Saturday, November 23, 2013

Foxconn looks to $40 million investment in Pennsylvania; insourcing anyone?

We wouldn't consider this insourcing, but in an interesting move, Foxconn announced late Thursday (via PC World) that the company -- famous for manufacturing electronics for many companies, but especially Apple's iPhone and iPad -- is investing ijj the state of Pennsylvania, to the tune of $40 million.

$30 million of that investment will be spent over the next two years to expand Foxconn's existing office in Harrisburg, Pa. The investment will include the hiring of 500 employees.

In addition, Foxconn will ge $10 million in funding to Carnhegie Mellon University, which is based in Pittsburgh. The investment will fund robotics research at the institution. Foxconn is extremely interested in reducing its manpower requirements through robotics -- though much of its employee base is in China, where wages are undeniably low.

Foxconn employs over a million workers in China, but it has made no secret of the fact that it is interested in automating more of its production.

It is unclear what will be manufactured at the Harrisburg facility, which previously focused on research. However, Foxconn said that by bringing more high-end manufacturing to the U.S., it will be able to lower its manufacturing and transportation costs.

It's unclear how moving manufacturing to the U.S., where wages are much higher than China and other locations could lower the company's costs, but many have said that, in the future, when Peak Oil takes hold, local manufacturing will be key to efficient production of products -- or production at all.

Whatever the manufactured products turn out to be, Foxconn said that they will include non-consumer-focused products such as medical and automotive equipment.

This is just the latest move by Foxconn into the U.S. Earlier this month, the Taiwan-based company said it was exploring establishing a manufacturing base in Arizona to possibly masnufacture display panels. In addition, it's known that Foxconn is considering technology partnerships in Virginia and New Jersey.

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