TN in fresh talks with Foxconn for reviving Nokia plant

A man holds a Nokia 8110 4G device at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona recently. REUTERS

With India and Finland resolving the tax dispute involving Nokia, Tamil Nadu has launched fresh efforts to woo Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn to revive the factory owned by the Finnish mobile major near here to set up its own unit.

Nokia's massive facility at Sriperumbudur, 50 km from Chennai, has been lying defunct for the past four years due to Rs 21,000 crore tax dispute, and it can now get a fresh lease of life after the two governments have agreed to settle the issue once for all. At one point, the plant was Nokia's largest facility when it was the undisputed leader in the mobile phone market.

Immediately after reports emerged last week that the tax dispute has been amicably resolved, the Tamil Nadu government reached out to Foxconn, which had earlier shown interest to revive the facility, asking it to use the factory.

"We have launched fresh efforts to make sure that Foxconn uses the Nokia factory to set up its own manufacturing unit. Immediately after reading the news reports last week, we got in touch with Foxconn India and their headquarters in Taiwan to persuade them to invest more in Tamil Nadu,” Industries Minister M C Sampath told DH.

Sampath said that he has deputed a senior official of his department to hold talks with the Foxconn management. Foxconn wanted to use the facility for its operations, but held back its decision only because of the unresolved tax dispute.

"We have promised them of all possible help to revive the factory and set up their unit. Already, the existing Foxconn plant is providing employment to 6,000 people and if the Nokia factory is revived, another 30,000 people can get employment. So, we will make every effort to get Foxconn seal the deal and we are very hopeful of the outcome," Sampath said.

The Tamil Nadu government's promptness in touching the base with Foxconn within days of the resolution of the dispute is significant as it comes in the backdrop of criticism that many industries are turning away from the state due to a lack of patronage.

The now defunct Nokia factory would be best suited for Foxconn since the Taiwanese company can use the facility to compliment its manufacturing capabilities at its own plant located just a few kilometres away.

Foxconn already has a manufacturing facility at Andhra Pradesh's Sri City, just 70 km from Chennai, which produces handsets for the likes of Xiaomi, Nokia and Gionee.

 

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