Taiwanese tycoon to pledge billions to charity

The head of Taiwan's leading hi-tech company has lodged his own bid for Bill Gates-style tycoon philanthropy by pledging to donate billions of dollars to charity, according to reports yesterday.

Terry Gou (郭台銘) , whose wealth is estimated at around NT$173 billion (USD $5.69 billion), made the promise at his engagement banquet sitting beside his bride-to-be, his 34-year-old dance teacher, the TVBS news channel reported.

Wedding invitation cards featured simple designs with Chairman Terry Guo’s handwritten blessings. Guo’s wedding ceremony proceeded in a prudent way, with no shark’s fin, abalone or lobster served at the banquet, set at the Grand Hyatt Taipei although many of Asia's luminaries showed up for the celebration.

His Hon Hai group's flagship company, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is the world's largest contract manufacturer in the electronics sector.

'Mr Gou made the decision to donate 90 per cent of his personal assets to charities in the future and his bride-to-be supports the decision without any hesitation,' lawmaker Wu Den-yih told TVBS without elaborating.

Mr Wu, also secretary-general of the ruling Kuomintang party, was a guest of honour at the banquet.

The 58-year-old Mr Gou, whose first wife died of cancer in 2005, will marry tomorrow. No one from Hon Hai was available for comment.

Mr Gou, who built up his empire from scratch, is ranked the third-richest man in Taiwan in 2008 with a net worth of US$6 billion according to the US magazine Forbes.

The Apple Daily estimates he has donated nearly NT$20 billion over recent years, including NT$270 million to China for relief work following the devastating Sichuan earthquake in May.

Hon Hai Precision Co Ltd makes a wide range of products - from cell phones to personal computers and consumer gadgets - for brandname companies such as Dell, Nokia and Sony. If the pledge is confirmed, Mr Gou will follow the likes of US software mogul Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, head of the Berkshire Hathaway holding company, who have pledged to donate most of their assets to charities. --   2008 July 25 AFP


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