Taiwan’s ruling party defeated in local vote; Foxconn, former leader of tech billionaire Terry Gou, elected mayor of Chip-Hub

Ann Kao, former executive of Taiwanese billionaire Terry Gou’s flagship electronics company, was elected mayor of the global chipmaking hub Hsinchu as voters inflicted a major setback on the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in local elections Saturday.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who in 2021 ranked No. 9 on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful women, resigned as DPP chairwoman on Saturday after China’s main nationalist opposition party , or Kuomintang (KMT), won key local races.

The DPP won only five mayor or county magistrate seats, down from the previous seven. The main opposition party, the Chinese National Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), won 13 of the 21 races.

Military tension between Taipei and Beijing erupted in August after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan and met with Tsai. Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan, a self-governing democracy of 24 million that is the 22n/a greater economy. Polls show that residents are in favor of maintaining the status quo. Tsai’s party has been trying to drum up support based on recent threats from Beijing, but voters on Saturday focused mostly on local issues, including the pandemic response, political analysts said. Tsai is in his second four-year term and cannot run for re-election in the next presidential election in 2024.

Kao, also known as Kao Hung-an and who at 38 will be Taiwan’s youngest mayor, won her race in Hsinchu with 98,121 votes, or 45% of the total, against her DPP rival Shen Hui-hung, who had 35.7 percent, Taiwan media reported. She emphasized her tech background and represented a party founded in 2019, the Taiwan People’s Party, or TPP, whose founder Ko Wen-je has “an alliance” with billionaire Gou, Central News reported. Agency. Gou is the founder of Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision, one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers; he is now worth $6.1 billion on Forbes’ real-time billionaires list. Hon Hai Precision is better known by its trade name Foxconn.

Following expectations in 2019 that Gou himself would seek the presidency in the 2020 race, the mogul released a statement just before the filing deadline indicating that he would not run.

Kao began her political career in 2019 as Gou’s aide in the KMT presidential primary, before being placed “top” on the TPP general legislator’s candidate list “on Gou’s recommendation” for the 2020 legislative elections, CNA reported. Previously, Kao worked at the government-funded Institute for Information Industry (III) before becoming the head of the “Big Data Office” in Hon Hai in 2018. “Kao also emphasized his close connection with Gou” during the campaign, although The Billionaire never publicly endorsed it, the news agency said.

Hsinchu has a population of over 450,000 and is home to major Taiwanese semiconductor companies including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, or TSMC, GlobalWafers and United Microelectronics.

Kao triumphed despite allegations of wrongdoing. “Saturday’s election result showed that legal action against Kao by the III and an ongoing investigation into allegations that she misappropriated public funds as a lawmaker had not eroded her support,” CNA reported.

Hon Hai de Gou, one of Apple’s main iPhone suppliers, made headlines this week following violent protests at one of its largest manufacturing plants in China. (See related story here.)

Voters in Taipei, Taiwan’s commercial and political hub, elected the KMT’s Wayne Chiang Wan-an, the 43-year-old great-grandson of Taiwan’s martial law leader Chiang Kai-shek, as mayor. Defeated DPP Taipei mayoral candidate Chen Shi-chung, a former health minister, earned a high public approval rating two years ago as “Dr. Fauci” from Taiwan, but lost the race as his popularity waned and the public lost patience with government Covid policies.

Although Taiwan and the mainland differ on many counts, frustration over the Covid disruptions – soon to enter their fourth year – is one area where public opinion on both sides appears to be aligned.

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