The founder and chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn, is without a doubt, one of the most energetic entrepreneurs in China today. His company is the number one Apple supplier but is also the supplier to a host of technology companies such as HP, Dell, Xiaomi, Sony, Microsoft and others. They have a huge engineering division that files hundreds of patents under both Foxconn and Hon Hai every year. We've even covered a few for a game controller and a hybrid notebook. Hon Hai is one of the leaders in industrial robots. Earlier this year Foxconn acquired Japan's Sharp and is pushing them hard to enter Apple's Supply Chain for iPhone OLED displays in the future. More amazingly we recently learned that Foxconn and ARM will be creating a join chip design center in Shenzhen where Apple is building their new R&D Center. Then on Monday we learned that Apple gave Foxconn the green light to test wireless charging modules for future iPhones. We hardly digested that news and today we learn that Foxconn and Sharp are now diving into the Augmented Reality business.
According to a new report this afternoon we learn that earlier today the Foxconn Technology Group unveiled an augmented reality advertising project using high-resolution 4K TVs made by its Japanese subsidiary Sharp Corporation.
During a presentation at Taipei's main rail station, a major location for the new advertising project, Foxconn Executive Vice President Lu Fang-ming gave an augmented reality presentation in which his image was merged in real time with graphics.
"Foxconn has been trying to integrate software and hardware services over the past few years," Lu said. "Sharp is a leading industrial display provider in Japan...and we will use the best display technology available [for the AR advertising business]."
Lu did not say how much sales he expected the new augmented reality project would bring, but he said he hoped it could break even before the end of 2017.
Foxconn has invested another 50 million New Taiwan dollars (US$1.58 million) to set up a new company, LinkOOH, to develop the augmented reality advertising business in Taiwan. Lu said that LinkOOH now will use Sharp's high-resolution TVs for its various advertising deals.
In August Patently Apple posted a patent report demonstrating that Apple is continuing to work on a next generation of displays designed specifically to enhance Augmented Reality. Last month we posted another report titled "While Apple's CEO Talks Up Augmented Reality, TSMC Points to Specialty Chips for AR coming to Market in 2019." So Apple and their suppliers are gearing up for the coming AR market in terms of displays and specialty chips that may come into play with Apple in the coming years. These are developments that we'll continue to track over time to help us all understand the bigger picture in AR that is beginning to take shape.
On a last note, it should be noted that Foxconn's Chairman Terry Gou is also a well-connected man in China. During Tim Cook's latest trip to China, Gou accompanied Cook when meeting Chairman Xu Shaoshi of China's National Development and Reform Commission and other senior Shenzhen officials to work out the details about their new R&D center.