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Why Foxconn Partnered Vedanta To Set Up $22 Bn Semi- Conductor Plant In India

Vedanta-Foxconn’s proposed $22-billion joint venture project in India for an integrated display and semiconductor fabrication ecosystem has kicked off a controversy over a sudden change in the project location from Maharashtra to Gujarat. Significantly, the location change came just three months before the Gujarat assembly election.  Both Foxconn and Vedanta’s Anil Agarwal have long experience in dealing with political powers in host countries. During Donald Trump’s presidency in the US, Foxconn planned a $10-bn unit in Wisconsin. The project was announced by Trump himself at the White House in 2017, boasting of it as an example of his ‘America First’ agenda to revive technology manufacturing in the US. However, within months of Trump’s defeat Foxconn drastically pruned the project! The planned investment was reduced to merely $672 million, slashing the number of new jobs from originally promised 13,000 to 1,454. However, it is difficult to understand why Foxconn, the 22nd ranked Fortune Global 500 company needs the shoulder of Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta to enter India when the government allows up to 100% foreign holding in this hi-tech sector. Could there be a political reason on Foxconn’s part to tie-up with Vedanta to ensure best incentive deals from a BJP-governed state? Or, is there an understanding on Vedanta’s part to exit in favour of Foxconn after the project gets started? Time alone can tell the future of the project.