Foxconn is increasing its foothold in the United States. The massive electronics maker and major Apple assembly partner is reportedly readying a $10 billion or more investment across several U.S. states, although some decisions still have to be made.
Those decisions include which specific U.S. states the company will invest in, as well as where to put the company’s planned $7 billion display manufacturing plant. Foxconn is apparently considering Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina as possible locations for the plant, Reuters reported. “Our investment in the U.S. will focus on these states because they are the heart of the country’s manufacturing sector,” Foxconn’s billionaire CEO Terry Gou told investors during a Thursday shareholders meeting, adding that the location for the $7 billion plant will be decided in July.
Gou went on to add that he was currently discussing the plans with the White House as well as various state officials. Although Gou didn’t elaborate on an exact timeline for the investment, he said that Foxconn could create “tens of thousands” of American jobs. Bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. has been a major element of President Donald Trump’s agenda, and the construction of a cutting-edge plant in the U.S. could mark a victory for the administration. The U.S. currently has no panel manufacturing industry to speak of, but the country is the world’s second largest market for TVs, according to Reuters.
Foxconn is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and assembles products and components for companies ranging from Amazon to Microsoft — although Apple is undoubtedly its most important customer, accounting for about half of its revenue. Foxconn employs at least a million people across it vast factories in China — but the company has largely refrained from investing heavily in the U.S., until now. “This time we go to America, it’s not just to build a factory, but to move our entire supply chain there,” Gou told shareholders during Thursday’s call.
While Foxconn’s plan to build a display plant in the U.S. — dubbed “Flying Eagle” by the company — would undoubtedly create jobs, Gou did admit that it would not employ as many people as its China plants, citing the higher cost of labor and the fact that the display plant would lean heavily on automated manufacturing. Even in China, Gou is positioning his company for the future — in recent years, the company has been replacing human employees with machines to deal with China’s own rising labor costs.
Foxconn is already operating in the U.S., although a four-year-old agreement to invest in Pennsylvania was still pending. Also pending is its acquisition of Toshiba’s semiconductor business — a bid priced at $27 billion that would allow Foxconn to enter the chipset industry. During Thursday’s call, Gou vowed to press on with the deal, Bloomberg reported.