Tag: foxcon

Foxconn in secret talks with Trump

Foxconn, including its grand pooh-bah Terry Gou, had secret talks with the White House presumably looking for sweeteners for a $7 billion plus US investment in a display making plant.

TVBS television showed Gou entering and leaving one of the entry gates of the White House with senior company executives including Tai Jeng-wu, Foxconn vice chairman and chief of Japan’s Sharp, in which Foxconn holds a two-thirds stake.

When asked by reporters on his way out of the White House if he had met US President Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump, Gou responded: “My memory is not good. Maybe I already forget.”

While most people would want to forget three hours in the presence of Trump, it is unlikely and Gou just does not want to talk about it.

Gou had said in January that Foxconn was mulling setting up a display-making plant in the United States with an investment that would exceed $7 billion.

Gou provided the details at the time after Foxconn’s business partner Masayoshi Son, head of Japan’s SoftBank Group, pledged a $50 billion investment in the United States when meeting Trump in December, while accidentally showing materials that had Foxconn’s logo.

The expansion into the United States by several global corporates comes amid Trump’s “America First” efforts to expand US jobs.

While Foxconn has not disclosed a timeline for a decision on going ahead with the plant, it would depend on many factors, such as investment conditions, that would have to be negotiated at the US  state and federal levels, Gou has said.

Memory chips destined to be a load of old Tosh

ToshibaToshiba has approved plans to make its core memory chip business a separate company and seek outside investment for it.

The company is desperately trying to avoid being crippled by an upcoming multi-billion-dollar write-down for its US nuclear business.

The proceeds are set to cover part of the charge for cost overruns at a newly acquired US power plant construction business which is thought to be about $6 billion.

Toshiba’s memory chip business is its crown jewel, accounting for the bulk of its operating profit.

Toshiba is looking to sell roughly 20 percent and potential investors include private equity firms, business partner Western Digital Corp and the government-backed Development Bank of Japan, sources have said.

It wants to complete the sale by the end of the financial year in March to stop shareholder equity from being wiped out by the charge.

However, the move is seen as a band-aid for the sick company as the NAND business is the only one with value, as it makes up all of the semi-conductor profits, which comprise 75 percent of the overall company’s profit.

Even if the deal pans out Tosh will probably have to sell more bits of the company in the future.

A raft of private equity funds, including Silver Lake and Permira, have signed non-disclosure agreements with Toshiba, sources said.

Western Digital, which operates a NAND plant in Japan with Toshiba, may seem like a natural buyer of a large stake in the chip business, a sale might be difficult to pull off before March as it would attract a lot of snuffling from anti-trust watchdogs.

Toshiba estimates the value of its memory chip business at $9-13 billion.

Toshiba Chief Executive Satoshi Tsunakawa recently told the company’s main creditors of its plans and that Tosh will flog off other businesses.

Japanese business weekly Toyo Keizai reported that Terry Gou, chief executive of Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, is interested in either taking a stake in or buying some of Toshiba’s businesses.

Quanta meditates on Indian move

15-days-yoga-meditation-and-trekking-retreat-in-the-indian-himalayasQuanta is considering establishing a manufacturing base in India, in another sign that all is not well for electronics outfits operating looking behind the Bamboo Curtain to provide them with cheap labour.

Quanta vice-chairman C.C. Leung said the company was gathering materials for evaluation and looking into it.

Quanta’s rival Hon Hai Precision Industry, announced that it was investing billions of dollars into establishing 10 to 12 facilities in India by 2020.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to reboot manufacturing to boost growth and employment but it is yet to rival China, particularly in technology where most factories will likely be assembly units.

Leung said the company has no specific investment plans at present. He said that there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account when evaluating India’s suitability for manufacturing.

It depends on convenient transportation and access to ports and getting the whole tech supply chain working.

The company said that its PC shipment volume and revenue contribution from PCs should remain about the same this year as last year, despite a 6.2 percent drop in shipments industry-wide predicted by market watchers IDC.

Marvell man accused of being “master debater”

I got expelled from school when I was 16 so I guess I was an average worker. But, my, how did the sparks fly at an Oxford Union debate tonight, the prelude to tomorrow’s top conference, Silicon Valley comes to Oxford.

Those folk who proposed the motion, to wit Erik Brynjolsson, Andrew McAfee (no relation, we think), Reid Hoffman and Patrick Chung proposed to the Oxford Union that “this house believes that the average worker is being left behind by advances in technology”.

Presiding was the very president of the union, one Izzy “let’s get busy” Westbury, who we suspect is a mean spin bowler in her spare time.

Against the motion were Kim Polese – she is no Esther Dyson; Tom Hayes (at Marvell); Kal Patel and the incredibly well named lass from Cisco, Padmasree Warrior.

The debate kicked off with Izzy asking the question whether “debt is the route (we think she said route) of all evil.”  She then graciously invited Erik Brynjolsson, from MIT (Massachussetts thingie) to kick off. And kick off, he sure enough did. Introducing McAfee (no relation), Erik invited the house to consider whether the forces of light, truth and wisdom would prevail.

Reid Hoffman, an entrepreneur in his own right, described Cisco as part of the forces of darkness. He claimed Cisco had made its Q2 profits as part of massive layoffs. The MIT guy claimed there were no clear differences between Cisco and Huawei. As an observer, we could sense there was trouble coming. Sure enough, it arrived, bang on time.

Next, the proponents of the motion – see above – had a good old go at Terry Gou, the CEO of Foxconn, that small Taiwanese ODM. “Foxconn’s Gou has pledged to replace his workers with robots,” said the person speaking on behalf of the motion.

It was Tom “Mr Marvell’s” turn to speak. This is what we wrote down him saying: “Until tonight, I respected MIT. I find it ironic these four gentlemen can be standing out on a limb to make unspecifiable remarks. The academic world is nothing to do with the real world.

“MIT is anti-technology. MIT are Luddites. Technology didn’t leave us [in the US], we left it.

“MIT wants to blame technology [we, Marvell] The only reasonable vote tonight is no.”

Hoffmann responded with facts and figures but at the culmination of the evening, the incomparable Cisco lass, Padmasree Warrior, from Cisco had her say at length.

Of course, she said, we tech companies have made things better.  She went to school in a rickshaw so she knew hardship. Her dad got a boat from Kenya and villages in Congo are very grateful. She quoted a villager in the Congo who, she said, was very grateful for adding airtime as part of her shoppping list, otherwise the fish would have gone off.

We haven’t got round to what Mr Chung said about technology yet, he’s a VC on the side of the proposition, but we will, we will, there’s another day of this stuff to go, starting early tomorrow. No one knows the result of the vote because we all had to file out in two doors, the ayes and the noes. No respite for neutral journos, then. It’s all about debate. I am just an average worker.