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Made in America? Foxconn mulls U.S. expansion

Foxconn, a manufacturer of Apple products, is looking at expanding its operations in North America as customers ask for more products to be made in the U.S., a report from Bloomberg says.

Foxconn operates factories in several Chinese cities, including two campuses in Shenzhen. This is the gate of the Shenzhen factories. Jay Greene/CNET
"Made in the U.S." is becoming more appealing to at least one Asian manufacturer.

Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple and other tech companies, today told Bloomberg that it's seeking to expand its operations in North America as customers request more of their products be made in the region.

"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, told Bloomberg.

He didn't provide many other details beyond saying the supply chain is a big challenge for U.S. expansion, and any manufacturing in the U.S. would need to leverage high-value engineering talent as opposed to the low-cost labor in China.

While Woo didn't say which customers want to manufacture in the U.S., it's not too difficult to figure out that one of them is likely Apple. Chief Executive Tim Cook, speaking to Bloomberg in an interview published today, confirmed that Apple is moving some Mac production to the U.S and is investing $100 million to help produce the computers here.

Foxconn, meanwhile, has been largely noncommittal about expanding in the U.S. The company told CNET last month that it wasn't growing its North American presence despite reports at the time that it was doing so.

The company,which has a spotty labor history, would likely face a tough time in the U.S. As CNET noted last month, a new U.S. factory would have to conform to local labor laws, and Foxconn is rife with complaints about worker conditions in factories making iPhones and other high-volume tech products.

We've contacted Foxconn and will update the post when we have more information.