It’s been two weeks since The Verge published its initial investigation on Foxconn’s Wisconsin-based innovation centers.
The technology company has been unusually silent on the issue, which does not bode well for its perception in the public eye.
Foxconn’s Stated Goals for Wisconsin
Foxconn first announced the buildings as an attempt to transform Wisconsin into a new innovative hub for technology. If all goes to plan (which seems less likely by the day), production at the first of Foxconn’s Wisconsin factories is to begin by the end of 2020.
Development costs are expected to exceed $10 billion, and according to Foxconn’s claims, the endeavor will result in the creation of 13,000 new employed positions. The U.S. government also agreed to provide a range of subsidies to the company when they meet prearranged conditions.
If Foxconn meets those targets, the subsidies they are to receive will exceed over $4 billion. If it comes to pass, this would mean the largest subsidy the U.S. has ever provided a foreign company.
Foxconn’s Suspicious Lack of Activity
Though Foxconn promoted that these Wisconsin buildings were purchased to employ 13,000 new people, many reportedly still remain empty. On top of that, there are multiple buildings that were supposed to be bought by Foxconn which simply haven’t been.
Regardless of these inconsistencies, Foxconn announced they will be purchasing an additional building in Wisconsin only weeks ago. In response to The Verge’s investigation, Foxconn’s U.S. director of strategic initiatives, Alan Yeung, claimed the story was inaccurate.
Yeung also tweeted a vague response to the rising concerns, complaints, and claims against the way Foxconn’s Wisconsin project is going, saying “Calm down. Probably fake news” along with a series of emojis, and the question “Who has the crystal ball to predict if 13,000 jobs will be created by the year 2032?”
Calm down. Probably fake news 😂 Who has the crystal ball 🔮 to predict if 13,000 jobs will be created by the year 2032?
Esp in April ‘19 🤔 🤗😀😎 https://t.co/P94H9V6Kw6
— Alan S. Yeung (@alansyeung) April 25, 2019
Wisconsin’s Worries about Foxconn
While the project has just begun, state governor Tony Evers spoke his doubts on whether Foxconn would employ 13,000 people. The governor also said he believes the deal should be renegotiated, which many state Republicans rebuked as planning for failure.
However, Foxconn itself has since come forward with renegotiation on the tongue. The company stated they intend to remain committed to the contract but are now looking for “flexibility” in the deal.
At the same time, the company has yet to detail what parts of the contract they’re seeking that flexibility for.
With the recent news that Terry Gou, former chair of Foxconn, has resigned to pursue the presidency of Taiwan in 2020, many wonder if the company’s interests have shifted. Namely, perhaps Wisconsin no longer looks as viable as it once did to Foxconn’s incoming leadership.