There’s nothing like a long and invigorating hike to clear the mind and take stock of the week. This morning I walked from my usual starting point at the Four Beasts Scenic Area (四獸山市民森林碑) behind the Houshanpi MRT station to the Beixingbao Temple (北星寶宮). From there I took the Xiangshan Circular Trail down to Elephant Mountain and back into the city.
The views of Taipei and the surrounding mountains were spectacular. The temples along the way also provided myriad visual treats. I feel so grateful to live in this wonderful place where the peace and tranquility of nature are less than half-an-hour away.
Despite all the huge announcements made about automobiles at CES, I would say that the most significant one so far this year was the one issued by Fiat Chrysler and Foxconn this week that they will establish a JV to build electric vehicles in China. Even though Foxconn doesn’t have any experience in designing and building cars, its expertise in high-volume electronics manufacturing and supply chain management will prove invaluable in quickly ramping up production on a mass scale. Sure, there are serious challenges to overcome, but I wouldn’t underestimate the capabilities of Foxconn to make it happen.
If I were Elon Musk or in the senior management of a major auto-maker I would be watching the progress of this new JV very closely. It has the potential to transform how all companies approach what Foxconn calls the “internet of vehicles” business in the same way that the rise of Taiwan ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers) changed the dynamics of the PC industry. Particularly for smaller market players like Fiat Chrysler, such a model offers a much cheaper and less risky option than investing in new manufacturing capacity themselves.