Foxconn, the renowned assembler of the iPhone, is navigating an increasingly frosty US-China relationship, setting its sights on the electric vehicle (EV) sector and strategically shifting its supply chains.
In a private conversation with the BBC, Young Liu, the Chairman of the Taiwanese powerhouse, unveiled his company’s roadmap for the future.
Despite diversifying some supply chains from China, Liu emphasized that EVs are expected to be the powerhouse of Foxconn’s expansion in the forthcoming decades.
With escalating tensions between the US and China, Liu acknowledged the importance of being prepared for adverse scenarios.
“Although we desire peace and stability for the leadership of these two nations,” Liu, 67, stated at his office in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, “as a CEO, it’s my duty to consider the worst-case scenario.”
These could include Beijing’s attempts to impose a blockade on Taiwan, claimed as its territory, or even to launch an invasion on the island state.
Liu outlined that the company’s “business continuity planning” is already in action, with production lines, especially those associated with “national security products,” being relocated from China to Mexico and Vietnam. This probably pertains to servers built by Foxconn used in data centers, which might hold confidential data.
Originally established in 1974 as a TV knob producer, Foxconn, officially known as Hon Hai Technology Group, now stands as one of the globe’s leading technology enterprises, with an annual turnover of $200bn (£158.2bn).
While famous for manufacturing over half of Apple’s products, from iPhones to iMacs, the company also serves tech giants like Microsoft, Sony, Dell, and Amazon.
For years, the firm has succeeded in a globally adopted corporate strategy: designing products in the US, producing them in China, and selling them worldwide. This blueprint helped Foxconn grow from a minor parts manufacturer into a global consumer electronics behemoth.
Yet, as the link between Washington and Beijing turns sour, Foxconn finds itself trapped between the two largest global economies that have fueled its growth thus far.
The US and China are clashing over a range of issues, from trade to the war in Ukraine. However, a potential major flashpoint is Taiwan, Foxconn’s home base.