The idea was discussed Andy Lee, chief executive of his Foxtron electric vehicle venture, in the presence of Foxconn Chairman Yang Liu and a group of states at a meeting hosted last month when Liu was visiting India, they said. Foxtron also plans to manufacture electric vehicles in India.
The question came up during a discussion of India’s young population and the demographic dividend it offers, the country’s expanding electric vehicle ecosystem, and a rapidly growing market.
“Foxconn has mentioned that India and Brazil could be their next two growth centers,” said a person with direct knowledge of the developments, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They said that since they are focusing so much on India in terms of EV, they should look into setting up a university also in India, as they did in Taiwan, which is basically professional hubs and a link between industry and academia.”
Another person with knowledge said that a Foxconn India spokesman also spoke about building an ecosystem in India at another meeting that was held with industry organizations a few weeks ago.
“Foxconn said it will develop the skills and talents in the country needed for manufacturing,” the person said. “This is part of their overall game plan as their focus is definitely shifting to India. This is part of their plan to develop the skills needed to expand their manufacturing base in India – be it electric vehicles, semiconductors or electronics.”
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Foxconn did not respond to an email asking for comment on Sunday.
In Taiwan, the home of Foxconn, the Hon Hai Research Institute was founded in 2020. The institute includes five research centers for artificial intelligence, semiconductors, next generation communications, information security and quantum computing.
“Each center employs an average of 40 high-tech R&D professionals, all focus on the research and development of new technologies, strengthening Foxconn’s technology and innovation products, efforts to support the group’s transformation from ‘muscles’ to ‘brains’, and improving the competitiveness of Foxconn’s “3+3” strategy, the company’s website says.
With ongoing tensions between Taiwan and China, Foxconn is making a concerted effort to diversify its supply chain, with India constantly on the radar of the company looking to build an ecosystem to support its ambitions. According to people, this skills development center could be another step towards that.
“Young Liu’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi is a big deal,” foreign policy expert Sana Hashmi said. “What this really means is that at the highest level, India is trying to woo a Taiwanese company. Especially with the pandemic, the situation between China and Taiwan has become very fragile, and there is an awareness that tomorrow the policy may change and damage their business interests, so there is an understanding that these companies should leave China, as it is very unreliable.”