By Christine Chou, The China Post

A subsidiary controlled by Terry Gou (郭台銘), founder and chairman of the world’s largest contract assembler of consumer electronics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. (鴻海), held a ground-breaking ceremony for a new Gen 10.5 8K display plant in the Chinese city of Guangzhou on Wednesday. The 61 billion yuan (NT$276.7 billion) industrial area construction is the largest industrial investment Guangzhou has seen, expected to produce 90,000 display screens per month when fully operational, bringing in an annual productional value of 92 billion yuan (NT$411.2 billion), according to Chinese media. The new Gen 10.5 fab seeks to boost capacity to meet increasing demands for ultra-high resolution displays and is scheduled to begin production in 2019. Behind the new factory construction is Japan’s Sakai Display Products Corporation (SDP), of which Gou’s investment company is the majority shareholder, and the Guangzhou City municipal government. SDP has experience operating the world’s only Gen 10 liquid crystal display (LCD) panel production line using 8K resolution technology. Flat-Panel Investments Surge Gou has high hopes for the 8K technology, which makes images sharper and more detailed. He said the global 8K technology market was expected to be worth US$5.15 trillion by 2020, adding that it fits well with mainland China’s economic strategies. “Investments in new flat-panel display (FPD) factories had been trending upwards for the past several years as Chinese panel makers continue to relentlessly build new FPD factories to make the country the largest FPD producing region in the world,” said Charles Annis, senior director at IHS Markit. “In fact, China will surpass long-dominant South Korea in capacity share by the second quarter of 2017.” According to IHS Markit, China will account for 65 percent of all FDP equipment spending between 2016 and 2018. Taiwanese Tech Giant Key Apple assembler Hon Hai and iPhone chip supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd. (TSMC, 台積電) are both strong drivers of economic growth for the island — the two companies combined account for nearly 15 percent of total company tax collected by the Taiwanese government last year, according to local media reports. High profile politicians across party lines have expressed support for Gou if the outspoken tech mogul were to run for president in 2020.

Rumors that Gou, a staunch opposition Kuomintang (KMT) supporter, has been considering a run for the presidency began building after a media report in November claimed he sought advice from senior staff on how to run his campaign. Gou declined to address the rumors of a presidential run, his only response to reporters last December being: “The economy is more important … because when the economy is booming, everything becomes possible.”