Speed Reads

expectations vs. reality

Foxconn may be scrapping its plan to build a factory in Wisconsin

Foxconn appears to be backing away from a key factory deal talked up by the Trump administration in 2017.

President Trump announced in July 2017 that Foxconn Technology Group would "build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the production of LCD panel products in southern Wisconsin," which would be a $10 billion investment creating "thousands of new jobs." A White House statement touted that "while pundits have said for years that electronics manufacturing in the U.S. was a lost cause, the policies and focus of President Trump’s administration are producing results that show America can eventually re-emerge as a dominate country in advanced manufacturing."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said the plant would create 13,000 jobs, although Foxconn itself only promised to create 3,000 jobs with "the potential to grow to 13,000," per Politifact. Trump often enthusiastically cited this deal in public remarks. "[Foxconn] came to Wisconsin with the most incredible plan," he said at a rally, per Vanity Fair. "It's the most incredible thing I've ever seen."

But now, Foxconn is reconsidering its options and may ditch the factory entirely, reports Reuters. The company is now considering making its LCD screens entirely in China and Japan and instead creating a "technology hub" in Wisconsin rather than a factory. Reuters reports that the number of jobs created by the end of 2020 could be as low as 1,000, down from its previous estimate of 5,200, but Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, says about three-quarters of these will be R&D and design positions rather than blue-collar manufacturing jobs.

Foxconn said changes in the global marketplace have "necessitated the adjustment of plans for all projects," writes The Associated Press. While not specifically outlining any plans, the company said it will still create 13,000 jobs. But it seems the odds that Wisconsinites' expectations for this project will ultimately match with reality are slim.