July 27, 2017 // 11:10 a.m.
Taiwanese technology giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn Technology, has announced that it is to build a £7.67 billion display panel factory in the US state of Wisconsin, its biggest ever investment in the region.
Founded by Terry Gou in 1974 as an electrical connector manufacturer and having found success as the supplier of parts for Atari's famous 2600 games console, Foxconn has fingers in a number of pies. The company has manufactured components and devices for a range of companies from Intel - which moved its own-brand motherboard manufacturing contract from Asus to Foxconn in 2001 - to Apple, which uses Foxconn to build its highly successful mobile devices. It's a company which made a massive £3.42 billion profit in 2015 and bought rival Sharp a year later, but one with a chequered history: From claims that unpaid student interns were being put to work building PlayStation 4 consoles to worker suicides in its Shenzhen-based 'Foxconn City' industrial park, the company has long stood accused of exploitation and poor working conditions - accusations it, naturally, refutes.
Now, the company is building its first major manufacturing facility in the US, announcing a $10 billion (£7.67 billion) investment over four years to put together a display panel plant in the US state of Wisconsin in exchange for £2.30 billion in unspecified incentives from the US government. The facility will, the company has claimed, create 3,000 jobs directly and up to 13,000 over the investment period, and marks what the company has claimed is the start of a period of investment in the US.
US President Donald Trump welcomed the announcement while also seeking to take direct credit for the deal. 'If I didn't get elected, he [Terry Gou] definitely wouldn't be spending $10 billion,' Trump claimed at the press briefing for the deal. 'This is a great day for America.'