Sharp may begin the construction of a new factory in the United States by mid-2017, a source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters. While Sharp's parent company Foxconn was considering the idea of building a new U.S. plant for some time now, the Taiwanese tech giant is now apparently prepared to let its Japanese subsidiary take the lead on the project. Reuters speculates that this turn of events may be connected to the upcoming visit to the U.S. that the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe is planning to make in the coming days. It's possible that Abe will announce Sharp's investment during his visit to the U.S. in order to improve relations with the Trump Administration.
President Trump was elected on a political platform that heavily focused on bringing back jobs to the country by any means necessary. Among other things, Trump threatened to impose high tariffs on imported goods with the goal of forcing foreign companies to open more manufacturing operations in the U.S. In that context, Foxconn's decision to allow its Japanese subsidiary to go through with the project may be seen as a preemptive action made to either avoid such a scenario or mitigate its potential effects. Sharp's plant is said to be just a part of Japan's new investment plan for the U.S. that's said to create up to 700,000 jobs in the country. Abe is expected to unveil that plan this weekend in hopes of pleasing the newly elected President, sources told Reuters. Sharp's potential U.S. plant would be focused on manufacturing display panels and would cost the company approximately $7 billion. More information on the matter should follow this weekend.
While Sharp's new U.S. plant has been debated for some time now, a spokesperson for the company recently said that the project still wasn't approved, while Foxconn has yet to comment on the matter. In a related turn of events, recent reports suggested that Samsung is building a new U.S. factory for reasons similar to those of Sharp and President Trump even publicly thanked the South Korean company for doing so, but his gratitude was quickly rejected.