Following weeks of reports and speculation on the potential opening of a United States-based factory built by Apple suppliers Foxconn and Sharp, a report from Reuters today states that Sharp is "taking the lead" on a $7 billion plant in the U.S. that was initially outlined by parent company Foxconn. The plant will break ground sometime in the first half of 2017.
The timing of the news coincides with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's incoming meeting with President Donald Trump, the driving force behind the recent glut of U.S. iPhone manufacturing news. In a phone call with Apple CEO Tim Cook in December, Trump said it will be a "real achievement" for his Presidency when he gets Apple to shift device manufacturing stateside.
A decision by Foxconn to give Sharp the lead would come as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares to travel to the United States to meet U.S. President Donald Trump, who in his inauguration speech vowed to put "America first".
In a package Tokyo hopes will please Trump, Abe will unveil investments to create as many as 700,000 U.S. jobs, people familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier.
Abe will visit Trump at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida over the weekend, where the two leaders will play golf, following a meeting on Friday in Washington.
Sharp previously cited interest in building U.S. plants for LCD panel construction for TV sets and home appliances. Foxconn's rumored U.S. plans are more closely aligned with Apple through a proposed $7 billion joint investment with the Cupertino company, which would potentially lead to a display manufacturing facility in the country. Sharp now appears to be spearheading that project.
According to people familiar with the matter, PM Abe will present a plan to create more than 700,000 jobs through U.S.-based operations and include a variety of manufacturing companies, as well as Foxconn and Sharp. As usual, a Sharp spokesperson said that no official decision has yet been made on building a factory within the U.S.
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