In this country of free enterprise, we all love a “rags to riches” story. We love to read about Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie, etc. It gives us a sense of hope and colorizes the romantic dance we share with our free will!
In many respects, the Terry Gou story emulates all of the winning persistence of an Olympian overcoming tremendous strife to conquer all obstacles and grab victory. Yet, there is also a taste of something awry in the recipe that makes the Foxconn story a bit salty for consumption.
Gou was born in 1950 in Taiwan to parents living in the crammed corner of a Taoist Temple. His father was a veteran of the Chinese Army, having fought in the ’45 War against Japan- he was understood to be a supporter of the Kuomintang Nationalists and certainly would have been a target of Mao’s army. So the only option left to the family was to flea the mainland and make their home on the island of Taiwan.
Note: Foxconn’s majority owner is a company known as Hon Hai, in China. For the purpose of simplicity, understand that due to the companies’ ownership, they are basically one in the same.
As the wealthiest man in Taiwan (net worth of 8.8 billion dollars) , the Foxconn CEO has never forgotten his family roots in Gewan, located in the province of Shanxi. He built the largest factory in Foxconn’s portfolio near Gewan. Many young people are now employed by Foxconn, as opposed to working in the mines like they would have in the past.
Whenever Gou returns to the area, he is treated like a king; complete with police escort and plenty of pomp and circumstance. All of this fortune certainly flies in the face of his “stated beliefs”.
One of Gou’s predominant notions is that “fame is bad” and he has regularly reasserted his disregard for fame as an “invitation for competition”.
Read parts 2-5 here!
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