Foxsemicon’s marvelous recovery: back from the brink and going public
After Terry Gou almost gave up on it, Foxsemicon is going public. How did this perennial money loser turn into a semiconductor industry stalwart?
By Elaine Huang
A typhoon was poised to slam into Taiwan, but that did not deter the more than 100 people who packed into a conference room at Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei on July 8. They were there for a Foxsemicon Integrated Technology briefing on its results just weeks before it was set to go public on Taiwan’s stock exchange on July 28.
The conference was highly anticipated because Foxsemicon, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry, the world’s largest electronics manufacturing contractor, is a big money maker, something that was unthinkable not long ago.
of the Taiwan office of one of the world’s leading semiconductor equipment makers, Applied Materials, rushed to the conference to show his support for the company after returning from an overseas trip that morning.
Yu’s presence demonstrated that beyond having a wealthy benefactor in Hon Hai, Foxsemicon had another important identity — as Applied Materials’ biggest Taiwanese contractor.
At the sight of so many institutional investors and media workers, Foxsemicon Chairman Liu Yin-kuang had a hard time not showing his nerves.
“It was hard not to be nervous. It was the first time for him as the chairman of a subsidiary to step out on his own and face a crowd of investors and media,” says a Hon Hai executive who knows Liu.
Hon Hai, better known outside of Taiwan as the Foxconn Technology Group, usually has its chairman, Terry Gou, speak publicly on the company’s behalf, while other executives keep extremely low profiles.
“Don’t keep focusing on me. I want to highlight the entire team. If you don’t know much about me, then let’s keep it that way. It doesn’t matter,” said an uncomfortable Liu as the media peppered him with questions.
Of course, there was little Liu could have said to dampen outside observers’ curiosity because he has taken the reigns of a company that Gou once almost gave up on.
In fact, Foxsemicon’s evolution has been anything but smooth sailing after getting off to a successful start. When it was found- ed in 2001 with semiconductor industry veteran Koven Tsao (
) as chairman, the company plunged into the semiconductor equipment field and gained certification as an Applied Materials supplier within a year.
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Terry Gou, left, chairman and CEO of Foxsemicon Integrated Technology parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry group, poses for photographers with humanoid robot “Pepper,” at a SoftBank showroom in Tokyo, on June 6.