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Foxconn founder to make Taiwan presidential run

The billionaire founder of Foxconn says he wants to become the next president of Taiwan in order to strengthen ties with China and reinvigorate the manufacturing industry

The founder of tech and manufacturing giant Foxconn is set to run for president in Taiwan.

Terry Gou, the 72 year-old billionaire who started the company in 1974, said that as president he would pursue a stable relationship with the Chinese government and that Taiwan would "not be the next Ukraine."

In making the announcement at a special event livestreamed via Facebook, Gou was quoted as saying "Give me four years and I promise that I will bring 50 years of peace to the Taiwan Strait and build the deepest foundation for the mutual trust across the strait."

The announcement from Gou comes amidst a tense period in relations between Taiwan and mainland China, with some experts speculating Beijing could eventually plan to invade.

It is said that Gou's political party, KMT is particularly pro-China in many of its policies and positions. The party is currently part of the government minority, with DPP running the majority government.

"Under the rule of the DPP in the past seven years or so, internationally, they have led Taiwan towards the danger of war," Gou was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Gou would face an uphill battle in his bid ahead of the January presidential election. He is reportedly polling in the single-digits, well behind the leading candidates.

Since founding Foxconn in the 1970s, Gou helped his company become a giant in the technology and manufacturing sectors. This in turn has made Gou fabulously wealthy, with an estimated net worth of roughly $7bn.

Though Foxconn has operated under the public radar for much of its history, the company has been thrust into the spotlight over the last two decades thanks to its manufacturing deals with IT and consumer tech giants such as Apple and Samsung.

With that time in the limelight, however, there has also been sharp criticism of Foxconn. Critics have charged the company with creating an unsafe and unhealthy work environment in its factories, where a number of employee deaths and suicide attempts have been documented.

Foxconn was further given a black eye when its planned move into the US market went awry, thanks to a factory launch in the state of Wisconsin that failed to bring the jobs and economic windfall local politicians had promised.