In an article posted on Facebook on Tuesday, Shen suggested that “Time has made the man” and that Gou had a chance in the age of strongmen.
“The days of Angela Merkel, Park Geun-hye and Hillary Clinton are gone,” Shen said in the post. “The next four years will be dominated by three men: Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Donald Trump.”
“Many are beginning to ponder on the 2020 (R.O.C.) presidential election and they are all thinking of the same person,” Shen said, referring to Gou.
Gou, chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. — the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer — has never run for political office. He has been outspoken on sociopolitical issues and has given high-profile endorsement to politicians, mainly of the pan-blue Kuomintang. Gou has not commented on recent reports of a possible 2020 bid.
Shen said in the post that he had asked 15 friends across the political spectrum on the possibility of Gou as a presidential candidate and none expressed objection to the idea.
“Naturally the deep greens have some reservations,” he said.
Shen’s comment came days after commentator and former news anchor Lee Yen-chiou suggested the same on her Facebook and after local media outlets ran stories describing Gou as a potential “Donald Trump of Taiwan.”
Lee likened Trump to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and Gou. Ko and Trump share the arrogant and outspoken personalities that have become refreshing in comparison to the pretensions of the political elites, Lee suggested. She pointed out that Trump and Gou shared qualities such as “wealth, capabilities, guts and chivalrous spirit.”
Lee pointed out that none of politicians in the pan-blue camp currently on the table could prevent the reelection of President Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP in 2020.
“As there is no successful politician (in the pan-blue camp), why don’t we pick a successful entrepreneur?” she said.
The two commentators’ posts on the social media were greeted with hundreds of responses. Some have agreed with Shen’s view of Gou as a “xiao xiong” (梟雄, an ambitious, formidable and ruthless man) who could bring Taiwan out of political gridlock.
Others said Gou did not have Trump’s popular appeal.
While some commenters in Lee’s post suggested that a Gou candidacy would worry President Tsai, others questioned Gou’s strength as a politician, pointing out that the candidates he openly supported in the previous two elections had all lost.