Foxconn’s New China Plant Aims for $8 Billion Output

Foxconn Technology Group is aiming for 50 billion yuan ($8 billion) worth of annual production from a new China factory by 2018 as clients including Apple Inc. seek suppliers with more environmentally-friendly manufacturing.

“In the past, people thought being green would increase costs or lower efficiency. That is not the case,” Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said at a press conference in Guiyang, in southern China’s Guizhou province. “This industrial park represents a new model for growth; green and responsible.”

Apple and Hewlett-Packard Co. are among Taipei-based Foxconn’s clients seeking to make their supply chains more environmentally responsible. The new plant will be more energy efficient and will use less chemicals and more recyclable materials, Gou said yesterday without giving details.

The plant is also part of Foxconn’s effort to expand into businesses such as automotive electronics, mobile phone services and cloud computing to boost growth amid slowing sales. Carbon nano tubes and recyclable materials are among the products Foxconn will develop at the site in addition to consumer electronics such as mobile phones and televisions, Gou said.

Foxconn expects 35 billion yuan in annual output at the facility by 2016, he said.

Apple is among electronics companies auditing the environmental impact of its devices, including the manufacturing process. Chris Gaither, a Cupertino, California-based spokesman for Apple declined to comment on Foxconn’s Guiyang plans.

Carbon Footprint

“Carbon emissions from our manufacturing partners remain the largest portion of our carbon footprint, an area we’re committed to addressing,” Apple said in an update to its environmental responsibility report posted online this month.

Production processes for the iPhone 5s, introduced in September, account for 83 percent of that product’s greenhouse gas emissions, followed by customer use which accounts for 12 percent, according to an Apple report. The device produces 36 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than the iPhone 4s, which had 64 percent coming from production, Apple said.

Hewlett-Packard said in September the company plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions among first-tier manufacturers by 20 percent in the 10 years through 2020.

— With assistance by Tim Culpan, and Edmond Lococo

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