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Foxconn is taking steps to bolster production capabilities in China and the U.S.   © Reuters

Foxconn plans new smartphone hub in China

Apple supplier earmarks $5bn to invest in city, juggling Washington and Beijing

KENSAKU IHARA, Nikkei staff writer | China

TAIPEI -- Hon Hai Precision Industry will pour more than 37.5 billion yuan ($5.74 billion) into a smartphone plant and other investments in the Chinese city of Nanjing, under a deal achieved by Wednesday, as the Taiwanese company aims to strike a balance after announcing a major U.S. investment in July.

Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn Technology Group, is the world's biggest contract electronics maker and a major Apple supplier. The group's Chinese unit reached a general agreement with the Jiangsu Province city that also includes possible investments such as a liquid crystal display TV plant, a research and development site, chipmaking facilities and a logistics center. Nanjing may provide financial support as well as help with land and other infrastructure.

Foxconn acknowledged the investment plan but gave little detail. Nanjing already is home to some smartphone manufacturing facilities, but on a small scale. Foxconn mass-produces iPhones for Apple in locations such as Henan Province's Zhengzhou, but appears to be expanding its production network in order to capture business from a broad range of soaring Chinese smartphone makers.

Since the 1980s, Foxconn has built a number of massive factories in mainland China, growing to become the region's biggest exporter with a payroll of around 1 million employees. After founder and Chairman Terry Gou visited the White House in July to announce the U.S. investment with President Donald Trump, concerns in China grew that the company would shift focus elsewhere. But Foxconn has shown it aims to be attentive to both Beijing and Washington as the company expands.

In February, Foxconn embarked on building a roughly $9 billion display plant in Guangzhou. The group's $10 billion plans for the U.S. state of Wisconsin include facilities such as an LCD factory.

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