Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.
Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn is setting out on a large-scale recruitment drive as the next-generation iPhone is starting to be produced in its factories, according to a China Business News report.
The report cites company insiders as saying that Foxconn is hiring for its Integrated Digital Product Business Group to manufacture a new phone, without a cap on the number of workers. One of the sources said that Foxconn’s plant in central China’s Henan province currently has about 200,000 workers — some way away from the 300,000 workers last year during peak production season — which might explain the company’s massive recruitment drive now.
According to the report, despite Apple outsourcing part of its iPhone and iPad production to another Taiwanese manufacturer Pegatron, Foxconn still managed to produce 32.16 million iPhones in January-May this year — up 46.7 percent year-on-year. In May alone, the number of iPhones manufactured stood at 7.86 million.
However, the report noted that Foxconn has definitely been affected by Apple diversifying its supply chain as it seeks to create more balance. Compared with the same time last year, Foxconn’s workforce has now declined by about one-third. On the other hand, Pegatron has said it would increase the number of its employees by 30-40 percent in the second half of this year. Its current workforce numbers about 100,000.
Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer by revenue, and has taken on most major electronics brands as its clients. It is most widely known as Apple’s largest supplier. However, Foxconn has seen its revenue growth slowing amid a faster-than-expected decline in iPhone orders.
The Taiwanese manufacturer has been taking steps to reduce its reliance on Apple. The China Business News article noted that there have been reports mentioning the possibility of Foxconn working with Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi to produce tablets. Foxconn is reportedly already working with Xiaomi to produce its phones, and recent Taiwanese reports say a 7-inch tablet from Xiaomi is coming on August 16 and will be priced at RMB999 ($163).
Other than manufacturing, Foxconn is going all out to target downstream processes – which occur after the manufacturing of electronics has taken place. Such steps could eventually enable it to get involved in the entire chain of processes and facilitate the sales of its own products.
Earlier this month, Foxconn was confirmed as a bidder for a 4G license in Taiwan, after it invested $8.7 million in May for a 28 percent stake in Taifo, a local fiber-optic Internet network service provider. Last month, the company announced an official partnership with Mozilla to develop at least 5 new devices, including a tablet, and subsequently it teamed up with Taiwan Mobile to release a low-cost Android smartphone. The company has also unveiled a smartwatch that is compatible with an iPhone.
Image Credit: Voishmel via AFP/Getty Images
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