Foxconn Chief Reveals His Company Will Partner With RED to Make Low-Cost 8K Mobile Phones

Foxconn’s Chairman Terry Gou said in Taipei that his company plans to team up with premium U.S. camera maker RED Digital Cinema to make professional-quality and affordable smartphone cameras for the general public. He also said the company will manufacture semiconductors for displays and cameras.

Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn

Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn

The Taiwanese company, which builds Apple’s iPhones and Macbook computers, is constructing facilities to make large-scale display panels in the United States and China. It is seeking new revenue sources to compensate for weakening smartphone demand. Foxconn wants to reduce its business dependence on Apple, which accounts for more than 50 percent of its sales.

"We will make cameras that will shoot professional-quality films in 8K resolution but at only a third of current prices and a third of current camera sizes," said Terry Gou, Foxconn’s chairman to reporters in Taipei following the company's annual employee party before the Chinese New Year. 8K ultra-high definition resolution has become the benchmark standard for digital television and cinematography.

Gou said he is in talks with RED Digital Cinema to form a joint venture or partnership to produce affordable cameras. A RED 8K camera now sells for around $30,000.

RED's $30,000 8K Camera.

RED's $30,000 8K Camera.

Gou said Foxconn is basing its strategy on the display manufacturing facilities it already operates and its 2016 acquisition of Sharp's semiconductor business, which will be expanded this year.

"Not only displays, Sharp controls important chip technologies for various image sensors that go into digital cameras and televisions. We will definitely make good use of them and make more of them," said Gou. "And we will make these [semiconductors] much more cheaply. That's our important goal and project for this year."

Meanwhile, Foxconn is churning out more display panels, with the help of three of its affiliates — Innolux of Taiwan, Sharp and Sakai Display Products of Japan. Gou signed an agreement in November with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to build a $10 billion liquid crystal display panel factory in the Midwest state in return for $3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives. Construction will begin in April, Gou said.

Foxconn is also building another large-scale LCD display plant for TV screens in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, which is scheduled to go into production before 2020.

Besides the U.S. and China, Foxconn is expanding manufacturing in India and Southeast Asia this year, according to Gou. Foxconn is undergoing a major transformation over the next three years from being a traditional manufacturer to a service provider for cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence.

Repeated attempts to get an interview with a representatives of RED Digital Cinema proved unsuccessful. Jim Jannard, president of RED, emailed the following: “We have had discussions with Terry, but it is premature to give any meaningful info.”

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