Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) smart manufacturing center in Wisconsin would begin trial manufacturing in the middle of this year, the company said yesterday, adding that it plans to build a research institute to develop key technologies to support growth over the next five years.
Hon Hai, known internationally as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), said in an annual report submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange that its planned Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology would conduct research into artificial intelligence, next-generation communications, quantum computing, cybersecurity and nano semiconductors in Taiwan.
Hon Hai is to make products at the center that cater to the needs of US consumers.
“Hon Hai has set up multiple production sites around the globe to provide our services to clients... [Our] investment project in Wisconsin, US, is going smoothly and according to plan,” Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) said in the report.
Pointing to its largest facility, construction of which was completed recently at the Wisconsin Valley Science & Technology Park in Racine County, Liu said that Hon Hai would begin trial production at its Mount Pleasant plant in the middle of this year.
Citing Hon Hai’s ambition to set up a local supply chain in the US, Liu said that the company is recruiting talent across the manufacturing and technology sectors.
Hon Hai, which in 2017 pledged to invest US$10 billion to construct a Generation-10 LCD fab in the midwestern state, has drawn criticism after downsizing the project to instead build a smaller Gen-6 LCD fab due to manufacturing costs.
Reports have criticized the firm over apparently slow work on the fab, which is planned to begin operations this year, while its plant in Wisconsin was shown to be little more than empty buildings in photographs published last month by US news Web site The Verge.
Hon Hai also appears to have had trouble securing state subsidies, CNBC reported last month.
Wisconsin offered the company nearly US$3 billion in subsidies.
Despite a company claim that it has hired about 600 people in Wisconsin, which would make it eligible for initial subsidies, the CNBC report said that the state might not pay.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers last year said that the Hon Hai project no longer conformed to its agreement with the state, meaning it no longer qualified for state subsidies, CNBC reported.
Hon Hai last month announced a partnership with US medical device company Medtronic PLC to produce ventilators at the Wisconsin facility.
Hon Hai’s board of directors proposed a cash dividend of NT$4.2 per common share, representing a payout ratio of 50.48 percent based on the company’s earnings per share of NT$8.32 last year. The proposal is subject to shareholders’ approval at the company’s annual general meeting on June 23.
The board also approved the issuance of unsecured corporate bonds of up to NT$12.15 million in two phases. The fundraising program is subject to shareholders’ approval.
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