HTC, Hon Hai among Forbes’ top 50 Blockchain firms

TAIPEI (CNA) – Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp. and manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. have been included by Forbes into its list of the 50 companies in the world that are most actively exploring and making use of blockchain technology to make their business more efficient and better serve customers.

Blockchain technology, originally devised for transactions of the digital currency Bitcoin, is seen as the backbone of a new type of internet in which information held on a blockchain exists as a shared database.

HTC and Hon Hai were listed on Forbes’ Blockchain 50 2019 list along with global financial firms, such as Germany’s Allianz SE, France-based BNP Paribas, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase of the United States, and China’s Ant Financial.

In addition to HTC and Hon Hai, which is also known as Foxconn in the global market, other tech giants including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Samsung Electronics are also on the list.

HTC released its first Blockchain-focused smartphone – the HTC Exodus 1 – earlier this year. The Taiwanese smartphone brand has developed its own cryptocurrency wallet called Zion, helping the Exodus 1 function as a hardware cryptocurrency wallet.

Forbes said the Exodus 1 “provides crypto-owners a safer way (built in to the phone’s hardware) to store and recover lost bitcoin, litecoin, and ethereum, as well as the ability to easily trade cryptocurrencies.” “The phone also has a special Web browser designed for sites built on the blockchain. With its dismal smartphone market share, HTC’s new phone may be a Hail Mary pass,” the magazine said.

According to HTC, while it has faced escalating competition in the global smartphone market, its efforts to develop Blockchain-focused models are aimed at helping the company secure more sales.

As for Hon Hai, Forbes said, the manufacturer “has pilot projects underway that use blockchain to streamline supply chain transactions and provide working capital to suppliers.” “Separately, it is developing a blockchain-enabled smartphone that would make it easier for consumers to spend digital coins,” Forbes said.

Hon Hai, the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of electronics, is integrating hardware production with software development capability, such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things, big data, artificial intelligence, and Blockchain. Its contract electronics operations are set to expand beyond pure manufacturing.

According to global market information advisory firm International Data Corp. (IDC), enterprises and governments worldwide are expected to spend US$2.9 billion in blockchain development in 2019, up 89 percent from a year earlier.

IDC said the spending is expected to hit US$12.4 billion in 2022.

In addition, a survey conducted last year by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational accounting firm, showed 84 percent of the business executives respondents said their companies were involved in Blockchain development.

“Global corporations are embracing the technology underlying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin because they want to speed up business processes, increase transparency and potentially save billions of dollars,” Forbes said.

By Jiang Ming-yan and Frances Huang