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Foxconn seeks listing to upgrade contract manufacturing into high-tech sector

Chen Guanqi, vice president of Foxconn Industrial Internet (FII), a subsidiary of the world’s largest contract manufacturer Foxconn, said on Wednesday that many factories and production lines of Foxconn are now fully automated with no human workers or lighting needed, thanks to the “industrial Internet and smart manufacturing”.

FII, the high-tech unit of Terry Gou’s Foxconn, a major Apple Inc. supplier, is to raise 27.1 billion yuan in its initial public offering in Shanghai, according to a statement filed by it to the stock exchange on Tuesday.

It’s reported by Bloomberg that Foxconn is to spend more than 27 billion yuan on funding FII’s projects in areas from smart manufacturing to 5G wireless technologies.

At the Tencent Cloud Summit in South China’s Guangzhou province, Chen Guanqi elaborated on Foxconn’s “industrial Internet” concept which is widely regarded as the company’s top strategy to diversify into more high-tech areas beyond assembling electronic devices for world's top tech companies. Now, more than half of Foxconn revenue comes from contract manufacturing business.

“In some of our factories there is not a single person or piece of lighting,” Chen said, noting the ‘no-light factories’ are high-performers bolstered by Internet and smart manufacturing and boast improved quality control and low consumption.

Terry Guo had once said that "what Foxconn lacks is imagination". Now the under-utilized "industrial Internet" is believed by the billionaire to bring the company robust growth in the next decade.

It’s commonly believed that the C2C market has saturated while the Internet-connected business-to-business (b2b) is just emerging. Digitalizing all businesses has become a common target for tech companies.

Based on its filing statement with the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the plan is for Foxconn to manage and process data in the first half of 2019, work out data analysis solution in the second half of the year, and develop smart manufacturing apps in the first half of 2020.

Terry Guo made it clear in a previous speech at the renowned Tsinghua University that the industrial Internet will be a mix of Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing, although his definition is criticized by some industry commentators to be "superficial."   

Foxconn’s listing on Chinese mainland stock exchange is also observed as the outcome of the Chinese government’s plans to welcome Taiwanese investment in some of the nation’s most restricted sectors, according to Bloomberg.

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