Taiwan's Foxconn confirms US investment talks after Trump boast

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 07 2016 04:35 PM

Terry Gou, founder and chairman of Taiwan's Foxconn Technology, shown on a screen during the third annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China November 17, 2016. Aly Song, Reuters

TAIPEI - Taiwan's tech giant Foxconn confirmed Wednesday it is in "preliminary discussions" over a new US investment after President-elect Donald Trump announced a $50 billion deal with Japan's SoftBank that would also involve the firm.

Trump made the announcement about the SoftBank deal -- which he said would bring 50,000 jobs -- in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, alongside SoftBank's flamboyant chief executive Masayoshi Son.

Son brandished a document featuring the names of his firm and Foxconn which read: "Commit to invest $50bn + $7bn in US, generate 50k + 50k new jobs in US in next four years."

Foxconn confirmed in a statement it is "in preliminary discussions regarding a potential investment" that would expand its current US operations, although the scope 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. Those plans would be made based on mutually-agreed terms," the statement said.

Shares in the company ended 0.97 percent higher in Taipei Wednesday at Tw$83.1 ($0.3).

Foxconn is the world's largest contract electronics maker and assembles products for international brands such as Apple and Sony. It employs about one million workers at its factories across China.

It also has a plant in Virginia which employes over 400 people, as well as other operations in more than 10 countries including Vietnam, Brazil and Mexico.

Shares in Tokyo-listed SoftBank ended up 6.19 percent after Trump's announcement, which he made while wrapping an arm around Son.

"This is Masa of SoftBank from Japan and he's just agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States and 50,000 jobs," Trump told reporters.

The telecoms and internet giant already has investments in the United States: in 2013 it paid $22 billion for 80 percent of Sprint.

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