Foxconn Technology Group has chosen a new leader for its iPhone assembly operations following a difficult year in China. This move is part of the company’s strategy to prepare young leaders to help it compete in a post-pandemic market.

Michael Chiang was announced as the new leader for Foxconn’s iPhone assembly  at the company’s annual year-end party in Taiwan. He takes over from Wang Charng-yang, who had been in the role for a long time. Chiang has been recently promoted to head of the A business group, while Wang will now focus on his role on the board, as per sources

This new appointment is a part of the strategy by Young Liu, Chairman of Foxconn’s main unit Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. to groom young leaders and keep the company’s supply chain competitive in the face of rising competition from Chinese firms.Foxconn may also encounter new competitors in India as Apple is looking to diversify its production operations after supply disruptions caused by the pandemic and strict restrictions in China have affected device production. Chiang is a long-time Foxconn executive who has assisted the company in meeting the high standards set by Apple, as per an anonymous source familiar with the matter.

Wang, who was appointed to Hon Hai’s board in summer 2022, continues to hold the position of a director. His departure from the iPhone operations role is not related to the disruptions in production caused by the pandemic that Foxconn experienced last year, according to sources. Chiang holds a master’s degree in Human Resource Development from Claremont Graduate University in California and has been with Foxconn since 1999, as per an interview he gave to an insurance broker company that was published online in June 2021.

When Foxconn experienced unexpected labor unrest at its primary iPhone manufacturing facility in Zhengzhou, China last year, Chiang played a significant role in communicating with the local government to ensure that Apple’s requirements were met, as per one of the sources.

The new appointment of Chiang demonstrates Foxconn’s recent efforts to develop a new generation of executives to help the company to deal with the prolonged tensions between the US and China, diversify its manufacturing operations outside of China and to compete with Chinese competitors like Luxshare Precision Industry Co. In a 2021 interview, Chiang mentioned that he had visited India three times to assist Foxconn in establishing its manufacturing operations in the country.

Chiang stated in the interview that the major challenge Foxconn faces in India is the cultural shock, specifically the caste system, which is completely unfamiliar to them. Additionally, Chiang shared some details about the iPhone assembly process in the interview, stating that for Chinese Android phones, the company only requires 100 workers per production line, however, for iPhone production, they need 1,200 workers, highlighting the stringent standards of Apple. Young Liu became the chairman of Hon Hai in 2019, succeeding Foxconn’s founder Terry Gou.