Foxconn planning $1B plant in Indonesia, will create a million jobs

Electronics manufacturer Foxconn, which has gained notoriety as Apple’s key manufacturing partner for mobile devices, is in talks to open a $1 billion facility in Indonesia.

The aim: making “good quality products and make them available in the markets at lower prices,” the company announced Tuesday. It likely doesn’t hurt that Foxconn will have a ready supply of workers willing to assemble cell phones and other consumer electronics for $100 a month.

Why Indonesia? After passing on other SouthEast Asia locations such as Vietnam and Malaysia, Foxconn said it chose Indonesia because of its 6 percent annual growth and an area “sorely in need” of jobs. The company said the plant will create about 1 million jobs, a number  of interest to the Indonesian Ministry of Industry as it enters talks with Foxconn.

The huge new facility is not the first venture into Malaysia by Foxconn. In 2011, the company received the government’s go-ahead to build a plant to make printer cartridges and employ 1,000 workers.

Foxconn already has manufacturing sites in Brazil and China. Although the company has brought the promise of jobs to its host countries, Foxconn seems to always include a bit of controversy. Despite repeated reports of workers committing suicide and other mishaps, Chinese citizens apparently still see Foxconn as a hot employment prospect.

Although Brazil workers producing iPads and other hot electronic brands earn more than their Chinese counterparts, Foxconn quickly found itself in hot water. Earlier this year, Foxconn Brazil workers threatened to strike, claiming they worked without food or water. At another point, Foxconn owner Terry Gou reportedly called workers ‘animals‘ — a bit of indelicate phrasing that prompted a quick apology and the hiring of New York City image managers.

So, it is a bit confusing when Foxconn announces it will “continue our efforts in establishing more manufacturing plants across the globe.” Is that a promise, or a threat?

Photo: ABC’s Foxconn special