Samsung Electronics is in preliminary talks to expand its manufacturing operations in the U.S. with a new facility for home appliances.
The Suwon, South Korea-based technology giant expects to spend at least $300 million on the project and is discussing the plans with at least five states, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. The shift may involve moving some of the production of oven ranges to the U.S. from Mexico and could generate about 500 jobs, according to the Journal.
“This is a complex process that, like all strategic business decisions, will not be made final until it is determined through proper due diligence and planning that it is the best option for Samsung,” the company said in a statement. A Samsung representative in the U.S. wouldn’t comment beyond confirming the talks and said the company started reviewing options in the country early last fall.
The election of U.S. President Donald Trump influenced Samsung’s interest in a U.S. factory, according to the sources cited by the Journal. Mr. Trump campaigned on a promise of creating jobs in the U.S. and bringing back manufacturing, and has threatened to impose stiff tariffs on imports.
Samsung’s de facto chief, Jay Lee was the only executive from a foreign company invited to a tech industry meeting Mr. Trump held in December, the Journal said.
Mr. Lee was not present at the meeting. He has been embroiled in a corruption scandal in South Korea since late last year and was indicted in February on bribery and embezzlement charges.
The U.S. is one of the biggest markets for Samsung, which makes everything from smartphones to processing chips,and refrigerators. The company said in November it plans to invest more than $1 billion by the first half of this year in its semiconductor facilities in Austin, Texas. That capital injection brings the total investment to $17 billion at the site, which employs 3,000 people and was originally opened in 1997.