© Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker via Instagram Electronics Production | January 30, 2019
Foxconn is having second thoughts about US investment
EMS giant Foxconn is reportedly reconsidering its plans to produce LCD display panels at its to be built Wisconsin campus.
The company is now considering to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce which was originally promised. Louis Woo, who is a special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, detailed the plans to Reuters, saying that the company is evaluating its options for the Wisconsin operations. The reason behind the company re-thinking its approach is said to be the high cost of making advanced TV screens in the US. “In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.,” he told Reuters in an interview. “We can’t compete.” The plan now – as it looks – is that rather than a focus on LCD manufacturing, the Taiwanese EMS giant is looking to create a “technology hub” in the region. This set up would according to Woo consist of research facilities as well as packaging and assembly operations. Woo also added that the “hub” would produce specialised products for industrial, healthcare, and professional applications. Foxconn’s investment in Wisconsin hasn’t been without controversy. As previously reported by Evertiq the Taiwanese company received large state and local incentives for the project. The company received these incentives to produce advanced large screen displays for TVs as well as other consumer products – however these plans later changed to it making smaller LCD screens instead. So if Foxconn is rather looking to make its Wisconsin operations into what it calls a “technology hub” – what would then happen to the LCD manufacturing initially planned for Wisconsin? Woo told Reuters that it would be more probable to make the LCD panels in greater China and Japan, then ship them to Mexico for final assembly and import the finished product to the US. Earlier this month the company echoed its intention to create 13'000 jobs in Wisconsin, but said it had adjusted its recruitment and hiring timeline, citing “a need to have the agility to adapt to a range of factors, including global economic conditions.” To date, Foxconn has created 1'032 jobs in Wisconsin. And it is now rather unclear when the full 13'000 workers will be hired.