June 25, 2024

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Foxconn sends satellites to space in diversification effort

2 min read

The world’s biggest producer of iPhones is going to outer space.

Two prototype low-Earth orbit satellites made by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn, took off aboard a SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in southern California on Saturday.

The launch of the LEO satellites marks a key moment for the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer as it diversifies into new sectors, a shift that is taking greater urgency as some of its established businesses such as smartphones and laptops struggle. Foxconn is aiming to demonstrate that it has satellite technology to tap growing demand for communications from space.

While Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has made and launched more than 5,000 LEO satellites for its Starlink constellation, Foxconn is betting it will be able to make satellites primarily for corporate and government clients.

The satellites, co-developed with Taiwan’s National Central University, are the size of a backpack, weigh about 9 kilograms (20 pounds) each and carry cameras, communication devices and other equipment. They are designed to orbit Earth every 96 minutes at an altitude of 520 kilometers (323 miles).

New Growth

Since taking over from founder Terry Gou in 2019, Foxconn Chairman Young Liu has looked for ways to diversify — focusing on electric vehicles, digital health and robotics, as well as technologies for artificial intelligence, semiconductors and communications satellites.

“I needed to find some something so that the company is able to grow for the next 10, 15 years,” Liu said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.

Revenue at Foxconn, the world’s third-largest private employer after Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., is expected to drop about 6% this year to NT$6.2 trillion ($192 billion), according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg News.

Order Book

While Apple Inc. needs millions of iPhones a quarter and frequently updates…

Jane Lanhee Lee, Bruce Einhorn, Bloomberg

2023-11-12 10:35:28

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