As you might imagine, becoming the dominant player in electronics component manufacturing in China -- particularly at a time when competition has never been fiercer -- takes a particular personality type, and after reading BusinessWeek
's profile of Foxconn
founder Terry Gou, you get a very real sense that the dude meets the criteria. His reaction to this year's factory suicide controversy is a bit unusual; he basically comes out and says that he didn't worry about the first few before realizing that he needed to make some changes somewhere around the fifth death, but given that he says he's been living in his office for a while now and eating three meals at his desk trying to make things right, it sounds like he's finally on top of it.
The story of Foxconn's stratospheric rise is an interesting one, starting with its early coup making components for the Atari 2600 leading through to its purchase of 1,000 Fanuc milling robots generally reserved for prototyping -- valued at $20,000 apiece -- that it needed to buy to secure Apple's iPhone 4 contract. Gou envisions a fully-automated (and presumably almost employee-free) component factory inside of five years, has qualms about expanding his manufacturing presence in America ("I don't want to spend time having people sue me every day"), and pays executive bonuses out of his own dividends to protect the company's bottom line... so yeah, he's quite the industrialist. Follow the link for the fascinating full profile.