[TAIPEI] Foxconn Technology Group plans to invest as much as US$1 billion in Indian startups during the next two years as it seeks growth beyond manufacturing, according to people familiar with the plans.
The Taiwanese company has held meetings with almost 40 businesses - including those in e-commerce and renewable energy - as it considers how they fit with Foxconn's long-term strategy, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. Investments may include cash, technology, manufacturing or other services, the people said.
Foxconn, best known as the major product assembler for Apple Inc, joins SoftBank Group Corp and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in tapping India's growing economy and nascent technology industry to expand into retailing and e-commerce. Its FIH Mobile unit announced last month it would spend US$200 million for a 4.3 per cent stake in online marketplace operator Snapdeal.
One of the other targets Terry Gou's company has met with is GreenDust, which resells returned electrical goods and factory seconds, though a decision hasn't been made on an investment, the people said.
"Foxconn has plans to set up an investment fund and an incubator to invest in and to engage and collaborate with technology startups in India," Foxconn said in a statement. It didn't comment on targets or investment amounts.
The two are having "serious discussions," said Hitendra Chaturvedi, chief executive officer of Reverse Logistics Co, which owns GreenDust.
The investments would be in addition to the money Foxconn is spending to build factories around India to make smartphones for clients, including Xiaomi Corp and OnePlus, they said. Foxconn expects to open as many as 12 factories and create 1 million jobs in the country by 2020, Mr Gou, the founder and chairman, said in July.