State report says Foxconn's Wisconsin plant 'more of a showcase' than a factory

in General Discussion
A Wisconsin state report on Foxconn's troubled factory concluded that the project shows no sign of actual LCD manufacturing, and likely never will.

Credit: Engineering News-Record
Credit: Engineering News-Record

The evaluation contradicts statements from Foxconn, which insisted earlier in 2020 that the plant would be producing LCD panels sometime this year.

The report on Wednesday, issued by the Wisconsin Division of Executive Budget and Finance, states that Foxconn's plant "may be better suited for demonstration purposes rather than as a viable commercial glass fabrication facility." The Verge was the first to report on the analysis.

Foxconn has yet to properly outfit the factory with the necessary equipment. And even if the facility were to produce LCD panels, the state report indicated that it would be the smallest Gen 6 plant in the world -- not the sprawling Gen 10.5 LCD factory that the company promised.

If the company did any manufacturing in the facility at all, the analysis continued, it would likely only be the final assembly of components shipped from other plants. That project would be much smaller in scope that Foxconn's contract with the state proposed.

In fact, earlier in October, the state denied Foxconn's bid for tax subsidies of that. At the time, state officials suggested that they were still open to negotiate new terms for the plant.

Foxconn said that it would open the plant in May 2020 with 1,500 jobs, about 300 short of the number necessary to secure subsidies. That has, of course, been delayed, and it isn't clear if any manufacturing will take place at the facility at all.

The report on Wednesday said that the factory "would appear to be more of a showcase than a business viable for the long term."


  • Reply 1 of 23
    I must say, this is a totally surprising development.  I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.
    ronnviclauyyccy_starkmanflyingdpmuthuk_vanalingamCarnagebaconstangdave marshhammeroftruth
  • Reply 2 of 23
    ronnronn Posts: 449member
    Corporate Welfare FTW!  :#
  • Reply 3 of 23
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,827member
    The demonstration factory concept is not a bad idea for US manufacturing in general. The sheer size of that facility and its affiliation with what is quickly becoming a massive Foxconn misfire for WI makes it a very expensive way to turn lemons into lemonade. 

    The EU and especially Germany have put together, for example, a demonstration factory in Aachen, Germany to advance the development of Industry 4.0 initiatives, which is very similar in scope to what is often referred to as “Industrial IoT” in North America. This is a good thing that was done in a purposeful manner. Doing something equivalent in the US absolutely makes sense at a macro level, more so because of the close tie-ins that IIoT has with the emergence of 5G. 

    Is this the most cost effective way to retarget the goals for the original stakeholders of the Foxconn promise to Wisconsin? Probably not. What becomes of all those high paying production oriented manufacturing jobs that Foxconn promised if this is turned into a massive R&D and proof of concept test bed? 

    It’s going to be a tough sell to convince the citizens of Wisconsin who were sold a promise of thousands of new jobs being created in their home state that this is a good deal for them. If Wisconsin wanted to embark on the goal of establishing a center of excellence for modern manufacturing, IIoT, and 5G they wouldn’t have partnered, at least not so closely, with Foxconn in the first place. 

    I hope this works out for the people of Wisconsin. 
    edited October 2020 cornchipJaiOh81watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,005member

    Remember to vote. 
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Seems that Governors who rail against ‘Socialism’ are quick to use subsidies to lure companies to their states.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    em_teem_te Posts: 39member
    The owner of Foxconn probably saw the film "American Factory" after the deal was signed and decided to bail.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,395member
    It’s a “showcase” on how to fleece gullible politicos into giving away millions in taxpayer dollars in exchange for  toning whatsoever.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    Sorry to hear that Foxconn try to pull a fast one on the taxpayers of Wisconsin!  I guess their name sort say it all: Fox conn!
  • Reply 9 of 23
    Bringing manufacturing jobs back to America is how we are Making America Great Again.  
  • Reply 10 of 23
    rbnetengr said:
    Bringing manufacturing jobs back to America is how we are Making America Great Again.  
    Is this a BYO plant? 

  • Reply 11 of 23
    dewme said:
    I hope this works out for the people of Wisconsin. 
    hah. haha… hahahahahah no

    There's an absolutely buck-wild podcast episode about this boondoggle, includes absolute jaw-dropping excerpts of town hall meetings in the Mount Pleasant where the project gets railroaded through. You truly need to listen to believe it.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,733member
    rbnetengr said:
    Bringing manufacturing jobs back to America is how we are Making America Great Again.  
    You forgot the /S tag
  • Reply 13 of 23
    I'd say it's an expensive way of not doing business. I wonder where the real problem lies. 
  • Reply 14 of 23
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,760member
    This was also a good read from the Verge

    Amazing that this is the same company that assembles so many of Apples hundreds of millions of iPhones every year.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    I'd say it's an expensive way of not doing business. I wonder where the real problem lies. 
    Non-functioning capitalism is the real problem…

    The benefits usually attributed to capitalism only works on a market with strong buyers, and instead we've ended up with capitalistic systems with predominantly strong sellers; which not only gives a weirdly tilted market for the consumer, but we also end up with politicians that by not being able to do the math behind the deals end up giving the corporations incentives to work against the interests of the people/taxpayers.

    Most people wanting to be in politics, and that want to negotiate with the corporate representatives, are straight up too incompetent to be doing that; and the politicians aren't supported by teams of accountants (and game theory experts) that can make sure that they understand the deals that they make.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 775member
    rbnetengr said:
    Bringing manufacturing jobs back to America is how we are Making America Great Again.  
    lol That's funny.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    The cost of labor in the US just makes manufacturing too uncompetitive (for manufacturing that requires lots of human participation at any rate.)
    If it's cheaper to make it in Korea and then ship it here... that's the smart way to do it.

    I'm not saying we should pay people less, just that it's hard for U.S. workers to compete with people in other countries that are willing to work for (literally) a few dollars a day!

  • Reply 18 of 23
    Not. Surprised. In. The. Least.  

    Just another deal to “make america great” from the fleece-king and his minions.

    Move along . . . nothing (really, nothing) to see here.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,005member
    rbnetengr said:
    Bringing manufacturing jobs back to America is how we are Making America Great Again.  
    During his state of the union address, your leader stated that the US "has gained 12,000 new factories under my administration, with thousands upon thousands of plants and factories being planned or built. We have created over half a million new manufacturing jobs."

    Th truth is that 1,800 factories have disappeared, and the increase in jobs is no different than annual gains over the past decade.  (BLS 2020; U.S. Census Bureau 2020a, 2020b).
    edited October 2020 fastasleepbaconstangronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 23
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