More than 600 companies have joined an open electric car development platform launched by Taiwanese manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which is seeking to diversify its product portfolio to enhance profitability.
So far, 635 companies have entered the MIH Open Platform, established by Hon Hai for the development of electric cars, and they will start supplying products via the platform by the end of April, Hon Hai Chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) said at an online year-end party for his company's employees Saturday.
In February 2020, Hon Hai, known as Foxconn in the global market, announced a joint venture with the Yulon Group, one of the leading carmakers in Taiwan, and they are scheduled to start rolling out electric cars in two years' time.
Under the joint venture -- Foxtron Vehicle Technologies Co. --, Hon Hai and Yulon subsidiary Hua-Chuang Automobile Information Technical Center Co. are focusing on automobile design and the MIH Open Platform, which provides hardware and software to other automakers for electric car development.
Hon Hai said it plans to build the platform into the "Android of the electric car industry," as part of its efforts to diversify and penetrate the global electric vehicle market.
According to Liu, Hon Hai has been pushing its "3 plus 3" initiatives to expand from solely manufacturing into hardware and software integration. The development of electric cars is central to that initiative, and the aim is to build a supply chain for the electric car industry, he said.
Hon Hai's 3 plus 3 initiatives refer to three emerging industries -- electric cars, robots and digital healthcare -- that are being developed through artificial intelligence, semiconductor and communications technologies.
Last month, Hon Hai teamed up with Chinese start-up Byton on the development of electric cars, and assigned experts to Byton's factory.
In January 2020, one month before it announced its partnership with Yulon, Hon Hai said it was planning to set up a 50-50 joint venture with Italian-American car maker Fiat Chrysler to produce electric cars and enter the Internet of Vehicles business.
Hon Hai has set a goal of gaining a 10 percent share of the global electric car market between 2025 and 2027.
Meanwhile, FIH Mobile Ltd., a Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of Hon Hai, reported US$175 million in net loss in 2020, sharply higher than its net loss of US$12.18 million the previous year, citing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
FIH Mobile currently manufactures products for non-Apple Inc. brands such as Xiaomi, OPPO, Huawei Technologies and Japan's Sharp, and has a broad production base in China.
As Hon Hai holds about a 62.8 percent stake in FIH Mobile, the unit's heavy losses are expected to hurt the parent company's bottom line to some extent, analysts said. (By Chung Jung-feng and Frances Huang)