TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, which makes iPhones and other gadgets for global technology companies, said Saturday it will collaborate with U.S. startups to develop new products, using cutting-edge technologies in semiconductors, sensors, batteries and wireless communications.
The world's largest contract manufacturer has seen its profits dwindle because of soaring labor costs in China over the past year.
Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said his group will start developing its own products, in an apparent effort to supplement the low-margin assembly of goods for foreign companies.
Foxconn has agreed to collaborate with startup companies funded by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms Onset Ventures, DCM and New Enterprise Associates, he said.
"We believe this is a perfect partnership combining America's first-class innovative venture capital experience with Hon Hai Technology Group's solid R&D capabilities and robust product lines," Gou said in a statement. Hon Hai is the parent company of Foxconn.
Gou said Foxconn could use its resources to help startup companies -- both in the U.S. and Taiwan -- commercialize their technologies and gain acceptance in international markets.
Foxconn is known for its ability to cut costs by mass production, earning big profits for clients such as Cupertino, California-based Apple Inc.
Effective in October, the Taiwanese company more than doubled its basic worker pay to 2,000 yuan ($293) a month for Chinese workers.
The raises followed a string of worker suicides at the Foxconn compound in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. Labor activists have linked the suicides to working and living conditions at the plant, where more than 300,000 people are employed.