IT manufacturer FoxConn reportedly has launched a $6.8 million investment fund to back startup companies making wearable computing devices.
Foxconn founder Terry Gou's son will run the company's new wearable devices investment fund.
Taiwan IT manufacturer FoxConn, which makes Apple (AAPL) iPhone smartphones and iPad tablets along with Cisco Systems (CSCO), Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) gear, has opened an investment fund to back startup companies producing wearable computing devices, according to a Bloomberg report.
The Syntrend Creative Park incubator, operating as a Foxconn business unit and headed by company founder Terry Gou’s son, Gou Shou-cheng, will launch with some $6.8 million in funding, kicking off a trial run in the first quarter of 2014, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.
The incubator won’t get up to full operations, including offices and advisory services, until the end of 2014, the sources said. In the interim, startups chosen for the program pilot will be housed either in temporary facilities or at Foxconn’s offices in Taipei City. Some 20 companies could receive about $35,000 each to begin operations in the test period, according to the report.
According to the Bloomberg report, two floors of a new 12-story retail and technology showcase complex Foxconn is building in Taipei slated for completion by the end of 2014 will be reserved for the Syntrend incubator.
As part of the initiative, Syntrend will mine local and international universities for participants by promoting student programs and competitions. Syntrend may not confine itself to hardware startups and could underwrite mobile application developers building software for wearable devices, the report said.
Amid slowing sales and more competition, Foxconn in recent months has moved to find alternate sources of income, showcasing its own in-development smartwatch at a shareholders’ meeting in June and in October gaining licenses to supply 4G wireless networking in Taiwan. The company also disclosed plans to pour $40 million into a robotics and high-end manufacturing project in Pennsylvania.
Gou is on record setting a 15 percent annual revenue growth target for Foxconn, but the company may already have slid off-course to meet that long-term goal. As of the end of October, Foxconn's year-over-year sales had slipped some 3 percent and through November annual revenue was off .84 percent.