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A big Apple supplier is coming to America—but your phones won’t say ‘Made in USA’

The Taiwanese manufacturer wants to employ 3,000 workers in a 20 million-square-foot facility.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Jul 27, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 10:34 pm CDT

Apple supplier Foxconn announced plans to build a new factory in the United States, but don’t expect your iPhone to say “Made in USA” anytime soon. The Taiwanese manufacturing giant is taking its operations to Wisconsin to produce LCD panels for TVs and other electronics. The first panels will reportedly be for TV company Sharp, which Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai purchased last year.

President Donald Trump took full credit for the move, insisting the deal wouldn’t have gone through if he wasn’t president, “If I didn’t get elected, he definitely wouldn’t be spending $10 billion…This is a great day for America.”

The plans were announced at an event Wednesday with President Trump and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou alongside Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and House speaker Paul Ryan. Foxconn will spend more than $10 billion in the next four years to build a 20 million-square-foot facility. It is expected to generate 3,000 jobs and up to 10,000 more with further expansion. The Trump administration said there is also the potential for future facilities in other states like Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.

Walker said Wisconsin will provide Foxconn with $3 billion in incentives, half of which will go to capital costs and the other half to workforce development. He also claimed the plant will be the largest economic development project in the state’s history.

The electronics giant has not announced where it plans to build the plant, though Trump reportedly suggested the site of a former Chrysler plant in Kenosha. Walker said Foxconn is considering several sites in southeast Wisconsin and will announce its plans soon.

As the New York Times points out, Foxconn has previously fallen short on its promise to invest in the United States. In 2013, the company said it would invest $30 million and hire 500 workers for a Pennsylvania factory. That plant was never built. Gou has since spoken of moving operations to the United States, but has never gone through with his plans.

The announcement comes a day after Trump told the Wall Street Journal that Apple CEO Tim Cook promised to build “three big plants, beautiful plants” in the United States.

“I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he’s promised me three big plants—big, big, big,” Trump said. “I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success. He called me, and he said they are going forward.”

It still isn’t clear if Trump was referring to Foxconn or Apple specifically. Apple does make its Mac Pro desktop in Austin, Texas, but hasn’t officially announced plans to expand its manufacturing efforts in the U.S. Foxconn is a major manufacturer for Apple, producing iPhones, iPads, and iPods in its Chinese factories.

There are currently no major smartphone production hubs within the U.S. In 2013, Google, which owned Motorola at the time, tried its hand at manufacturing the well-received “Moto X” smartphone in Texas. The cost of producing in the United States and ownership limbo with current Motorola owners Lenovo forced Google to close the plant down just a year after opening. The move cast doubt on the viability of producing electronics in the United States.

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*First Published: Jul 27, 2017, 11:15 am CDT