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Bait and Switch: Foxconn already scaling back plans for size of Wisconsin factory

State representatives in Wisconsin are worried that Apple supplier Foxconn might be about to pull off “the mother of all bait and switches” with its proposed factory in the state.

Foxconn is allegedly scaling back its plans for the factory which could get $4 billion-worth of subsidies and infrastructure spending. Despite President Trump attending the groundbreaking ceremony this past June, construction still hasn’t begun and the plant could be much smaller than originally planned.

Democratic members of Wisconsin’s government are concerns Foxconn won’t build the Generation 10.5 plant promised in contracts. Generation 10.5 plants produce huge sheets of glass for TV screens as big as 75-inches. In recent statements though, Foxconn indicated the site will be a Generation 6 facility that makes glass for smartphone and tablet displays. State representatives are starting raise the alarm that Foxconn won’t follow through on its promise.

Foxconn in Wisconsin

“It’s critical that the governor pay attention to what’s going on with taxpayer dollars and make sure that the public investment is sound and makes sense,” said Representative Dana Wachs, according to a media interview. “What in the world is going on? This could be the mother of all bait and switches.”

Foxconn responded saying it is still committed to creating 13,000 jobs and a $10 billion investment in Wisconsin. By creating a smaller plant first, Foxconn says it will be better able to adapt to the market in the future.

“[We are] still planning for an advanced fab facility in the near future after the completion of the first phase. Whether it is Gen 10.5 or something else depends on the market and economic situations at the time.”

The company claims if it built a Generation 10.5 facility first it would have too much competition from others in China to be successful. Wisconsin’s contract with Foxconn will currently only pay out $9.5 million in incentives the first two years, so there’s an opportunity to see progress.

Foxconn previously planned to build a $30 million factory in Pennsylvania back in 2013 that never got built. Maybe Wisconsin shouldn’t gets hopes up too high just yet.

Buster Hein

Lee Matz

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