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Foxconn confirms US expansion plans

Foxconn Electronics, the manufacturing giant best known for making Apple's iPhone and iPad, has confirmed that it is looking to expand operations in North America, according to a new report.

"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 Businessweek in a phone interview. He did not elaborate about which clients made the request, or reveal any specific plans.

The news comes after Apple chief Tim Cook confirmed this week that some parts of Mac production will come to the US starting next year. He conceded that Apple won't be working alone, and would be investing more than $100 million (£62.4 million) as part of the effort.

Word first spread back in November that Foxconn was mulling US.-based factories. The company was reportedly evaluating the possibility of setting up shop in several US cities such as Detroit and Los Angeles.

At the time, a Foxconn spokeswoman said that the company's chairman and CEO had only floated "the possibility of Foxconn providing opportunities for engineers in the US to visit the company's facilities in China for technical exchanges as part of a larger program to further develop and promote automation in the manufacturing sector."

The Taiwanese company, which has come under fire in recent years over labor rights issues, employs 1.6 million workers globally, and already has factories in California and Texas.

"Supply chain is one of the big challenges for US expansion," Woo told Bloomberg Businessweek."In addition, any manufacturing we take back to the US needs to leverage high-value engineering talent there in comparison to the low-cost labor of China."

Foxconn as of late hasn't exactly been depicted as a wonderful place to work, with various groups accusing the firm of worker abuses. Earlier this year, Apple ordered an audit of the Foxconn factories that produce its products, which showed excessive overtime and unsafe working conditions. Over the summer, it was reported that Foxconn was taking steps to rectify the problems.

Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.