TAIPEI Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, the major supplier of Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPhone and iPad products, said it's considering expanding manufacturing to the United States in a move that could open up new prospects for business with Apple.
Chairman Terry Gou also said Indonesia will be a top priority for investment this year. That would tie in with Foxconn's deal to design and market phones in the country with BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO) as the Canadian company seeks to reverse its decline in the smartphone business.
"The U.S. is a must-go market," said Gou, speaking at the group's annual year-end party on Sunday. He said many customers and partners hope Foxconn, the world's largest contract manufacturer of electronic goods, will set up manufacturing facilities in the U.S.
Foxconn's ambitious growth plans could see it lift annual revenue to T$10 trillion a decade from now, from T$4 trillion in 2013.
The group, which includes flagship unit Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (2317.TW) and Foxconn Technology Co Ltd (2354.TW), could take advantage of geographical proximity to open up new deals with partners like Apple as they develop new gadgets.
Best known for putting together iPhones, Foxconn honed its skills by meeting Apple's exacting standards and supply chain rigour. It boasts a workforce of more than 1 million, and the scale to negotiate cheaper component prices than BlackBerry could obtain on its own.
Gou placed emphasis on Indonesia for future development. He said the country, rather than India, will be best able to replace China as the world's manufacturing hub in the future.
Indonesian government officials have said Hon Hai wants to gradually invest as much as $10 billion over 5 years with local partner Erajaya Swasembada, and Indonesia will offer the Taiwanese firm a tax package aimed at kickstarting the plan. Hon Hai has yet to confirm these details.
(Reporting by Faith Hung; Writing by Michael Gold; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)
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