Apple CEO Tim Cook already revealed plans to spend $100 million in 2013 to bring some of its manufacturing back into the US — and one of Apple's main manufacturing partners similarly has plans to move stateside. According to an interview with Bloomberg, controversial manufacturer Foxconn is planning to expand its operations in North America to meet the needs of customers who want to build products in the US. "We are looking at doing more manufacturing in the US because, in general, customers want more to be done there," Louis Woo, a Foxconn spokesman, told Bloomberg in a phone interview — though Woo declined to speak about any specific partners or plans.
Woo did acknowledge that US expansion will come with its own set of concerns — he said that "supply chain is one of the big challenges" Foxconn will face. He also pointed out the problems that would come with moving away from relying on low-cost Chinese labor, saying "any manufacturing we take back to the U.S. needs to leverage high-value engineering talent there in comparison to the low-cost labor of China." We're still a ways from seeing how this new focus on North American manufacturing will play out, but it's the logical conclusion of the recent controversies over the heavy reliance on Chinese manufacturing in the consumer electronics industry. Google may have got the ball rolling by initially manufacturing its ill-fated Nexus Q in the US, but it sounds like a lot more companies could move in that direction in the coming years if Foxconn's plans come to fruition.