Foxconn's decision to build an Apple prototyping plant in Shenzhen would increase its presence in China.
Foxconn has been under pressure of late from the Chinese government to remain inside China and not expand into the U.S., and it looks like the company may be taking that to heart. In fact, according to reports, the company is preparing to build a new facility in Shenzhen, China, that will be dedicated to assisting Apple in building hardware prototypes.
The report comes from Nikkei Asian Review, and it claims that Foxconn first started considering building a prototyping facility when CEO Tim Cook visited the area last year. The building is still in very early stages — in fact, Foxconn is still finding land to acquire for the project.
If the reports do indeed turn out to be correct, this will mark Foxconn’s third major facility in the Shenzhen area, with the first being Foxconn’s headquarters. As Apple Insider points out, most of the manufacturing for Apple’s products takes place in Zhengzhou.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Foxconn and Apple deal with growing tensions over President-elect Trump’s trade policy, but this news shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the company is abandoning all plans to build plants in the U.S. In fact, the company is reportedly still planning at least one plant in the U.S., and has even developed plans on how to build the iPhone in the U.S. if Apple decides to begin moving more production into the country. For now, however, iPhone production will likely remain in Zhengzhou.
The news comes shortly after we heard that Foxconn was on track to fully automate its plants in three phases, with thousands of jobs being lost as a result. The three phases represent different levels of automation, however the final phase basically involves only a few humans working at each plant in logistical and managerial roles.