Taipei, Jan. 14 (CNA) Taiwan-based manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. now uses 100,000 robots in its production bases in China as part of its efforts to step into the smart production era, according to company chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘).
Speaking last week at an economic forum organized by Wang Shi (王石), chairman of conglomerate China Vanke Co., Gou said Hon Hai started to develop robots in Shenzhen more than 10 years ago, and those efforts are now helping the company reinvent itself.
Hon Hai, the world's largest contract electronics maker known as Foxconn internationally, is pushing smart manufacturing and is intent on creating an industrial internet platform to transform the group from a hardware producer into a technology services provider, Gou said.
With 100,000 robots running in Foxconn's unmanned factories, Gou said, the company is able to adapt to the fast changing global market and give itself the chance to grow further.
In June 2018, Foxconn Industrial Internet Co. Ltd. (FII), an internet-based subsidiary of Hon Hai, launched an initial public offering (IPO) in Shanghai. After the IPO, Hon Hai retained an 84.8 percent stake in FII.
Analysts said Hon Hai is determined to use the subsidiary as vehicle for its business restructuring by integrating hardware production with software development capability.
The company wants to merge clouding computing, internet of things, big data and artificial intelligence capabilities with its contract electronics operations to expand beyond manufacturing, they said.
At the forum, Gou said Hon Hai has been operating in China for about 30 years, and it has hired 15.35 million people over those three decades.
He recalled when Hon Hai, which assembles iPhones for Apple Inc., rolled out the first iPhone in its Shenzhen production base in 2005, and said iPhones have been able to reach a quality high enough to even satisfy Apple's picky co-founder, the late Steve Jobs, because of the Shenzhen complex's good management and excellent workforce.
According to Gou, about 99 percent of Hon Hai's products in China were sold overseas from 1988-2018, when the company's exports from China totaled US$1.0157 trillion.
Gou said Hon Hai will continue to integrate physical production with the digital economy to pave the path for another 30 years of development.