Asian Giants From Alibaba to Toyota Are Pledging to Help Trump Bring Jobs to the U.S.
Manufacturers in Asia’s export-oriented economies are rushing to announce investment plans in the United States, as U.S. President Donald Trump calls for companies to build more products in the country.
Trump has already issued an executive order withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, threatened to brand some countries as currency manipulators, and is considering import tariffs or border taxes as part of his “America First” policies.
Following is a list of Asian companies that have announced plans to help the United States create jobs and boost manufacturing.
The South Korean firm may build a U.S. plant for its home appliances business, a person familiar with the matter said on Feb 2.
Details, including the amount of money it might invest and where the new plant would be located, have yet to be decided, the person said.
Samsung (SSNLF) officially declined comment but said it has made significant investments in the United States, including $17 billion for a chip plant in Austin, Texas.
The South Korean electronics firm said on Feb 2 it will decide whether to build a manufacturing base in the United States within the first half of the year and warned of risks from the Trump administration’s trade policies.
SAMSONITE INTERNATIONAL SA
On Jan 26, the world’s largest luggage maker said it was considering relocating some of its manufacturing to the United States. Nearly 40% of Samsonite’s (SMSOF) sales are in the United States.
Foxconn’s chairman Terry Gou said on Jan. 22 that the world’s largest contract electronics maker may set up a display-making plant in the United States. Such an investment would exceed $7 billion and could create about 30,000-50,000 jobs.
Gou said Foxconn, whose formal company name is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, has considered the move for years. The idea was revived when Foxconn business partner Masayoshi Son, head of Japan’s Softbank, talked to him before Son’s December meeting with Trump.
Foxconn already has operations in Pennsylvania, which Foxconn would prioritize, depending on land, water, power, infrastructure and other investment conditions, Gou said.
HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP
The Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Hyundai Motor (HYMTF) and Kia Motors (KIMTF), said on Jan 17 it plans to lift U.S. investment by 50% to $3.1 billion over five years and may build a new plant there.
Group President Chung Jin-haeng denied the plan was due to any pressure from Trump. A new U.S. factory would depend on whether demand improved under the next U.S. administration, he said.
The investment would retool existing U.S. factories and boost research on self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and other future technologies.
ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING
The Chinese e-commerce giant’s executive chairman Jack Ma met Trump on Jan. 10 and laid out a plan to bring one million small U.S. businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years.
Alibaba (BABA) has previously campaigned to bring more small U.S. businesses onto the company’s sites, but this was the first time Ma discussed specific targets.
Alibaba expects the initiative to create one million U.S. jobs as each company adds a staff position.
The Japanese automaker announced on Jan. 9 a $10 billion investment plan in the United States over the next five years – the same as in the previous five years – to meet demand and upgrade plants to build more fuel-efficient models.
The automaker has come under fire from Trump over plans, announced in 2015, to shift production of the Corolla to its Mexico plant from Canada. Toyota (TM) has said its mid-term U.S. investment plans were not a response to Trump’s remarks.
Son, the head of telecom operator Softbank (SFTBY), met Trump on Dec. 6 and pledged a $50 billion investment that would create 50,000 new jobs in the United States.
The investment, announced jointly by Trump and Son in the lobby of the Trump Tower in Manhattan, would come from a $100 billion investment fund Son announced in October jointly with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund, media reports said.