Contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles Apple’s iPhones and other companies’ products, is “very serious” about bidding for Toshiba’s memory chip business. Toshiba is currently Apple’s top supplier of flash memory chips. Foxconn’s founder and chairman Terry Gou said the firm cannot afford not having this technology.

Toshiba recently moved to sell some or all of its memory chip business after reporting a massive $6.3 billion loss. According to Bloomberg, Gou was present at an event in southern China to open a new $9 billion display plant.

Acquiring Toshiba would permit Foxconn to sell more components to Apple.

Apple, TSMC, Microsoft, SK Hynix, Micron Technology and Western Digital are also said to be interested in acquiring a majority stake in Toshiba’s flash memory business. The Japanese company values its NAND flash business at about 1.5 trillion yen, or approximately $13 billion.

Foxconn’s massive manufacturing capacity and financial clout could help boost Toshiba’s operation while allowing Foxconn to take more control over Apple’s supply chain for iPhones. Foxconn even offered to build NAND flash factories in China while leaving Toshiba’s core technologies in Japan.

With Toshiba’s memory unit under its control, Foxconn could bring together display and memory technology, as well as assembly and supply, under one roof. Foxconn’s chairman also said he’s considering expanding display production in the U.S., noting that project wasn’t nailed down yet.

Foxconn last year bought another failed Japanese giant, Sharp, in a deal valued at $3.6 billion. Sharp is one of the suppliers of mobile screens for Apple products. Upon returning from a trip to Washington, D.C., Gou said Foxconn may train 5,000 to 10,000 skilled workers to staff such a plant.

Source: Bloomberg