Foxconn Wisconsin plant manufacturing hopes dashed

Foxconn Technology Group has reconsidered its plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels at its new Wisconsin campus, and has now said it intends to scale down its plans for the manufacturing facility.

Foxconn’s new plans mean that it would need only 3,000 workers, and, due to new automated production lines, most of the jobs would be for “knowledge workers” in research and design positions, and not blue-collar workers as originally promised.

Announced at a White House ceremony in 2017, the $10bn, 20-million square foot campus, which President Trump dubbed called “the eighth wonder of the world” marked the largest greenfield investment by a foreign-based company in US history.

However, Foxconn, which received controversial incentives for the project, allegedly totalling around $4.5bn, has had to increasingly scale back its plans, Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn chief executive, Terry Gou, told Reuters.

This has shattered dreams of a return to traditional Made-in-the-USA factory type jobs. Gou also said that although the company was still evaluating options for Wisconsin, the high cost of making TV screens in the United States, where labor expenses are comparatively high, was prohibitive.

Mentioned in the Reuters report, and in a statement which has left many scratching their heads, a Foxconn official explained that “rather than manufacturing LCD panels in the United States… it would be more profitable to make them in China and Japan, ship them to Mexico for final assembly, and import the finished product to the United States”.