Foxconn considers solar panel move

Foxconn, the popular company that has to put nets under its taller buildings to stop workers from jumping, has decided that its contract with Apple might not be worth as much in the long term.

The company, which makes Apple’s iPhones, is mulling over a branch off into making solar panels.

The solar panel market has been plagued by overcapacity and panel prices have tumbled by more than two-thirds over the past two years.

The move might be jolly clever – as the sector is showing some signs of stabilising.

Foxconn has been testing the market for two years but has revealed little about its Fox Energy solar unit. It currently has a small solar panel factory in eastern China, and has also held talks with the southwestern province of Guangxi about building solar power plants.

Foxconn’s Simon Hsing told Reuters that the company will decide wheter it wants to enter the market by the end of this year.

Hsing remarked that renewable energy is a “potentially good trend”, adding it’s “an industry we probably need to know more about”.

The company does feel that it needs to cut its reliance on Apple, which accounted for an estimated 60 percent of Hon Hai revenue that exceeded $100 billion last year.

As demonstrated by its Apple contract, Foxconn has assembly efficiency, cost-control and an international reach on its side, which it could probably apply to solar production too.