Donald Trump says Foxconn could triple investment to US$30 billion

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou (second from right) shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during a White House event.
Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou (second from right) shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during a White House event.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou is considering tripling his US investment budget to US$30 billion (S$40.85 billion), President Donald Trump said while outlining "off-record" remarks made by the billionaire founder of Apple Inc's biggest manufacturing partner.

Foxconn Technology Group, the main assembler of the iPhone, unveiled last week plans to build a US$10 billion display plant in Wisconsin, hiring as many as 13,000 people for a project Trump touted as a victory for his "America First" effort to brings jobs back to the US.

That was just the beginning, the president told small-business leaders during a gathering at the White House on Tuesday (Aug 1).

"They're going to spend US$10 billion. But he is one of the great businessmen of our time," Trump said. "And I think the number is going to be US$30 billion."

"He told me off the record he thinks he may go US$30 billion. Think of this. He may go 30-billion-dollar investment, but he told me that off the record so I promised I wouldn't tell anyone," he said to laughs from the audience.

It's unclear whether Trump was referring to Gou's plans for the display plant, for the country in general, or if it encompassed investments in other types of manufacturing. Trump told the Wall Street Journal last month that Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook had promised to build three "big" plants in the country, also without any details.

"Our investment in Wisconsin will be the first of a series of facilities we will be building in several states as part of a robust electronics ecosystem we will be creating in the United States," Foxconn said in an emailed statement. "We have not yet announced our investment plans for other sites. We will provide an update as soon as we have finalised those plans."

USA Today has since reported that Foxconn is considering a second Wisconsin facility.

The Taiwanese founder of the world's largest contract manufacturer has of late been talking about plans to invest billions around the world, including US$5 billion in India, according to Livemint. Gou said in June that Foxconn's US investment may eventually exceed US$10 billion.

The US President and his administration have been called out publicly by various media outlets in the past for making erroneous statements, from the size of his inauguration audience to immigration statistics.