Apple Contractor Opens Research Center For 5G, AI, Cybersecurity – Forbes

Apple Contractor Opens Research Center For 5G, AI, Cybersecurity  Forbes

iPhone assembler Foxconn Technology Group has set up its own research center to work on new technology including 5G telecommunications, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, a company spokesperson confirmed late Monday.

The move fits with the Taiwanese company’s long-term effort to diversify away from churning out electronics on contract for major developers, the mainstay of its business with total revenue of NT$5.33 trillion ($180.1 billion) last year. Among those electronics, smartphone shipments will total just 1.29 billion units this year worldwide, Taipei-based market research firm TrendForce forecasts, down 7.8% from 2019.

The assembler launched 46 years ago by billionaire Terry Gou makes iPhones and iPads at mega-factories in China. Other big-brand clients include Acer, Amazon, Intel, Huawei and Sony.

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Foxconn’s new research center, which opened in Taiwan earlier this month, will employ some 200 experts to work on technology intended for robots, healthcare and electric vehicles, the spokesman said. Another focus will be quantum computing, although Foxconn declined to disclose other details.

The tech giant is looking out three to seven years as part of a “digital upgrade” for its factories as pushed by CEO Young Liu, says Cliff Kung, senior industry analyst with the Taipei-based Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute.

“The establishment of this new R&D center is to help Foxconn increase technical and product competitiveness by moving away from labor-intensive and into brain-intensive,” Kung says. The research center, he says, helps “Foxconn diversify away from traditional work.”

Research into semiconductors should get attention in China among smartphone developers and other tech companies that are going all out for chips, says Mario Morales, a program vice president with tech market research firm IDC. Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision, is due to open a factory in the Chinese city of Qingdao.

The world artificial intelligence market will be worth $390.9 billion by 2025 on a 46.2% compound annual growth rate, market analysis firm Grand View Research forecasts. Cyber security worldwide reached a market value last year of $156.5 billion and it’s expected to grow at a 10% compound annual growth through 2027, the same research firm says.

Foxconn already forayed into medical devices this year with a deal to make ventilators for New York-traded Medtronic and increase supplies for hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic.