Taiwan’s Foxconn, known as the world’s largest producer of iPhones, has made a bold move into space exploration by launching two prototype low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The satellites were launched aboard a SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California in collaboration with Taiwan’s National Central University.
This venture into space is significant for Foxconn as it aims to diversify its business beyond smartphones and laptops, which are facing challenges in the market. The LEO satellites, weighing 9 kilograms or 20 pounds each, are equipped with cameras and communication devices. They are designed to orbit the Earth every 96 minutes at an altitude of 520 kilometers or 323 miles.
Foxconn’s foray into satellite technology targets the growing demand for communications from space, with a focus on corporate and government clients. While SpaceX’s Starlink constellation has already deployed over 5,000 LEO satellites, Foxconn aims to contribute to the sector’s growth.
This move is part of Foxconn’s strategy of diversification, driven by Chairman Young Liu since 2019. The company has been exploring opportunities in electric vehicles, digital health, robotics, artificial intelligence, semiconductors, and now, communications satellites. Chairman Young Liu emphasized the importance of identifying avenues for sustained growth in the coming years.
Despite being the world’s third-largest private employer, Foxconn is expecting a drop in revenue this year. The satellite business introduces a less predictable revenue stream compared to smartphone manufacturing, where Foxconn produces two-thirds of the world’s iPhones. However, potential orders from the Taiwanese government for LEO satellites may provide stability for Foxconn’s satellite venture. Additionally, the company’s involvement in the electric vehicle sector may create synergies with its satellite initiatives.
As Taiwan plans to launch its first LEO communication satellite, Foxconn aims to position itself as a key player in the evolving space technology landscape. The company’s expertise in electronics and manufacturing consumer products are considered assets that can contribute to the success of its space-related endeavors.