Foxconn's U.S. project to continue after talks with Trump: Terry Gou

2019/02/02 16:21:00 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Foxconn's U.S. project to continue after talks with Trump: Terry Gou

Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) Foxconn will proceed with its construction of a self-driving car facility and a sixth generation LCD fab plant in Wisconsin after discussions with United States President Donald Trump about the project, the company's chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) said Saturday.

In a speech at a charity event, Gou said Trump phoned him Friday and promised to do his best to resolve the problem of high-tech labor shortage in Wisconsin.

Gou, whose company is known as Hon Hai in Taiwan, said the call was the latest in a series of discussions he has had with Trump over the past year about the Wisconsin project, which included a meeting between them at the White House last December.

According to Gou, Trump said in the phone conversation Friday that he hoped Foxconn would continue with the innovation-centered project in Wisconsin so as to cultivate high-tech talent and to reverse the outflow of such workers to the U.S. east and west coasts.

Trump also suggested that Foxconn hire military veterans to meet the demand for tech workers, Gou said, adding that he thinks it is a feasible proposal.

As announced in October 2017, Foxconn had planned to build a state-of-the-art flat panel production complex in Wisconsin at a cost of US$10 billion, which was expected to create 3,000 jobs in the initial phase and a total of 13,000 jobs over the following six years.

However, the company released a statement on Jan. 30 confirming various media reports that its plan was being adjusted to focus mainly on research and development.

According to a Reuters report earlier this week, Gou's special assistant Louis Woo (胡國輝) said the plan was revised in light of the steep cost of making advanced TV screens in the U.S., where labor expenses are comparatively high.

After Gou's latest conversation with Trump, Foxconn released a statement Friday in the U.S., saying that it was moving forward with its planned construction of a Generation 6 fab facility in the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park.

"This campus will serve both as an advanced manufacturing facility as well as a hub of high technology innovation for the region," the statement read.

It said the decision was made after productive discussions between the White House and Foxconn and after a conversation between Trump and Gou.

The decision is also based on a recent comprehensive and systematic evaluation to help determine the best fit for Foxconn's Wisconsin project among TFT (Thin Film Transistor) technologies, according to the statement.

"We have undertaken the evaluation while simultaneously seeking to broaden our investment across Wisconsin far beyond our original plans to ensure the company, our workforce, the local community, and the state of Wisconsin will be positioned for long-term success," Foxconn said.

The company said it was looking forward to continuing its expansion of investment in American talent in Wisconsin and the U.S.

On Friday, Trump tweeted a link to a news report on Foxconn's latest decision and said, "Great news on Foxconn in Wisconsin after my conversation with Terry Gou!"

(By Chung Jung-feng, Chen Chun-sheng and Shih Hsiu-chuan)

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