Inventec to install 3,000 robots for handset production
Taiwan’s Inventec Corp. ( ), a major supplier of Chinese phone brand Xiaomi Inc. ( ), said Tuesday that it plans to install 3,000 robots at its handset factories in the coming year as part of a “smart manufacturing” initiative.
Inventec began the initiative in July last year and has bought as many as 300 robots from several suppliers to install in its Chinese factories, said David Ho chief executive of Inventec’s handset subsidiary, Inventec Appliance Corp. The company expects to purchase another 3,000 robots from July this year to June next year, putting roughly 5,000 workers out of work, Ho said.
The robots are expected to cost Inventec around US$20 million to US$30 million, while the company will develop solutions for robots that will be integrated with software and hardware, according to Ho.
In the third year of the smart manufacturing initiative between 2016 and 2017, Inventec aims to design robots on its own and to create a business model to help its suppliers and vendors build product automation using robots, he added.
Inventec has forecast that shipments of smart handheld devices will increase from 30 million units in 2014 to 70 million in 2015, helped largely by increasing orders from major customers like Xiaomi and growth in tablet computers.
Xiaomi, the leading smartphone brand in China by domestic shipments, aims to ship 100 million smartphones this year, of which Inventec is expected to receive 50 percent of the orders, according to local media reports.
Inventec Chairman Upbeat about
HTC’s Business Outlook
The chairman of Inventec said Tuesday that he remains upbeat about the prospects for smartphone maker HTC Corp. ( ).
Richard Lee ( ) said after Inventec’s meeting with shareholders that he is a loyal user of HTC smartphones because of HTC’s strong ability to innovate and stable product quality. Lee said he remained “optimistic” about HTC’s business outlook but suggested that the phone vendor invest more in adjusting its marketing, cost structure and automation strategies.
To stand out from competitors, a smartphone brand like HTC should streamline its high-end product line to one or two models, keep up with competitors by offering low-cost feature-rich products, and target the right consumers in the market, Lee said. Lee’s remarks came after HTC cut its sales forecast for the second quarter on June 5, citing lower- than- expected global demand for high-end Android devices and the company’s weak sales in China.
HTC lowered its second-quarter sales forecast to NT$33 billionNT$36 billion (US$1.06 billionUS$1.16 billion) from its previous estimate of NT$46 billion-NT$51 billion, which was made April 28.
The smartphone maker also projected a net loss of NT$9.7NT$9.94 per share for the AprilJune period, a revision from an earlier forecast of NT$0.06NT$0.34 in earnings per share.