iPhone manufacturer Foxconn Electronics is still in talks with the US federal government and state governments over a sixth-generation factory dedicated to churning out thin-film-transistor (TFT) LCD panels for smaller devices like iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.
According to DigiTimes on Monday, Foxconn originally planned to set up an 8.5G or 10.5G line to produce LCD TV panels or an LCD TV module factory or LCD TV assembly lines in the US to market Sharp TVs there.
Those plans have been called into question, however, because Sharp had licensed its TV brand sales in the US market to China-based vendor Hisense before it acquired a majority stake in Sharp in March 2016 for a reported $3.5 billion.
Foxconn has talked with Hisense about allowing Sharp to sell branded TVs in the US market, but the company refused to sell back the licensing to Sharp.
According to the report:
Sharp is actually unable to sell own-brand LCD TVs in the US market until the licensing expires at the end of 2020 and therefore Foxconn has no motivation to produce LCD TV panels in the US in the meantime, the sources indicated
The rumored 6G line could produce LCD panels for iPhones and iPads.
But that business may be short-lived as Apple is widely expected to begin transitioning away from LCDs and start adopting AMOLEDs for iPhones and iPads with the rumored OLED-based iPhone 8 model and a new 10.5-inch iPad with an OLED-based screen this year.
In response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Make in America” call, Foxconn in January pledged to build a multi-billion dollar highly-automated LCD panel factory in America, which may break ground around the summer.
The company previously said it was planning “a number of investments” in America.