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June 15, 2017

Foxconn may open Wisconsin manufacturing plant, but maybe not for iPhone

by John_A

Why it matters to you

A Foxconn manufacturing plant in the U.S. could bring many new jobs, and different working conditions than it’s seen elsewhere.

Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing company best known for building Apple’s iPhone, is apparently in talks to open a plant in the state of Wisconsin. Neither the state nor Foxconn has commented officially on the supposed negotiations, and the leak comes from a person with direct knowledge of the situation, but unauthorized to discuss them, according to the Associated Press.

Despite Foxconn’s direct tie to the iPhone, there’s no firm indication the new plant will build Apple products. It’s likely this is a continuation of Foxconn’s plans to invest $7 billion in a U.S. facility dedicated to producing flat panel screens. It’s not clear whether these screens will be for smartphones, televisions, or monitors. In January, Foxconn chairman Terry Gou did suggest Apple was interested in investing in the plant, due to a shared need for the panels. Foxconn acquired display maker Sharp in 2016, which it has also said will be involved in the new plant.

Wisconsin isn’t the only name on the list. When news of the $7 billion investment first spread, Pennsylvania was mentioned, and officials from the state were noted as attending Foxconn events. Now, Michigan is also possibly on the list. However, President Donald Trump may have hinted Wisconsin has the deal, after he was quoted as saying the state’s governor may get, “a very happy surprise,” following negotiations with an unnamed electronics manufacturer. The surprise may bring with it the potential for 50,000 new jobs.

Foxconn operates manufacturing plants in China and India, and has other facilities all over the world. It has often been surrounded by controversy over working conditions, particularly after a spate of worker suicides several years ago. United States law would see a Foxconn plant in the United States operate in a different manner than those elsewhere in the world.

Nothing regarding the Wisconsin factory is official yet, and there aren’t any hints when the final news may be made public.

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