The summer of 2018 was hopeful and exciting for the citizens of southeast Wisconsin as they anticipated the start of Foxconn’s Wisconn Valley project. That June, President Trump came to an agreement with the Taiwanese tech manufacturer to invest $10 billion into renovating a 1960’s plant into a 20 million square foot manufacturing complex, creating 13,000 jobs by 2020.
“As Foxconn has discovered there is no better place to build, hire, and grow than right here in the United States,” Trump said, calling the project “the eighth wonder of the world”.
Over two years later and several months past its deadline, Foxconn’s Wisconn Valley campus is yet to exist. The building is 1/20th of the planned size.
In September, after millions of dollars were invested into the project, Foxconn got a license to use the facility as storage rather than a manufacturing factory.
An engineer hired to work on the project in 2018 told The Verge, “The most common misunderstanding with Foxconn is people here thought Foxconn had a strategy and a business plan when they were coming into Wisconsin. They did not. They had no plans at all.”
Although the idea to make Wisconsin the new Silicon Valley, dubbed “Wisconn Valley”, was in good nature, the execution may have cost President Trump Wisconsin in the presidential election. Joe Biden flipped the state blue this past week.
Wisconsin’s current governor Tony Evers is currently seeking to renegotiate the state’s contract with Foxconn after it failed to meet almost all quotas for employment. However, the company is disputing the fact.
“Once Foxconn is able to provide more accurate details of the proposed project, such as its size, scope, anticipated capital investment, and job creation, WEDC would be able to offer support for the project with tax incentives,” wrote Missy Hughes, WEDC’s secretary & chief executive officer.
While Foxconn and the state of Wisconsin work to settle disputes, others are trying to figure out what went wrong–maybe the first mistake was investing in a foreign manufacturer.