iPhone Assembler Foxconn in Early Talks to Expand U.S. Operations
Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is in preliminary stages to build a collection of assembly plants within the United States (via Reuters), potentially fulfilling President-elect Donald Trump's wish that Apple would move the majority of its manufacturing to the U.S. instead of overseas.
Foxconn decided to make a statement about its U.S. expansion after details of the move were picked up and shared by CNBC yesterday. The news alleged that Foxconn would be investing $7 billion into its U.S. expansion and aiming for the creation of 50,000 jobs within the country, all in the next four years. Foxconn simply stated that more details will come after its talks with "the relevant U.S. officials" are over.
"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 US officials," the Foxconn statement said.
In the meetings with Donald Trump, Japan's SoftBank also looked towards U.S. expansion and pledged $50 billion in its investment stateside, along with 50,000 new jobs of its own, "a move the U.S. President-elect claimed was a direct result of his election win." In a call made to Trump by Apple CEO Tim Cook, Trump mentioned to the CEO that one of his goals and future achievements would be to "get Apple to build a big plant in the United States," by offering the company incentives and "a very large tax cut" to do so.
Cook was said to have remained neutral on the subject by saying "I understand that" in response to Trump, while Foxconn chairman Terry Gou is said to be less enthusiastic about the idea due to inevitably higher production costs compared to China. Cook explained one of the major reasons Apple's manufacturing is so heavily centered in China is due to the country's large number of individuals with the required "vocational kind of skills."
China put an enormous focus on manufacturing. In what we would call, you and I would call vocational kind of skills. The U.S., over time, began to stop having as many vocational kind of skills. I mean, you can take every tool and die maker in the United States and probably put them in a room that we're currently sitting in. In China, you would have to have multiple football fields.
Foxconn does have manufacturing facilities on a very small scale in the U.S., in Virginia and Indiana, along with logistic locations in California and Texas. Apple has a comparably limited facility in Austin, Texas which manufactures the company's Mac Pro.
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