April 17 (UPI) — Taiwan’s wealthiest man said he will run for the country’s highest office, ahead of elections scheduled to take place in January 2020.
Terry Gou, founder of electronics manufacturer Foxconn, a company with close to 1 million employees, visited the party headquarters of the opposition Kuomintang or Nationalist Party to receive an honorary party member certificate, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported Wednesday.
Gou has been dubbed “Taiwan’s Trump” because of his background as a business tycoon, according to local media. On Wednesday he was seen wearing a blue baseball cap bearing a Taiwanese flag on the front, a move that is drawing parallels between his choice of attire and U.S. President Donald Trump‘s bright red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.
The electronics billionaire is also raising eyebrows with unusual rhetoric about a traditional Chinese deity.
While visiting Taiwan’s Taoist temples, Gou said a sea goddess, worshiped in southern China, inspired him to run for president in order to “work for the youth of Taiwan.”
“Three days ago, Mazu came to me in a dream,” he said in a local dialect, according to the BBC. “Mazu doesn’t want Taiwanese society to be so difficult. Mazu told me to come out and do something.”
Gou, who works closely with U.S.-based Apple, also said he is “Mazu’s godson.”
“I will definitely follow Mazu’s instructions,” Gou said.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s approval ratings have fallen in recent months, and tensions with China have escalated as Tsai has taken a stronger stand against Chinese military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait.
Gou could take a more friendly approach to ties with Beijing, according to the BBC.
His rivals are all veteran politicians, and include Han Kuo-yu, the outspoken mayor of Kaohsiung who has pledged to pursue a more mainland-friendly policy.