Foxconn's Satellites Ride with SpaceX in Search of New Revenue in Orbit
Updated: Jan 8
In a bid to diversify its business, Apple supplier Foxconn has sent two prototype low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites into space aboard a SpaceX rocket.
The launch took place at Vandenberg Space Force Base in southern California. This move marks a significant moment for Foxconn as it ventures into new sectors to offset the challenges faced by its established businesses, such as smartphones and laptops. The company aims to demonstrate its satellite technology capabilities and tap into the growing demand for communications from space.
While SpaceX has already launched thousands of LEO satellites for its Starlink constellation, Foxconn is targeting corporate and government clients with its satellite manufacturing. The satellites, developed in collaboration with Taiwan's National Central University, are compact, weighing around 9 kilograms each and equipped with cameras, communication devices and other equipment. They are designed to orbit the Earth every 96 minutes at an altitude of 520 kilometers.
Since taking over as chairman in 2019, Liu Young-way has been focused on diversifying Foxconn's business. The company has been exploring opportunities in electric vehicles, digital health, robotics, artificial intelligence, semiconductors and now, communication satellites. Liu emphasised the need for long-term growth and stated, "I needed to find something so that the company is able to grow for the next 10, 15 years."
While the smartphone industry demands frequent updates and large quantities, the satellite business is less predictable. Tim Farrar, president of Telecom, Media and Finance Associates, explained that customers can go a long time between orders for LEO satellites, making it challenging for companies like Foxconn. However, government orders could provide some stability for Foxconn's satellite business. Additionally, the company's foray into the electric vehicle market could also support its satellite endeavors, as real-time communication technology is crucial for EVs.
Foxconn's expertise in electronics, gained from manufacturing smartphones and other devices, is expected to be an advantage in its satellite ventures. Taiwan, known for its prowess in electronics manufacturing, is well-positioned to make this transition to space-related technologies.
Foxconn has launched two LEO satellites aboard a SpaceX rocket.
The move is part of Foxconn's diversification strategy.
The company aims to tap into the demand for communication from space.