Legend: Terry Gou - Manufacturing the Modern World
Name: Terry Gou
Title: Founder, Director
There are few people who have had as great an influence on the world of technology than Terry Gou, the founder and chairman of Hon Hai Precision, one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers. There are a good deal fewer people who have built empires from humble beginnings.
Born in Banqiao Township, Taipei, in 1950, Gou grew up in a lower middle-class family and, from graduating college to the age of 24, held a string of blue collar factory jobs. In 1974, with $7,500 (worth about $40,000 today) and an 11-strong, elderly workforce, he founded Hon Hai Precision, manufacturing a specific channel-changing knob for black and white television sets. Not an especially auspicious beginning to what would become the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, but Gou - imbued with a supreme confidence that electronics "would be an integral part of everyday life" - pressed on.
Hon Hai Precision opened its first factory in mainland China in 1988, which remains the site of the company’s largest manufacturing plant today. During subsequent decades, Foxconn focused largely on building the bare bones chassis for Compaq desktop computers, an avenue which led to a series of lucrative contracts with IBM, HP and - in the late 90’s - Apple.
The relationship that developed between Foxconn and Apple Inc is one of the most profitable in the history of the electronics industry. With the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, Apple catalysed the touchscreen smartphone age, and Foxconn - the company selected to manufacture the majority of Apple’s products then and since - has been the driving force behind the company’s reputation for high build quality.
Gou stepped down as the chairman of Foxconn in 2019 after 45 years at the helm. He maintains a directorship and, in addition to working with his charity, the YongLin Foundation, still makes his presence felt at the wheel of his firm.
HMD Global launches “rugged” Nokia smartphones
Finnish mobile phone manufacturer HMD Global, often referred to as the home of Nokia, has launched three new smartphones for the brand, the Nokia XR20, the Nokia C30, and the Nokia 6310. The company is also expanding its portfolio of audio accessories.
Explaining the reason behind the launch of the devices, Florian Seiche, CEO, HMD Global, said: "We are tapping into consumer pain points around durability and longevity. We did a global trend report8 and found that 73% of consumers want to keep their phone for longer and would if their devices were maintained over time.
“At HMD, we are empowering people to avoid early device replacement and encouraging more sustainable consumption through our longevity promises. We are delighted to announce the Nokia XR20 – a life-proof phone2 with our trademark sleek, Nordic design that we built for both consumers and enterprises,” Seiche said.
The Nokia XR20: The “life-proof” phone
According to HMD Global, the Nokia XR20 is built for longevity and toughness. The company claims it can withstand extreme temperatures, falls from 1.8m above ground, and can survive being in water for up to an hour. Features include the Corning Gorilla Glass Victus screen, said to be the toughest glass ever manufactured.
To prove its durability, Brazillian footballer Roberto Carlos and female world champion freestyler Lisa Zimouche put the XR20 through several tests including placing it in icy water, kicking it, and spinning it screen side down across a concrete football pitch. Carlos also kicked the phone in a move that recreated his infamous “banana shot” last seen in the Brazil vs France match in 1997.
Roberto Carlos, Brazil World Cup winner and Real Madrid legend, said: “I’ve been asked to recreate my ’97 free kick many times over the last twenty years, but never like this before, so I had to accept the challenge. Surely a mobile phone couldn’t survive the wrath of a football. I didn’t think the Nokia XR20 could have withstood the power of my kick. I may not be professional anymore, but I know I still pack a punch, so it was an impressive result.”
HMD says that the XR20 also comes with a 48MP+13MP dual camera with ZEISS Optics, OZO spatial audio, and innovative imaging solutions. “The all-new SpeedWarp mode lets you capture a whole lot of adventure in a compact, exciting montage. Pushing the boundaries of the mid-range, it also comes with 5G speeds, 15W wireless charging, and superior durability,” the company added.
The mobile manufacturer’s two other releases, the Nokia 6310 and C30 also have new characteristics, with the C30 offering both the largest battery and biggest screen ever fitted to a Nokia device. The battery is said to last up to three days on a single charge.
The third phone, Nokia’s 6310, aims to bring advanced accessibility, optimised ergonomics, and also has a long battery life. It features a larger display and buttons, as well as zoomed-in menus.
Nokia’s audio accessories
In addition to the release of smartphones, HMD has also announced an expansion of its audio accessory range. This includes four, new distinct audio lines: Go, Micro, Comfort, and Clarity.
- Go: ultra-high value products offering the highest quality at the lowest possible prices
- Micro: meeting the demand for compact form factor
- Comfort: a result of consumers seeking optimal comfort in wearables
- Clarity: top-of-the-range quality earbuds integrating the latest tech
One of the products in the new audio range, Nokia’s Clarity Earbuds Pro, aims to give customers high-performance sound, battery life, and build quality. The powerful combination of dual-mic environment noise cancellation (ENC), Qualcomm cVc, Echo Cancelling, and Noise Suppression Technology captures and eliminates background noise for superb call and music clarity, HMD said.
Alex Lambeek, Global Head of Accessories, HMD Global, said: “Much like our smartphones, the excellence in Nokia accessories is a result of industry-leading testing for quality. The invaluable insight from our Nokia smartphone community combined with regional insights across the globe has allowed us to grow our ecosystem of companion products to an impressive portfolio.
“It’s supported by a network of strong partnerships like Binatone that allow us to provide the best for our growing fanbase. Inspired by nature and packaged in paper and soy-based ink to protect it, each new line delivers premium lifestyle experiences at accessible price points,” he added.