The largest iPhone manufacturer in the world is taking a trip to space. From Vandenberg Space Force Base in southern California, two prototype low-Earth orbit satellites manufactured by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., widely referred to as Foxconn, were introduced on a SpaceX rocket on Saturday. Introducing the LEO satellite is an important milestone for the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer as it broadens into fresh markets. The decision is becoming more important as some of its more established businesses, like mobile devices and laptops, are having issues.
Foxconn seeks to demonstrate its satellite technology in order to meet the increasing demand for space-based communications. Although Space Exploration Technologies Corp., led by Elon Musk, has produced and launched over 5,000 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites for its Starlink constellation, Foxconn is making a wager that it will be able to produce satellites mainly for commercial and public sector customers.
The satellites, which were created in collaboration with Taiwan’s National Central University, are about the size of a backpack, weigh about 20 pounds each, and are equipped with cameras, radios, and other hardware. Their intended orbital period is 96 minutes, with a height of 520 kilometers (323 miles).
Novel Growth Foxconn Chairman Young Liu sought methods of diversification after succeeding founder Terry Gou in 2019. He focused on automation, digital health, and electric vehicles, in addition to artificial intelligence, electronic components, and communications satellite technology. In an interview, Liu stated, “I need to find a way so that the business has the capacity to sustain itself for the next 10–15 years.” Based on predictions compiled, the third-biggest private employer in the world after Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. is projected to see a 6% decline in revenue this year to NT$6.2 trillion ($192 billion).
Get the book. According to Tim Farrar, president of Telecom Media and Finance Associates Inc., a consulting firm in Menlo Park, California, customers can wait a long time between orders for LEO satellites, making the business much less predictable than Apple Inc., which needs millions of iPhones every quarter and updates models frequently. Roughly two of every three iPhones produced worldwide are made by Foxconn. “Unless you can find another one that comes along at the right moment, your life can be very difficult,” he stated when talking about contracting manufacturers like Foxconn. According to Farrar, government orders might offer Foxconn some security as it broadens its satellite business.
According to Foxconn, “that will be OK if the Taiwanese government gives us an initial set of requests every year.” As part of a plan to develop space-based alternatives to the submarine cables that provide nearly all of the island’s internet access, Taiwan is working on a strategy for launching its first low-Earth orbit (LEO) interaction satellite. As they require real-time communication equipment, Foxconn’s electric vehicle split will offer another line of support, said Jason Wang, a Foxconn analyst with MasterLink Securities Corp. in Taipei. Wang stated, “You have to have an arrangement set up for your car to use.” “They have to at least have set up an arrangement to demonstrate the technology in Taiwan if they hope to eventually export this business.”
This should be aided by the company’s experience in electronics and the knowledge it has acquired from producing gaming consoles, smartphones, and other gadgets. Taiwan excels in producing a wide range of commercial electronics products, according to Shiang-yu Wang, a research fellow at the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Academia Sinica in Taipei. “These enterprises can transition to space with ease.”