Japanese iPhone display maker Sharp will reportedly be taking the lead on a new $7 billion factory in the U.S., produced with partner company Foxconn.
The plant could break ground as soon as the first half of this year.
The new facility will be one subject under discussion as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares to meet with President Donald Trump for the first time. Abe will discuss investments in the United States that could result in as many as 700,000 jobs in the country.
President Donald Trump has made a big point about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. Tim Cook, conversely, has previously claimed that China makes a lot more sense as a manufacturing hub for Apple — not just because labor costs are significantly less, but because of the country’s great number of skilled workers, too.
However, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou suggested recently that it would make more sense to produce displays in the United States because it would save on shipping from China to the U.S. market. Foxconn owns a two-third stake in Sharp, which it acquired last year.
It’s also been suggested that Foxconn may open a separate molding facility in the United States, with Pennsylvania selected as the location.
Sharp is likely to be the company responsible for the iPhone 8’s rumored OLED display. Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu recently confirmed the long-standing rumor while speaking at Tatung University, saying that:
“The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS to OLED panels. We don’t know whether Apple’s OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn’t walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation. It is a crisis but it is also an opportunity.”
Given that Sharp’s display factory won’t be completed by the time the iPhone 8 arrives on the market, however, it is likely that users will be waiting a few more years before they get their iPhone screens made in the U.S. of A.