Foxconn is considering a joint investment with Apple (AAPL) to build a panel facility in the U.S. that would cost more than $7 billion and create 30,000-50,000 jobs, Chairman Terry Gou told reporters Sunday.
That comes after President Trump, in his inaugural address, vowed to make "America First" the core principle of his administration. "We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American."
Trump had campaigned on Apple bringing iPhone production to the U.S., recently expressing his optimism that Apple CEO Tim Cook had his "eyes open" to the idea. Foxconn is the largest assembler of iPhones.
IBD'S TAKE: Want to do your part to "buy American"? U.S. tech stocks .
Gou said an investment by Foxconn's Sharp unit would depend on incentives negotiated at the U.S. state and federal levels.
Foxconn's chairman said "protectionism" was inevitable, the Asian Nikkei Review quoted him as saying, though he's not sure how American consumers will respond to the higher costs. "In the future they may be paying some $500 more for (U.S.) products, but those do not necessarily work better than a $300 phone."
Gou also pledged increased investments in China.
Apple relies heavily on China, not only for production but also sales. China accounted for $46.4 billion in revenue for Apple, or 22% of its total.
Boeing (BA), General Motors (GM), Qualcomm (QCOM), Intel (INTC) and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) are among the many the U.S. multinationals that are heavily exposed to China's market and could be threatened if President Trump and China gear up for a trade war.