(Bloomberg) — Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. reported quarterly profit that disappointed investors as the Taiwanese electronics assembly giant accelerated a shift away from its core businesses into making electric vehicles.The company also known as Foxconn Technology Group said net income for the quarter ended in December was NT$46 billion ($1.6 billion), slightly below the NT$50.2 billion average of analyst estimates.Earnings in the previous three months had been driven mainly by new smartphones from Apple Inc. — its largest customer — and as demand for home computing equipment remained elevated. But the Taiwanese assembler is casting around for new growth drivers a year into the pandemic and it’s identified electric vehicles as a key emerging industry, joining a rush of technology firms seeking a foothold in auto manufacturing ahead of Apple’s own smart vehicle efforts.Revenue in the three months ended December rose 15% to NT$2 trillion, reflecting contributions from the iPhone 12 series, whose launch last year had been delayed due to Covid-19, previously disclosed figures showed. Sales of all business lines likely grew in the first quarter, the company said in a presentation earlier this month, when it revealed record monthly sales for February.What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysRobust demand for high-end iPhone models and enduring work-from-home and remote-learning trends make consensus for 30% 1Q sales growth at Hon Hai appear conservative, we believe. Meanwhile, the delayed release of the iPhone 12 suggests monthly sales may remain in the double digits throughout 1H. The company reported surprisingly strong 84.8% sales growth in February, though vs. a low base in the prior year.– Charles Shum and Matthew Kanterman, analystsClick here for the researchIn recent months, Foxconn has entered into partnerships with a wide array of carmakers including Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Byton Ltd. and Fisker Inc. in a bid to boost its automotive capabilities. Two light vehicles based on the Foxconn platform will be unveiled in the fourth quarter, while an electric bus may be launched around the same time, Chairman Young Liu said in February.Read more: IPhone Maker Foxconn to Help Launch Electric Cars This YearAnnual shipments of Hon Hai’s EVs may reach 1.1 million units, or around 10% of global share, by 2025, Morgan Stanley estimated this month. Its auto businesses could generate $35 billion in revenue by that year, according to analysts including Sharon Shih, who lifted their price target for the stock by 29% to NT$168. Shares of Hon Hai have gained more than 80% in the past year, reaching a 40-month high last week.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.