Taiwanese technology company Foxconn announced Wednesday its intention to build a long-awaited electronics factory in the Racine County village of Mount Pleasant.
After months of budgetary debates earlier this year, the state government offered Foxconn a series of incentives — including lower taxes and waived environmental regulations — as part of Wisconsin’s bid to host the factory and the thousands of jobs it is expected to bring with it.
At an 11 a.m. press conference at the SC Johnson iMET Center, Foxconn announced plans to build its factory in Racine County, just east of I-94.
Jenny Trick, executive director of the Racine County Economic Development Corporation, highlighted the work accomplished by many individuals from both the public and private sectors to bring the factory to Wisconsin.
“This announcement has been months in the making, and is a collective effort of many individuals who are committed to moving the state, the region and our county forward,” Trick said.
The “unprecedented” size and importance of Foxconn’s investment in the state was emphasized by Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce president Tim Sheehy, who said this is the largest foreign direct investment in American history.
Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said the factory is worth $10 billion and will be 20 million square feet, making it the largest factory in Wisconsin by far, and one of largest manufacturing campuses in the world.
“This opportunity represents the return of electronics manufacturing in the U.S. from Asia, and it establishes Wisconsin, and Racine County in particular, as the electronics manufacturing capital of North America,” Delagrave said.
Foxconn executive Louis Woo said the company was looking for a “partner” in the U.S. and is glad to have found that partner in the state of Wisconsin.
Woo expressed excitement at the prospect of his company’s initial $10 billion investment growing substantially in the future, which Woo said would bring more money and jobs to the state.
“It’s not just about $10 billion,” Woo said. “After we finish, there will $30 to $40 billion invested in this great county and in this great state.”
While those who spoke at the press conference were excited and supportive of Foxconn’s coming to Wisconsin, many Democratic lawmakers have expressed reservations over the deal.
In a statement issued shortly after the state budget passed earlier this year, Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-LaCrosse, said the deal puts Wisconsin businesses at a disadvantage and harms taxpayers.
“Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans are putting home-grown businesses at a competitive disadvantage while committing taxpayers to decades of economic costs and liabilities,” Shilling said.
The contract to officially locate the factory in Mount Pleasant still needs to be approved by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation before any construction or further action can be taken.
Speakers at the press conference expressed confidence that this approval will be secured in the near future.