Tue, Jul 20, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Hon Hai breaks ground on R&D center

TRANSFORMATION Chairman Terry Gou said the new Taipei County facility will enhance the company's competitiveness and help turn it into a high-tech firm

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), one of the world's leading electronics-manufacturing services (EMS) providers, broke ground yesterday for its new research and development (R&D) center in Tucheng, Taipei County.

The center will focus on nanotechnology and precision-optical machinery.

"We hope the establishment of the new R&D center will expedite our R&D process and, therefore, enhance our competitiveness," Hon Hai's founder and chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) said.

Hon Hai, which might replace Singapore's Flextronics International Ltd to become the world's largest EMS provider, plans to expand its R&D manpower to a maximum of 3,000 people and pour NT$12 billion into the center for the next three years.

The company has lodged up to 17,000 applications for patents and has patented around 12,000 inventions so far, Gou said.

The center is expected to facilitate the company's transformation into "high-tech Hon Hai" from merely "manufacturer Hon Hai" by attracting overseas researchers and cooperating with foreign R&D centers, Gou said.

The project has three stages. Hon Hai plans to complete the first-stage of construction by next July and recruit 1,000 R&D specialists at the same time.

The company posted consolidated revenue of NT$327.79 billion last year, up from NT$245.09 billion in 2002. It has generated sales of NT$166.05 billion for the first half of this year, around 37.74 percent of the forecasted NT$440 billion worth of revenue for this year.

"The company often sets aside 10 percent to 15 percent of its annual revenue for the R&D work," said Chen Ga-lane (陳杰良), the chief technology officer who will preside over the new center.

Strong R&D capability would back up the company's plan to expand its layouts of computer, communication, consumer electronics (3Cs) into 6Cs domains (3Cs plus cars, channels and [digital] contents), he said.

According to Chen, R&D work in the new center will begin in two years on nanotech stampers, nanotech optics and nanotech heat conductivity, in collaboration with the National Nano Devices Laboratories under the National Science Commission and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

These technologies could be applied in the manufacture of component parts such as nanotech batteries for notebooks or hand-sets, which have double the energy capacity of current batteries, and printer-reader heads for better printing quality, he said.

Hon Hai has set up several R&D centers, including one in Tokyo for precision machinery, Beijing for academic nanotech research, San Jose, California, for e-papers and Finland for wireless technology.

The company's Beijing center is focusing on developing nanotechnology for electronic circuits and devices from single atoms and molecules, but will turn its focus toward miniature batteries and heat-dissipation products within three years, according to a report in a Chinese-language newspaper yesterday.

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