Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) yesterday said that the company remains committed to its project in Wisconsin, but appeared to condition its completion on the receipt of state incentives, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Gou said in a statement that Hon Hai, known as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團) outside of Taiwan, remains committed to its investment, although “market conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic” have altered the timing of its expansion and the specifics of its manufacturing plans.
The company has over the past three years invested US$750 million to transform southeastern Wisconsin into a high-tech hub, the statement said.
However, the Journal said Gou’s comments were the “most explicit yet that the project could be scaled back and might not be completed if state officials don’t come through with promised aid.”
“Foxconn will work as a partner with those who treat the company as a partner,” Gou said in the statement. “Foxconn will remain committed to the completion and expansion of our project and investment in Wisconsin as long as policymakers at the federal, state and local levels remain committed to Foxconn.”
Gou’s statement followed a string of setbacks and negative news reports about the project, which Foxconn negotiated with US President Donald Trump and Wisconsin Republican Party officials in 2017.
The Verge Web site on Monday published a lengthy critique of the company’s failure to deliver on plans to build a massive LCD factory and create 13,000 jobs, saying that it had left “empty promises and empty buildings” where Trump had vowed would be “the eighth wonder of the world.”
Wisconsin officials last week informed the company that it had not hired enough employees last year to qualify for state tax credits.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp said the company’s plans for the project had changed so much that it would have to negotiate a new contract to qualify for tax subsidies, the Journal reported.
Hon Hai expressed disappointment with the WEDC for rejecting its request for incentives, but said it was willing to continue negotiations with state authorities.
The investment plan, which Hon Hai initially billed as a US$10 billion commitment, includes a NT$500 million investment to build Wisconn Valley Science Technology Park in Mount Pleasant.
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