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20 things you didn't know about the man who makes your iPhone: Foxconn CEO Terry Gou

Terry Gou

Foxconn is one of the world’s most notable manufacturing firms. Known for manufacturing components for the likes of Apple, Dell, Sony, IBM and Nokia, Foxconn has built a reputation in the industry for being an affordable, efficient and reliable supplier. In the past Foxconn’s reputation has been marred by employment concerns, namely suicides at its factory in China and its CEO Terry Gou has been criticized for his bullish approach to business, however there must be more to the man who has built a global empire from nothing.

Manufacturing Global takes a closer look at the ‘man who makes your iPhone’.

  1. Gou started the business with a $7,500 loan from his mother.
  2. His father was a mid-ranking police officer.
  3. Before starting Foxconn, Gou had three years of vocational training under his belt and had served in the military. He had also worked for two years as a shipping clerk, where he got first hand view of Taiwan’s booming export market.
  4. He opened his first global headquarters in 1974.
  5. The first product developed by Foxconn was a channel-changing knob for black-and-white televisions.
  6. Envisioning his future success, Gou spent many hours learning to write his name perfectly in English.
  7. Today, Terry Gou employs more than 920,000 employees across 20 plus factories.
  8. He once famously said that Warren Buffet was ‘too old’ to be doing business.
  9. Gou believes that business degrees are pointless. “You can’t read a book to learn to swim,” he said.
  10. Speaking about Apple founder Steve Jobs, Gou revealed he had to force him to hand over a business card.
  11. Foxconn is now the largest exporter out of China.
  12. Terry Gou is worth an estimated $5.9 billion and is the richest man in Taiwan.
  13. Gou built whole cities for his employees to work in. He even has chicken farms on site to lay eggs for the canteen.
  14. Terry Gou has his own charity called, YongLin Foundation.
  15. Gou is married to a dancer, 24 years his junior. At the wedding, Gou shed his tuxedo jacket and did 30 pushups to prove his virility.
  16. Gou takes a salary of just one Taiwanese dollar out of the business each year.
  17. He pays his executives bonuses out of his own pocket using dividends from the company.
  18. Gou does however expect his executives to meet 30 percent year-on-year increases and has a very forceful management style.
  19. Dell’s head of procurement in Asia once said of Gou, “He really is one of the top sales guys in the world.”
  20. Tim Cook, Apple CEO summed him up by saying, “He is a strong leader with a passion for excellence.” 

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