Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團), the world’s largest contract electronics maker and a major supplier to Apple Inc, plans to adopt industrial automation for 70 percent of its product lines over the next three years to cope with a rising shortage of labor in China, group chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) said yesterday.
The labor shortage is worsening in China because many young adults do not like to work in factories, Gou said in Taipei.
In addition, the products that Hon Hai make require advanced and precise technology, which is beyond human capabilities, Gou said.
As a result, Hon Hai will invest more in the industrial automation segment, Gou said, adding that he recently visited Japan to observe the developments in making automated cargo helicopters and robots to assist in caring for elderly people.
Gou said he believes the automation industry will one day be worth more than the automobile industry.
He said Hon Hai’s plan to ramp up investment in industrial automation is not intended to replace workers, but to help people work more efficiently.
Hon Hai said previously in a press statement that it would increase the use of industrial automation and reduce the scale of hiring in the next few years.
However, the company has no intention of reducing the number of employees, the statement said.
Separately, Gou said the company would “definitely” tender a 5G license bid as the firm is developing 5G network technology.
Hon Hai works closely with Nokia Corp in Internet of Things development, patent applications and the next generation of network wireless technologies, Gou said.
The two companies are working on tablet computers, with Nokia responsible for core communication technology and brand business, he said.
Hon Hai is in the process of growing from an original equipment manufacture to an innovative integrated design manufacturer, Guo said.
In related news, Gou said the company made several mistakes regarding patent applications, including to apply patents for products that did not need patent rights, which allowed its peers to “copy” from Hon Hai.
Hon Hai would now place more focus on the “quality” of its patents instead of increasing the quantity, Gou said.
According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Hon Hai applied for 1,081 patents last year, representing an annual decrease of 61 percent from the 2,756 patents it applied for in 2013.
Looking forward, Gou said the firm’s consolidated revenues reached a record high of NT$4.21 trillion (US$131.53 billion) for the whole of last year, adding that the company’s goal is to report year-on-year revenue growth.
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