Taiwanese electronics giant, Foxconn, known for being the largest manufacturer of iPhones, is expanding into a new sector – outer space. Recently, two prototype low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites produced by Foxconn embarked on a SpaceX rocket’s journey from Vandenberg Space Force Base in southern California. This venture marks a significant shift for the company as it seeks to diversify its business in response to challenges faced by its well-established smartphone and laptop divisions.
The objective of Foxconn’s new venture is to showcase its satellite technology capabilities, in response to the growing demand for space-based communications. The company aims to specialize in producing satellites tailored for corporate and government clients. These backpack-sized satellites, weighing approximately 9 kg each, were developed in collaboration with Taiwan’s National Central University. They are equipped with cameras, communication devices, and other essential equipment, enabling them to orbit the Earth every 96 minutes at an altitude of 520 km.
While the iPhone manufacturing industry operates on a predictable cycle, with frequent updates and millions of units produced per quarter, the LEO satellite business is less predictable, with longer durations between orders. For Foxconn, responsible for producing two-thirds of the world’s iPhones, finding consistent opportunities becomes challenging without substantial projects at the right time.
However, by venturing into the satellite industry and securing corporate and government orders, Foxconn aims to achieve stability and mitigate unpredictability. Additionally, Taiwan is actively exploring space-based alternatives to undersea cables for its internet connections and is planning to launch its inaugural LEO communication satellite. Foxconn’s new venture aligns with Taiwan’s strategy, indicating a potential significant role for the company in this endeavor.
Foxconn’s foray into the satellite industry represents a daring move that demonstrates the company’s willingness to adapt and explore new avenues to ensure future growth and success.