Indonesia courts Hon Hai, Gogoro EV investment

10/23/2021 09:12 PM
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Hon Hai launches three EV models in Taipei on Oct. 18. CNA file photo
Hon Hai launches three EV models in Taipei on Oct. 18. CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and Gogoro Inc. have been invited to develop Indonesia's electric vehicle (EV) industry following talks with Jakarta's minister of investment Friday.

Indonesian Minister of Investment Bahlil Lahadalia held initial discussions with the two firms on EV and battery development during a joint meeting with Hon Hai Chairman Liu Young-way (劉揚偉) and Gogoro's chief executive and founder Horace Luke (陸學森) in Taipei, according to a statement released by Hon Hai Saturday.

Gogoro is an established EV player thanks to its popular battery-swap scooters and aftermarket drivetrains, while iPhone assembler Hon Hai, known as Foxconn international, has made a number of high-profile recent moves in the sector.

This has included the Model C sports utility vehicle, a prototype of which was unveiled on Oct. 18.

Alongside the Model E passenger car and the Model T electric bus, the Model C is one of three EVs being developed by Foxtron Vehicle Technologies Co., a joint venture between Hon Hai and Taiwanese carmaker Yulon Group.

Bahlil was given a gift in the shape of the Model C during his visit, and, according to Hon Hai, the minister promised incentives to support future EV development in Indonesia.

Hon Hai said the minister had expressed high hopes that investment and the company's strength in the sector could be used to upgrade Indonesia's industrial capacity.

Bahlil conveyed a message from Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who said that investment from the world's largest contract electronics maker carried a lot of weight, according to Hon Hai.

As part of its efforts to penetrate the global EV market, Hon Hai has been pushing Foxtron's MIH Open Platform for EV development.

Foxtron's stated ambition is for the platform to become the "Android of the electric car industry."

A total of 1,977 companies are already signed up, including automotive parts manufacturers Bosch and Continental AG, and tech giants Microsoft and Oracle Co.

Beyond the Foxtron-developed platform, Hon Hai has bolstered its push into the EV sector with several other gambits this year.

Mid-September brought the announcement of US$1-2 billion funding for an EV joint venture with state-owned oil supplier PTT Public Co. in Thailand targeted at the Southeast Asian market.

This followed on from a deal inked in February between Hon Hai and U.S. EV maker Fisker Inc. to develop and bring into mass production a Fisker-branded EV by the fourth quarter of 2023.

An agreement was also reached in June between Hon Hai and Gogoro to develop a global EV battery-exchange system.

Its flurry of investments in the EV sector is thought to be part of Hon Hai's wider "3 plus 3" initiative, designed to diversify its product mix and boost profit margins.

The "3 plus 3" initiative refers to three emerging industries -- EVs, robotics and digital health care -- that are being developed through the application of artificial intelligence, semiconductor and communication technologies.

Given Hon Hai's stated ambitions, development of EVs and the building of an EV supply chain will likely prove central.

(By Han Ting-ting and Frances Huang)

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