Japanese display maker Sharp's proposed $7bn (£5.6bn) manufacturing plant in the US may open in the first half of 2017 according to a latest report. The manufacturing project is the brainchild of the company's Taiwanese parent Foxconn.

"The investment will be by a Japanese consortium that will also include manufacturing equipment makers," a source connected to the matter told Reuters.

Earlier Terry Gou, the chief executive of Foxconn had said his company was considering investing $7bn on a display plant but did not mention any timeline. Foxconn is the world's largest contract electronics assembler making smartphones, tablets and more for leading companies including the iPhone.

Opening a display plant will be a great boost to the consumer tech hardware manufacturing industry in US which is currently tiny owing to most assembly taking place in the east. Once a big player like Foxconn takes the lead, other electronic parts supply-based companies from Asia may also show interest.

The upcoming investment will be a part of Tokyo's promise to create nearly 700,000 US jobs. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit US President Donald Trump this weekend at Washington to discuss these economic issues and more.

Gou said his company had been considering the plan for years but it will not cut its investments in China, its biggest market.

"Yes, we will continue to add to our investments in China. China is the world's biggest market, and why should we turn down the biggest market?" said Gou.