In a big win for the Trump administration, Foxconn, the world's largest manufacturer of consumer electronics and a long time supplier for Microsoft, Apple, BlackBerry, and Nintendo, has announced plans to set up a display fabrication facility in Southern Wisconsin, House Speaker Paul D Ryan's congressional district.
Foxconn's chairman Terry Gou and President Trump, who were directly involved in the negotiations for the project, made the announcement on 26 July at the White House, along with Ryan, Vice President Mike Pence and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in attendance.
The 20,000-square-foot Foxconn facility, first of a series of facilities to be built in several US states, will engage in the manufacturing of flat-screen LCD panels and employ at least 3,000 people to start, going up to 13,000 and 22,000 induced jobs in the coming years, according to White House officials. The Taiwanese giant will invest $10bn (£7.6bn) in the facility over the next three years, more than the initial investment of $7bn it had planned for US manufacturing.
Speaking at the announcement, Gou said that since TV was invented in America, it was fitting to bring back the manufacturing of LCD displays there. He did not exactly specify where the plant will be built but focused on high definition "8k" displays with enhanced screen resolution.
"We thank President Trump and Governor Walker for their work to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin. Wisconsin offers a talented, hardworking workforce, and a long track record in advanced manufacturing, all of which presents an extraordinary opportunity," Gou said in a statement.
Ars Technica noted that "Foxconn will initially produce flat-LCDs for Sharp – the TV maker its parent Hon Hai purchased last year for £2.45bn". The move is expected to cut Foxconn's shipping costs to the US, which is Sharp's biggest market at present.
"Foxconn will make screens used for automobiles, health-care and other electronic devices", Governor Walker said, adding that the company would also receive $3bn in tax breaks including state, local, and federal subsidies.
President Trump, who has been pushing to bolster domestic manufacturing right from his campaign days, said, "This is a great day today for American manufacturing and American workers and for everybody who believes in the concept, in the label, Made in the USA". He added, "Mr Gou joins a growing list of industry leaders who understand America's capabilities are limitless".
In the first half of 2017, the US economy added a monthly average of 180,000 jobs with 41,000 manufacturing jobs alone, according to the New York Times.
The high-profile announcement comes just a day after President Trump's interview with the Wall Street Journal, in which he said, Apple, one of Foxconn's biggest partners, will set up three "big plants, beautiful plants" in the US.
As Apple did not comment on the statement, it is still unclear if the president was referring to Apple's suppliers like Foxconn or some other manufacturing facility. The new Wisconsin facility could potentially produce LCDs for iPhones, but with rumours of OLED displays being used in the forthcoming iPhone 8, it is highly unlikely that any panels produced in the new Wisconsin factory will be used in upcoming Apple products.