- Contrary to rumors that it has been rethinking its $10 billion plan to build an LCD screen factory complex in Racine County, Wisconsin, Foxconn announced Monday that it will begin construction on the plant this year and expects to be operational in the fourth quarter of next.
- Given that construction is scheduled to begin relatively soon, the company is selecting contractors for the first scopes of work and putting additional packages out to bid through general contractor Gilbane Building Co. Foxconn expects to announce the site utilities and site roadways/storm drainage contract awards by April 1 and issue other bid packages by the end of May.
- Thus far, Foxconn said it has awarded contracts totaling 95% of the project’s value to Wisconsin companies, 13% of which went to businesses owned by minorities, veterans and women. “'Wisconsin First' has been our commitment from the start, and it has been evidenced in our construction hiring to date,” said Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou. “It will continue to be our priority as we lay the groundwork for a significant manufacturing presence in Racine County, Wisconsin.”
In January, Gou announced that the company would not yet try to access any of the $3 billion of incentives it was promised by the state of Wisconsin because it had not yet met the hiring requirements attached to them, even though by that time it had already completed construction on a 120,000-square-foot administration building and finished a significant amount of excavation. The company could have received $9.5 million if it had created 260 jobs.
The relatively low job count and questions around the economic viability of the project sparked rumors that Foxconn had changed its mind about using the site for manufacturing and was instead considering building a technology hub. There were also reports that Foxconn planned on staffing its Wisconsin facility with workers from China because of the labor shortage here, although the company has denied that.
Additional reports earlier this year suggested that the company was reconsidering its investment in the U.S. because it was under pressure from China to create new jobs there amid trade tensions between China and the U.S. The company has denied that as well.
Also this week, Foxconn and the City of Racine announced their partnership in pursuing "Smart City" status. Under the agreement, the two will partner up with both public and private sector organizations, academic institutions or technology-based companies to work on solutions to public safety, transportation, public utility, communication and infrastructure issues.