Foxconn staff still overworked
Apple's biggest supplier, Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- is continuing to break Chinese labor laws, according to a newly-published audit by the Fair Labor Association. The latest evaluation was conducted in January, and did find that Foxconn is complying with 98.3 percent of the 360 points of action the FLA and Apple initially agreed to. 70 out of 76 items that were pending in mid-2012 have been complied with.
Hon Hai parent company of manufacturer Foxconn
Microsoft and Foxconn parent company Hon Hai have signed a worldwide patent licensing agreement that places the manufacturer underneath Microsoft's patent portfolio umbrella for devices running the Android and Chrome OS. The agreement covers patent usage in smartphones, tablets, and televisions. While specifics of the agreement are not available, Microsoft will reportedly receive royalties from Hon Hai under the agreement.
Company's fortunes linked closely to Apple products
Taiwan-based manufacturer Hon Hai -- better known under its lead brand Foxconn -- posted a 19 percent fall in sales year-over-year during the first quarter, Reuters reports. Revenue reached T$808.97 billion, a decline from T$1 trillion in Q1 2012, as well as the T$988.34 billion the company posted in Q4. The drop is being blamed on lower demand for the iPhone.
Change credited to improved iPhone, iPad production
Hon Hai Precision Industry, closely linked to parent brand Foxconn Technology Group, has posted a record NT$37 billion ($1.2 billion US) in net income for its fourth quarter, Bloomberg reports. The figure has also surpassed a NT$35.9 billion estimate averaged using predictions from 14 different analysts. Bloomberg credits the profits to improved and greater production of the iPhone and iPad, including the introduction of new iPads and the resolution of scratched iPhone 5 casing problems, which prior to Q4 forced Hon Hai to temporarily halt work on the phone to impose quality control demanded by Apple.
Hon Hai, TSMC each adding 5,000 new jobs
Apple suppliers performed poorly during February, says Topeka Capital analyst Brian White. The claim is based on an "Apple Monitor," a collection of suppliers the analyst tracks as a way of gauging Apple's performance. Collectively the companies were down 31 percent in February, versus a normal 8 percent drop for the month. The results are bad even when considering the effect of the Chinese New Year, White says -- "the worst February we have on record."
Workers could lose time off in order to meet iPhone, iPad demand
Some Apple suppliers will keep manufacturing through the Chinese New Year to meet the company's demands, Taiwan's United Daily News reports. Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, is said to be keeping a portion of production lines open to assemble the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. A circuit board supplier, Flexium Interconnect, will reportedly keep its Kunshan plant going through the Chinese New Year, using students it has trained for the work.
Will spend over $500 million for new electronics factory
Hon Hai subsidiary Foxconn CMMSG Industria de Electronicos has bought 350 acres of land near Sao Paulo, Brazil with the intention of building a new factory to assemble smart phones, tablets and other electronics. The deal will create a fifth Foxconn factory in Latin America, and at least the second such facility in Brazil. Foxconn has paid $12.6 million for the land, and will spend more than $490 million building the new facility. The current factory in Brazil is said to be one of the primary assembly plants for the iPad mini. The future facility could be used for expanded production in the Americas.
Foxconn could buy Sharp TV plants in China, Mexico
Hon Hai and Sharp are considering making a $1 billion investment in the latter's LCD plant in Sakai, Japan to help production of displays for Apple devices, Reuters reports. C.C. Lin, an official for Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- made the interest public earlier this week. Lin suggests that Hon Hai is also considering buying Sharp's TV assembly factories in China and Mexico; as for the Japanese investment though, Reuters indicates that an arrangement could be announced as soon as Friday.
Shell, Exxon, Wal-Mart take top three spots
Apple has slotted into 55th place in an annual update of Fortune's Global 500 list. The ranking is based on data from the 2011 fiscal year, which in Apple's case includes $108.249 billion in revenue, with a profit of $25.922 billion. Notably Apple has risen a massive 56 spots, having held 111th place last year. Apple is also said to have achieved $116.371 billion in assets, and $76.615 billion in stockholder equity.
Could be used to pull orders for Apple TV set
Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- is in talks to buy more shares from Sharp, according to company chairman Terry Gou. Reuters reports that Gou revealed the information at the company's annual meeting on Monday; he specifically noted that Hon Hai is taking advantage of a recent drop in Sharp's share price. "When we [first] bought [in March], Sharp's shares were 550 yen, now it is 400 something. It's been dragged by the macro environment. We have already sent delegates there to see if we can buy more shares," said Gou.
Claims 6 milllion units to be ready at launch
A so-called iPad mini will ship in the third quarter of the year as a "counter attack" to upcoming Windows tablets, a Chinese website claims. NetEase moreover reports that the smaller iPads will cost between $249 and $299, with 6 million units ready at launch. Two Asian manufacturers -- Hon Hai (Foxconn) and Pegatron -- will allegedly be responsible for production.
Sharp looks to sell new shares of $4b Sakai plant
Japanese LCD panel maker Sharp revealed on Tuesday that it is negotiating with suppliers Toppan Printing and Dai Nippon Printing on the sale of new shares of its main LCD manufacturing plant in Sakai. Exactly how much money each will contribute and what their stake in the plant will be remains to be seen, however. Taiwan's Hon Hai has a majority 46.48 percent stake in the plant as of last month, which is said to be the country's most advanced LCD plant.
Attracting, retaining talent main concern
Apple's primary supplier, Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- is "significantly" raising wages for Taiwanese workers, a Hon Hai spokesman tells the Wall Street Journal. The raise will take effect in July, and affect roughly 10,000 people at the company's headquarters, most of whom work on research and development, marketing, and business planning. The spokesman, Simon Hsing, says Hon Hai still hasn't decided on the exact size of the salary hike, but that the company wants to better attract and keep talent.
Foxconn and Sharp make manufacturing pact
Foxconn under its Hon Hai Group name and Sharp have together struck a deal that will primarily help Sharp improve its performance. Sharp will agree to use more third-party parts in its manufacturing in return for Foxconn taking a 46.5 percent stake in Sharp's Sakai, Japan LCD plant, equaling Sharp's stake after including an existing seven percent Sony involvement. Both companies would share research work and form a "global" alliance that would let Sharp use Foxconn's production.
Amazon Kindle Fire spring update may be very cheap
Amazon may be hoping to shave even more costs on its possible spring Kindle Fire follow-up. Rumors Friday from suppliers given to China Times had it hand-picking which individual contractors it would use instead of giving a blanket deal with Quanta for the original. One of the new entrants might be contract manufacturing giant Foxconn (Hon Hai).
Multi-Fineline Electronix posts high Dec. sales
The performance of Apple suppliers is pointing toward a strong December quarter for the company, analysts indicate. UBS analyst Maynard Um uses the example of Multi-Fineline Electronix, which helps supply flexible printed circuit boards for products like the iPhone and iPad. MFE has posted preliminary net sales of $239 million for the quarter, exceeding a $215 million consensus forecast.
Foxconn reports third-quarter loss of profit
Hon Hai Precision Industry, the parent company of Foxconn and the largest contract maker of electronics, has just posted its fourth consecutive drop in profits. Foxconn manufactures multiple electronics devices for companies like Apple, Amazon, Dell, HP, Sony, and numerous others. Third-quarter net income dropped 8.6 percent to $641 million, the company revealed, which is a decrease from the $701 million in the same time period in the previous year.
Foxconn parent spends $1.6b on retail expansion
Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry is set to spend $1.6 billion on opening Apple Authorised Reseller stores throughout China. Hon Hai owns the major Chinese electronics chain Cybermart International, which recently obtained certification as an Apple Authorised Reseller. According to Hon Hai Chairman, Steven Chang, the company will open 500 stores with sections specially dedicated to selling Apple products.
iPhone 5 may be set back by manufacturing process
New hints have emerged that the next iPhone has a genuinely new design but may also be facing complications as a result. Suppliers said Wednesday that the new phone is "thinner and lighter" even as it carries a new eight-megapixel camera. As a result, though, the WSJ heard Foxconn (Hon Hai's manufacturing) may have to delay shipments as the new iPhone is "complicated and difficult to assemble" and might create yield problems.
Accessory maker paid off Foxconn worker
A court in Shenzhen, China has sentenced three people to prison over leaking iPad 2 information, says the Wall Street Journal. The instigator is said to have been Xiao Chengsong, general manager of Shenzhen MacTop Electronics, who offered former Hon Hai/Foxconn worker Hou Pengna 20,000 yuan plus MacTop discounts in exchange for iPad 2 specifications. Hou in turn paid Lin Kecheng, an active Hon Hai R&D worker, for digital images of the tablet's back cover in September 2010. The product's launch was still several months away, on March 11th.
Chairman: Tablet is 'very difficult to make'
Terry Gou, the chairman of Foxconn parent Hon Hai, says the company is taking steps to improve the efficiency of iPad production that will begin paying off in the second half of 2011. Speaking at a Hon Hai shareholders meeting, the executive explained that the company's profit growth has lagged behind Apple because iPads are "very difficult to make." Hon Hai is constantly discovering ways of building iPads more efficiently, Gou claims.
Prolonged closure could affect Apple, HP, others
Hon Hai, the parent corporation of Foxconn, has announced the closure of all their polishing workshops pending inspections, lending credence to the government task force theory that combustible dust was ignited, sparking an explosion on Friday at the company's Chengdu plant that killed a total of three workers and injured many others. The polishing process, one of the last stages of product assembly, is used to polish Apple's iPad cases and other electronic parts for other companies, creating fine dust of various elements such as aluminum, which is highly combustible when airborne.
Claims promises of improvements unfulfilled
Asian manufacturer Foxconn and client companies like Apple, HP and Dell have failed to live up to promises of higher labor standards, says a Hong Kong-based activist group. Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) charges that while the client firms have pledged to work with Foxconn to raise standards to acceptable levels, many problems still persist. Foxconn is still allegedly making misleading statements about wages and benefits, and even the location of work. Wages are often miscalculated and people are still working many hours of unpaid overtime, potentially as much as 80 to 100 a month without meal breaks. Overtime was supposed to drop to 36 hours.
Accessory makers may have paid for early info
Three workers at Foxconn's factories in Shenzhen, China have been formally charged with leaking the design of the iPad 2, reports say. The charges were actually filed on March 23rd, following arrests made on December 26th. The suspects are accused of violating Foxconn trade secrets rather than Apple's.
Counterclaims have iPad 2 on track for April
A pair of leaks emerged on mid-Tuesday that promptly countered beliefs that the next iPad might be delayed. Sources for both Reuters and Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes insisted that the new Apple tablet was still on track. While the news outlet couldn't obtain more, Reitzes noted that Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai was expected to ship new iPads to customers in early April, about two million of which would reach customers that month.
Cybermart plans stores in Hong Kong, Taiwan too
Hon Hai, the parent company of Apple supplier Foxxconn and owner of major electronics retail chain Cybermart International has obtained certification as an Apple Reseller and plans to open up to 500 stores for Apple and other products in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, reports DigiTimes. The first of the new stores will debut in Tianjin in April. The Cybermart stores are known for their huge selection of recent electronics and, more significantly for Apple, on-site repair facilities. Apple's relatively small retail presence in China, though incredibly popular, has been a source of complaints with Chinese consumers who own Apple products and find it difficult to get after-sale support.
Chinese firms say iPad 2 cases based on real plans
Some of the companies behind recent iPad 2 case listings at online retailers like Alibaba have claimed or strongly implied that the information was obtained directly from Foxconn's parent firm Hon Hai. Fullchance Industrial, one of these companies, said in an interview on Friday that it was actively working with Hon Hai and had schematics directly from the contract manufacturer. The details were "extremely accurate," he told the Wall Street Journal when asked.
Foxconn parent may buy stake in Hitachi LCD tech
Foxconn's parent firm Hon Hai Precision Industry may get control of Hitachi's phone and tablet display production through a stock deal, Japan's Nikkei newspaper said on Monday. Plans are reportedly underway to buy a majority take in Hitachi Displays for $1.2 billion. The Japanese company in turn would use the money to build a display factory in its home country that would serve Foxconn's aims.
Gray market said to be charging premium
Workers at Foxconn are not selling white casings and other iPhone parts, a spokesman with associated firm Hon Hai insists. The refutation was made through a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, as a response to claims that an American college student was able to tap connections at Foxconn to obtain white parts, then used to convert existing black iPhone 4s. Apple has so far failed to ship its own promised white iPhones, and is rumored to be abandoning the concept entirely.
Company allegedly threatening to fire workers
Some Foxconn workers in Foshan, China are protesting their treatment at the hands of management, says Reuters. Thousands of people are said to have gathered outside the Foshan factory this week, complaining about two major issues: low pay, as well as plans to relocate people to factories further inland, where companies tend to pay less for both labor and real estate. One worker complains that the Foshan factory pays a basic wage of just 1,100 yuan (roughly $166) a month, less than promised under recent pay hike plans. Take-home pay after overtime and social security payments tends to come out closer to 2,000 yuan ($300).
Currency shifts blamed
Apple suppliers based in Taiwan may be forced to raise their prices, says Bloomberg. The Taiwanese dollar has grown 2.5 percent against the US dollar during the last month, and by 7.2 percent during the last year. One supplier, Wintek, is estimating that a 1 percent increase in the exchange rate cuts 0.5 percent off its gross profit margin.
Foxconn, Pegatron to ship 30m CDMA iPhones in 2011
(Update: more Pegatron leaks) Foxconn has been brought on to help take some of the production workload for the CDMA iPhone, industry contacts believed on Wednesday. Known in China through its parent label Hon Hai, Foxconn has reportedly been asked to share manufacturing "evenly" with the existing manufacturer Pegatron. The Taiwan Economic News suggests that Foxconn alone has been asked to make 15 million iPhones through all of 2011; by extension, as many as 30 million CDMA iPhones would be made across the two companies.
'Most clients' already willing to pay
A Foxconn spokesperson has confirmed hints of plans to raise prices, according to Digitimes. The company is a major force in the electronics manufacturing industry, most notably as a partner in the production of Apple devices like the iPhone. Most clients have already agreed higher quotes, the spokesperson says, while some others are still in negotiations.
Foxconn again said raising prices to match pay
Citibank analyst Chang Kaiwei claimed to investors today that Foxconn would be raising the prices it charges companies like Apple, Microsoft and Nokia to compensate for the second pay raise for its workers. The unspecified charges, which would take effect this month, would keep Foxconn's profits up while hopefully improving the welfare of employees. Foxconn and its parent company Hon Hai didn't confirm the plans.
Qualcomm rumored again in iPhone plans
Talk of Apple snapping up Qualcomm chipsets for future iPhones gained momentum on Friday with a claim in Taiwan's Commercial Times that Apple has ordered large amounts of Qualcomm chips. Besides accommodating a CDMA iPhone many expect would ship early next year, the order might also be used for the next-generation model. Apple is already believed to have started work on the next-generation model and should still use Foxconn (Hon Hai) as the manufacturer.
Continues efforts to improve conditions
Taiwanese manufacturer Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, is now more directly addressing the problems with working conditions at its plants, a Wall Street Journal report suggests. The company has been accused of maintaining a sweatshop-like environment driving people to suicide, in which people work virtually non-stop for little pay. The new measures include a reduction in overtime hours, and an increase in "entertainment" time for staff.
May be significant aid to Apple's sales
A Taiwanese firm, Cheng Uei, is planning to engage in a substantial expansion of its Apple reselling chain into China, according to Bloomberg. The company is primarily a component manufacturer, and in fact supplies parts for the iPhone amongst other devices. It also runs 20 Studio A reselling stores in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and says that over the course of the next three years, it intends to found 100 more stores, including ones in mainland China.
No word on working hours
As of June 1st, Foxconn has raised the pay for all of its Chinese production workers by 30 percent, according to parent company Hon Hai. Foxconn last week said that it would be raising pay by an average of 20 percent, but this drew fire from labor activists, who argued that it would not have much impact. The company is a major manufacturer, with clients including Apple, Dell, Sony, Motorola and HP; it has drawn fire for harsh working conditions however, believed to be a factor in 10 suicides that have occurred in a matter of months.
Said to stem from internal investigation
Apple is planning to redistribute some of its product profits back to Foxconn workers, claims a Chinese news site. Foxconn is one of principal manufacturers of Apple hardware, but has been accused of maintaining sweatshop-like conditions, with low pay and mandatory overtime, including hours so long that workers only have time to sleep and eat outside of their shifts. At least nine Foxconn workers have successfully killed themselves in recent months.
Foxconn says wage raise not connected to suicides
A spokesperson for Hon Hai Precision Industry, otherwise known by the Foxconn trade name, says the company is considering increasing wages for its laborers. This is not due to the recent employee suicides, however, the spokesperson said in a Thursday report. At its Shenzhen plant, Foxconn employs more than 400,000 staffers and the raise consideration is related to a short supply of workers in the area, according to the contract device maker.
Research firm claims RIM wants large screens
RIM may be developing a tablet of its own, based on claims by an industry research firm. Checks in the supply chain have led the analysts to believe that RIM is ordering an 8.9-inch tablet from Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn) that would be ready to ship by the summer or fall of this year. Whether it would use the BlackBerry OS itself isn't known, but it may have ad-supported content playback and use both 3G and Wi-Fi to sync with a BlackBerry smartphone.
New iPhone could be world-ready model
Two analysts have issued new memos on upcoming Apple technology. UBS' Maynard Um addresses the tablet, saying that a January 27th press event will likely signal the product's announcement. Checks are said to indicate probable manufacturers and suppliers, namely Hon Hai (a.k.a. Foxconn), who may be assembling the device. The display may come from LG Display, with AUO being a possible secondary supplier.
Chinese iPhone on Friday?
The announcement of an China Unicom iPhone deal could arrive as soon as Friday, Reuters claims. The agency cites an anonymous analyst, who in turn claims to have learned the information from a direct industry source. Unicom is holding a financial results presentation on Friday, and a carrier spokeswoman confirms that the iPhone will likely come up as a subject of discussion. She has declined to say, however, whether or not a finalized deal will be disclosed.
June iPhone prod. down
Despite planning to launch the iPhone 3GS on June 19th, Apple is actually lowering its June-quarter iPhone production, claims Collins Stewart analyst Ashok Kumar. Citing checks with Hon Hai, one of Apple's manufacturers, Kumar says that production will amount to just 4.6 million units, instead of an anticipated 5.2. A prediction for the September quarter calls for a potentially wide range, between 6.5 and 7.5 million phones.
New MB Pro Case Spotted
Apple's next-generation MacBook Pro may have had its first glimpse today, says the Taiwan-area site Apple.pro. The report claims to have a photo of the new notebook's casing in prototype form as well as additional details, including items not pictured in the leak. The design appears to be more tapered like that of the MacBook Air and doesn't immediately reveal a backlit Apple logo, although this is most likely due to the incomplete nature of the case.