By Ayesha Rascoe and J.R. Wu
WASHINGTON/TAIPEI (Reuters) – Foxconn <2317.TW>, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and a major Apple Inc <AAPL.O> supplier, is planning a “capital-intensive” investment in the United States, Chairman Terry Gou said as he exited the White House on Friday.
Formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, Foxconn operates large manufacturing facilities in China, which is a base for its assembly of Apple’s iPhones. The Taiwan-based company has been eyeing U.S. investments for some time.
President Donald Trump has made several announcements since his election in November about U.S. investments by both foreign and domestic manufacturers, building on his campaign focus on preserving and creating American jobs.
It was unclear if Gou had met personally with Trump, who had already departed the White House for a trip to Atlanta by the time the Foxconn chairman emerged and spoke with reporters outside.
“We are planning a number of investments in America,” Gou said. “This project will include both capital-intensive and skilled labor-intensive and high-tech investment.”
Gou said in January that Foxconn was mulling setting up a display-making plant in the United States with an investment that would exceed $7 billion.
When asked how much money he plans to invest, Gou said he wanted that to be a White House announcement.
“We’re still not final yet,” he said. “I think we will share with you in the summer, maybe a few weeks.”
Asked if he had met with Trump, Gou said: “I don’t want to say yes or no. After we select the location, the White House will make an announcement.”
Gou also visited the White House on Thursday, along with senior company executives including Vice Chairman Tai Jeng-wu, who is also chief of Japan’s Sharp Corp <6753.T>, in which Foxconn holds a two-thirds stake.
Trump has urged Foxconn and other companies to create U.S. jobs, wooing them in some cases and pressuring them in others.
In December, Trump met with billionaire Masayoshi Son, the head of Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp <9984.T>, who said he planned $50 billion in investments in the United States.
Trump demanded that United Technologies Corp <UTX.N> reverse a decision to shift Carrier air conditioner production to Mexico from Indiana or face import duties. Carrier agreed to retain jobs in Indiana and received state tax breaks.
Trump also pressured Ford Motor Co <F.N> to cancel a new small-car plant in Mexico. The automaker abandoned that plant but said the decision stemmed from declining sales of small Ford Focus models in the United States.
Foxconn said in a statement after Gou spoke: “We can confirm that we are engaged in discussions with officials at various levels of government regarding our ongoing plans to significantly increase our investments in the United States.”
Foxconn is also looking to acquire Toshiba Corp’s <6502.T> chip business. People familiar with the deal have told Reuters it is considered a U.S. security risk due to ties with China, where Foxconn employs about 1 million people.
Gou declined to comment when asked about Trump’s statement to Reuters on Thursday that he would not take another telephone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
(Additional reporting by Koh Gui Qing in New York, Ginger Gibson and Mohammad Zargham in Washington; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Lisa Von Ahn)