Trump set to announce new U.S. factory by top Apple supplier


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President Trump will announce Wednesday that Foxconn, one of Apple’s top overseas suppliers, is opening a new factory in Wisconsin, according to a senior administration official.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that the Taiwanese manufacturer, best known for assembling iPhones, was considering building a plant in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tweeted Wednesday about a “major jobs announcement” with Trump scheduled for later in the day.

Reps for Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Foxconn previously told CNNMoney “it is not currently possible to confirm the locations for those potential investments or estimate the number of jobs that might be created.”

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou began teasing plans to invest more than $7 billion in a plant for producing displays, with the potential to create as many as 50,000 jobs.

However, Gou has been talking about shifting some manufacturing to the United States for several years, with little to show for it so far. In 2013, for example, Foxconn announced plans to build a $30 million plant in Pennsylvania. It has yet to be built.

This time, Foxconn may be coaxed by generous tax incentives. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Wisconsin’s deal for the new Foxconn plant may include incentives totaling as much as $3 billion.

Related: Trump says Apple to build “3 big plants, beautiful plants” in US

Foxconn had considered building the plant in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, among other states.

Foxconn currently has facilities in Virginia and Indiana, each of which employ fewer than 1,000 workers, according to its website.

The announcement may give Trump a victory as he looks to bring back jobs. Trump also recently said Apple (AAPL, Tech30) plans to build “three big plants, beautiful plants” in the U.S.

But Foxconn — and Apple — may struggle to transport their manufacturing success abroad to the U.S.

Foxconn grew into a powerhouse for electronics manufacturing for Apple, Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30), HP (HPQ) and others thanks to its ability to staff its factories with cheap labor in China.

At its peak, Foxconn employs more than one million people. Employees live on factory campuses and have been known to work far more hours for far less pay than would be acceptable under U.S. labor laws.

At times, Foxconn’s workplace demands have resulted in worker riots and suicides. In fact, Foxconn installed nets outside buildings to catch workers trying to jump to their deaths.

It’s also unclear if Wisconsin, or any state for the matter, can supply Foxconn with the thousands of skilled laborers it would need to manufacture electronics at scale.

— CNN’s Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.

CNNMoney (New York) First published July 26, 2017: 12:54 PM ET


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