Foxconn, the gargantuan manufacturer of electronics, is experimenting in the hardware accelerator market by turning an underused Nokia campus in Beijing into its first small business outreach center. The plan, as described by Foxconn Chief Investment Director Charles Pan at the TechCrunch/Technode event in Shanghai, has led one small manufacturer to market and will help others over the coming year.
The incubator, which is not completely formalized, will work with small manufacturers by bringing them in for an intensive coaching and mentorship period. Tomoon, a smart watch company, worked with Foxconn on their T-Fire e-ink smart watch, a unique Android-powered watch with a curved screen. The company moved from a simple idea to a fully-fledged product in about six weeks.
“When they came to us it was like a toy,” said Pan. He said the company helped improve the design and offered manufacturing expertise to create the final product.
There is no date set for the accelerator launch but Pan said the company is writing up standard operating procedures for the new venture. He expects that Foxconn will take some equity in exchange for the hardware help.