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September 19, 2017

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Terry Gou confirms US investment push after another White House visit

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- After visiting the White House for the second time in two days, Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou on Friday confirmed that his firm was planning major "expanded investments" in the U.S.

Greeted by White House reporters after his meeting, Gou read from a statement: "We are planning a number of expanded investments in America together with the office of American innovation. This project will include both capital-intensive and skilled labor-intensive and high-tech investment."

Gou said Hon Hai was

already working with local U.S. governments to select a location for the project.

"I will share with you more this summer," he said.

Pressed for more details about the investment plan's timeline, he said that over the last three months he had traveled to the U.S. twice, and that the two meetings on Thursday and Friday took place because the Office of American Innovation wished to expedite the project.

As he had been after his Thursday visit, Gou was tightlipped when asked whether he had met with U.S. President Donald Trump.

"I don't want to say yes or no," he said.

Asked to weigh in on Trump's apparent snub of the Taiwan president's suggestion of another phone call, Gou also declined to comment.

"We are businessmen. We do not want to get involved with anything political," he said.

Asked how much he planned to invest, Gou said he wanted that to be announced by the White House.

A Significant Bump

In a statement released after Gou's second meeting, Hon Hai confirmed that it was keenly assessing the possibility of setting up manufacturing operations in the United States.

The firm said it expected to "significantly increase" its U.S. investment and that it was grateful to the Office of American Innovation for paving a path for its negotiations.

The White House Office of American Innovation, created by Trump and led by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, aims to reform the federal government through private-sector solutions.

Hon Hai runs a business empire with manufacturing bases that employ hundreds of thousands of workers in mainland

China.

But it has signaled ambitions to expand beyond the Greater China region.

In January, Gou, whose company had already bought Japan-based Sharp, said that it was likely for Hon Hai to set up a flat panel plant in the U.S.

Hon Hai reportedly is one of the competitors buying Japan-based Toshiba's memory chip business.

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