Mumbai: World's largest electronics contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology today announced a USD 5-billion investment in Maharashtra over the next five years to set up manufacturing, research and development facilities.
The facilities will be located either near Mumbai or Pune, and 1,500 acres will be allocated for this purpose, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters here after the state government signed an agreement with the Taiwanese giant.
The proposed investments, when completed, will offer direct jobs to 50,000 people, Fadnavis said.
He said this is the biggest single FDI announcement in Maharashtra and probably one of the largest in the country. The agreement with Foxconn, the trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, covers manufacturing of 'TFT screens and semiconductors', he said.
The announcement, also the biggest since the launch of the Modi government's 'Make in India' and 'Digital India' initiatives, means the country can finally boast of a fab manufacturing plant after struggling to get multi-billion dollar investment needed to make chipsets.
Asked if the agreement also entails manufacturing mobile phones, one of the biggest businesses for the Taiwanese firm, Foxconn founder and Chairman Terry Gou declined to comment, citing confidentiality clauses.
Terry, who earlier this week announced intention to invest USD 2 billion to set up over 10 plants in the country over the next one decade, said he had been in discussions with Maharashtra for over two months.
"I have personally met Fadnavis seven times in the last two months," Terry said, identifying strong leadership, along with Maharashtra's other strengths like being a centre of finance, strong talent pool and an ability to integrate software and hardware, as factors that clinched the mega pact.
Fadnavis said he visited Foxconn's manufacturing facilities during his recent China trip and invited the company to invest in the state, which has fructified with
A team of 70 people had been working for the last two months on the deal, which was "finalised at 3 this morning", Terry added.
This is the first specific investment announcement by Foxconn, the manufacturer of iconic Apple i-Phones, after it left the country following the closure of the Nokia plant in Tamil Nadu on tax woes earlier this year.
Last month, the company had announced to pump in USD 20 billion in the solar sector, along with Japan's SoftBank and Bharti Enterprises.
Over the past week, there have been announcements involving Foxconn of a joint venture with the Adani group and possible tie-ups with other companies like e-commerce player Snapdeal, mobile phone-maker Micromax and refurbished goods e-tailer Greendust.
Terry said the MoU signed today is different from the JV it had announced with Adani Enterprises last week. A senior official from Maharashtra Industries
Department said presence of the company will be divided across either two or three sites.
The first will be a 900-acre manufacturing unit, for which the state has suggested a land parcel near Talegaon in Pune while the second will be a research and development hub, along with a smart city which will house its employees, schools and colleges, among other facilities.
The second set of facilities could be placed together or in close vicinity of each other, the official said, adding that the state has earmarked land at Khalapur and on Pen-Khopoli Road (both on Mumbai's outskirts) for this. The official, however, declined to elaborate, citing the non-disclosure agreement.
Fadnavis said officials from Foxconn have already been shown land parcels and will be taking a call on the exact location soon.
Terry said Foxconn will be looking at local partners for the investment in Maharashtra. He met officials from Tata Sons, TCS, Bharat Forge, Shapoorji Pallonji and also visited the IIT-Bombay, which he admired as one of the best technology schools in the world, during his Mumbai visit.
Foxconn today also entered a partnership with filmmaker Subhash Ghai-promoted Whistling Woods International by making a donation for a media lab at the film, fashion and media institute located in suburban Mumbai.