Foxconn's new EV plants in Thailand, US, to start production in 2023

19, Aug. 2021

Foxconn chairman Liu Young-way (R) and Auttapol Rerkpiboon, president and CEO of PTT Public Co. signed an agreement to set up an open platform for producing electric vehicles and key components in Thailand. (Photo: Foxconn)
Foxconn chairman Liu Young-way (R) and Auttapol Rerkpiboon, president and CEO of PTT Public Co. signed an agreement to set up an open platform for producing electric vehicles and key components in Thailand. (Photo: Foxconn)

By Gloria Cho

TAIPEI, NNA - Taiwanese electronics contractor giant Hon Hai Technology Group. has confirmed plans to set up electric vehicle factories in Thailand and the United States, with production scheduled to begin in 2023.

Better known as Foxconn Technology Group, the major Apple iPhone assembler is now aiming to be a global player in the EV industry by 2025 as it diversifies away from waning smartphone manufacturing to fill its coffers.

Chairman Liu Young-way told an earnings call last week that “Our business model in Thailand will focus on whole-car manufacturing, key components, and platform manufacturing to serve global and local car fabricators.”

The Thailand plant will target the local market initially before expanding to the entire ASEAN market, added Liu.

Foxconn and Thailand’s state-owned oil and gas firm PTT Public Co. signed an MOU in May to jointly set up an open platform for producing EVs and key components.

Earlier this month, Foxconn officially launched the website for MIH Consortium, an open EV ecosystem to promote collaborations in the mobility industry.

Over in the U.S., Foxconn and carmaker Fisker Inc. will jointly develop vehicles on their lightweight platform which will also support potential future vehicles. The annual capacity will start with at least 150,000 vehicles, and gradually increase to between 300,000 and 500,000, Liu said.

The company is also discussing with potential partners to set up more EV plants in other locations such as Europe.

To realize the initial states of its EV ambition, Foxconn has been securing more capacity for car semiconductors.

On August 5, Foxconn acquired Taiwanese chipmaker Macronix International Co’s 6-inch wafer fab and equipment for NT$2.52 billion ($90.4 million) to enhance its semiconductor capability and capacity.

Liu said in a statement, “The acquisition of the 6-inch wafer fab in Hsinchu Science Park officially signals Foxconn’s entry into the manufacture and development of wide band gap semiconductors, especially SiC, paving the way for a long-term commitment to semiconductor development."

Based in Hsinchu Science Park, the fab will be repurposed to produce silicon wafer products such as MEMs aside from SiC (silicon carbide) Power MOSFET, which is an important device for next-generation EVs.

Its production is in line with Foxconn's new growth strategy to prioritize EV as the top focus of its long-term plan. It is also pushing growth in digital health, and robotics and AI, apart from semiconductor and advanced communication.

As Macronix is also advancing in the global automotive electronics arena, a closer collaboration between Macronix and Foxconn may be anticipated soon, said both companies.

This Hsinchu plant will add to Foxconn’s wafer capacity, which will also be bolstered by an 8-inch fab run by subsidiary Sharp Co. in Japan. Foxconn had also purchased a 5 percent stake in Malaysia tech firm Dagang NeXchange Bhd, the parent company of chipmaker SilTerra that runs an 8-inch fab.

Foxconn has seen a robust growth for EV components, which is expected to grow from 40 percent last year to cross NT$10 billion this year. The growth forecast for 2022 is set to be even higher.

Meanwhile, the global chip shortage for cars and electronics is likely to continue into the second quarter of 2022, said Liu.

He expressed concern that the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic across Asia could impact on the supply chain as Asia is the powerhouse of ICT components.

Nevertheless, Foxconn managed to continue the strong first-quarter performance to achieve 30 percent growth in April-June net earnings to hit NT$29.7 billion, compared to a year ago. This was driven by the hot demand for consumer electronics and components.

Its net profit for the first half this year also set a record high of NT$57.9 billion. Foxconn expects a flat, though profitable, third quarter.