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The Man Who Made Your iPhone Needs to Run Taiwan. A Sea Goddess Backs Him, He Says.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The billionaire Terry Gou, whose firm is finest identified for manufacturing iPhones, introduced Wednesday he would run for Taiwan’s presidency, saying his bid had acquired a divine blessing — from a Chinese language sea goddess.Mr. Gou’s entrance into the presidential race shakes up Taiwan’s political enjoying discipline and attracts into sharp focus the self-ruled island democracy’s strained relations with China, the place his client electronics big, Foxconn, has giant investments.Earlier within the day, Mr. Gou donned a baseball cap and sun shades and visited a temple in Taipei devoted to a well-liked Taoist and Buddhist goddess, Mazu, who’s believed to guard seafarers. Mr. Gou advised reporters the deity had approached him in a dream, entreating him to run for president as a way to enhance the financial system and relations with China.“Mazu stated I have to deal with the youth,” he advised reporters after burning incense. “I have to do every thing I can to assist those that are struggling.”Mr. Gou isn’t struggling.He based Foxconn, formally generally known as Honhai Precision Trade Firm, in 1974, and led its progress into one of many world’s largest companies, with a couple of million workers. Not like his rivals, he has no expertise in authorities, however his private wealth, estimated by Forbes to exceed $7 billion, can be an asset, each when it comes to status and financing his marketing campaign.Taiwan’s sluggish progress and tough job marketplace for younger individuals and the working class are anticipated to be main points within the race.But additionally figuring largely are ties between China and Taiwan, which have been strained since Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Occasion, took workplace in 2016. Mr. Gou would search the nomination of the opposition occasion, the China-friendly Kuomintang.Mr. Gou has lengthy toyed with the thought of a presidential run, however Taiwanese information stories say he grew to become critical about operating within the upcoming election after a fellow businessman, Donald Trump, received the American presidential election in 2016.In 2017, Mr. Gou was feted by Mr. Trump on the White Home after his firm, Foxconn, introduced a multi-billion-dollar funding in Wisconsin. Mr. Trump praised his enterprise acumen, calling him “one of many nice businessmen of our time,” and their private relationship is prone to profit Mr. Gou’s marketing campaign.Though wages have grown up to now three years beneath Ms. Tsai’s administration, the financial system is anticipated to be a significant component on this 12 months’s primaries and January’s normal election.Austin Wang, an assistant professor of political science on the College of Nevada, Las Vegas, who research Taiwan, stated that Mr. Gou’s enterprise background will set him other than candidates in each the events.“Clearly he has constructed a profitable enterprise,” Mr. Wang stated of Mr. Gou. “That is a bonus that not one of the different candidates have.”Along with making a number of visits to the Trump White Home, Mr. Gou additionally has direct entry to the highest management in China, Taiwan’s largest buying and selling accomplice. Simply days after Mr. Trump lavished reward on him in Washington, Mr. Gou confirmed China’s premier, Li Keqiang, round a Foxconn manufacturing facility within the central Chinese language metropolis of Zhengzhou.On condition that neither the US nor China have official relations with Taiwan, entry to prime leaders in Washington and Beijing is one thing that not one of the different candidates within the Kuomintang major can boast about. Mr. Gou joins a major discipline that features Wang Jin-pyng, the previous president of Taiwan’s legislature, and Eric Chu, who misplaced to Ms. Tsai within the 2016 election.Observers say Han Kuo-yu, the populist mayor of the southern port metropolis of Kaohsiung who has been on the middle of Taiwan’s political dialogue for the previous half a 12 months, may additionally run. Different potential Kuomintang candidates embody the occasion’s chairman. The occasion’s major is in June.Regardless who emerges because the Kuomintang candidate, the race guarantees to focus closely on Taiwan’s tough relationship with China. China considers Taiwan to be a part of its territory and has stepped up stress on President Tsai’s administration by rising its navy actions close to Taiwanese waters and airspace and poaching its diplomatic allies.President Tsai is going through a major problem inside her occasion from her former premier, William Lai, who’s an outspoken supporter of independence for Taiwan, in distinction to Ms. Tsai’s pragmatic strategy.Mr. Guo’s speech on the temple Wednesday was delivered within the Taiwanese language, a nod to Taiwan’s distinctive identification. But his option to cite Mazu, a deity hailing from throughout the Taiwan Strait within the Chinese language province of Fujian, additionally carried significance.When Mazu spoke to him in his dream, he stated, she advised him, “You will need to protect cross-strait peace.”