Saturday, December 8, 2012

Uh, Foxconn has been in the United States for several years now

The story is going viral, but you have to read the story very carefully.

Right after Apple tactically announced that they were going to do some Macintosh manufacturing in the United States, another company made a similar announcement.

The company? Foxconn, whose existing factories in China are well-known.

Here's how Bloomberg BusinessWeek started its story:

Foxconn Technology Group, the major supplier to Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ), seeks to expand its operations in North America as customers request more of their products be Made in U.S.A.

“We are looking at doing more manufacturing in the U.S. because, in general, customers want more to be done there,” Louis Woo, a Foxconn spokesman, said in a phone interview. He declined to comment on individual clients or specific plans.

Did you catch the words "expand" and "more manufacturing"?

You see, Foxconn's global presence already includes a facility in the United States - and although I didn't know it at the time, I was tangentially part of the story.

Back in 2008, I was working for Motorola. At the time, Motorola was providing a wide range of products, from automated fingerprint identification systems to police radios to cellular telephones. The company was thinking about splitting into two separate companies - something that it ended up doing a few years later. At the same time, it was cutting costs and operations like mad (my own division would be sold by Motorola in 2009).

And Motorola was also laying off employees at a Plantation, Florida facility. This provided a pool of skilled workers that could be hired by other companies.

Foxconn moved in.

Multinational computer and electronic parts manufacturer Foxconn International Holdings is planning a 200-employee facility in western Broward County....

The goal is to have the facility up and designing by early June, according to Julio Abdala, Foxconn's VP of engineers.

A majority of the new hires were recently laid off from Motorola's Plantation hub, he said.

In fact, Foxconn's South Florida expansion, Abdala said, is a direct result of its ability to hire those high-skilled workers.

And Foxconn can keep on hiring. Motorola Mobility laid off more workers earlier this year, so those workers could presumably be hired by companies such as Foxconn, Citrix, and General Dynamics. But not by Research in Motion; RIM is laying off its own people.

It's uncertain whether Foxconn's newly-announced plans to "expand" and provide "more manufacturing" in the United States will be centered on south Florida, or on some other US location or locations.
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