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Roving Periscope: To China’s chagrin, India decorates Taiwan’s Foxconn chief

Roving Periscope: To China’s chagrin, India decorates Taiwan’s Foxconn chief

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Virendra Pandit

 

New Delhi: In a tit-for-tat weeks after China wooed the Maldives, India has announced to honor Taiwan’s leading businessman—Foxconn Chairman and CEO Young Liu—with the third highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan, on the eve of this year’s Republic Day.

He is among the 16 eminent people to be decorated with the Padma Bhushan and the only foreigner to be awarded it this year.

In September 2023, Hon Hai Technology Group chief Young Liu observed that India has the potential to become the “new manufacturing center in the world.” The supplier ecosystem in India is likely to develop faster than it did in China. Foxconn planned to expand its operations in India in response to increased consumer purchases and is exploring opportunities to manufacture electric vehicles (EVs) in the country, he said.

Nearly four months later, in a remarkable recognition of his outstanding contributions to the technology industry, India has decorated the Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturer chief with the prestigious Padma Bhushan award.

Until now, Foxconn Technology Group’s investment in India amounted to USD 2.7 billion. This includes the USD 1 billion investment approval it received recently for its upcoming facility in India to manufacture Apple products

Young Liu, a well-known entrepreneur and innovator, boasts an impressive career spanning over four decades. His entrepreneurial journey began in 1988 when he founded Young Micro Systems, a motherboard company, and, in 1995, ventured into the realm of IC design, which focused on PC chipsets. In 1997, Liu established ITE Tech, known as ITeX, marking the third successful venture in his illustrious career.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India. My heartfelt thanks to the President, Prime Minister, and the wonderful people of India for this tremendous distinction. I firmly believe this is an affirmation of a collaboration that benefits India’s long-term development and supports the growth of local economies. I will continue to inspire my team. Let’s do our part for manufacturing in India and the betterment of society,” he said on being conferred the prestigious award.

Foxconn, headquartered in Taiwan, is the world’s largest contract manufacturer, which assembles around 70 percent of iPhones. The company has strategically diversified its production away from China because of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and escalating geopolitical tensions since 2020. India is among its chief new destinations.

Post-COVID, Foxconn made significant investments in expanding its footprint in India, particularly in the southern states, as part of the company’s broader strategy to reduce dependence on China and tap into the growing opportunities offered by the Indian market.

Young Liu has long been an advocate for India’s potential in the electronics manufacturing sector. In a statement last year, he expressed optimism about the future, stating, “India will be a very important country in terms of manufacturing in the future,” highlighting the significant role that the South Asian country is set to play in the global manufacturing landscape.

This year, the President of India approved 132 Padma awards across various fields, including art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, and civil service.

The awards ceremony will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, marking a momentous occasion to celebrate the achievements and contributions of individuals across diverse sectors.

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