The world’s largest contract maker of electronics products, including Nokia cell phones, iPod music players and PlayStation 2 game consoles, plans to invest US$1 billion at a new industrial park in Wuhan, the latest in a series of massive investment announcements aimed at China.
The Foxconn Technology Group, of Taiwan, will produce electronics products including digital cameras and computer monitors at the location, the Wuhan Municipal Government said in a statement Friday. Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province and the most populous city in central China.
The announcement follows a series of similar billion-dollar proposals by Foxconn. It is also an important announcement for China, which is wrestling with unrest in some areas of its interior due to uneven development across the country. China’s interior has largely missed the kind of development seen in the eastern parts of the country.
In October, the company revealed a $1 billion plan to build factories in Huai’an, a city in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu, which is also home to Nanjing and Suzhou, both major investment destinations for Taiwanese technology companies. Foxconn, which is the trade name for Hon Hai Precision Industry, is Taiwan’s largest technology company.
Foxconn International Holdings, a Hon Hai affiliate listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange that specializes in mobile phones and related devices, in November announced plans to invest $1.2 billion in Langfang, Hebei province, near Beijing, in a sprawling handset production facility.
Hon Hai has already invested more than $800 million in China. The company owns the largest IT exporter in China, Hong Fujin Precision Industry, which suffered intense media scrutiny earlier this year due to allegations it mistreated workers at an iPod factory.
Beijing has worked hard to entice companies, particularly makers of IT products, to build factories further inland in recent years. Until now, most development in China has been focused on the coastal region. Politicians have been encouraging companies to invest further inland to even out development in the nation. Analysts believe companies gain tax breaks and other incentives for building plants in these less-developed areas.
Intel was one of the first major technology companies to invest in China’s hinterland. A few years ago, the chip maker announced a plan to spend $200 million on a chip assembly factory in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.
-Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service (Taipei Bureau)
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