Apple (APPL) supplier Foxconn said Friday that it will invest around $8.8 billion to set up a factory in China that will make LCD displays in yet another move into end product production.
The new venture, reported by Reuters, was formed with Sakai Display Products Corp. and follows shortly after founder Terry Gou tightened his grip on the subsidiary in a move that could signal he is moving closer to defining his U.S. expansion strategy.
Foxconn officials were not immediately available to comment on the story when contacted by TheStreet.
Earlier this week, 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.
The move will shuffle ownership through Foxconn's Cayman Islands-based SIO International Holdings and raise its stake to just over 53%, according to the Focus Taiwan media group, and follows Sakai Display's decision to stop supplying Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) with LCD TV panels.
Last week, Sharp said it will buy 56.7% in Cyprus-based Skytec UMC, a holding company which owns Slovakia-based Universal Media and UMC Poland, which are both involved in TV operations.
Foxconn has also publicly committed to U.S. expansion after Softbank's Son was shown with papers bearing the Foxconn logo during a photo shoot with President elect Donald 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.
(Apple is held in Jim Cramer's charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS. See all of his holdings here.)