Foxconn’s Gou to Modi: Need Infrastructure for Investment

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Foxconn Chairman And Billionaire Terry Gou
Foxconn Technology Group Chairman Terry Gou. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Foxconn Technology Group is prepared to invest about $2 billion on technology projects in India over the next decade if the government addresses infrastructure deficiencies, according to Chairman Terry Gou.

“The government needs to improve infrastructure,” Gou, founder of the Taiwanese company that makes Apple Inc. iPhones, said at a press conference Tuesday in New Delhi. He cited issues such as electricity and transport. He also said he’s in talks with India’s Adani Enterprises Ltd.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to turn India into a hub for global manufacturers to spur growth in Asia’s third-largest economy. Clogged roads and ports and slow land purchases are among the challenges faced by industry. India ranks the lowest for infrastructure in the BRIC group that includes Brazil, Russia and China, according to the World Economic Forum.

“The government is on the right track,” said Hemant Kanoria, chairman of Kolkata-based SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd. “India is such a large country and things are so complicated that it will always take time.”

Adani Enterprises, controlled by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, said in an exchange filing Tuesday that it’s in talks with Foxconn over a joint venture. Gou said he hasn’t made any final investment decisions.

Adani shares closed 4.7 percent higher at 98.90 rupees in Mumbai, extending gains after an 11.4 percent surge on Tuesday.

Land, Power

Billionaire Gou said Foxconn may build as many as 12 factories in India, though land and power need to be easier to get. It’s looking at potential sites in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located. Gou said he’s likely to move some manufacturing to Andhra Pradesh state.

Foxconn’s smartphone unit FIH Mobile Ltd. will produce handsets for Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus in India by year end, according to OnePlus Chief Executive Pete Lau. Foxconn in June tied up with SoftBank Group Corp. and Bharti Enterprises Pvt. on a $20 billion Indian solar power project.

Gou said he’s close to a deal with Indian e-commerce company GreenDust, adding the business is “very interesting” while declining to say whether the talks are about a takeover or the purchase of a stake. Delhi-based GreenDust sells refurbished goods and factory seconds.

Gujarat-based Adani Group was founded in 1988 and says it’s India’s top coal importer, largest non-state thermal power producer and biggest private port operator.

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