Foxconn's Gou Says Yes to Games, No to Batista

Photographer: Imaginechina via AP Images
Terry Gou, Chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. and Foxconn Technology Group speaks during the 2013 Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang in southwest China's Guizhou province, on July 20, 2013.

Foxconn Technology Group founder and Chairman Terry Gou is keen on mobile games. He's keen on software. He's keen on cloud computing, Internet data centers and 4G wireless data communications.

Deals with Brazil and its most famous businessman? Not so much.

In a long chat with reporters on the rooftop of his latest pride and joy -- Foxconn's Southern Taiwan software and cloud computing R&D center -- he went to great lengths to share his enthusiasm for those areas his company is not (yet) well-known for.

The company is hard at work building a software team, focused chiefly on HTML5 development, and has already built a data center to serve local and international clients. Cloud computing is the future, he says.

Just this week he landed a slice of Taiwan's mobile spectrum, setting Gou's empire up for its telecom debut as a 4G mobile provider, which he clearly points out is not for voice and text, but for data and graphics.

Content is also in the mix. His Hon Hai unit this week announced a joint venture with Hong Kong-based online game maker NetDragon to develop tablets, software and content for China's education market.

As for mobile games, Foxconn's first release will be out within six months, he said.

Brazil, on the other hand, isn't a priority. During a short elevator ride between floors at the Kaohsiung Software Park, he said to me, almost in a whisper, that he hasn't been to Brazil for a long time. (Foxconn assembles iPads and iPhones there.)

I asked: How about Eike Batista? There's no talks with Batista, he replied, rebutting a long-standing rumor that the two were looking to co-invest in Brazil. Batista wasn't interested in high tech and they had no compatible business interests.

Gou later elaborated on his Brazil plans, or lack thereof. The Brazilians had wanted Foxconn to build a big new next-generation display panel factory. The problem: They don't understand the technology business.

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