Apple supplier Foxconn plans to set up headquarters in China, as part of the company’s growing expansion in manufacturing and commercial operations.
The building in Shanghai, which will be completed in early 2015, will house research and development and sales, and also act as a center for Foxconn’s e-commerce business in China. The company is scheduled to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the new headquarters on Thursday, according to a company invite sent to journalists.
Foxconn, based in Taiwan, already employs about 1.2 million workers in China in various factories across the country. Besides making products for Apple, the company also manufactures products for HP, Microsoft, Sony and others.
It has recently come under criticism for poor working conditions at its Chinese factories. Earlier this year Foxconn raised wages for its assembly line workers, and later said it would restrict workers’ overtime, according to an audit released by the Fair Labor Association.
As the company establishes its new headquarters in China, Foxconn has been adopting new manufacturing technologies including robotics and automation, according to the invite. Last year, the company reportedly said it would deploy 1 million robots over the next three years for manufacturing purposes, a move that will help Foxconn reduce labor costs, according to analysts.
Foxconn also said it was investing in retail operations, with new physical and online stores. The company already has a sales channel business, which includes a joint venture with Media Markt electronic stores in Shanghai. Foxconn has previously said it has been working to expand electronic gadget sales in China’s smaller cities.