Sunday, June 2, 2013

Foxconn, as long as a cough, apple must have caught a cold?

     If something sounded familiar about Lorraine Luk's headline in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal -- As Apple Feels Bite, Hon Hai Looks to Diversify -- it may be because we've heard that tune a lot lately.
    Just in the past three weeks, journalists have attributed to Apple's (AAPL) loss of "steam" everything from Harvard's divestiture of a few hundred Apple shares to the structure of Sharp's survival plan. (See The business wires' new verbal tic.)
    To be sure, one can legitimately write that Apple has had an unusually long stretch without a product launch. Or that its profit margins have pulled back quite a bit from their historic highs. Or that its earnings fell year over year last quarter for the first time since 2003, and are likely to do it again this quarter.
    But Apple's all-important iOS shipments, as the chart above shows, are still growing nicely.
    So to interpret this quote from an unnamed Hon Hai executive ...
    "As our production capacity has grown to such a large scale and existing major-brand customers offer limited order growth, we need to actively expand our client base to help increase our manufacturing volume."
    ... as referring specifically to Apple -- as Luk did in Monday's Journal -- is to ignore the fact that Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, has other major-brand clients, and that most of them are hurting.
    Take Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL), two Window's PC vendors that subcontract their assembly work to Foxconn. How's that business doing? See chart below:
    What about Nintendo, Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT)? Their game consoles are also assembled in Foxconn's factories:

    How about Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle readers? Foxconn builds those things too:

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