Foxconn boss Terry Gou has reiterated his commitment to building a multi-million-dollar factory in Mount Pleasant, in the US state of Wisconsin.
The chairman of Foxconn, which is better known as Hon Hai Precision in its native Taiwan, met with US President Donald Trump at the White House earlier this week.
After the meeting, media reports suggested that Foxconn will make additional investments in the Wisconsin facility.
CNBC reported that Foxconn issued a statement in which the company said it “has never wavered from our commitment to our contract with the State of Wisconsin and the creation of 13,000 jobs”.
Although $10 million is one of the quoted figures for the Wisconsin facility itself, some observers say Foxconn’s total investment for the state and the US broadly could be in the region of $10 billion.
And in comments made by Trump himself last year during a visit to the Wisconsin plant, where he ceremonially broke ground to mark the start of construction work, alongside Gou, the US president indicated that he expected the level of investment to be at the higher end of estimates.
“I know that Terry is investing $10 billion in the state,” said Trump during the visit to Foxconn’s Wisconsin site. “Ten billion dollars. Incredible. So even at this early stage, the economic benefits of this new plant are being felt in 60 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties already. Don’t worry, in another three weeks it will be 72.”
Trump won the presidency by claiming he would reinvigorate the manufacturing sector and, since coming to office, he has been encouraging large manufacturing companies to invest in the US.
Trump has directly pressured large automotive manufacturers as well as big tech, among them Apple, which is the main manufacturing partner for Foxconn, to build factories in the US rather than overseas.
It’s largely through its association with Apple – making its iPhones, iPads and other devices – that Foxconn has become one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers.
However, most of its production facilities are in Taiwan, and China, and southeast Asian countries. Nothing significant was in the US until Trump started talking directly to Apple and Foxconn about issue.
“Terry is a friend of mine,” said Trump. “I recommended Wisconsin, in this case. And I’ll be recommending Ohio, and I’ll be recommending Pennsylvania, and I’ll be recommending Iowa.”
He added: “This plant will manufacture state-of-the-art LCDs, adding an average of $3.4 billion to the state’s economy every single year.”
And as for Gou’s recently reported decision to run for president himself in Taiwan, there was no overt endorsement on the part of Trump, but the timing of the meeting at the White House may suggest tacit support.