Sat, Feb 03, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Hon Hai to invest NT$10 billion in AI

GLOBAL VIEW:The company is to open its manufacturing bases around the world to Taiwanese academics, start-ups and individuals to experiment with their AI applications

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Jou-chen, Taipei Times

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) yesterday announced that it might spend NT$10 billion (US$342 million) over the next five years on artificial intelligence (AI) talent cultivation and technology development in Taiwan, in a bid to localize the development of AI applications in its industrial Internet-focused operations.

“[NT]$10 billion is the minimum investment in Taiwan. I am willing to spend US$10 billion here if it is what it takes to grow more AI applications in ‘smart’ manufacturing locally,” company chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) told a news conference at the company’s headquarters in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District (土城).

Hundreds of the company’s employees also attended the announcement.

Gou said Hon Hai would financially support its employees to go abroad and pursue advanced studies in the field of AI.

“Take your family to MIT [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] or the University of Tokyo. We will fully support your expenses,” he said.

Hon Hai is to open its manufacturing bases around the world to Taiwanese academics, start-ups and individuals to experiment with their AI applications and jointly explore the possibility of AI uses in the industrial Internet era, Gou said.

“I am calling on talent in Taiwan: Hon Hai can be a place where you can develop AI technologies,” Gou said.

Company executive vice president Lu Fang-ming (呂芳銘) said Hon Hai has been collecting a wide range of data from its manufacturing bases around the world for more than five years, which includes data on product design, supply chains, production and logistics.

The company has used the critical data and cloud-computing infrastructure, as well as developed AI solutions, to increase its production efficiency, with five plants that run around the clock without lights launched in China last year, Lu said.

Hon Hai plans to recruit at least 100 AI talents in Taiwan in the first phase of its project to push efforts in industrial Internet-driven technologies, Lu said.

The company is to set up industrial Internet-focused AI labs in Taipei and Kaohsiung, and then expand to Shenzhen, Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing in China, he said.

The company also plans to establish AI labs in Japan and the US, he added.

The company has more than 10 high-performance computing (HPC) facilities in several cities worldwide, including Kaohsiung, Tokyo, Osaka, Japan, and Prague, as well as Wisconsin and San Diego in the US, Gou said.

The firm’s global HPC network is to be a key platform to connect and share industrial data and AI solutions, which the company would open to small and medium-sized enterprises, Gou said.

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