Pennsylvania trade and economic development officials met with the chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwanese technology device manufacturer famous for making Apple products, to discuss the company building in the state, a spokeswoman for the department confirmed to the Tribune-Review on Monday.
Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou met with a representative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Taiwan/China investment office last week and said he’d like to invest in Pennsylvania, Heidi Havens, a spokeswoman for the department, wrote in an email Monday to the Trib.
The meeting did not address specifics or a proposed project, Havens wrote.
Bloomberg News reported that, according to a Nikkei Asian Review report, Gou told reporters in Taipei the company is considering a joint investment with Apple Inc. for a display manufacturing facility in the U.S. and a new molding facility, possibly in Pennsylvania.
It is unclear whether Pennsylvania was mentioned as a possible location for the display manufacturing facility, the molding plant or both. Several news outlets, including the Associated Press, reported that Pennsylvania was a possibility for the display manufacturing facility.
The Nikkei report stated that a representative from the Pennsylvania trade office attended Foxconn’s holiday party Sunday in the Nankang district of Taipei where Gou made the announcement . Foxconn also contacted the department’s Taiwanese office in mid-December to ask about programs available to companies wanting to locate in Pennsylvania, Havens wrote.
The display manufacturing facility would cost more than $7 billion and might create 30,000 to 50,000 jobs, the Nikkei Asian Review report cited Gou as saying. The rising demand for larger displays makes domestic U.S. production a better solution than shipping from China, and “Apple is willing to invest in the facility together because they need the (panels) as well,” he said.
Apple didn’t immediately respond Sunday to a Bloomberg News request for comment. Foxconn did not respond to the Tribune-Review’s request for comment.
Foxconn also contacted the department’s Taiwanese office in mid-December to ask about programs available to companies wanting to locate in Pennsylvania, Havens wrote.
Foxconn in 2013 announced plans to build a $30 million plant in Harrisburg and invest $10 million in Carnegie Mellon University for research and development. A CMU spokeswoman said the university had no comment on the R&D funding.
The Harrisburg factory was not built, said David Black, president of CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corporation. Black said he didn’t know why the Foxconn deal did not develop. He said the chamber isn’t in talks with the company now about another possible Pennsylvania plant.
“They’re certainly welcomed here,” Black said Monday.
Separately, Smart Technologies, a Foxconn-controlled interactive display company in Canada, may move to the U.S. in light of President Donald Trump’s indication he might seek to alter terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Nikkei reported Gou as saying.
Gou said he sees American protectionism as “inevitable” while questioning whether U.S. consumers will be willing to pay much higher prices for equipment of equal quality, according to Nikkei.
Bloomberg News and the Associated Press contributed. Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-336-8448.
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