Foxconn, the giant electronics manufacturing conglomerate and Apple’s biggest OEM manufacturing partner, has begun talks with the US federal authorities to find a suitable place to set up a sixth-generation TFT-LCD panel factory, according to Digitimes.
The display factory would cater to small-to-medium sized 6G panels and could be used in Apple’s iPhone, iPad and MacBooks, it is said. It would also move the busines a lot closer to the source of much of the autonomous driving system R&D going on in the States, which Foxconn could potentially supply with automotive displays. The likelihood of Foxconn investing in a large display panel factory is low, as the company cannot compete under its house brand – Sharp – after it had sold its US license to Chinese HiSense (until 2020).
At the moment, it seems, the company is still in talks with Federal and State authorities to find the best location and incentives for its investment, so no hard date has been set.
Foxconn, after the Sharp acquisition, and having a considerable stake in several other display companies, can tap into three different types of display technology: IGZO, a-Si and LTPS, which offer each different sets of Pros and Cons. IGZO is set to be a premium type of display, which is expensive to manufacture, while Amorphous Silicon and Polycrystalline Silicon offer much cheaper tooling and manufacturing costs.
Whether politically or economically driven, moving manufacturing to the US seems to play into the US President’s official line, who has been making a case for the return of manufacturing jobs Stateside.
KitGuru Says: This is one of those cases where politics have a definite impact on the high-tech industry. After Silicon Valley, the Far East seems to be the next step in bringing high-tech manufacturing to the US.