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OM in the News: Foxconn’s U.S. Factory Plans

July 28, 2017

Foxconn makes iPhones and other gadgets for Apple

Foxconn, which helped turn China into the center of electronics manufacturing, just announced it will build a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin to make display panels used in TVs and other products. This marks the first major U.S. investment for Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics and the maker of iPhones.

“Foxconn,” writes The Wall Street Journal (July 27, 2017), “is betting the U.S. can rebuild an electronics supply chain that largely shifted to China and other lower-cost Asian countries in recent decades.” The factory is expected to employ 3,000 people initially and as many as 13,000 people eventually. The state is providing Foxconn with a $3 billion, 15-year incentive package of tax credits.

In addition to the factory workers, it is estimated that the plant will create 22,000 indirect jobs and another 10,000 construction jobs– and draw as many as 150 supporting suppliers to Wisconsin and nearby states. The average salaries for the 13,000 jobs at the factory would be $53,000 annually, plus benefits.

The 20-million-sq.-ft. campus will primarily produce high-resolution liquid-crystal displays, known as 8K resolution LCD, used in smartphones and car dashboards, in addition to TVs. Many TVs currently sold in the U.S. are assembled in Mexico, so it is possible that the displays made in Wisconsin could be shipped across the border to be installed in TVs that are later shipped back to the U.S. for sale.

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. Why is Foxconn entering the U.S?
  2. What are the benefits and risks to Wisconsin?
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