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(Adds further comments from chairman)
TAIPEI, Feb 20 (Reuters) - The chairman of Apple Incsupplier Foxconn said on Saturday he expects hiscompany and its clients will face only "limited impact" from achip shortage that has rattled the global automotive andsemiconductor industries.
"Since most of the customers we serve are large customers,they all have proper precautionary planning," said LiuYoung-way, chairman of the manufacturing conglomerate formallyknown as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd
"Therefore, the impact on these large customers is there,but limited," he told reporters.
Liu said he expected the company to do well in the firsthalf of 2021, "especially as the pandemic is easing and demandis still being sustained."
The global spread of COVID-19 has increased demand forlaptops, gaming consoles, and other electronics. This causedchip manufacturers to reallocate capacity away from theautomotive sector, which was expecting a steep downturn.
Now, car manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG,General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have cut outputas chip capacity has shrunk.
Counterpoint Research says the shortage has extended to thesmartphone sector, with application processors, display driverchips, and power management chips all facing a crunch.
However, the research firm predicts Apple will face aminimal impact, due to its large size and its suppliers'tendency to prioritise it. Apple is Foxconn's largest customer.
Foxconn is looking at other areas for growth, including inelectric vehicles (EVs), and Liu said their EV developmentplatform MIH now had 736 partner companies participating.
He expected it would have two or three models to show by thefourth quarter, though did not expect EVs to make an obviouscontribution to company earnings until 2023.
Liu also said the company was still looking forsemiconductor fab purchase opportunities in Southeast Asia afternot winning a bid to take over a stake in Malaysia-based 8-inchfoundry house Silterra.(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao; Writing by JoshHorwitz; Editing by William Mallard and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)