/ Staff writer, with CNA
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co （鴻海精密） yesterday dismissed concerns raised by international news media over the impact on its operations of chairman Terry Gou’s （郭台銘） announcement on Wednesday that he would seek the Chinese Nationalist Party’s （KMT） presidential nomination for next year’s election.
In a statement, Hon Hai, which is known internationally as Foxconn Technology Group （富士康科技集團）, said all of the subsidiaries under its corporate umbrella operate independently, and every unit is run by professional managers, indicating that Gou’s shift into politics would not affect day-to-day operations.
Among the foreign media that voiced concern over Hon Hai’s operations, the Nikkei Asian Review cited Joseph Fan （范博宏）, a professor in the Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Accountancy, as saying that Gou’s presidential bid could pose a risk to the company.
“Gou is a strongman. The biggest concern will be whether his gigantic tech empire can be set in driverless mode and still run smoothly during his absence,” the newspaper quoted Fan as saying.
“It remains a big question whether these senior Foxconn executives can cooperate with each other without a big boss, and there is no system to audit the decision-making processes,” Fan said.
Gou’s announcement has fueled a speculative frenzy in some of his company shares, Bloomberg reported yesterday.
Shares of Hon Hai, the second-largest stock in terms of market capitalization in Taiwan, extended its momentum yesterday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in Taipei.
Investors initially pushed up Hon Hai’s shares before they closed down 0.11 percent at NT$91.60, while the TAIEX closed down 0.32 percent at 10,962.02 points.
Foreign institutional investors on Wednesday had registered a net buy on the bourse for the 15th consecutive trading session. In the previous 15 trading sessions, the net buy hit 157.05 million shares, the Taiwan Stock Exchange said.
Shares in Gou’s smartphone assembler FIH Mobile Ltd （富智康） yesterday surged as much as 58 percent in Hong Kong before paring gains to close up 6.4 percent, while Internet-focused Foxconn Industrial Internet Co Ltd （富士康工業互連網） was the biggest contributor to gains on the Shanghai equities benchmark for a second day, adding about US$9.8 billion in value over that period.
Gou on said that he would be stepping away from daily operations to focus on broader strategy, although the company’s development would still be under his instructions.
He later added that Hon Hai would allow board members more power to run the company,
A source close to Hon Hai who asked not be named said that Gou would not retire any time soon, since he is building a succession plan for the company.
Under Hon Hai, there are 13 sub-business groups, including Japanese electronics giant Sharp Corp and Taiwanese flat panel maker Innolux Corp （群創）.
Hon Hai is integrating hardware production with software development capability, such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence, with its contract electronics operations set to expand beyond pure manufacturing.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou is pictured at a news conference in Taipei on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters