(ATF) Taiwan's contract manufacturing giant Foxconn is in early stage talks with a Vietnamese carmaker about a partnership to produce electric vehicles (EV), according to weekend reports.
Foxconn has proposed acquiring VinFast's EV production lines, Reuters reported, but VinFast, a unit of Vietnam's largest conglomerate Vingroup, prefers a partnership.
The Vietnamese company is keen to brand itself as an eco-friendly automaker and wants to retain its EV business, the report said.
Foxconn, the world's largest contract manufacturer and an important Apple supplier, has outlined plans to become a major provider of parts and services in the global EV market and an agreement with VinFast would follow deals with Fiat Chrysler and EV startups.
Its ambitions threaten to shake up the industry, offering Apple and other non-traditional players a shortcut to competing in the vehicle market.
VinFast became Vietnam's first fully fledged domestic car manufacturer when its debut petrol models, built under its own badge, hit the streets in 2019.
The company sold about 30,000 vehicles last year and has forecast sales of more than 45,000 for 2021. It will begin delivery of EVs produced at its factory in the northern port city of Haiphong to domestic customers by December.
EV BATTERY VENTURE
VinFast, which also produces electric motorbikes and buses, said this month it had set up an EV battery venture with Taiwan's ProLogium.
Seeking to provide components or services to 10% of the world's electric vehicles as early as 2025, Foxconn has moved quickly to clinch a number of deals.
One of its biggest is an agreement with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to provide contract manufacturing for other automakers.
VinFast's parent, Vingroup, has also emerged as a major dealmaker. Last year, a consortium led by US buyout group KKR paid $650 million for a stake in its property arm in one of the Southeast Asian country’s largest ever private equity investments.
KKR acquired 6% of Vinhomes, the listed property division of Vingroup.
This month, Vingroup announced a $2.8-billion hotel and resort development on the island of Phu Quoc offering a range of accommodation across 10,000 rooms and suites from budget mini-hotels to five-star resorts.
It would also build the largest theme park in Vietnam, an 18-hole golf course, a casino, shopping and entertainment centre, and a hospital.
With reporting by Reuters