Taiwan's Foxconn, the world's leading contract electronics manufacturer, and Nvidia, the most valuable chip company globally, have joined forces to construct innovative data centers. These state-of-the-art facilities will be powered by Nvidia chips and software and will cater to a wide range of applications, with a particular focus on self-driving cars. This collaborative effort was unveiled during Foxconn's annual tech showcase in Taipei, where Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way and Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang took the stage to introduce their vision for these "AI factories."
Huang, clad in his trademark black leather jacket, emphasized the emergence of a new form of manufacturing – the production of intelligence. He described these data centers as "AI factories" and highlighted Foxconn's unparalleled expertise and global scale for bringing this concept to life. Using a hand-drawn sketch, Huang illustrated how these "AI factories" would continuously gather and process data from autonomous electric vehicles to enhance their capabilities.
"This car would naturally accumulate life experiences and collect more data. The data would be sent to the AI factory, which would then improve the software and upgrade the entire AI fleet," explained the Taiwan-born Huang. He went on to predict that in the future, AI factories would become commonplace across all industries and companies.
Nvidia confirmed that these AI factories would rely on its cutting-edge GH200 superchip, a technology restricted from sale in China. This announcement followed recent export restrictions that also prevented the sale of two other high-end AI chips intended for the Chinese market and one of the company's top-of-the-line gaming chips.
Nvidia's stellar performance in 2023, with its shares tripling in value and a market capitalization exceeding $1 trillion, is largely driven by the growing role of its chips in various AI applications.
Meanwhile, Foxconn, renowned as the primary supplier of Apple's iPhones, aims to replicate its success in assembling personal computers and smartphones as it expands into the electric vehicle sector for third-party manufacturers. In January, Foxconn and Nvidia had already disclosed their partnership to develop autonomous vehicle platforms. Under this partnership, Foxconn would manufacture electronic control units (ECUs) for vehicles based on Nvidia's DRIVE Orin chip for global distribution.
Liu, standing next to Huang, said Foxconn is "trying to convert itself from a manufacturing service company to a platform solution company," citing smart cities and smart manufacturing as other applications for AI factories.
Foxconn on Wednesday unveiled a new electric cargo van called Model N, the sixth prototype in its EV push that has set ambitious goals but has so far only seen limited orders.
Jun Seki, head of Foxconn's EV business, said the company was talking to 14 potential customers, without naming them, and sees India and Japan as promising countries for EV development.
Initially targeting 5% of the global EV market and the equivalent of $33 billion in revenue from manufacturing EVs and components by 2025, Foxconn's aggressive longer-term ambition is to make nearly half the world's EVs.
Foxconn's Tech Day takes place on the birthday of its billionaire founder, Terry Gou, who stepped down as the company's chief in 2019.
He is now running as an independent candidate for Taiwan's president at elections in January and did not appear at the event, unlike last year when he drove on stage in a prototype EV.