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Hon Hai mulls Arizona investment, says not connected to Apple

A security guard patrols at Hong Hai headquarters in Tucheng, Taipei county, June 8, 2010. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

By Faith Hung

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Hon Hai Precision Industry (TAI:2317), the major maker of Apple Inc (NSQ:AAPL) products, said on Saturday it was considering building a plant in Arizona to make large panels and large-panel TVs to tap the massive U.S. market.

The world's largest electronics assembler, Hon Hai is considering the plan as it aims to integrate its current operations in North America. Among them are TV and modules manufacturing facilities in Mexico with 12,000 workers.

"Arizona has offered us very good commercial conditions," Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou said following a meeting with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. "The U.S. market is huge."

The move comes as Brewer said earlier this month that Apple will open a manufacturing facility in the U.S. state, in part of a push to boost U.S. jobs.

But Gou denied it had anything to do with Apple's investment plan.

"These are two separate things," he said. "I only learned about it after reading newspapers."

Once the plan was finalised, Hon Hai would begin the investment "as soon as possible", Gou said, without elaborating on the size or timetable.

Hon Hai would set up two U.S. headquarters, one in Arizona and the other in Boston, he added.

Hon Hai is diversifying from its lower-margin contract manufacturing business and trying to move up the value chain.

It said recently it would turn new software development centres in southern Taiwan into a data and cloud power base to focus on content creation, after winning local 4G licences.

(Reporting by Faith Hung; Editing by Nick Macfie)