24. Terry Gou
bpoy terry gou

Founder and chairman, Hon Hai

The global electronics supply chain almost invariably passes through Hon Hai, the contract manufacturing company Gou founded in 1974 to make plastic switches for televisions. The firm, also known as Foxconn, now produces computers for Dell (DELL, Fortune 500), video consoles for Nintendo and Sony (SNE), handsets for Nokia (NOK) and Huawei, and of course, the iPhone and iPad for Apple. So indispensable is the manufacturer that in the wake of labor strikes and recruiting troubles at an iPhone factory, Apple agreed to subsidize 16% pay raises and overtime bonuses for Foxconn workers. (The complexity of the iPhone 5 assembly and new quality control standards have led to the shift of some iPhone production to Foxconn International Holdings, Hon Hai's struggling handset affiliate, which saw its stock surge 35% after the news hit earlier this month.)

Hon Hai also continued its push into the television market this year with a deal to produce large-screen high resolution panels for Sharp, a move that analysts say positions the manufacturer well for what could be the next blockbuster product -- Apple TV. --EF

- Last updated November 30 2012 05:12 PM ET
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