Louis Woo, a spokesman for Foxconn Technology Group, confirmed to Bloomberg in a phone interview that the company is looking to expand its operations in North America. The news arrives after a previous report in November claiming that Foxconn was bringing U.S. engineers to Asia for training before sending them back to the States. Sources said American factories would focus on LCD TV production instead of Apple hardware.
Woo acknowledged to Bloomberg that Americans simply want more of their products manufactured locally. While that is indeed true, Americans also want reassurance that local workers have jobs, and that business isn't being farmed out to cheaper labor overseas.
The drawback to establishing local factories, according to Woo, is that the supply chain itself will present a challenge. "In addition, 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," Woo added.
Foxconn chairman Terry Guo reportedly said at a recent public event that the company is planning to launch a training program for US-based engineers. These "students" will be brought to Taiwan or China and taught how to communicate in Chinese and given first-hand experience in the manufacturing process. They won't remain overseas indefinitely – Guo said they'll return to the States with "training that can be helpful".
As of November, Foxconn was reportedly in talks with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for recruiting engineers.
Despite rumors that Foxconn will only manufacture LCD TVs here in the States, will the company help Apple manufacture iMacs next year? Apple CEO Tim Cook recently revealed the company's plans to manufacture one of the existing Mac lines here in the States in 2013, a revelation that doesn't seem coincidental when compared to the new Foxconn report.
Cook pointed out that several Apple components are already locally manufactured including the Corning Gorilla Glass protecting touchscreens, and the Apple SoCs serving as the brains of its popular mobile devices. But completed, ready-to-sell devices haven't been made or assembled here in the States since 1994 when the company left its Elk Grove and Fremont, Calif., facilities and switched over to Chinese manufacturing.
Is Apple finally finally bringing work home thanks to Foxconn?