Apple supplier Hon Hai earns record annual profit

Foxconn's Hon Hai Precision Industry said its annual net income for 2012 was up 16%

Foxconn's Hon Hai Precision Industry posted record annual profits last year, a sign that production of Apple products remains strong despite heightened competition from rival electronics vendors.

Hon Hai Precision, the central manufacturing company within Foxconn Technology Group, said on Monday its net income for 2012 reached $3.2 billion, a 16% increase from the year before. Net sales for the year jumped over 13%.

The Taiwan-based company is known as the world's largest electronics supplier, and also counts HP, Microsoft, Sony and other major tech vendors as its clients. Apple, however, makes up 40% to 50% of the company's revenues, according to analysts. Hon Hai helps build Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac devices.

Hon Hai reported the strong earnings after Apple had said it sold 47.8 million iPhones during its first fiscal quarter ending on Dec. 29, a 29% year-over-year increase from 37 million units.

Earlier this year, however, reports emerged that Foxconn had halted new hiring at its factories in China. One worker based at the company's facility in Zhengzhou, China, said in an interview last month this was because iPhone 5 sales had not reached the level of Apple's iPhone 4. Foxconn, however, said the hiring freeze was the result of more workers returning to the company following the Chinese New Year holiday.

But despite the initial hiring freeze in China, Foxconn continues to expand in other areas. Earlier this month, the company said it wanted to hire 5,000 employees from Taiwan to develop new automation and robotics for assembly manufacturing. Foxconn is also building new factories in China's Guangxi region for television and solar power manufacturing, according to Guangxi's local government. It currently employs more than 1.2 million workers in China.

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