Foxconn to Start Production in Wisconsin in Q4 2020

Published June 10, 2019

We’ve seen a few developments on the Foxconn – Wisconsin project in the last few weeks. Here’s an update of the latest:

  • Foxconn announced that it had awarded $13 million in construction contracts to three firms it labeled “outstanding Wisconsin-based companies,” but according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel one of the companies has headquarters in Connecticut, and another is based in the UK. Foxconn responded that under the terms of it’s “Wisconsin First” program, in order to apply as a Wisconsin firm a company must have had a presence in the state for at least a year, have normal business operations, and pay sales and other taxes.
  • The village of Mount Pleasant revealed that it has assessed the 850 acre (344 hectare) property of the Foxconn complex at $57.6 million; last year that land was assessed at $8.4 million. Based on the tax rates of 2018, Foxconn would owe $1.2 million in property taxes for this year.
  • We learned that CNBC is conducting a story on Foxconn as a company, with special attention to the Wisconsin project. I was interviewed by CNBC Producer Katie Schoolov for the story, which is one of a series of profiles on major companies. By coincidence, my former employer Corning was recently the subject of a profile in the same series, viewable at this link. Schoolov intended to interview Wisconsin governor Tony Evers and others in the state during the week of May 28-31, with a target to post the story by June 12th.
  • We’re continuing to see reports that Foxconn and the state of Wisconsin will re-negotiate the subsidy deal. As we’ve reported in recent months, Foxconn has an incentive to re-negotiate the jobs thresholds, but the state will want concessions in return. DSCC has been approached by officials in Wisconsin about consulting services for these negotiations; the Wisconsin governor’s office believes that an expert opinion would be valuable. We agree. Stay tuned on this point.
  • Digitimes reported that Foxconn is preparing plans for production of a Gen 6 TFT LCD line in Wisconsin, using a-Si technology initially with a production target of Q4 2020, with the addition of IGZO technology one year later. Capacity was described at 7000-10,000 substrates per month. The article noted that plans for the Wisconsin site may be altered depending on the results of the 2020 Presidential election.
  • DSCC has checked the Foxconn plans with our contacts in Asia, who gave a different opinion. According to our sources, production will start with modules only, with a target of Q4 2020 at the earliest. Actual TFT LCD production would happen later, with purchase orders issued in mid-2020, installation in mid-2021, and mass production only in 2022. These sources have indicated that negotiations with equipment companies have not yet started.
  • Our sources in Wisconsin have told us that Foxconn has submitted plans (or will submit plans) for construction on the site with a floor space of 1 million square feet (~93,000 square meters). To our understanding, this is in the range of sizes for a Gen 6 plant, but probably includes substantial assembly operations in addition to TFT production. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Foxconn will appear at a public hearing in the village of Mount Pleasant on June 18th to seek a conditional use permit, because part of the proposed complex would exceed village height limits.
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Written by

Bob O'Brien