the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, which is best
known as a key supplier for the Apple iPhone, is making a push into
industrial technology — such as automating other manufacturers’
processes — as the global smartphone market slows.
Speaking on Wednesday at a celebration to mark the Taiwanese company’s
30th anniversary of doing business in China, Foxconn’s founder and
chairmanTerry Gou said: “Now we need to use the power of AI?，big
data?.?.?to push smart manufacturing with all our strength.”
Foxconn, also called Hon Hai Precision Industry, is best known for
producing the majority of Apple’s iPhones. But it is trying to diversify
from its traditional smartphone business and reduce its reliance on
Apple. Last year, global smartphone sales fell and its profits took a
hit from delays in the manufacturing of the iPhone X.
鸿海精密(Hon Hai Precision
Over the past two years, Foxconn has started producing everything from
Sharp’s LCD screens, after acquiring the Japanese electronics group for
$3.5billion, to internet-connected dockless bicycles for Mobike, and
even semiconductors, launching a failed $19.5billion bid for Toshiba’s
memory chip business.
Wednesday’s event focused on the company’s Foxconn Industrial Internet
subsidiary. The unit, which provides industrial robots and cloud
computing services to businesses, is hoping to launch the biggest IPO in
mainland China for three years, aiming to raise roughly Rmb27 billion ($4.2billion)
FII generated $56billion in revenues last year, compared with $48billion
at US internet hardware producer Cisco. Market research firm IDC expects
Chinese manufacturers’ spending on “internet of things” products, such
as sensors and robots, to reach $128billion by 2020, growing at an
average rate of 14.7 per cent a year from 2016 to 2020.