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Politics

Foxconn plans to begin building US panel plant next spring

Key iPhone assembler has yet to finalize details on the facility

TAIPEI -- Key iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, is planning to begin construction of a panel facility in the U.S. state of Wisconsin next spring, a person familiar with the company's plans said, after state Gov. Scott Walker signed a $3 billion tax incentive for the Taiwanese company into law earlier this week.

The person also said that Foxconn has yet to secure land for its Wisconsin project, although hopefully it will be done soon, depending on negotiations with county-level authorities. The person did not name a specific location.

Local press in Wisconsin has reported that the Foxconn site may be in Racine County in the constituency of U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan.

"Foxconn has yet to decide on whether the facility will churn out [large] panels for [high-resolution] 8K displays or [smaller] panels that can be used in cars," the person said. "It will depend on the company's overall business plans."

The source added that Foxconn is aiming to build two facilities -- one for making smaller panels for smartphones, tablets and in-vehicle displays and another for large panels for TVs.

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou signed a memorandum of understanding with Walker in late July on Foxconn's investment in Wisconsin, the document only refers to the new facility in the state as a TFT-LCD plant without any further details on what products the company may use the panels for.

Meanwhile, another source said that Ohio sent a delegation to visit Foxconn in Taipei last week to learn more about the Taiwanese company's U.S. plans as part of the state's efforts to secure investment and create jobs.

The delegation includes Alex Fischer, a major power player in Ohio that heads Columbus Partnership, a group of prominent businessmen in the U.S. state, according to the source.

The Ohio delegation's trip to Taiwan took place after Gov. John Kasich in August reportedly took a jab at the big tax break Wisconsin is offering Foxconn and said that "we don't buy deals."

Foxconn did not immediately respond to an email seeking comments.

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