No one who thought about Foxconn seriously would be surprised to read from a Reuters exclusive that Foxconn [is] reconsidering plans to make LCD panels at Wisconsin plant. The Taiwanese manufacturer has already broken its promises on the kind of panels it would build at the plant, and failed to meet even its low, first-year hiring goals. Jess Macy Yu and Karl Plume now report that
Foxconn Technology Group is reconsidering plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels at a $10 billion Wisconsin campus, and said it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised.
Foxconn, which received controversial state and local incentives for the project, initially planned to manufacture advanced large screen displays for TVs and other consumer and professional products at the facility, which is under construction. It later said it would build smaller LCD screens instead.
Now, those plans may be scaled back or even shelved, Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, told Reuters. He said the company was still evaluating options for Wisconsin, but cited the steep cost of making advanced TV screens in the United States, where labor expenses are comparatively high.
“In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.,” he said in an interview. “We can’t compete.”
“In Wisconsin we’re not building a factory. You can’t use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment,” Woo said.
Earlier this month, Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple Inc., reiterated its intention to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, but said it had slowed its pace of hiring. The company initially said it expected to employ about 5,200 people by the end of 2020; a company source said that figure now looks likely to be closer to 1,000 workers.
Rather than manufacturing LCD panels in the United States, Woo said 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 United States.
Currently, to qualify for the tax credits Foxconn must meet certain hiring and capital investment goals. It fell short of the employment goal in 2018 – hiring 178 full-time jobs rather than the 260 targeted – failing to earn a tax credit of up to $9.5 million.
The company may be prepared to walk away from future incentives if it is unable to meet Wisconsin’s job creation and capital investment requirements, according to the source familiar with the matter.
Each and every person – including Whitewater’s public officials, business lobbyists, and local reporters – who kept pushing Foxconn is either disqualifyingly ignorant or disconcertingly mendacious.
Previously: 10 Key Articles About Foxconn, Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers, Foxconn Destroys Single-Family Homes, Foxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair Budget, The Man Behind the Foxconn Project, A Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the Trough, Even Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) Workforce, Foxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace Conditions, Foxconn’s Bait & Switch, Foxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying Jobs, The Next Guest Speaker, Trump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away, “Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: Failure & Fraud, Foxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition, Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land, and Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal.