Exclusive: Foxconn Revises Plans to Produce LCD Panels at Wisconsin
The Foxconn Technology Group is revising plans to develop sophisticated liquid crystal displays in the $ 10 billion university campus and said it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the production workforce the project initially promised. FAIL FOTO: The FoxConn Shovel and Logo are visible before US President Donald Trump arrives when he attends the opening ceremony of the Foxconn Technology Group for his LCD manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, United States, June 28, 2018. REUTERS / Darren Hauck
Announced at the White House ceremony in 2017, the 20 million-square-foot campus marks the largest greenfield investment abroad in US history and was praised by President Donald Trump as evidence of the ability to revive American production.
Foxconn, who received controversial state and local incentives for the project, originally planned to produce modern large screens for televisions and other consumer and professional products in the facility under construction. Later, he said he would instead build smaller LCD screens.
Now these plans can be reduced or even halted, Louis Wu, a special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gow, told Reuters. He said the company is still evaluating the opportunities for Wisconsin, but cites the high costs of creating sophisticated television screens in the US where labor costs are relatively high.
"With regard to television, we have no place in the US," he said in an interview. "We can not compete."
When it comes to producing sophisticated TV screens, he adds, "If a certain size of the display has more supply, whether from China, Japan or Taiwan, we also have to change instead of focusing on LCD production , Foxconn wants to create a "technology center" in Wisconsin, which will largely consist of research facilities along with packing and assembly operations, Wu said, and will also produce specialized technology products for industrial, health and professional "We do not build a factory in Wisconsin, and you can not use a factory to see our investment in Wisconsin."
Earlier this month, Foxconn, a major supplier of Apple Inc., , confirmed its intention to create 1
3,000 jobs in Wisconsin, but said it had slowed its pace of recruitment, initially the company said it expects to attract around 5,200 people by the end of 2020, a company source said. the figure looks closer to 1,000 workers.
It is not clear when all 13,000 workers will be hired.
But Wu, in the interview, said about three-quarters of Foxconn's potential jobs would be in R & D and design – what he described as "cognitive" positions, not jobs to produce blue collars. Foxconn is officially known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. the end product in the United States.
He said he would represent a supply chain that fits into Foxconn's current "fluid, good business model."
Strongly criticized in some countries, the Foxconn project was backed by former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, who helped secure about $ 4 billion in tax breaks and other incentives before leaving. Critics of the deal, including a number of Democrats, have called it a corporate deal that will never lead to promised production jobs and poses a serious risk to the environment.
The company's predictions of growth and employment suggest that the taxpayer's investment will take at least 25 years to recover, according to the budget of the Wisconsin budget project.
Foxconn's Chief Executive plans to meet with the new WSD Governor Tony Evers, a former critic of the deal later this year to discuss the agreement's changes, according to a source familiar with the thinking of company.
Evers can not be reached for comment.
Currently, to qualify for tax credits, Foxconn has to meet certain rental and equity targets. He failed to achieve his 2018 employment target, employing 178 full-time jobs, not 260 targeted, failing to earn a tax credit of up to $ 9.5 million.
The company may be prepared to deviate from future incentives if it is unable to meet Wisconsin's job creation and investment requirements, according to the source, familiar with the issue.
Reporting by Jessie Macy Yu in Taipei and Carl Plum in Wisconsin; Editing by Jonathan Webber and Paul Tomas
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