Apple supplier Foxconn said Sunday it is considering a $7 billion investment that would establish a U.S.-based LCD display manufacturing hub that could create as many as 50,000 new jobs.
Speaking to reporters in Taipei, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said the U.S. investment project, which was inadvertently revealed last month after a meeting between President Donald Trump and billionaire SoftBank (SFTBY) CEO Masayoshi Son, would likely be based in Pennsylvania, but that final decisions would be taken after negotiations with U.S. officials at the federal and state level.
"There is such a plan, but it is not a promise," Gou told the media in comments first reported by Reuters. "It is a wish."
Foxconn also has manufacturing sites in Virginia and Indiana and logistics operations in California and Texas.
"Pennsylvania is active and I urge other states to act more quickly or I will sign the contract with Pennsylvania," Gou said, according to quotes from ShanghaiDaily.com
"As we have previously said, we are exploring a potential investment that would represent an expansion of our current US operations," Foxconn said in a statement emailed to TheStreet.com. "Our company is conducting an evaluation of the conditions and potential locations for establishing manufacturing facilities in the US. While it is not currently possible to confirm the location for that potential investment or estimate the number of jobs that might be created, it is expected that it would create many direct and indirect job opportunities with the new operation and throughout the supply chain in the US."
The U.S. ambitions follow Foxconn's $8.8 billion investment in a factory in China that will make LCD displays with Sakai Display Products Corp. after founder Gou tightened his grip on the subsidiary in a move that TheStreet reported as a signal he is moving closer to defining his U.S. expansion strategy.
Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry (HNHPF) , raised its interest in Sakai Display Products, a unit of Japan's Sharp (SHCAY) , which it also owns, in a move that puts the Taiwanese components supplier one step closer to a transition into the end-products business.
Foxconn publicly committed to U.S. expansion after Softbank's Son was shown with papers bearing the Foxconn logo during a photo shoot with Trump on Dec. 6 in which the Japanese billionaire pledged to invest $50 billion and create 50,000 new jobs.
"While the scope of the potential investment has not been determined, we will announce the details of any plans following the completion of direct discussions between our leadership and the relevant U.S. officials," Foxconn said on Dec. 7.
Softbank is both an 82% owner of Sprint Corp (S) - Get Report and a $1 billion investor in OneWeb, but it also has close ties with Foxconn, including a three-way joint venture with Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) - Get Report to produce a humanoid robot known as Pepper. Gou referred to Son as a "good friend" when speaking to the media Sunday.
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