Taiwan mogul and Foxconn founder Terry Gou recently dropped a bombshell during a pre-election campaign in Taiwan, saying he will deploy an army of robotic soldiers to fight off PLA troops in the event of an attack on the island.
During a speech he delivered in Kaohsiung of southern Taiwan, Gou said if a war broke out with mainland China, he would send in 80,000 robots to fight against 80,000 “invading” PLA troops landing on the island of 23 million.
Gou is one of the handful of prominent public figures in Taiwan who openly oppose a PLA attack to bring this pro-independence island into China’s fold, despite their vast business interests on the mainland.
Now 73, the tycoon has been on a campaign trail, jostling for the nomination as the presidential candidate of the opposition Kuomintang, to compete in Taiwan’s general election scheduled for January next year.
Tensions between Taipei and Beijing have surged in the run-up to January’s election, with a few Taiwan leaders, especially Democratic Progressive Party leader and presidential hopeful William Lai, openly declaring Taiwan as a de facto independent state.
In response, the mainland has staged regular live-fire exercises near Taiwan and sent fighter jets close to the demarcation line of the Taiwan Strait to assert sovereignty over the renegade island.
To bolster his reputation and support in Kaohsiung and southern Taiwan, Gou said he planned to cultivate a robotic industry in the city in the next three years.
Thereafter, he will proceed to invest in robotics across the globe, Gou noted.
“Taiwan wants peace and is keen to avoid war with the mainland, but avoidance of war is not tantamount to surrender,” said Gou. “I want peace with dignity.”
Gou stepped down as chief executive of Foxconn in 2019 and launched his second bid last month for the presidential nomination of KMT.
Gou’s remarks have put him on a collision course with Beijing, which previously used him as an example to court other Taiwanese businessmen to invest on the mainland.
Just last week, Foxconn, Apple’s largest contractor, unveiled its new business headquarters in central China’s Zhengzhou, in a sign of heavier investment to come.
Notably, the new center will be committed to the R&D and manufacturing of robotics, in addition to EV and battery technologies.
It’s unclear what immediate implications Gou’s remarks will have on Foxconn’s operations on the mainland.