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Foxconn to make VIZIO phone for sale in China

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Foxconn is poised to manufacture TV-maker VIZIO's first smartphones in China this year, according to a source familiar with Foxconn.

The device will continue the collaboration between the two companies and will be released this year for the China market, with Foxconn's subsidiary Fujiconn tasked with its production, said the source. Collaborating with Foxconn, the companies launched to resounding success the 60- and 70-inch large-screen TVs in time for the U.S. November and December holiday seasons, respectively.

The company, which saw 2012 revenue reach NT$75 billion (US$2.5 billion), plans to increase TV shipments eightfold, from 200,000 to 7 million units.

VIZIO CEO William Wang (王蔚) recounted the story of how the two companies rushed the launching of the large TVs, taking only three months from concept to market.

“We both believed that the key to success in the North American market lies in larger-size TVs ... Following a visit to a plant in Sakai Japan last March, we agreed to decide within two months on a price for the new TVs we were going to launch,” said Wang.

By May, Wang had decided on the US$999 price tag for the 60-inch E601i model, which is lower than all competing products on the market by 30 to 50 percent. By June the companies formed a special collaborative task force to oversee the launch of the new models.

“We then saw the challenge: that in order to be ready for the Thanksgiving holidays retail surge, preparations would need to be completed by September,” said Wang. “I thought it was impossible,” he added.

The two companies managed to accomplish the task and Foxconn began mass production in September. The 60-inch model was on the shelf by Nov. 1, with the 70-inch model launching in the following month.

“By Guo's command, we did the impossible, it was incredible,” said Wang. “Usually, it takes six months for a product to go from concept to market,” he explained.

Currently VIZIO commands over 60 percent of the 60-inch TV market in North America. It anticipates unit shipments will 7 million and estimates revenues to exceed NT$100 billion this year. Similarly optimistic, Foxconn is aiming for total revenues of NT$4 trillion in 2013.

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