Apple supplier Foxconn to build US$10 bn plant in Wisconsin

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 6:21am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 11:27am

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn on Wednesday announced plans to build a US$10 billion LCD display panel screen plant in Wisconsin.

Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple for its iPhones, is formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd. It said last month it plans to invest more than US$10 billion in a display-making factory in the United States. Seven US states competed for new investments from Foxconn.

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Foxconn said in a statement that it will invest US$10 billion over the next four years to build a factory that “will create 3,000 jobs with the potential to grow to 13,000 new jobs in that state. It signifies the start of a series of investments by Foxconn in American manufacturing in the coming years.”

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said at a White House event that the state will award US$3 billion in incentives and sign a memorandum of understanding on the investment on Thursday.

“This is a great day for America,” Walker said, adding that the plant was the largest economic development project in the state’s history.

President Donald Trump has called for companies to build more products in the United States and open additional plants. He has made several announcements since his election in November about US investments by both foreign and domestic manufacturers, building on his campaign focus on boosting American jobs. Some of those announcements sought to take credit for previously announced investments.

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The investment is a double win for Trump, burnishing his reputation as a job creator and putting those jobs in a key battleground state, which he won in 2016 by a single percentage point.

The investment is also a victory for top Congressional Republican Paul Ryan, as the massive investment in his home state is tangible evidence that difficult ties with Trump can bring results.

Not all Foxconn investments announced have resulted in new jobs.

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In 2013, Foxconn said it would invest US$30 million and hire 500 workers for a new factory in Pennsylvania. But that facility was never completed, according to local media reports. Foxconn has another small operation in Pennsylvania.

Wisconsin state Senator Jennifer Shilling, a Democrat, questioned whether there is “legislative appetite for a US$1 to US$3 billion corporate welfare package. The bottom line is this company has a concerning track record of big announcements with little follow-through.”

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Tai Jeng-wu, CEO of Foxconn’s Japanese unit Sharp Corp , said in June that six US states were being evaluated for a possible location for a plant to make displays.

The United States has added 70,000 manufacturing jobs since November, to nearly 12.4 million, but has not added any net factory jobs in the last two months, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the United States. Apple did not comment.