Chinese Premier Sends Foxconn a Reminder After Its CEO Visits the White House

Billionaire Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, speaks during the Alibaba Cloud Computing Conference in Hangzhou, China, on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. Alibaba expects pure e-commerce operators to face "tremendous challenges" as the web giant seeks to tap more growth from transforming China $4.5 trillion traditional retail industry. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

China is the best place for expanding manufacturing and investment, the country’s premier told Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, less than two weeks after its chief executive Terry Gou went to the White House to discuss increasing investment in the United States.

“We will continue to expand our development, and optimize the business environment. China has a huge market and lots of talent, it is the best investment place for expanding manufacturing,” Li Keqiang was summarized as saying on the State Council’s official website, which carried pictures of Li’s visit on Tuesday to Foxconn’s sprawling manufacturing facility in Zhengzhou, Henan province.

The pictures showed Li being escorted by Gou around the facilities and the State Council statement saying that Li encouraged Gou to further invest in its high-end research and development as well as in supply chain production in China.

Despite the recent rapprochement between U.S. President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping over North Korea issues, China remains a competitor to the United States under Trump’s “America first” agenda.

Analysts have said that Gou treads a fine line in balancing his business empire that straddles both the United States and China.

Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is a major supplier to Apple (AAPL, -0.47%). China is the base for its assembly of Apple’s iconic iPhones, and where Foxconn employs about a million people.

Li’s visit comes after Gou visited the White House with senior Foxconn executives to discuss significant investments in the U.S. in late April.

At the time, Gou told Reuters when he emerged from meetings at the White House for a second day that Foxconn was planning “capital-intensive” investments in America and that details could be announced in a few weeks.

“After we select the location, the White House will make an announcement,” Gou said.

Foxconn is also in the running as a suitor for Toshiba’s (TOSBF, +4.07%) chip business. People familiar with the deal have told Reuters that Foxconn is considered a U.S. security risk due to ties with China.



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