Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou on Friday stepped down from running the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer as he prepares to contest Taiwan’s presidential elections next year. The Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant said Liu Young-Way, the current boss of its chip unit, would replace Gou as chairman. The 68-year-old Foxconn founder was speaking at the company’s annual general meeting in Taipei, where a few hundred shareholders and supporters had braved the heat to watch a live broadcast on big screens. The move was widely expected. The Apple supplier, whose full name is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, unveiled a leadership overhaul last week with a nine-member operations committee in charge of daily operations. Gou, who announced his presidential bid in April, told Reuters that he planned to step down from Foxconn to pave the way for younger talent to move up the ranks. Gou is expected to retain a seat on the company’s new board, but Foxconn said last week – at its first investor relations conference – that the development of his presidential bid would affect his future role on the board. Foxconn denies rumours it will exit China amid trade war uncertainties Taiwan’s election follows a period of increasing tension between Beijing and Taipei, with Gou seeking to represent the China-friendly opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party. His election bid might be weighed down by his ties to a Chinese leadership that refuses to renounce the use of force to unify with self-ruled Taiwan, which it considers a wayward province, analysts have said. Gou, who founded Foxconn 45 years ago, is Taiwan’s richest person with a net worth of US$7.6 billion, according to Forbes. The billionaire founder on Friday asked Apple to move part of its sprawling production chain from China to neighboring Taiwan, Bloomberg News reported. “I am urging Apple to move to Taiwan,” said Gou, answering a question about whether Apple will shift production away from China. “I think it is very possible,” he said without elaborating. Gou’s departure comes at an uncertain time for Foxconn, which has a big roster of US clients who have fallen foul of a long-running trade war between Beijing and Washington. US President Donald Trump has threatened to slap further tariffs on US$300 billion worth of goods from China, where the bulk of Apple’s devices are assembled. The country is also a key market for the firm. Investors are keen to know whether Foxconn will adjust its production line for Apple and others. Nikkei Asian Review reported that Apple has asked its main suppliers to assess the cost implications of moving part of their production capacity from China to Southeast Asia. Foxconn said last week it had enough capacity outside China to meet Apple’s demand in the American market if the need should arise for the iPhone maker to adjust its production lines due to the US-China trade war.