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Tuesday, 13 February 2018 | MYT 4:18 PM

iPhone maker Foxconn plans to make affordable 8K film cameras

Foxconn Technology Group plans to partner with Red Digital Cinema to make affordable 8K ultra-high definition film cameras to compensate for weakening demand in smartphones.

"We will make cameras that will shoot professional-quality films in 8K resolution but at only a third of current prices and a third of current camera sizes," Foxconn chairman Terry Gou told reporters, at the company's annual employee party ahead of Chinese New Year, in Taipei. 

Gou said he was in talks with Red Digital Cinema – the company's cameras were used to film hits movies and TV shows, including Transformers and Netflix's House Of Cards, to form a joint venture or partnership to produce affordable cameras. A Red's 8K camera now sells for around US$30,000 (RM118,150).

The Taiwanese company sought new revenue sources to compensate for weakening smartphone demand and to reduce its business dependence on Apple, which accounts for more than 50% of its sales. 

Foxconn assembles iPhones and MacBook laptops among other products for Apple, at razor thin profit margins. It manufactured about 70% of the 215 million iPhones shipped each year.

The move was part of an effort to build a corporate ecosystem related to displays and videos. 

Gou said his company was basing its strategy on the display manufacturing facilities it already operates and its 2016 acquisition of Sharp's semiconductor business, which will be expanded this year.

"Not only displays, Sharp controls important chip technologies for various image sensors that go into digital cameras and televisions. We will definitely make good use of them and make more of them," said Gou. "And we will make these [semiconductors] much more cheaply. That's our important goal and project for this year."

Besides the US and China, Foxconn is expanding manufacturing in India, and Southeast Asia this year, according to Gou, but he did not disclose details.

 Foxconn now makes mobile phones for Xiaomi in India.