Apple-supplier Foxconn eyes US on Donald Trump win

Two of Asia’s biggest technology companies, including Apple-supplier Foxconn, are looking to expand investment in the US, as president-elect Donald Trump pushes to bring manufacturing and jobs back to America.

Foxconn said it was in preliminary discussions to expand its US operations, while billionaire businessman Masayoshi Son, also the head of Japan’s SoftBank Group, pledged a $50bn (€46.5bn) investment in the US.

Mr Son said, after meeting Mr Trump this week, said his investment would create 50,000 new jobs, a move the US president-elect claimed was a direct result of his election win.

Mr Son’s business partner Foxconn issued a brief statement after a report by broadcaster CNBC showing a snapshot of a page held by Mr Son outlining the investment carrying the logos of SoftBank and the Taiwanese firm, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry.

The page also showed an additional $7bn investment and creation of a further 50,000 jobs.

“While the scope of the potential investment has not been determined, we will announce the details of any plans following the completion of direct discussions between our leadership and the relevant US officials,” the Foxconn statement said.

Mr Son and Foxconn founder Terry Gou have several business ventures together in several markets, and investing jointly in India.

Foxconn has manufacturing facilities in the US states of Virginia and Indiana. Its 2015 annual report also listed logistics services in California and Texas.

The investment pledge revived speculation that US telecoms giant Sprint, 82% owned by SoftBank, might rekindle merger talks with T-Mobile US that died under pressure from US regulators.

The lack of details on the investment timetable also prompted doubts on whether the promise of money and jobs will be met, as Sprint is slashing staff numbers to cut more than $2bn in costs this fiscal year.

Mr Trump’s moves since the election to engage with individual companies, while turning his back on broader, years-in-the-works trade deals, show that he is leaning on the deal-making skills he honed in the boardroom.

Mr Trump campaigned against the over-regulation of business and is expected to be more open to mergers than president Barack Obama.

The $50bn investment, announced jointly by Mr Trump and Mr Son at Trump Tower in Manhattan, would come from the $100bn tech investment fund the head of SoftBank is setting up with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund and other potential partners, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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