TAIPEI -- In 2006, Hon Hai Precision Industry was about to take on a major role in an epochal shift in consumer electronics, though few of the Taiwanese company's employees could have imagined what was about to hit them. At the time, the company, better known as Foxconn, made most of its money assembling personal computers for big American companies like Dell. But a contract for a new product -- one that had been an obsession of Apple CEO Steve Jobs for years -- would soon change all that.
Over the next decade, the iPhone would help push Foxconn's revenue from $38 billion to $145 billion and turn it into one of the world's largest employers. Meanwhile, Dell -- once a marquee customer of Foxconn's -- was bought out by founder Michael Dell and taken private in 2013, having fallen victim to the rise of tablets and smartphones.