Apple assembler Foxconn and the Nanjing Economic and Technological Development Zone have agreed to build electric SUVs for cash-strapped Chinese startup Byton starting next year, Foxconn on Monday said in a statement. Byton is backed by Chinese state-owned automaker FAW Group and battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology.
Young Liu, chairman of Foxconn, said in the statement that the partnership with Byton will be a key part in Foxconn’s strategy in the electric vehicle (EV) industry.
Foxconn’s deal with Byton, its most concrete foray into the auto sector, amplifies the threat to established automakers that technology companies such as iPhone maker Apple and other non-traditional players could use contract assemblers as a shortcut to competing in the vehicle market.
Reuters reported last month that Apple is pushing to design an electric vehicle and batteries, aiming at a possible 2024 launch.
Byton was launched in September 2017 by Future Mobility Corp, a company co-founded by former BMW and Nissan Motor executives, and also has software and design facilities in the United States and Germany.
Bloomberg reported earlier on Monday that Foxconn’s listed company Hon Hai Precision Industry Co plans to invest $200 million in Byton, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter.
MacDailyNews Take: The pieces necessary for Apple Car are falling into place.