Hon Hai chief visits White House; company sales hit November high - Focus Taiwan

Hon Hai chief visits White House; company sales hit November high

Terry Gou (郭台銘, right) and his wife
Terry Gou (郭台銘, right) and his wife

Washington, Dec. 5 (CNA) Terry Gou (郭台銘), founder of Taiwanese manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., visited the White House Thursday to attend a Christmas party and said he met with President Donald Trump and talked about Hon Hai's investments in the U.S.

In Taipei, Hon Hai, an iPhone assembler, released its latest sales report, saying that its revenue hit the highest November level, with market analysts attributing the growth to strong demand for the latest iPhones that went on global sales in September.

Speaking with reporters, Gou said he met with Trump at the White House and they talked about the U.S. economy and Washington-Beijing trade issues, as well as Hon Hai's huge investment in Wisconsin.

In addition, Gou also held discussions with White House high tech investment advisors for about two and a half hours.

While Gou declined to disclose further details about his meetings with Trump and White House investment advisers, he said he has faith that Hon Hai's investment project will proceed smoothly.

Hon Hai signed an agreement with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to build a flat screen manufacturing facility in the state in November 2017 and received a package of potential subsidies and tax breaks worth over US$3 billion, based on the promise of creating 13,000 jobs over six years.

Hon Hai's Wisconsin investment, which is focused on a sophisticated sixth-generation flat panel complex (Gen 6 Fab) to be built in the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park, is aimed at utilizing a 5G technology ecosystem as it rolls out next-generation 8K high-definition panels and facilitates artificial intelligence development.

Gou said that after meeting with Trump, he had a better understanding that the U.S. government has strong hopes that foreign companies, in particular in the high-tech sector, will increase their investments in the U.S. market and create more job openings.

Gou stepped down as Hon Hai chairman in June after changing his career pattern into politics by announcing a bid to join the opposition Kuomintang's (KMT) presidential primary. Gou, however, lost the primary to Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kou-yu (韓國瑜) in July.

In June 2018, Trump attended a groundbreaking ceremony for Hon Hai's Wisconsin complex, and described Gou as "one of the most successful businessmen in the world."

With Gou succeeded by Liu Young-way (劉揚偉), Hon Hai has continued to enjoy a healthy bottom line.

In the third quarter of this year, Hon Hai's net profit stood at NT$30.66 billion (US$1.01 billion), up 80 percent from NT$17.05 billion in the second quarter, on peak season effects. The third- quarter figure was also up 23 percent from a year earlier.

In its latest sales report released Thursday, Hon Hai said it posted NT$602.65 billion in consolidated sales, up 1.13 percent from a month earlier and also up 0.2 percent from a year earlier.

In addition to better-than-expected sales of the iPhone 11 series, Hon Hai has also benefited from an increase in orders for devices used in the emerging 5G technology, analysts said.

In the first 11 months of this year, Hon Hai's consolidated sales rose 2.63 percent from a year earlier to NT$4.8 trillion, also the highest level for the same period.

Analysts said a year-end buying spree in the U.S. and European markets is expected to help electronic device assemblers such as Hon Hai to generate good sales in the fourth quarter, with the expectation that the company's revenue for the three-month period will hit a new high.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh, Chung Jung-feng and Frances Huang)

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