The Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, best known for building Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad, has come to an agreement to purchase Belkin for $866 million in cash. Belkin is the parent company for the WeMo line of smart home products that includes smart plugs, smart switches, cameras, light bulbs, and more.
This move is a change for Foxconn which has typically been a behind the scenes force in the electronics industry. Instead of supplying products for the smart home industry, they’ll be competing in it. Foxconn has been trying to diversify their business which has been heavily dependant on Apple.
Belkin will continue to operate as a subsidiary of Foxconn with CEO and Founder Chet Pipkin remaining in his role. This likely means no major changes on the consumer side for some time. And perhaps with their experience on the supply side, it could result in a drop in cost down the road.
Belkin’s WeMo brand has been producing smart home products for the past few years. They range from smart plugs, light switches, dimmer switches, security cameras, and much more. Their ability to work directly through your home’s Wi-Fi have made them a popular choice among consumers. And their compatibility with smart assistants from Amazon, Apple, and Google have been a key selling point. Their primary competitor at this time is China based TP-Link.
The move is not a done deal yet. It will need approval from the Committee on Foreign Investments. This panel looks over deals that involve foreign investors taking control of US businesses. And a foreign company having access to internet routers and smart home systems across the country could cause concern. President Trump blocked a deal Broadcom’s takeover of Qualcomm citing national security.
Foxconn is also in the process of building a $9 billion plant in Wisconsin. This plant is expected to employ thousands of workers and will build flat-screen monitors and TVs.