Taipei, March 22 (CNA) Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Technology, which has often been referred to as China's Apple Inc., might emerge as one of Foxconn International Holdings' top five clients this year, industry sources said Friday.
The forecast was made amid Chinese media reports that Terry Gou, chairman of Taiwan's Hon Hai Group, which owns China-based Foxconn -- the world's largest electronics manufacturing service provider -- met with Xiaomi's founder and chairman, Lei Jun, in Beijing Thursday.
The reports said that the Gou-Lei meeting focused on Xiaomi's smartphone business prospects.
As in the past, Hon Hai declined to comment on such reports.
A mobile phone industry source familiar with the group's development plans said Foxconn will expand cooperation with Xiaomi this year.
According to the source, Foxconn, which assembles Apple's iconic iPhones and iPads, began providing manufacturing services for Xiaomi in the second half of last year.
With its rapidly growing fan base, the source said, Xiaomi could very likely become one of Foxconn's top five customers this year.
Founded in 2010, Xiaomi has managed to evoke Apple-like adoration for its moderately priced high-end smartphones by mimicking the American firm's marketing strategy of attaching an aura of exclusivity around its devices.
Local smartphone industry sources said that in the face of changing global mobile phone market trends, Foxconn has been gradually adjusting its business strategy since the third quarter of 2012.
The list of Foxconn's top five customers might resultantly change significantly this year, the sources forecast, adding that Japanese smartphone brands might also emerge as Foxconn's top patrons.
With China's smartphone makers actively building their own brands and making forays into the consumer electronics market, the sources said, Foxconn will continue offering them components and parts and provide manufacturing and assembling services.
Against this backdrop, the sources said, certain Chinese smartphone brands are likely to rank among Foxconn's top five customers in the coming year.
Foxconn said earlier this week that it will continue to invest heavily in research and development in order to offer more value-added services to its customers.
In addition to improving services for its existing clients, the company said it will also do its utmost to expand its clientele.
(By Jalen Chung and Sofia Wu)