Foxconn is extending its fledgling American footprint beyond its planned display factory in Wisconsin. The tech manufacturing behemoth is establishing its North American headquarters in Milwaukee, 30 miles north of the upcoming factory. It’s buying a seven-story building from Northwestern Mutual and expects 500 people to work at the facility, which will include an innovation hub to help startups create apps using its display tech. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the intend 13,000 jobs at the screen facility, but it’s symbolic of the company’s US presence — it’s not just dabbling this time around.
The plans come hot on the heels of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee launching a co-op program where engineering students will travel to Taiwan to study at Chung Yuan Christian University and work at a Foxconn facility before finishing their degrees. The program starts this fall with five students who’ll work at Foxconn in Wisconsin before heading to Taiwan in February. Foxconn has also opened the possibility of programs in other Midwestern universities.
It’s no secret as to why Foxconn chose Wisconsin for all these initiatives: the state offered a total $3 billion in tax breaks over the next 15 years. It’s not exactly a selfless gesture. All the same, it could have a significant effect on domestic tech manufacturing and the products you buy.