Hon Hai aims to take e-vehicle venture with Thai partner public

08/28/2021 06:01 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 28 (CNA) Taiwan-based manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which has moved aggressively into the electric vehicle market, is looking to take an EV joint venture with Thailand's state-owned oil supplier PTT Public Co. Ltd. public.

At an online forum -- The Future Energy Asia -- held Friday, Hon Hai Chairman Liu Young-way (劉揚偉) said his ambition was for the EV joint venture to become a benchmark for EV development in Thailand and for it to launch an initial public offering in 2025.

Liu said the partnership is expected to lead to a comprehensive EV ecosystem in Thailand.

At the end of May, Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn internationally, announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with PTT to enter the EV market in Thailand by setting up an open platform for producing EVs and key components for the EV sector there.

Under the MOU, the platform, featuring hardware and software services and to be built on Hon Hai's MIH Open Platform, will be available to all auto companies in Thailand looking to boost sales of EVs at home and in the ASEAN region, according to the two partners.

But neither side disclosed any financial terms for the partnership.

In Thailand, the government has a 30/30 EV plan in place that targets 30 percent of all production to be zero-emission vehicles by 2030, in a bid to produce 725,000 emission-free passenger cars by that year.

At the forum, Liu said the partnership with PTT will use a Build Operate and Localize (BOL) business model as part of Hon Hai's goal to forge multinational cooperation in EV development.

In recent years, Hon Hai, one of the most important suppliers to Apple Inc., has made electric vehicles a central component of its efforts to expand beyond its contract manufacturing business, under what it refers to as the "3 plus 3" initiative.

Specifically, the name refers to three emerging industries -- electric cars, robots and digital health care -- that are being developed through the application of artificial intelligence, semiconductor and communication technologies.

Liu said at the forum that the combined market size of the AI, semiconductor and communications markets should hit US$1.4 trillion in 2025.

In its latest EV initiative, Hon Hai revealed Tuesday that it will set up an US$80 million joint venture with multinational auto manufacturer Stellantis NV, with the deal expected to be signed as early as Oct. 31.

The 50-50 joint venture, to be named Mobile Drive, will provide smart cockpit solutions for vehicles and hopes to gain a foothold in the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) market by offering entertainment, communications and cloud technology-based applications.

Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, Fiat, Maserati, and Peugeot are among the brands under the Stellantis corporate umbrella.

The MIH Open Platform was initiated by Yulon Group subsidiary Hua-Chuang Automobile Information Technical Center Co, with which Hon Hai formed a joint venture called Foxtron Vehicle Technologies Co. to provide solutions to other automakers.

Hon Hai hopes to build the platform into the "Android of the electric car industry" as part of its efforts to enter the global electric vehicle market.

The MIH Consortium became operational in July after more than 1,800 companies jumped on the bandwagon, including American tech heavyweight Microsoft Corp., South Korea's automotive cybersecurity solution provider Autocrypt Co., South Africa-based electric car battery and self-driving startup Mazibuko Motor Co., and Taiwanese electric motor supplier TECO Electric & Machinery Co.

(By Chung Jung-feng and Frances Huang)

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