Taiwan to meet PLA ‘invasion’ with robot army, says Foxconn founder

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.

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.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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