Taiwanese iPhone builder Foxconn has finally broken ground on its first factory in the United States.
According to a report from NBC News, Foxconn chairman Terry Gou was joined by US President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and others on Thursday as the company broke ground at a future factory in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s Foxconn facility, which will make liquid crystal display (LCD) screens for televisions and computers, is the first step in a plan to create “Wisconn Valley,” a high-tech manufacturing hub in the low-tax state.
For all the money it’s costing Wisconsin, Foxconn’s new plant should indeed be wondrous. Foxconn won nearly $4.8 billion USD in tax breaks and incentives in exchange for agreeing to build the new facility on Wisconsin soil.
US President Donald Trump used the opportunity to tout American jobs. “As Foxconn has discovered, there is no better place to build, hire and grow than right here in the United States,” he said. “America is open for business, more than it has ever been open for business.
The Foxconn campus will boast a floor area of 20 million square feet, and analysts say it will become one of the largest manufacturing campuses in the world — eclipsing the New Century Global Center in Chengdu, China; the Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada; and the Boeing facility in Everett, Washington.
The campus will employ as many as 13,000 people, including engineers and other skilled workers. Foxconn says the average wage will be $53,875 USD per year plus benefits. When and if Foxconn has created those 13,000 positions, its payroll will be an estimated $800 million USD per year. There will also be 10,000 construction jobs created, said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
At this point, it’s not clear if Apple intends to include the US display plant in its supply chain. Whilst Foxconn assembles the majority of Apple devices in its China facilities, Apple currently sources screen panels from Samsung, LG, and Japan Display. Foxconn would likely have to expand its output to include OLED panels if it wants Apple’s business on this front.