Since taking over from founder Terry Gou in 2019, Foxconn Chairman Young Liu has been focusing on diversifying the company’s portfolio. They have ventured into electric vehicles, digital health, robotics, artificial intelligence, semiconductors, and now satellites.
On November 11, two prototype low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites developed by Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., were launched aboard a SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in southern California. This marks an important milestone for the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer as it expands into new sectors. With their satellite technology, Foxconn aims to meet the growing demand for communications from space.
The LEO satellites, which were co-developed with Taiwan’s National Central University, weigh about 9 kilograms (20 pounds) each and are the size of a backpack. They are equipped with cameras, communication devices, and other equipment. The satellites are designed to orbit the Earth every 96 minutes at an altitude of 520 kilometers (323 miles).
Chairman Young Liu believes in the importance of diversification for the company’s long-term growth. Foxconn, currently the world’s third-largest private employer after Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., expects a 6% drop in revenue this year to NT$6.2 trillion ($192 billion). To mitigate this decline, Foxconn is exploring new avenues such as satellite technology, electric vehicles, digital health, and robotics.
While Foxconn faces challenges in the unpredictable satellite business, government orders and its electric-vehicle segment could provide some stability. The company is hopeful that the Taiwanese government’s orders for satellite communication will be consistent. Additionally, real-time communication technology for electric vehicles could further support Foxconn’s satellite business.
With its background in electronics and experience in manufacturing a wide range of consumer products, Foxconn has a solid foundation to enter the space industry. Taiwan, in particular, is aiming to develop space-based alternatives to undersea cables for internet connections, and Foxconn’s satellite technology could contribute to these efforts.
Overall, this venture into the satellite industry represents Foxconn’s strategic pursuit of new growth opportunities and diversification in their business portfolio.