WSJ: Apple partner Foxconn wants to build chips and car parts in Saudi Arabia

Tim Cook at Foxconn
Tim Cook at Foxconn (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Foxconn reportedly wants to open a factory in Saudi Arabia.
  • The new factory will be capable of producing chips and electric vehicle parts.
  • Foxconn is an important manufacturing partner for Apple.

Foxconn is reportedly in talks about opening a new $9 billion multipurpose facility in Saudi Arabia. The new factory would be able to make "microchips, electric-vehicle components, and other electronics."

According to a new WSJ report, the iPhone assembler has been talking to Saudi Arabian decision-makers since last year in an attempt to get the project off the ground. The company is also sounding out the United Arab Emirates about the same project, potentially as a way to put pressure on Saudi Arabia as it works to get tax breaks and more.

The report says that the Saudi Arabian government wants Foxconn to ensure that the project is profitable by using the factory's output to fulfill existing supply chain requirements.

Riyadh wants the company to guarantee that it would direct at least two-thirds of the foundry's production into Foxconn's existing supply chain, one of the people said, to ensure there are buyers for its products and the project is ultimately profitable.

For its part, Foxconn wants tax holidays, financing, and subsidies for power and water as part of the deal that could see the city of Neom become something of a technology hub — something the Saudi Arabian government is said to have wanted to achieve for some time.

Foxconn's links to Apple will no doubt make it an interested party here, especially given the fact that the plant will be able to produce parts for electric vehicles. The Apple Car project is one that continues to trundle along — could this Saudi Arabian project be part of that one day?

For now, the final say on whether Foxconn's new plant gets the go-ahead rests with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, one of those who have been "been pushing for several years for the company to establish a presence in Neom."

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.