Apple-supplier Foxconn flags strong start to year as lockdowns spur electronics demand

FILE PHOTO: Staff wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus disease (COVID-19), while listening to the annual general meeting at the lobby of Foxconn's office in Taipei, Taiwan, June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Apple supplier Foxconn said it expects first-quarter revenue to rise more than 15% from a year earlier, boosted by strong iPhone sales and robust demand for electronics during lockdowns worldwide to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world's largest contract electronics manufacturer has previously forecast strong demand for the new iPhone 12, saying its business will be supported by "stronger than expected" sales for smartphones and for telecommuting devices amid a coronavirus-induced work-from-home trend.

Taiwan-based Foxconn, in a short statement on Thursday, said it expects consumer electronics revenue, which includes smartphones and smart watches, to rise more than 15% in the January-March quarter from a year earlier. It did not elaborate.

Foxconn said it saw revenue for cloud products that include servers and revenue for computing products such as laptops to rise about 10% in the first quarter, respectively.

Foxconn's chairman said last month that he expects his company and its clients will face only "limited impact" from a chip shortage that has rattled the global automotive and semiconductor industries.

Foxconn, formally Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, has previously said it expects revenue to grow about 10% in 2021.

Over the past year or so it has announced several deals on the production of electric vehicles with automakers including U.S. electric-car maker Fisker Inc, China's Byton and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Stellantis NV's Fiat Chrysler unit.

Shares in Foxconn have risen more than 20% so far this year.

Tech-powerhouse Taiwan's economy is booming due to the pandemic because of global demand for tablets, computers and smartphones.

Taiwan's January export orders, a bellwether of global technology demand, surged 49.3% from a year earlier to $52.72 billion.

Taiwan's government last month revised up its outlook for 2021, predicting the economy will grow at its fastest pace in seven years, seeing gross domestic product (GDP) expanding 4.64% on the jump in exports driven by tech demand.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) the world's largest contract chip maker, in January posted its best-ever quarterly profit and lifted revenue and capital spending estimates to record levels as it forecast "multiple years of growth opportunities".

(Reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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