Foxconn Plans to Expand in America as Consumers Seek Out "Made in USA" Products

Foxconn Technology Group, which is the major supplier to Apple Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., is seeking to expand its operations in North America as customers are requesting that more of their products be Made in U.S.A.

While declining to comment on individual clients or specific plans, Louis Woo, a spokesman for Foxconn, said:

“We are looking at doing more manufacturing in the U.S. because, in general, customers want more to be done there."

Foxconn, which is based in Taipei, has 1.6 million workers around the globe, including factories in California and Texas that make partially assembled products such as servers.

Woo noted that one of the biggest challenges to Foxconn's expansion in the U.S. is the supply chain, and adds that "any manufacturing we take back to the U.S. needs to leverage high-value engineering talent there in comparison to the low-cost labor of China."

In China, Foxconn benefits from having suppliers located nearby, which not only boosts their flexibility, but also cuts delivery times and reduces transport costs. Some parts, such as core processors for smartphones and glass used in displays, are, however, manufactured in the U.S.

At a forum last month, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said that he wants to bring U.S. engineers to Asia to train them in manufacturing before sending them back home.

Earlier this week, Apple, Foxconn's biggest client, announced that it plans to spend more than $100 million in 2013 on building some Mac computers in the U.S. CEO Tim Cook did not explain where manufacturing would happen or how much would be produced, but noted that it would include more than just final assembly.