iPad Manufacturer Looking Towards Cloud Computing
Most people reading this article would be wondering why we would say that Apple’s entering the cloud computing now; after all, there have been articles galore, many on this website itself, covering Apple’s move to the cloud earlier with the predictably-named iCloud. Here are a few of them:
No, when I say “iPad manufacturer”, I refer not to the company that designs, markets and sells the most popular piece of electronics today, but to the company that actually builds the product – Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., or as the Western world popularly knows it, Foxconn. Established in Taiwan in 1974 as a manufacturer for Atari components, Foxconn today is a gigantic corporation that has $110 billion in revenues and employs almost a million people. Foxconn is a contract manufacturer for the leading technology brands in the world, including Cisco, Intel, Acer, Microsoft, HP, Nokia and Motorola. And of course, Apple.
Now, Foxconn has decided to test the waters in an area from its consumer electronics niche – cloud computing. To that effect, it is investing 1.9 billion New Taiwan Dollars ($63.3 million) over the next five years to construct a 4.57 acre campus in the Kaohsiung Software Park in southern Taiwan. It will employ 3,000 software engineers and house three centers: a cloud computing center to be equipped with an internally developed container data center; a software development center focusing on cloud computing, digital content, security monitoring, and environmental protection; and a technological innovation incubation center. Construction started earlier this month and will be completed in two to three years.
The Kaohsiung Software Technology Park is part of a government initiative to position Taiwan’s second largest city as a regional technology hub. I had written about the Taiwanese government’s interest in cloud computing in an earlier article (See: Cloud Computing: Taiwan’s Next Trillion Dollar Industry ). Shen Jung-chin, head of the Export Processing Zone Administration, said that Foxconn’s presence in the Kaohsiung Software Technology Park was expected to attract more companies to the location. Already 200 companies have set up shop in what has been described as Taiwan’s Silicon Valley.
An ability to predict future requirements enabled Hon Hai founder Terry Gou to build up his company from scratch to the largest contract manufacturer in the world today – a company whose products populate every country in the world – and amass a personal fortune of $5.7 billion. That he has decided to invest in cloud computing demonstrates his belief in the technology and portends well for the future.
By Sourya Biswas