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Foxconn hoping for exciting wearable-tech opportunities with new startup fund

As it seeks to diversify its revenue stream by moving away from contract manufacturing for tech giants such as Apple and Sony, Taiwan-based Foxconn is reportedly gearing up to launch an incubator to nurture new talent in the wearable tech space.

A NT$200 million ($6.8 million) fund will go toward selecting as many as 20 startups for a trial in the first few months of next year, according to a Bloomberg report citing two people familiar with the project.

The money will also be spent on student programs at local as well as international universities, and be used to sponsor startup competitions, too.

Although hardware development will be the main focus of Foxconn’s project, the manufacturing giant is expected to support software startups as well, particularly those concerned with wearable or connected device technologies.

The project is expected to be run by Syntrend, a unit of Foxconn, with operations beginning by the end of next year. Its base will be located inside Taipei International Park, a 12-story complex currently under construction which, besides the incubator, will be home to a range of retail outlets. Tech firms such as Google and Microsoft may also have spaces there showcasing new products.

With rival manufacturer Pegatron taking away some of Foxconn’s work assembling handsets for Apple, and a slowdown in the global sales of PCs also affecting its business, the Taiwanese firm has for some time been looking at ways to expand its operations beyond contract manufacturing.

With wearable tech said to be the next big thing, Foxconn will be hoping its investment in the space will pay off in the coming years, though the talent it nurtures may have to come up with something a little more awe-inspiring than the fitness-tracker device it unveiled back in June.

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