updated 10:27 am EDT, Mon May 27, 2013
Likely to be complementary to the hardware of its biggest clients
Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn, which also builds devices for many other companies (including the Xbox for Microsoft and various Android smartphones) may be planning to create and sell its own brand of accessories for various electronics, including Apple and others, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Foxconn's parent company, Hon Hai, already owns retail outlets in China.
The plans were shared with the newpaper by an unnamed executive, the plans have come about less from any reducing ordering from Apple, and more from a desire to expand the business further by diversifying clients. Though not publicly stated, Apple is thought to be responsible for about half of Foxconn's annual revenue. Because Apple has not yet released any "new" products thus far in calendar 2013, the company may have decided to take the time to build capacity or diversify in response to the seasonal lull.
Revenue did fall 19 percent for Foxconn last quarter, though how much of that is related to a reduction of Apple orders for the traditionally less-popular second calendar quarter remains unclear. The company recently invested heavily in LCD manufacturer Sharp and has expressed interest in HDTV production, particularly as 4K TVs begin to emerge into the marketplace.
According to the Journal report, Foxconn intends to both make and sell accessories, including all the components that might be required rather than outsource those items to smaller companies. It could be that the company hopes to court a position as an eventual maker of Apple-branded accessories apart from its own line.
Foxconn is also said to be looking into becoming resellers of the very products it makes for Apple and others, such as carrying the iPhone in China. Motivated by the profit margin on end-user sales, the company is said to be investigating online retail sales and is planning on carrying standard smartphone, tablet and other such accessories, ranging from replacement power cords to headphones to directly iOS accessories such as cases and keyboards.