Shareholders of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, better known as Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer, on Wednesday approved the company's plan to list its Foxconn Industrial Internet Co Ltd unit on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Under the plan, approximately 10 percent of Foxconn unit's shares will be converted to floating stocks, with Hon Hai maintaining approximately 85 percent and others the rest. The pricing and timeline for the unit's initial public offering is yet to be determined, it said in a statement.
Hon Hai said it would set up artificial intelligence laboratories in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Shenzhen, with an aim to make the Foxconn unit one of the world's largest internet of things companies in the industry, according to Terry Gou, the company chairman.
The Foxconn unit will capitalize on opportunities presented by industrial internet-related developments in the Chinese mainland and globally to significantly expand its market potential in strategic areas such as network equipment, cloud computing, precision manufacturing, artificial intelligence applications, industrial robotics and other related technologies and professional services, Hon Hai said in a statement.
"The move will support Hon Hai's long-term strategic development plan and its goal to leverage its position as the largest consumer electronics manufacturer to become a leading industrial internet company globally," it said.
It will also allow Hon Hai to fully leverage the best talent, capital and market potential to build an industrial internet ecosystem and grow its presence in the Chinese mainland, the United States, Japan, Europe and other markets internationally.
The company will continue to make significant investments in infrastructure and other areas that will be instrumental in its transformation into a big data-driven, artificial intelligence and robotic technology-based industrial internet company.
This includes increasing the development and deployment of robots in the manufacturing process, from 60,000 robots currently to 200,000 robots in the next few years.
"Foxconn is not just a contract manufacturer of electronic devices, but also engaged in the design and production of some precision elements in the supply chain sector. It has also accumulated experience and strength in intelligent manufacturing," said James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research.
Yan added the application of industrial internet will also enhance the capacities of Foxconn in intelligent manufacturing, reduce costs and improve operating efficiency.
Hon Hai, the largest assembler for Apple, is eager to find new drivers of growth and has been making efforts to enhance its data management capabilities to enable more precise, effective and targeted collection and analysis of data.