Foxconn turns sights to robots, electrics cars, wearables

The manufacturing giant, a major contractor for Apple, is trying to capture new opportunities

Foxconn's CEO Terry Gou displayed on a monitor at the company's annual shareholders' meeting.

Foxconn's CEO Terry Gou displayed on a monitor at the company's annual shareholders' meeting.

Expect more wearables, robots and even electric cars to come from manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group, as the Taiwanese company tries to reinvent itself as a broader technology service provider.

While Foxconn now mainly manufactures products for vendors like Apple and Sony, the company is hoping to seize on new opportunities emerging in the market. "When a typhoon comes, even a pig can fly," joked Foxconn's CEO Terry Gou at its annual shareholders' meeting on Wednesday.

Foxconn will move beyond product assembly, and invest in content creation cloud services, and networking technologies. In the case of wearables that can track a user's health, an entire ecosystem is needed to analyze and store the data, Gou said.

Some of these new directions are already producing results. Earlier this month, Japanese tech company Softbank unveiled Pepper, a personal robot that Foxconn helped develop. Pepper is designed to interact with humans, and can talk and even read people's emotions.

"I believe it will become a huge platform for human companionship," Gou said, adding that additional software services could be bundled with the robot.

In the electric car realm, Foxconn is already a partner with U.S.-based Tesla Motors, having built the touchscreen found inside the company's vehicles. But on Wednesday, Foxconn's CEO revealed that his company is developing its own electric cars, with a target price of less than US$15,000.

Gou declined to give further details, but said the company has many customers for its electric car batteries. In April, Foxconn announced it was working with China-based Beijing Automotive Group to develop new batteries for such vehicles.

Expanding into new manufacturing areas could help Foxconn diversify its revenue streams. The company makes about 40 to 50 percent of its sales from assembling Apple products, according to analysts. But rival manufacturers are competing to take those orders away from Foxconn, and offering lower production costs.

On Wednesday, Gou urged patience from the company's shareholders. "We need to put our money in long-term technology investments," he said. "Right now, making notebooks and other devices isn't worth it for us to manufacture."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Electronics manufacturingconsumer electronicsFoxconn Technology Groupenvironment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?