Foxconn posts record first-quarter profits on strong sales of Apple's iPhone 6

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Asian manufacturer Hon Hai — better known as Foxconn — on Friday reported its highest first-quarter profit growth in a decade with a 56 percent jump year-over-year, driven at least in part by strong sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Hon Hai pulled in NT$30.39 billion ($998 million U.S.) in net profits during the March quarter, The Wall Street Journal noted on Friday. Facing pressure from asset manager BlackRock, it increased its dividend payout from NT$1.80 per share to NT$3.80, or from roughly 6 cents U.S. to 12 cents.

Nearly half of Hon Hai's revenues stem from Apple orders. The company has been looking to diversify with things like an online retail platform and partnerships with U.S. medical device makers, particularly in light of growing competition for Apple contracts, and slowly-rising Chinese labor standards which are pushing wages higher.

Hon Hai saw profits grow 33 percent during the December quarter, and analysts told the Journal that recent trends are expected to continue into the June quarter, again based on iPhone sales.

"A lot of consumers are still in the process of replacing their old phones with large-screen iPhones," commented Daiwa Capital Markets analyst Kylie Huang.

High sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have often been credited to pent-up demand for larger screens. As recently as 2011 iPhones were still using 3.5-inch displays, and that only improved to 4 inches in 2012, despite rival Android smartphones approaching or exceeding 5 inches. Last year's iPhone 6 grew to 4.7 inches, while the 6 Plus leaped ahead to 5.5. Some Android phones are now even bigger, one example being the 6-inch Nexus 6 by Google and LG.