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Foxconn Doesn't Want to Be Confused With Foxconn

Photographer: Thomas Lee/Bloomberg

“Terry” Gou Tai-Ming, chairman and president of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd., speaks in his office building at the Foxconn City complex in Shenzhen, China, in 2010. Close

“Terry” Gou Tai-Ming, chairman and president of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd.,... Read More

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Photographer: Thomas Lee/Bloomberg

“Terry” Gou Tai-Ming, chairman and president of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd., speaks in his office building at the Foxconn City complex in Shenzhen, China, in 2010.

For years, the world has had trouble wrapping its head around that behemoth known to us all as Foxconn.

Not helping matters has been the fact that Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group is actually a name given to a collection of companies, and not a legal entity in itself.

The flagship of Terry Gou's empire is Hon Hai Precision, from which flows more than 200 holding companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and divisions. (I am not kidding, Hon Hai owns or controls at least 230 companies!)

A few of those, such as Innolux and Pan-International, have either been spun off for public listing or were acquired by the group and rarely get confused with the mothership.

No less than 40, however, carry the name Foxconn (according to Hon Hai's annual report). Among them is Foxconn Technology Co., best known as a maker of metal casings for iPhones (but not an iPhone assembler), and Foxconn International Holdings.

Foxconn International was once a darling of the Hong Kong stock market where it listed in 2005. As the chief supplier of phones for Nokia, Research in Motion and Motorola, its stock climbed seven-fold within 18 months.

Then came Apple. And Samsung. And ZTE. And Huawei. And, well, you know the story. Foxconn International's (declining) fortunes have mirrored that of its big customers. Foxconn didn't get the gig to make the iPhone (though its engineers were borrowed by Hon Hai, which makes the device, to work on aspects of the project).

This little factoid seems to have escaped hoards of analysts, reporters, investors and regulators who've mistaken the two and labeled Foxconn International a maker of iPhones.

There have been confusions and enquiries from time to time made by certain governmental and/or regulatory authorities as well as the media and financial analysts worldwide when they have mixed the Company up with the Foxconn Technology Group, or the other member(s) of the Foxconn Technology Group, with reference to "Foxconn" or "富士康" (The Chinese characters for "Foxconn")

So now they're changing their name to FIH Mobile Limited.

The proposal needs approval at a shareholders meeting. But not to worry, Foxconn International's largest shareholder? Hon Hai Precision (via a holding company, of course).

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