Key After a turbulent year in China, Apple Inc.’s manufacturing partner Foxconn Technology Group has named a new head of its iPhone assembly unit, reflecting the company’s efforts to groom a new generation of leaders to help it navigate a post-Covid world.
Michael Chiang was introduced in his new position for the first time at Taiwan-based Foxconn’s annual year-end party on Sunday, succeeding Wang Charng-yang as head of the division in charge of iPhone assembly.
Foxconn Replaces iPhone Business Chief
According to sources acquainted with the situation, Chiang was recently moved to head of the A business group, while Wang resigns to focus on a board position.
Chairman Young Liu of Foxconn’s flagship unit Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. is promoting younger executives in an effort to maintain the company’s supply chain leadership in the face of intensifying competition from Chinese rivals.
Apple may confront new competitors in India as it looks to diversify its production footprint in the wake of pandemic-related supply bottlenecks and stringent restrictions that wreaked havoc on device manufacturers in China.
According to a person who requested anonymity to discuss internal affairs, Chiang is a longtime Foxconn manager who has assisted the company in meeting Apple’s stringent requirements.
Wang, who was named to Hon Hai’s board in the summer of 2022, remains a director, and his removal from the iPhone operations post is unrelated to the Covid-related production problems Foxconn experienced last year, according to people familiar with the matter.
Chiang holds a master’s degree in human resources development from Claremont Graduate University in California, and he joined Foxconn in 1999, according to a comprehensive interview he conducted with an insurance broker company in June 2021.
Expansion Of Domestic Manufacturing
Late last year, when Foxconn confronted significant worker unrest at its main iPhone campus in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, Chiang played a pivotal role in communicating with the local authorities and ensuring Apple’s requests were met, one of the sources said.
The appointment exemplifies Foxconn’s efforts in recent years to cultivate a younger generation of executives to assist the company in navigating protracted tensions between Washington and Beijing, diversifying its manufacturing bases outside of China, and fending off Chinese rivals such as Luxshare Precision Industry Co.
Chiang stated in the 2021 interview that he has visited India three times to assist Foxconn in establishing a manufacturing foothold there.
Our greatest obstacle in India is culture shock, notably its caste system. This is brand-new to us, Chiang stated. During the conversation, Chiang also discussed the iPhone construction process.
For Chinese Android phones, we just need to allocate 100 workers per production line, but for the iPhone, we require 1,200, Chiang added, highlighting Apple’s stringent requirements.
Liu succeeded Terry Gou as chairman of Hon Hai in 2019, succeeding the creator of Foxconn. Since then, he has been filling important roles with younger personnel by acquiring seasoned hands from the outside and elevating people from the inside, with Chiang being his most prominent hire to date.