iPhone-maker posts first sales fall amid smartphone woes

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the main assembler of Apple Inc.’s iPhones, recorded its first annual revenue decline after the global smartphone market went through its worst year on record. The company, also known as Foxconn, posted a 2.8 per cent fall in 2016 sales to $136.5 billion, it said in a filing to Taiwan’s stock exchange, mostly in line with analysts’ estimates. It was Hon Hai’s first decline in yearly revenue since listing in 1991, and comes as Terry Gou’s Foxconn Technology Group prepares to invest billions of dollars in display-making capacity after taking control of Japan’s Sharp Corp. The world’s biggest contract manufacturer of electronics has been grappling with the smartphone slowdown, the result of maturing markets and a decelerating Chinese economy. It’s deployed robots and boosted production efficiency to drive down costs but its fate is intertwined with Apple’s, which is trying to regain investors’ confidence after less-than-stellar quarterly earnings. Apple accounts for about half of Hon Hai’s sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In October, the iPhone-maker reported its first annual revenue decline since 2001 and forecast sales of $76 billion to $78 billion for the holiday quarter. That’s barely higher than expectations despite arch-rival Samsung Electronics Co.’s issues with the now-defunct fire-prone Note 7. (Bloomberg NEWS)

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