TAIPEI: Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn confirmed today that its chairman had visited India, but denied it had “entered into any binding, definitive agreements” after reports saying it was planning new investments in the country.
Also known by its official name, Hon Hai Precision Industry, Foxconn is the world’s biggest contract electronics manufacturer and a principal assembler of Apple iPhones.
Both companies are seeking to diversify away from China, where much of their manufacturing is based, after strict Covid policies last year and ongoing diplomatic tensions with the US hurt production.
Foxconn said in a statement today that no deals had been finalised during chairman and CEO Young Liu’s visit to India from Feb 27 to March 4.
“Foxconn has not entered into binding, definitive agreements for new investments during this trip,” the statement said.
“Negotiations and internal review are ongoing. Financial investment sums discussed in media are not information being released by Foxconn.”
The statement comes after the chief minister of Karnataka state, Basavaraj S Bommai, tweeted yesterday that Apple would “soon” manufacture iPhones at a new plant in the state, creating “about 100,000 jobs”.
Bloomberg News reported Foxconn was planning to invest US$700 million in a new factory in Karnataka, citing unnamed sources.
The office of the chief minister of neighbouring Telangana state, Chandrashekar Rao, also tweeted that Liu had signed an agreement on Thursday to “set up electronics manufacturing facilities”.
Foxconn said employment figures currently being reported “do not equate to direct jobs” with the company.
“My trip this week supported Foxconn’s efforts to deepen partnerships … and seek cooperation in new areas such as semiconductor development and electric vehicles,” Liu said in the statement.
He also met earlier this week with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who tweeted on Wednesday that the pair’s “discussions covered various topics aimed at enhancing India’s tech and innovation ecosystem”.
Foxconn has manufactured Apple handsets in India since 2019 at its plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
Two other Taiwanese suppliers, Wistron and Pegatron, also manufacture and assemble Apple devices in India.
Apple said last September it would manufacture its latest iPhone 14 in India, just weeks after launching the flagship model.
But the country accounts for less than five percent of Apple’s global production, according to Bloomberg, lagging behind the US, China, Japan and five other countries.
Apple’s expanding manufacturing in India is a boost to Modi’s “Make in India” strategy, under which he has urged foreign businesses to manufacture goods in the South Asian nation.