Apple Supplier, Foxconn, to Invest $10B in Wisconsin as Trump Promotes ‘Made in USA’

July 27, 2017 1:27 pm Last Updated: July 27, 2017 2:41 pm

Foxconn, the largest contract electronics maker in the world, has decided to invest $10 billion to build a display factory in Wisconsin that could employ up to 13,000 workers.

The investment comes partly thanks to President Donald Trump’s emphasis on domestic manufacturing and support from other levels of government, according to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou.

“I know you are committed to grow manufacturing in the United States. Because of you, we are also committed to creating great jobs for American people,” Gou said during an announcement of the investment in the White House on Wednesday, July 26.

Gou’s comment was addressed to President Trump, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, House speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

Kushner, together with Trump’s assistant, Reed Cordish, negotiated the investment as a members of Trump’s White House Office of American Innovation.

“This is a great day for American workers and manufacturing and for everyone who believes in the concept and the label ‘Made in the USA’,” Trump said.

Foxconn plans to build a sprawling 20 million-square-foot plant over the next five years. It plans to initially employ 3,000 workers and eventually expand to employ up to 13,000. Salaries will average over $53,000, plus benefits, according to Governor Walker’s Office.

The plant will make liquid crystal (LCD) displays for computer screens, televisions, and other purposes, heralding the revival of an American TV manufacturing industry that has been virtually dead for over two decades. It will focus on 8K technology, a screen resolution 16 times higher than Full HD.

The first 8K TV was introduced by Japanese electronics maker Sharp in 2012.

Taiwanese Foxconn, whose actual business name is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., acquired Sharp last year.

Sharp previously announced a plan to invest $7 billion to build a display factory in United States.

Foxconn employs a million people in China, where it manufactures an array of popular electronics. It is probably best known for manufacturing Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad.

Gou previously said the U.S. plant would rely more on automation to offset higher labor costs (compared to China).

Trump has encouraged businesses to move their manufacturing to the United States, praised companies that have done so, and promised repercussions for those that move jobs abroad.

“Foxconn joins a growing list of industry leaders who understand that America’s capabilities are limitless and that America’s workers are unmatched, and that America’s most prosperous days are just ahead,” Trump said.

The electronic display industry is well positioned for local production partly because of people’s appetite for large screens. As the screen size of affordable TVs increases, shipping them across the ocean becomes increasingly impractical.

Atop the promised jobs at the plant itself, an estimated 10,000 jobs will be created during its construction. Moreover, the plant is expected to attract additional businesses to the area, creating up to 22,000 more jobs, according to Governor Walker’s Office.

In turn, the state will award the company up to $3 billion in tax credits. The exact amount depends on how many jobs the company creates, how much it builds, and how much equipment it purchases.

The project is projected to generate $181 million annually in state and local taxes, including $60 million in local property taxes.