Foxconn, a major Apple parts supplier, broke ground in Wisconsin yesterday for its first plant in the United States.
The project located at Mount Pleasant in southeast Wisconsin is estimated to cost $10 billion and is projected to create thousands of jobs. It’s the largest economic development project in Wisconsin’s history, and when it is done, will manufacture LCD screen panels.
It’s uncertain whether Apple will use these screens, however, since it mainly sources them from Samsung, LG, and Japan Display. Its recent screens, additionally, have departed from traditional LCD panels — the electronics giant followed the lead of its chief competitor Samsung by incorporating OLED screens into its latest designs.
But if the demand for OLED screens and other parts becomes great enough, the new Foxconn plant could possibly pivot to manufacturing those instead. Although the work Foxconn currently does for Apple is mainly in its China factory, Apple has signaled that it wants to make more of its products domestically, and yesterday’s groundbreaking could serve as the first step.
This prospect made President Donald Trump, who attended the ceremony yesterday, pretty hyped about it.
“Today, we broke ground on a plant that will provide jobs for up to 15,000 Wisconsin Workers!” Trump tweeted after the ceremony with his usual exclamatory punctuation. “As Foxconn has discovered, there is no better place to build, hire and grow than right here in the United States!”
Foxconn founder and chairperson Terry Gou began discussing this plant with Trump 11 months ago at the White House, and Gou said he chose Wisconsin, since that was where he got his first big break as a businessman.
“To Silicon Valley, to Boston, ‘Wisconn Valley’ is coming,” Gou said during the groundbreaking ceremony.
“Wisconsin has been the manufacturing heart of America. It has the skill set, the hardworking attitude, the culture, and the people to support the transformation to a high-tech hub to lead the future.”
Only time will tell whether Middle America will actually break ground on this new digital frontier.