Terry Tai-Ming Gou, sometimes written as Terry Guo, is a Taiwanese tycoon who leads Hon Hai Precision, a company that manufactures electronics on contract for other companies. It is now the largest such electronics manufacturing services company in the world, with factories in several countries, mostly in Mainland China, where it employs 800,000 people and is its largest exporter.
Gou's parents lived in mainland China's Shanxi Province before they fled to Taiwan in 1949, where Gou was born. Gou has two younger brothers, Tai-Chiang Gou and Tai-Cheng Gou; both of them later become successful businessmen as well.
Gou founded Hon Hai in Taiwan in 1974 with $7500 in startup money and ten workers, making plastic parts for television sets in a rented shed in Tucheng, a suburb of Taipei. A turning point came in 1980 when he received an order from Atari to make connectors to the console joystick. He further expanded his business in the 80s by embarking on a 11 month trip across the US in search of customers. As an aggressive salesman, Gou dropped in unannounced on companies and was able to get additional orders.
In 1988 he opened his first factory in Mainland China, in Shenzhen, where his largest factory remains today. Operations in China took on a giant dimension when Gou vertically integrated the assembly process and facilities for workers. The manufacturing site became a campus that included housing, dining, and medical care for the workers, and even chicken farming to replenish the cafeteria.
In 1996, Hon Hai started building chassis for Compaq desktops. From this turning point, he gained other customers for building the bare bones chassis including HP, IBM, and Apple, and would go on to grow into a consumer electronics giant within years.
He now owns 30% of the public company and was ranked 179th on Forbes magazine's 2011 list of the world's richest people, with a net worth of US$5.7 billion.
Gou drew controversy when comments he made during a board meeting about employees were translated into English as "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache." Through Foxconn, Gou would protest that the translation was poor and took his comments out of context.