A published report Wednesday sent ripples in every direction when Nikkei Asian Times reported that Foxconn Technology Group will shift its production of displays at the planned Racine County complex to small to midsized units. This would be a move away from its publicized original intent to create large-scale displays. The publication suggested that supply chain issues were at the core of the change.
From their original visits to Wisconsin, Foxconn officials stated that the company’s first North American facility, to be built in Mount Pleasant, would produce the largest of the company’s display panels. The published report suggests the company will, instead, make units that are typically used in tablets, cars, mobile devices, personal computers, televisions, medical devices and other niche products.
Published reports also suggested that the move to smaller displays might signal a small investment in Wisconsin by the Taiwan-based company. The much-touted Wisconsin plant, supported by nearly $4 billion in state tax breaks and incentives, has been touted as a creator of 13,000 jobs and will bring $10 billion of investment to the state.
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Foxconn wasted no time in refuting the report. The company stated that it “is fully committed to this significant investment” in the U.S. The Taiwanese company said its $10 billion has not been reduced.
There are two factors, suggested by the Asian business publication, for the move to smaller displays at the local plant—which is as much as five years away from producing its first products. The first is that the supply chain to produce the very large glass screens is not in place in Wisconsin. Second, there is currently a glut on the global market as manufacturers continue to push out new units; and Foxconn’s competitors are adding capacity as well.
The publication suggested that the United States does not have the supply chain required for final assembly of almost any consumer electronic device, such as smartphones or notebooks.
In the meantime, earthmoving equipment is already on portions of the site and the ground is being shaped and contoured for the massive building project that is about to get underway.
To be called the Wisconsin Valley Science and Technology Park, the Foxconn facilities are expected to include four manufacturing facilities, one of them being an LCD plant and another an assembly plant.
Groundbreaking is set for June 28.