Sharp president confirms US investment plans

800 billion yen is possibly sum of Sharp and Foxconn investments: Tai

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Sharp Corp. President Tai Jeng-wu.

Sharp Corp. President Tai Jeng-wu. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Sharp Corporation President Tai Jeng-wu (戴正吳), a close confidant of Hon Hai Precision Industry (鴻海) Chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘),

confirmed in Taipei Saturday that the company planned to invest in a panel factory in the United States.

Reports of U.S. plans for the Hon Hai group, which is also known as Foxconn Technology and includes Sharp, have been rife for months. Speculation reached a new high when Gou visited the White House on April 27 and 28, though at the time he did not confirm whether he actually met President Donald Trump on those occasions.

Speaking to reporters at an event in Taipei Saturday, Tai said Sharp was looking to manufacture small and medium-sized panels in the U.S. which would not be limited to smartphones. The screens could also be used for aircraft, space shuttles, aerospace, government departments and even defense, he said.

Tai hinted that U.S. glass producer Corning Inc. supported Sharp’s U.S. manufacturing plans.

Turning to the size of the investment, he first emphasized that plans by Sharp and Hon Hai would be kept separate, with the Japanese company providing its own capital for its project. When media reports mentioned a sum of more than 800 billion yen (US$7.1 billion, NT$216 billion), they were probably adding up the plans from both companies, Tai said.

The location and timetable for Sharp’s U.S. plant had not been decided yet, he added, expressing the hope that it could happen as soon as possible.

The Taiwanese businessman confirmed that Gou and his delegation met with Trump at the White House, and that on the second day there were six U.S. governors or their representatives present who were vying for investment by Hon Hai. In contrast, the Taiwanese authorities were far less enthusiastic or active in trying to attract investors, Tai reportedly said.