Foxconn Technology Group is insisting it remains committed to its pledged $10 billion investment in southeastern Wisconsin, though the Taiwanese manufacturer also plans to make smaller screens at its Racine County site.
The statement comes after a report from Nikkei Asian Review, which cites anonymous sources, that said Foxconn is considering producing smaller display panels for tablets, cars and other things, rather than the larger screens the company initially said it would make.
The move, the story from the Japan-based publication said, would mean reduced initial costs for Foxconn as “large panel production would have required a more complete local supply chain and greater initial investment in equipment.”
But Foxconn refuted the report Wednesday, saying the story is “inaccurate and not based on any facts” and that its commitment to create 13,000 jobs and invest $10 billion “remains unchanged.”
“Foxconn is fully committed to this significant investment and to meeting all contractual obligations with the relevant government agencies,” the company statement said.
Still, the statement said the company is “adopting a phased approach with the construction of facilities,” with the first phase of its project producing panels that “will be used in a wide range of applications that impact consumers’ daily lives,” including notebooks, monitors and more.
In past statements, including separate ones from Foxconn and Gov. Scott Walker last November, the company has said it “will manufacture the world’s most advanced large-sized LCD panels which will be used in a wide range of technologies.”
Asked about the shift, a Foxconn spokesperson said it “reflects the fact that it’s a very dynamic marketplace” and that technology is rapidly changing.
Dems seized on the report, slammed Foxconn and said the story is concerning for taxpayers.
“This is a perfect example of why we need to invest in Wisconsin businesses, not foreign mega-corporations,” said Dem guv candidate and state Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire. “Wisconsinites deserve a governor who is going to invest their tax dollars wisely, not gamble them away.”
Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling knocked Walker and Republicans’ “negligence to enforce various safeguards” to hold the company accountable and protect taxpayers.
“It’s clear that the $4.5 billion Foxconn gamble has become an albatross instead of the golden goose Gov. Walker thought it would be,” the La Crosse Dem said.
But Republicans blasted the Dem response.
Walker spokesman Tom Evenson tweeted Dems “couldn’t wait to attack using a false report” and that the reaction proves “they care more about political attacks than family-supporting jobs.”
And Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said in a series of tweets Dems had “cheered at the prospect of fewer jobs in Wisconsin.”
“While @SenShilling & WI Dems misguidedly root for failure, @WIGOPSenate will continue to fight for increased opportunity across all sectors of our economy,” he wrote.
Under the deal, Foxconn would be granted $4.5 billion in state and local incentives if the company completes its full $10 billion investment and employs 13,000.
Asked for comment, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. spokeswoman Kelly Lietz pointed to the Foxconn statement and added the agency “is in regular contact with Foxconn as it relates to the company’s historic investment in an advanced-LCD manufacturing facility in Wisconsin.”
Walker’s office referred WisPolitics.com to Foxconn’s release.
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