Foxconn recommits to $10B Wisconsin plant after call from Trump

Jeannie Matthews
February 3, 2019

The news is embarrassing for the Trump administration, which had hailed Foxconn's investment in Mount Pleasant as an early success for its brand of economic nationalism, with Trump describing it as "the eighth wonder of the world". "You can't use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment".

Wisconsin's new Democratic governor criticized the company Friday for its flip-flopping.

In 2017, Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn promised to build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin.

Louis Woo, special assistant to Gou, told Reuters on Wednesday that Foxconn wants to create a "technology hub" in Wisconsin that would largely consist of research facilities.

The decision came after "productive discussions between the White House and the company, and after a personal conversation between President Donald J. Trump and Chairman Terry Gou", Foxconn said in a statement.

Foxconn reaffirmed on Thursday, Jan. 31 that they remain committed to building several facilities at the Mount Pleasant factory complex including "a back-end packaging plant, high-precision molding factory, a system integration assembly facility, a conceptual product testing center and research-and-development data center".

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"There's no limit, frankly, to skepticism if the messaging isn't coherent", Evers told reporters. Foxconn had initially agreed to build a Generation 10.5 plant, a much larger operation, in its contract with the state, but scaled back that commitment a year ago due to cost concerns. In return for building the factory, Foxconn would get tax breaks and incentives from the government. A Gen 6 plant is expected to be smaller and less costly than a Gen 10 plant, but the company has not released any details. The "Gen 6" plant can make screens ranging in size from a smart phone to a 75-inch television, while the larger plant would have allowed for devices as large as 9½ feet by 11 feet. The larger plant, which had been part of Foxconn's initial plans, would have used glass more than three-times as large as what the smaller facility will use. He revealed the vast majority of the projected 13,000 Wisconsin positions would be in R&D and design, even though Foxconn received around $4.1 billion in state subsidies under the impression that many jobs would go to blue-collar manufacturing workers.

The company's statement Friday reiterated that the "campus will serve both as an advanced manufacturing facility as well as a hub of high technology innovation for the region".

Heavy machinery is seen before the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump as he participates in the Foxconn Technology Group groundbreaking ceremony for its LCD manufacturing campus, in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, U.S., June 28, 2018.

The original deal was struck by then-Gov.

Following the Nikkei article, a spokesperson for the governor's office said that some items reported by the media concerning negotiations were false, reports WiscNews.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes weighed in on the Foxconn damage control, sarcastically tweeting, "They are also announcing a bridge for sale". Apple is Foxconn's main manufacturing customer and it has forecast a drop in revenue from the Chinese market due to decreasing demand for iPhones.

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