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September 24, 2017

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Foxconn targets 70% automation in 3 years: Gou

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Foxconn's Terry Gou (郭台銘), chairman of the world's largest manufacturer of consumer electronics, yesterday said he hopes 70 percent of assembly can be automated within three years.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which trades as Foxconn Technology Group, sees robotics as a major investment direction for the coming year, Gou said at a prayer ceremony marking the Year of the Goat.

"I believe that in the future, the robotics industry will be bigger than the auto industry," he said.

Gou stressed to local media that he does not foresee artificial intelligence causing job losses within Foxconn.

The human labor shortage in China is serious as younger job seekers becoming increasing averse to factory work, he said.

Gou said Foxconn will continue to deepen investment in robotics and is targeting 70-percent automation within three years.

Other planned investments include a new research and development center in Dingpu (頂埔) and bids to build fifth-generation mobile connection technologies.

On Economic Climate

Gou was speaking at Foxconn's Tucheng headquarters (土城) in a prayer ceremony on the eighth day of the Lunar New Year.

At the ceremony he took questions from local reporters, in what was his first interview since weighing in on the 9-in-1 elections on Nov. 29, 2014.

Asked to comment on economic prospects for the Year of the Goat, Gou said the economic climate is not an issue.

"Every year we discuss the question of the economic climate. I think the economic climate is not an issue. There is only the issue of how hard you are willing to struggle," he said.

Stable Growth for 2015

In the coming year, Foxconn targets stable expansion with no sharp revenue spikes or falls, he said.

The group, comprised of large companies that specialize in optics, electronics, materials, application software and machinery, ended 2014 with over NT$4.2 trillion in sales, or NT$5 trillion including its subsidiaries Innolux Corp. (群創) and Ding Technology Holding Ltd. (臻鼎).

Scaling up on a business already so large is difficult, and "everyone is under a great deal of pressure," Gou said.

Running a company and governing a country are the same in that growth and progress are important, but stability is even more so, he said.

Politics and Media

Also at the ceremony, Gou urged local media to spend the year reporting objectively.

He said other wishes for the coming lunar year include political stability in Taiwan and cross-strait peace, calling them variables key to the health of an economy.

For investors to have confidence in the economy, the political climate must be stable, Gou said.

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