Foxconn’s plan for a giant Wisconsin factory now looks uncertain

Posted February 01, 2019

Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, centre, and special assistant Louis Woo, right, celebrate a signing agreement on August 27 up on announcing the investment of $100 million in engineering and innovation research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.", Woo said in the Reuters interview.

Rather than manufacturing LCD panels in the United States, it would be more profitable to make them in greater China and Japan, ship them to Mexico for final assembly, and import the finished product to the USA, he said.

Often described by former Gov. Scott Walker and others who pursued the Foxconn operation as "family-supporting jobs", the large number of manufacturing positions was the linchpin in state support for the project. "As we have previously noted, the global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed". "As those of our customers drive our plans, this has necessitated the adjustment of plans for all projects, including Wisconsin".

Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn boss Terry Gou, told Reuters that the firm was still evaluating options for Wisconsin - including creating a "technology hub" made up largely of research facilities for high-tech products aimed at health care, industrial.

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Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn is abandoning a much-touted plan to build a sprawling factory in Wisconsin that would have employed blue-collar workers, opting to instead establish a research center that will employ engineers and other highly educated workers.

Evers aide Joel Brennan said in a statement Wednesday that the administration is in weekly communication with Foxconn leaders and has been in contact since learning that the company plans to move away from manufacturing liquid crystal display screens at the campus and toward creating a hub for research and development.

Republican legislative leaders who pushed the project blamed new Democratic Gov.

Wednesday's news caught Wisconsin's political leaders by surprise.

"It seems clear that, whatever Foxconn eventually develops in Wisconsin, this will look nothing like the project that Scott Walker and his cronies. sold to the public", Levine said in an email. Walker ultimately lost re-election to superintendent of public instruction Tony Evers.

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Walker thought that giving Foxconn a huge pile of taxpayer money to hire lots of Wisconsin workers even though it would take years to make money back was a good idea.

Foxconn said in its statement that it was still considering the production of products such as TV sets at the facility.

Trump came to power on the back of his "America First" promise to revitalise U.S. manufacturing and create millions of jobs, crucially wooing blue-collar workers.

In exchange, Wisconsin agreed to give Foxconn at least $3 billion in state tax credits and breaks, according to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a public-private agency that helped negotiate the package.

"And now, it appears Foxconn is living up to their failed track record in the US - leaving another state and community high and dry". Evers won and is Wisconsin's governor.

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"We don't blame Foxconn for altering plans in an ever-changing technology business", Vos and Fitzgerald said.