Taiwan technology giant Foxconn is considering teaming up with Cupertino, California-based Apple to set up a display-panel manufacturing facility in the US with an investment of $7 billion, Nikkei reported on Monday.
It’s expected investment in the facility will top $7 billion, and long-time partner Apple will assist Foxconn in its funding, construction and operation. “Apple is willing to invest in the facility together because they need the [panels] as well,” said Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou.
“The facility could create between 30,000 and 50,000 new jobs and could include the production of TV screens in addition to smartphone displays,” said Gou.
Such a move was “inevitable” due to the increasing rhetoric concerning protectionism, continued Gou. However, he went on to say that Americans might not be prepared for the consequences of U.S. production for their devices.
The plan comes after US President Donald Trump in his inauguration speech reiterated his “America First” agenda meant overturning international trade treaties. Trump has been critical of American companies that have outsourced production outside the U.S. He criticized Apple for making iPhones and other products in China. “I’m going to get Apple to start making their computers and their iPhones on our land, not in China,” he said last year. “How does it help us when they make it in China?”
Gou questioned whether American people will support local production by paying significantly more for consumer goods. “In the future they [shoppers] may be paying some $500 more for products, but those do not necessarily work better than a $300 phone,” he said.
Late last year, Apple asked its Asian partners including Foxconn to consider moving iPhone manufacturing to the U.S. It appears that only Foxconn is interested in exploring manufacturing opportunities in the U.S.