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Foxconn says it is reconsidering plans to make LCD panels at Wisconsin plant

Updated: 2019-01-31 02:26

File Photo: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, US President Donald Trump, and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou at a groundbreaking for the Foxconn plant Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Mt. Pleasant, Wis. [Photo/IC]

Foxconn Technology Group, the Taiwanese electronics giant that is Apple’s main manufacturing partner, said that it is reconsidering plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels at a $10 billion Wisconsin campus and intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce of 13,000 that the project originally promised.

Instead of focusing on LCD manufacturing, Foxconn said it wants to create a "technology hub" in Wisconsin that would largely consist of research facilities along with packaging and assembly operations, Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, told Reuters in a story published on Wednesday. It would also produce specialized tech products for industrial, healthcare and professional applications, he added.

“In Wisconsin we’re not building a factory. You can’t use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment,” Woo said.

Earlier this month, Foxconn reiterated its intention to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin but said it had slowed its pace of hiring. The company initially said it expected to employ about 5,200 people by the end of 2020; a company source said that figure now looks likely to be closer to 1,000 workers.

Foxconn initially planned to manufacture advanced large screen displays for TVs and other consumer and professional products at the facility. It later said it would build smaller LCD screens

Woo told Reuters that the company was still evaluating options for Wisconsin but he cited the steep cost of making advanced TV screens in the United States.

"In terms of TV, we have no place in the US," he said in an interview. "We can't compete."

Announced at a White House ceremony in 2017, the 20-million square foot campus marked the largest greenfield investment by a foreign-based company in US history and was praised by President Donald Trump as proof of his ability to revive American manufacturing.


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