Foxconn's Gou Meets With Trump, Mulls U.S. Investment Plans

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  • ‘We are engaged in discussions’ with officials, company says
  • Company looking at potential sites to set up plants in U.S.

Foxconn Considering $7B U.S. Plant

Foxconn Technology Group, the maker of Apple Inc.’s iPhones, said it plans a big increase in investments in the U.S. after billionaire Chairman Terry Gou visited the White House over consecutive days, including a meeting with President Donald Trump.

“We are engaged in discussions with officials at various levels of government regarding our ongoing plans to significantly increase our investments,” Foxconn, whose main listed unit is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., said in a statement Friday after Gou’s second visit.

Gou, Taiwan’s richest man, met briefly with Trump on Friday morning “to thank him for his growth and job-creation policies,” White House spokeswoman Natalie Strom said on Saturday.

Thurday’s meeting was with Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, aide Reed Cordish, and members of the White House’s Office of American Innovation, she said, “regarding the administration’s ongoing efforts to bring back manufacturing and create good-wage jobs for Americans.”

The plan, if it materializes, would mark a victory for Trump, who’s attempting to expand manufacturing in the world’s top economy, even as he seeks to put U.S. corporations first and renegotiate trade deals. Foxconn said it’s evaluating potential locations for setting up manufacturing in the U.S., according to its statement, which gave no additional details.

Job Creation

“We will only announce an investment plan after related negotiations have been completed, and only after we have received” approvals from the board and other authorities, it said.

The White House OAI was established by Trump in March to make recommendations on policies and plans that improve government operations and services and, among other things, spur job creation. Kushner was tapped to lead the effort.

Trump has publicly called on Apple to move production to the U.S. The plans by Foxconn, which assembles iPhones, iPads and other Apple hardware, mostly in China, to invest in U.S. operations were first reported in December. At that point the company said the scope of a potential investment hadn’t been determined.

In January Gou, whose net worth is estimated by Bloomberg at $6.4 billion, indicated he planned to build a U.S. display-making facility for about $7 billion. Foxconn is the world’s largest contract assembler of consumer electronic components, including desktop computers and monitors.

On March 1, Foxconn broke ground on an $8.8 billion flat-panel display factory in Guangzhou, China, expected to be completed by 2019. At that event Gou said the potential U.S. project hadn’t been nailed down, and tied a possible investment, in part, to the Trump administration’s tax reforms.

Sharp Corp. President Tai Jeng-wu accompanied Gou to the White House on at least one of the two days, according to Taipei-based TVBS, which broadcast images of the pair at the gate of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Sharp is a unit of Foxconn Technology.

— With assistance by Justin Sink

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