DigiTimes is the source of the latest Foxconn rumor, reporting that the China-based contract electronics manufacturer, also known as Hon Hai, is planning to build factories in the United States. Currently Apple's prized iPhone manufacturer is evaluating cities such as Detroit and Los Angeles as potential camps.
Unnamed "market watchers" informed DigiTimes that, because Apple's smartphones and tablets are so difficult to make, the company needs these North American-based plants to focus on LCD TV production. These factories will reportedly be highly automated and easier to manage.
Whether news of North American Foxconn factories is true or not remains to be seen. Many times these DigiTimes articles are a hit or miss, and Time has even pointed out that "16 of these 25 [tech] stories turned out to be mostly or completely off-base. Five are largely or entirely correct. And four involve predictions that might yet come true."
Yet even if Foxconn is planning to build factories in the US, wouldn't it make sense that they'd focus on Apple's products instead of LCD TVs? Not necessarily if these American factories are heavily automated. Remember that many Americans are without jobs because it's cheaper for big-name corporations to use workers overseas.
That said, Foxconn could potentially make less money building iPhones and iPads here in the States using local workers, thus charging Apple more who in turn would charge consumers more for their favorite gadgets. An automated solution for making Apple's devices seems to be out of the question given their "difficulty" to manufacture.
However the current Foxconn rumor is seemingly backed by Foxconn chairman Terry Guo who reportedly said at a recent public event that the company is planning to launch a training program for US-based engineers.
According to Guo, 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". Currently the company is in talks with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Does this mean Foxconn is getting future workers ready for its North American-based manufacturing plants? Time will tell if the DigiTimes story is right on the money, or another miss.