Taipei, Nov. 23 (CNA) Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. said on Wednesday that its research arm -- the Hon Hai Research Institute -- has signed a memorandum of understanding with a Canadian group to develop quantum technologies.
In a statement, iPhone assembler Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn globally, said Hon Hai Research Institute CEO Lee Wei-bin (李維斌) inked the accord with John Hepburn, CEO of Canada's non-profit Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (Mitacs).
Under the agreement, Mitacs will draw on its vast network of leading post-secondary research institutions in Canada to provide advice on funding and talent development to the Taiwanese research institute for its quantum technology development.
The study of quantum focuses on trying to explain different phenomenons at their most fundamental levels on the scale of atoms, and the goal is to apply the research to disciplines to resolve complex issues that are beyond the capabilities of supercomputers.
Hon Hai, which is diversifying its business from a pure contract manufacturer into a company that is able to integrate its hardware and software strengths, is working on quantum technologies to help the company extend its reach to next-generation semiconductors.
According to Hon Hai, the cooperation agreement has the full support of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei.
In the statement, Hon Hai cited Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng as saying the MOU demonstrated Canada's commitment to strengthening its trade and investment relations with partners in the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan.
Hon Hai has its own expectations for the agreement.
"Through this new partnership, we hope to connect the institute with Canadian professionals and experts with the goal of jointly investing in cutting-edge technology research, beginning in the field of quantum technologies," Lee said in the statement.
"Through Mitacs, we hope to fund quantum computation research projects in Canada and hire five to 10 research interns in the first year."
Hon Hai said the partnership with Mitacs is the first step in its efforts to develop R&D and innovation capabilities in Canada, as it intends to create other research and design facilities there.
The company said it is also planning to open the Software Research & Development Center (SRDC) in Canada, which will initially focus on software development related to the electric vehicle (EV) experience, human-machine interface design, and usability engineering.
In the first phase, Hon Hai said, the SRDC plans to hire more than 100 design and engineering specialists.
These software projects are a result of Hon Hai's "3 plus 3" initiative, which refers to three emerging industries -- EVs, robots and digital healthcare -- that are being developed through the applications of artificial intelligence, semiconductors and communications technologies.