Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), known as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康) outside of Taiwan, on Wednesday announced plans to build a US$10 billion LCD panel plant in Wisconsin, a deal US President Donald Trump said would not have happened without his efforts.
The company said it plans to invest US$10 billion over four years to build a 1.86 million square meter plant that could employ up to 13,000 people.
Trump praised Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) at a White House event, saying: “If I didn’t get elected, he definitely wouldn’t be spending US$10 billion... This is a great day for America.”
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that his state would award US$3 billion in incentives, and was to sign a memorandum of understanding on the investment yesterday.
The state legislature would need to approve the package, he said, adding that about half is for capital costs and nearly half for workforce development. There are also some sales tax exemptions.
The decision “signifies the start of a series of investments by Foxconn in American manufacturing in the coming years,” Hon Hai said in a statement.
The tax incentives would be awarded over 20 years if Hon Hai meets hiring targets, officials said.
The plant would be the largest economic development project in the state’s history, Walker said.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told a Wisconsin television station that Trump spotted the site of a former Chrysler plant when aboard Marine One over Kenosha, Wisconsin, in April.
When Hon Hai executives met with Trump in the Oval Office, Priebus said: “The president said I know a good spot where you should go — that place in Kenosha.”
Walker said Hon Hai is considering several sites in southeast Wisconsin and is to announce a final site soon.
Wisconsin state Senator Jennifer Shilling questioned whether there is “legislative appetite for a US$1 [billion] to US$3 billion corporate welfare package... The bottom line is this company has a concerning track record of big announcements with little follow-through.”
Meanwhile, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) said that the government looks favorably on Hon Hai’s decision to invest in the US, as it demonstrates the business strategy of a multinational corporation like Hon Hai to conduct an effective, global flat-panel operation.
The government hopes that the investment could be a win-win situation for Taiwan and the US in terms of technology and other forms of cooperation, Yang said, adding that the government also hopes the company would consider investing in Taiwan.
The investment would have a limited short-term effect on the development of the local flat-panel industry, given a well-developed domestic supply chain, and resilience and diversification among local manufacturers, the ministry said in a statement.
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