By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Earlier this week, Foxconn Technology Group announced it is reconsidering its plans for its first U.S. based plant. Originally, the plant, which will be built in Wisconsin, was going to focus on manufacturing, but Foxconn representatives said that may shift to research and development.
Through the initial plan, Wisconsin was going to receive a $10 billion investment and Foxconn also promised 13,000 jobs. However, due to the potential changing nature of its plans, residents and government officials alike are questioning how the change will affect Wisconsin.
Secretary-designee Joel Brennan said the administration has been in regular communication with senior leadership at Foxconn. He noted that he was surprised to learn about this development given their weekly conversations.
Brennan said some of the details are public knowledge, but that further information will need to be looked into further by the administration’s team.
“Our team has been in contact with Foxconn since learning this news and will continue to monitor the project to ensure the company delivers on its promises to the people of Wisconsin,” said Brennan.
Foxconn is based in Taiwan and supplies Apple with the technological aspects of its products. After its announcement, Foxconn released a statement supporting its decision to change its plans.
“As we have previously noted, the global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed,” the statement read.
It continued to say that its plans are driven by its customers and therefore have forced an adjustment on all project. According to the Chicago Tribune, the contract made with Foxconn and Wisconsin protects Foxconn when making these decisions.
“While the project’s focus will be adjusted to meet these new realities, the Wisconsin project remains a priority for our company,” it read.
Foxconn said it is planning to broaden its investment with Wisconsin beyond what was originally planned. While Foxconn explained that it is still planning to produce traditional products such as television sets, those plans are subject to change. However, the statement continued, it’s also looking to incorporate “Wisconsin’s knowledge workers to promote research and development in advanced industrial internet technologies…”.
Essentially, beyond television sets, Foxconn said it is hoping to “produce high tech applications and solutions for industries such as education, medical and healthcare, entertainment and sports, security, and smart cities.”
Brennan said that Governor Tony Evers is working hard to protect Wisconsin taxpayers and local communities, “that have already made significant investments in this project.” Land has already been purchased for the project, and it’s already being worked on to make way for the new plant.
“In the coming weeks, the Evers Administration will continue to commit time, resources, and personnel to ensure that the interests of Wisconsin workers and taxpayers are protected and promoted by our approach to the Foxconn project,” Brennan said.
In addition to the comments made by government officials, many people took to twitter to express their reaction to Foxconn’s actions. Many people, such as American actor Michael McKean, seemed to think the entire Foxconn agreement is a scam. Others criticized the decision to engage with Foxconn at all and said that it is already costing taxpayers.
This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Courier.