves in 2010 due to poor working conditions in the Foxconn factories.
Terry Gou’s career touched great heights after his company started building chassis for Compaq desktops in 1996. This served as the biggest breakthrough for Foxconn as the company went on to become the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer.
As per company reports in 2015, Foxconn generated a revenue of $136.12 billion, making it the fourth-largest information technology company by revenue. Gou’s net worth which was worth $5.6 billion in 2016 rose dramatically to $10.6 billion in 2017, as per a report by Forbes. Foxconn also holds the position of the largest private employer in China and one of the largest employers worldwide.
Terry Gou’s first wife was Serena Lin. The couple welcomed two children, a son and a daughter. While Gou’s son works in the film and real estate industries, his daughter who worked in the financial sector took up leadership of her mother's charity after the latter’s death in 2005.
In 2007, Gou’s youngest brother, Tony Gou died of leukaemia. The following year, he married his second wife, choreographer Delia Tseng on July 26. Tseng and Gou have three children. Together, they have decided to give 90% of Gou's wealth away.
Gou has been involved in a lot of charitable works. He has funded non government organizations and charitable institutions.