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Technology

Foxconn chief targets 2022 rollout of electric cars with Fiat

Retired founder Terry Gou eyes Vision Fund-style tech investment fund

The first electric cars built under a partnership between Foxconn and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are expected to debut in two years.   © Reuters

TAIPEI -- Foxconn expects to begin shipping electric vehicles from a planned joint venture with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in two years, Foxconn Chairman Young Liu told a news conference here Wednesday.

The partnership was announced last week by the Taiwanese contract electronics maker, formally Hon Hai Precision Industry. Liu said Foxconn will not handle assembly, citing a glut of facilities in China, but will provide parts and handle supply chain management.

The Apple supplier is seeking new growth areas amid a slowing smartphone industry. China is the world's largest electric-vehicle market, where Tesla recently began production at its Gigafactory in Shanghai.

Fiat Chrysler has said the two companies aim to sign final binding agreements "in the next few months" while noting that there is "no assurance" that a deal will be inked within that time frame or at all.

They should be able to reach an agreement by midyear, Liu said.

Foxconn Chairman Young Liu speaks to reporters in Taipei on Jan. 22. (Photo by Kensaku Ihara)

Liu said last year that while the company relies heavily on contract electronics manufacturing, it will focus on three key areas as future growth drivers: electric cars, digital medicine and advanced robotics.

Foxconn founder Terry Gou, who stepped down as chairman last June, also participated in the news conference. Gou said he is preparing to set up an independent fund to invest in technology companies in such countries as the U.S., Japan, Germany and Israel.

While the tycoon, one of Taiwan's richest people, gave no details about the size of the fund, he said he will use SoftBank Group's $100 billion Vision Fund as a model.

The billionaire had attempted a run in the Taiwan presidential election, but had lost in the primaries of the China-friendly party Kuomintang to Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu.

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