Almost a year after Wisconsin landed its largest manufacturing project in state history from Foxconn, the Badger State struck gold again on June 16 when the Taiwanese electronics producer announced it would place its North American headquarters in Milwaukee.
More than 500 employees will work at the seven-story building that Foxconn just acquired in downtown Milwaukee, the global conglomerate said.
For Wisconsin, it's but the latest win in a series of victories. Last year, Foxconn selected Mount Pleasant in Southeast Wisconsin for a 20-million-square-foot LCD panel plant. Up to 13,000 workers eventually will be employed on site to assemble 8K-5G TVs at the $10-billion complex in Racine County.
Foxconn Technology Group closed on its purchase of the office building at 611 East Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee just prior to the headquarters announcement. The company said the facility will also serve as Foxconn Innovation Center and will work with startup firms and entrepreneurs to develop applications for 8K-5G display technology.
"We are excited to establish our North American corporate headquarters in the heart of the central business district close to the lakefront and near a lot of the other developments helping make Milwaukee a city on the move," said Dr. Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou. Woo was joined at the announcement by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, City Council President Ashanti Hamilton and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
Foxconn said it will soon issue requests for proposals to architectural and engineering companies to help modernize the 133,000-square-foot building and design collaborative workspaces. The HQ will also feature a product showcase that will highlight the firm's latest technological innovations and the most current applications of the company's products in health care, transportation, security and manufacturing.
"Foxconn in Wisconsin is more than our campus in Mount Pleasant," said Woo. "We will have a strong presence in Milwaukee as part of our extended Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park. Milwaukee is where we will transition our A.I. 8K-5G vision into reality and make our new headquarters a magnet for customers and a showcase for our products and technologies. When people come to Wisconsin to visit Foxconn, the Milwaukee headquarters will probably be one of the first stops they make."
Employees at HQ will include teams of people who will be responsible for the construction and logistics of the facilities being built at the Mount Pleasant campus, as well as those who will work on supply chain activities for the making of LCD modules and construction of the fabrication plant.
Taiwan-based Foxconn, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Company Ltd., is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer and has a global workforce of more than 1 million people.
In 2017, Foxconn generated total revenues of $158 billion and was ranked No. 27 on the 2017 Fortune Global 500. The company operates facilities in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
"Foxconn's investment continues to resonate across the entire Milwaukee region," says Jim Paetsch, vice president of Milwaukee 7, the regional economic development partnership for Greater Milwaukee. "Foxconn is recognizing what manufacturers around our state have recognized for decades. Wisconsin's workforce, from engineers to data scientists to machine operators, is among the best in the country. Our people are loyal, hard working and skilled. The future is bright for Foxconn in Wisconsin."
In a separate announcement in mid-June, Foxconn said it would invest $30 million into creating a recycling system that would enable the company to greatly reduce the amount of water it would have to withdraw from Lake Michigan for its assembly operation in Racine County about 30 miles south of Milwaukee and 60 miles north of Chicago.
The system is called "zero liquid discharge," according to the company. Technically, Foxconn is not required to do this, but the firm said it would do so anyway to help the environment.