Apple supplier Foxconn plans a factory in Wisconsin

Chinese electronics giant Foxconn—best known among tech geeks as the iPhone manufacturer—is looking to move some of its manufacturing stateside. President Trump announced that the Foxconn Technology Group will spend $10 billion to build a plant in Wisconsin, as CEO Terry Gou stood alongside. The company says the new factory will create 3,000 jobs and has the potential to add an additional 10,000 later on. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said at the White House that the state intends to award $3 billion in incentives, a package that has yet to be approved by the state's legislature.

The choice to build in Wisconsin seems to be motivated primarily by the incentives package, but Bloomberg notes that the state's unemployment rate is the lowest since 1999, and that skilled labor in the numbers Foxconn is looking for may be difficult to find there. The site does remark that economists in the state are expecting Foxconn to offer attractive wages and hoping that the company attracts workers from neighboring Illinois—despite consistent reports of extremely low wages at the company's Chinese factories.

While the announcement suggests that the new factory will be a production-line affair, Foxconn said as recently as December 2016 that it has plans to automate as much of its workforce as possible. Peking University economics professor Christopher Balding told CNN Money that it's likely the 3,000 jobs will not "be people on production lines building TVs," but rather "a small number of people watching robots build TVs." The available jobs, he says, are likely to be comprised of skilled and well-paid openings rather than the blue-collar jobs. Balding also noted that the 3,000 jobs figure is "not even a rounding error" when compared to the dimension of one of Foxconn's big Chinese factories, something that seems to point again to automation as an intended direction for the plant.

It should be noted, too, that Foxconn had said in 2013 that it would build a factory in Pennsylania, but in January of this year stated that the announcement was "not a promise, it [was] a wish." The company also replaced 60,000 factory workers in China with robots back in 2016.

Foxconn is the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer, so this development has the potential to shake up that arena. The company manufactures not just Apple hardware, but also the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo 3DS. Foxconn counts giants like Amazon and Google among its clients, as well as smaller outfits like Vizio and Acer.

Comments closed
    • hasseb64
    • 2 years ago

    Good! A factory generates so much in all levels of society.
    Donald does it again!

    • strangerguy
    • 2 years ago

    “The company also replaced 60,000 factory workers in China with robots back in 2016.”

    Yup, the megacorps are already dumping cheap labor for automation with the intended endgame of owning and operating 100% of the means of production, and anybody thinks these execs are gonna care for the vaunted “honest hardworking Americans” beyond political BS antics is naive sheep for the future slaughter. Karl Marx was way ahead of his time on this.

      • Grape Flavor
      • 2 years ago

      The problems are relatively easy to diagnose, the solutions are the hard part, as Marx and his legacy have shown.

      It seems to me that the bigger businesses and governments get, not only does their ability to screw people increase, but the likelihood as well. And they’re getting bigger every day. Add to that the ever-accelerating pace of technological and social change, and,
      well… [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W6as8oVcuM[/url<]

    • Grape Flavor
    • 2 years ago

    Oh, well the media says 3,000-13,000 jobs don’t matter because there exist higher numbers than that, that those jobs somehow don’t count anyway because they’ll be high paying, and that people in Illinois won’t even want those high paying jobs because, um, other people over in China are making crappy wages?

    I suppose that settles it, then. Wake me up when they uncover the elaborate web of deception through which that $3 billion in incentives is actually being funneled right into the coffers of the Kremlin.

    /s

    Seriously though, it’s true that this won’t reverse the larger trends, that keeping jobs in the US by bribing companies with billions isn’t a sustainable strategy, and that in the end, robots will doom vast swathes of humanity to irrelevance while financing platinum space yachts for the captains of industry, but hey, at least we get to see the novelty of a politician actually trying to keep his promises.

    And honestly, I get the sense that many Trump voters don’t really expect him to do much more than troll the establishment and land a few punches before they crush him, anyway. It’s the politics of spite, yes, but when you urinate in people’s mouths for years, tell them it’s champagne, and insult them when they complain, what more do you expect?

    If anything good comes of this, maybe it will be that the ruling class of this country realize that there are limits to hubris and contempt for the common man before there are consequences.

    • zzz
    • 2 years ago

    I really want to understand the motivation. I’m really not seeing why this is a long-term cost-benefit to Foxconn. Even with a minimal staff of highly skilled workers and a tonne of automated manufacturing, just existing in the US seems cost-prohibitive. Are the costs of shipping things over-sea and all the associated taxes so high that it makes sense to dump 10 Billion dollars on a manufacturing facility in a local area?

    Not to rain on the parade and good for the US but, Foxconn is not a charity and wouldn’t do this unless there’s a huge win, I want to know what that is.

      • Krogoth
      • 2 years ago

      It is because cost of living and labor costs in China continue to rise while shipping costs are climbing as well. It is all about the long game.

      This plant is meant to service the entire NA market. (Canada, USA and Mexico). It is in an excellent geographical spot to accomplish this.

        • ludi
        • 2 years ago

        Excellent geology, eh?

      • davidbowser
      • 2 years ago

      The same reason that Japanese and European automobile manufacturers built plants in the US over the past 30-40 years: The US government (both Dems and Reps) have historically made threats (and acted on them) to “protect American companies” from cheaper, foreign-made products. China does the same thing to US companies that import, as do many other countries.

      Heck, the US and Canada have duked it out for years over lumber prices:

      [url<]https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-impose-20-pct-duties-231641449.html[/url<]

    • yokem55
    • 2 years ago

    I’m curious what the ROI time on the tax dollars for this will be. Even best case of 10,000 in direct jobs, $300,000 ($3 Billion/10,000) in incentives per job created will require a really big multiplier or a really long payback time. It most certainly isn’t the kind of deal that can be offered to just anyone who comes along which makes it easy to criticize as ‘crony capitalism’.

    • Mr Bill
    • 2 years ago

    Back in the day, I bought at least a dozen Foxconn UltraSCSI cables. THey were good enough, and quite a bit cheaper than Adaptec or HP branded cables.

    • NovusBogus
    • 2 years ago

    Wisconsin is a good place for a factory, they have a long manufacturing tradition and the locals don’t hate business like most of the high-tech enclaves do. What these guys should really be doing though is going into states like Idaho and Tennessee where the cost of living is dirt cheap and the locals are desperate for jobs and stable tax revenue. That whole ‘we can’t afford US industry’ thing is driven more by the insular hubris of coastal posh-boy corporate culture than the actual economic factors in play.

    • willmore
    • 2 years ago

    Foxconn has been looking to open a factory in WI for at least the last five years, so it’s not like this is because of any recent political event.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 2 years ago

    I don’t think this is as political as some people think. The Great Lakes are used for shipping to this day (161 tons a year according to Wiki) with locks granting access to the Atlantic. Chicago is a major shipping hub for the finish product to be distributed within the USA, too. Looking at natural disasters and the percentage capacity of a single event with probability the costal areas are either prone to very damaging earthquakes or hurricanes that could cause severe and sustained loss of productivity.

      • jdevers
      • 2 years ago

      Might want to revise either your number or your unit because I would imagine far more than 161 tons of fishing bait are used in the Great Lakes every year.

        • DragonDaddyBear
        • 2 years ago

        I didn’t validate the source of wiki, but the idea is a lot of cargo still flows through the great lakes.

          • Zizy
          • 2 years ago

          160 tons is WAY too low to be called “a lot”. Few trucks.
          You forgot a million there 🙂

    • oldog
    • 2 years ago

    On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Plunge right through that line!
    Run the ball right down the field, a touchdown sure this time.
    On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Fight on for her fame,
    Fight! Fellows! Fight! Fight, fight, we’ll win this game.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      I’m sure this is true for a lot of high schools, but my high school’s fight song was a horribly-authored poems set to this tune.

        • oldog
        • 2 years ago

        Dad used to sing it to me growing up. Well that and about a dozen other football fight songs. He grew up in Illinois.

        • hungarianhc
        • 2 years ago

        It’s the University of Wisconsin, Madison fight song – the badgers.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          Yeah I know, which is why it’s called “On, Wisconsin”

    • thermistor
    • 2 years ago

    Drop in the bucket compared to American Motors Modine Allis-Chalmers etc. I lived and worked in WI. This just doesn’t fit the kind of businesses there. Much of the supply base won’t exist in WI either. Makes no sense.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      Wisconsin is also kind fo land-locked. California would have made more sense from a logistics standpoint. Or maybe not, what do I know?

        • tacitust
        • 2 years ago

        $3 billion in corporate welfare greases a lot of wheels. But if that’s the kind of thing it takes to bring the manufacturing industry back to US shores, it’s not going help anyone in the long run.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          Oh, I agree, that’s got a lot to do with it, but they’re going to incur a lot of extra costs by taking it, too. Seems like a wash. Assuming it ever opens, that is.

          • freebird
          • 2 years ago

          Well then, I doubt we’d have a single Intel plant left in the U.S. with that sentiment

          [url<]http://azdailysun.com/arizona-hopes-tax-change-for-manufacturers-nets-intel-plant/article_63aba402-860c-5bfc-a2ea-aea18194496e.html[/url<] Intel says it's investing $7B in Chandler facility, bringing 3K jobs [url<]http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/jobs/2017/02/08/intel-says-s-investing-7b-chandler-facility-bringing-3000-jobs-fab-42/97648708/[/url<] Even Professional Sports teams shake down major cities by making them "bid" on the discounts to get a new stadium built in most cases...hell, even Billionaires get the locals or state to pick up the majority of the tab [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CenturyLink_Field[/url<] So this is nothing new.

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 2 years ago

        Lake Michigan isn’t too far away from the proposed site.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          which is still a much longer trip from China than (for instance) San Francisco Bay.

            • DrDominodog51
            • 2 years ago

            No person with the skills to get these jobs would ever move to the Greater Bay Area.

            The cost of living is so high. One can get a higher standard of living elsewhere in the US for significantly less.

    • Bensam123
    • 2 years ago

    Yeah, first thing I thought when I saw ‘3,000’ was ‘that doesn’t seem right’. Definitely highly skilled labor, not blue collar at all. Wisconsin is mainly comprised of blue collar workers. If you live here (which I do), you know the majority of people here are typical farmers/workers, nothing extraordinary. Maybe if they build somewhere around Madison they might get some good labor from UW-M, but otherwise this seems rather folly.

    Not that you can judge a book by a cover, just look at the ratio of big jacked up trucks driving around compared to your every day driver. …then again 3000 isn’t that much so they probably can find that much in in the entirety of the state.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      Likely to be in Milwaukee since it has access to Lake Michigan. Plenty of engineering students from UW-Milwaukee (me!), MSOE, and Marquette.

      Living in Madison, I can’t picture a suitable industrial area to house a large facility like that…unless they move into the Oscar Meyer plant.

        • Bensam123
        • 2 years ago

        Wasn’t talking in the city, rather outside of it in a burb somewhere.

        But yup… Milwaukee is very dense, probably more so then Madison as far as space goes, but if you go far enough outside of a city you end up with space anywhere.

          • JMccovery
          • 2 years ago

          From what I read about this, the plant will be in Kenosha, at the old Chrysler/AMC engine plant.

            • DPete27
            • 2 years ago

            Racine/Kenosha, yeah.

        • BillyBuerger
        • 2 years ago

        Hey there fellow Wisconsinite. MSOE alumni here.

    • MOSFET
    • 2 years ago

    I saw a blurb on Al-Jazeera about this a few days ago. Purportedly it will be an automated LCD factory, not a manual labor factory like iPhone assembly. So employment numbers will be low but wages will be “American factory normal” or something like that. I heard Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio were the states under consideration, and those states were chosen to help President Tr*** fulfil his campaign promise of bringing jobs to states that supported him during the campaign. I have no idea where the intermediate connection is made in that scenario.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 2 years ago

      Michigan also through in a bid.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      That is kind of weird, though. He’s a horrible human being and utterly unqualified to be president, but who ever heard of an election winner actually fulfilling a campaign promise?

        • hungarianhc
        • 2 years ago

        That is kinda what he’s doing… like him or not…

        • CuttinHobo
        • 2 years ago

        It sets an interesting precedent for when President Kardashian takes the helm.

          • bthylafh
          • 2 years ago

          Wash your mouth out with soap.

            • CuttinHobo
            • 2 years ago

            Hopefully not with Life Boy soap. I hear it leads to blindness. D:

            • derFunkenstein
            • 2 years ago

            OH RALPHIE!!!!

        • DoomGuy64
        • 2 years ago

        Only according to CNN/Extreme left outlets, and actions speak louder than words. Maybe once you see enough positive change vs negative rhetoric, you’ll realize reality doesn’t match the narrative.

        Personally, I think Trump was right about the libel laws, and some of these talking heads need to be sued for slander. The current laws give them way too much slack. If the laws were working as they should, Kathy Griffin should had charges of some kind filed against her after the baseball shooting. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. CNN doesn’t like Trump bashing them, but IMO he needs to take it further. Break up some of these corrupt institutions. They were caught red handed rigging the primaries, and spreading fake news.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          I think it’s VERY dangerous to set a precedent that you can shut someone down when you just don’t like their opinion. That strikes at the very heart of the first amendment. Doesn’t matter who is in charge—we cannot stand for that.

            • DoomGuy64
            • 2 years ago

            The first amendment doesn’t mean you can call fire in a crowded theater, call for assassinating the president, or spread malicious slander.

            Normal citizens get sued for slander all the time, yet the talking heads are literally getting away with inciting violence on the streets. THAT’S NOT PROTECTED SPEECH.

            Second, a news anchor reporting the “news” is not supposed to be an opinion commentary. Opinion gives you a larger degree of protection, but reporting opinion as fact is fake news, and should have some degree of legal liability. WE cannot stand for THAT, because it is totally toxifying the political atmosphere and creating dangerous ideologues who’ll shoot up baseball games because they’re believing lies. It’s no different than radical Imams brainwashing normally peaceful muslims into terrorists.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 2 years ago

            [quote<]fire in a crowded theater[/quote<] First Amendment attorney Ken White [url=https://www.popehat.com/2012/09/19/three-generations-of-a-hackneyed-apologia-for-censorship-are-enough/<]would like a word[/url<]. (Also, [url=https://www.popehat.com/2016/06/11/hello-youve-been-referred-here-because-youre-wrong-about-the-first-amendment/<]another word[/url<]) Nobody (edit: nobody on TR anyway) is calling for the assassination of a president. "Malicious slander" is intentionally telling lies. That's provably not an opinion. [quote<]Second, a news anchor reporting the "news" is not supposed to be an opinion commentary. [/quote<] That's literally your opinion. You should be sued for it under your own logic. 1A also allows religious freedom. It's when that freedom is used to violate the rights of others that it becomes an issue. Not being murdered kind of falls under that.

          • Jonsey
          • 2 years ago

          Only if those libel laws apply to the insulter in chief himself. He’s spread as many lies as anyone else, if not more.

    • Wildchild
    • 2 years ago

    I wonder what the wages and benefits will be like.

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