Foxconn Technology Group, the manufacturer of Apple’s iPhone and iPad products, is looking to take its business beyond manufacturing. In addition to media and software investments, the company could soon become a mobile carrier in China.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Foxconn has applied for a 4G LTE mobile spectrum license in Taiwan. If the company qualifies, it will bid against other qualified companies in a September spectrum auction. According to the Journal, Taiwan’s current mobile carriers only provide 3G data at this time.
Foxconn’s moves into software and wireless come as PC hardware sales have begun to slow. In addition to its lucrative iPhone and iPad manufacturing deals, Foxconn also manufactures PCs and electronics for companies such as Microsoft, Sony, Nokia, Dell, HP, and Amazon.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Foxconn’s earnings growth has also slowed due to rising employment costs in mainland China. Pressure on Apple and other electronics companies has resulted in audits that have forced Foxconn to improve working conditions in its factories. Factory workers themselves have also taken matters into their own hands, rioting and striking for better conditions, hours, and training.
The mobile market in China, and Taiwan in particular, is growing rapidly. China is expected to overtake the U.S. and the top global smartphone market in 2013.
(via Wall Street Journal)