Foxconn Chief Inks Investment Deal With Populist Kaohsiung Mayor

(Bloomberg) -- Foxconn Technology Group Chairman Terry Gou and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu signed a memorandum of understanding for the company to further invest in the southern Taiwanese city.

Foxconn, whose listed arm Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. assembles the iPhone, will develop big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence in Kaohsiung, Gou said Sunday. The company will also buy 1,000 kilograms of agricultural products and seafood per year mainly from Kaohsiung for its employees.

"Mayor Han is very supportive in developing high-end technology," he said at a press conference in the city. Hon Hai already has a software campus in Kaohsiung with about 500 engineers, Gou said, without disclosing how much he will expand with the latest investment.

Han shot to prominence almost overnight after he soundly defeated the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate in the Kaohsiung mayoral race in late November. His plain, populist language promoted better China ties to boost the city’s economy. That’s in stark contrast to the pro-independence DPP’s stance.

While Han has not indicated interest to run in Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election, Kuomintang Chairman Wu Den-yih has said the party may pick the mayor to run against DPP President Tsai Ing-wen due to Han’s surging popularity. Gou, a billionaire who runs a massive manufacturing operation in China, has traditionally supported China-friendly KMT candidates in various elections.

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