Gou vows to prioritize increasing national birthrate as president

TAIPEI (CNA) — Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), who is vying to represent the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) in the 2020 presidential election, reiterated on Sunday that he will prioritize policies to boost the birthrate if he becomes president.

The population will record negative growth should the number of new born babies continue to decline, placing Taiwan in danger of “national extinction,” Gou said at a press conference for the launch of the H. Spectrum & Merck Innovation Lab in Taipei.

Gou pledged to boost the birth rate by shouldering the cost of bringing up children until the age of six if elected president next year, during the second televised platform presentation forum held by the KMT in Taichung on Saturday.

The business tycoon, whose net worth of US$7.7 billion makes him the richest man in Taiwan and 257th worldwide, said he will present details on his program to solve the population problem at the next platform presentation set to be held Wednesday in Taipei.

Gou said his idea is innovative and stressed that it is better for a nation to invest in the future and the younger generation than to spend tax money on wasteful infrastructure like exhibition halls and rarely used railway lines.

However, former New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), who is also a presidential aspirant seeking the KMT nomination, expressed doubt as to the feasibility of the idea Sunday.

He said it is impossible for the government to feed all children up to six years old with a current average tax rate of around 12 percent.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is seeking her re-election in 2020, said her government has extended support for toddlers in recent years when questioned by reporters Sunday about Gou’s political platform during a visit to a temple in Taitung County, eastern Taiwan.

The government “will continue to find financial means to reduce the burden of raising children,” Tsai said.

By Chen Wei-ting, Lu Tai-cheng and Emerson Lim