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Hon Hai's Gou to visit Wisconsin in May to discuss project's future

2019/04/30 14:54:15

Taipei, April 30 (CNA) Terry Gou (郭台銘), chairman of Taiwan-based manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., will visit Wisconsin in early May to discuss the future of a US$10 billion investment project that the state's governor has called into question.

Sources close to Gou would not divulge details of the trip, including his itinerary or the people he is scheduled to meet, but he will likely want to address the doubts that have arisen over the project since Democrat Tony Evers was elected governor of the state in November 2018.

In a report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on April 17, Evers said he doubted the deal with Hon Hai would work as planned to create 13,000 jobs.

"Clearly the deal that was struck is no longer in play and so we will be working with individuals at Foxconn and of course with (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) to figure out how a new set of parameters should be negotiated," Evers was quoted as saying.

The deal was signed in November 2017 with the backing of Evers' predecessor, Republican Scott Walker.

After Evers said he wanted to renegotiate the deal, which included roughly US$3 billion in incentives if Hon Hai met investment and job creation targets, Hon Hai issued a statement on April 19, saying it remained open to further consultations.

Hon Hai, known as Foxconn in the global market, has shifted the focus of the planned US$10 billion investment in a state-of-the-art LCD flat panel manufacturing complex in the past year.

The plant was originally to make large screens for TV sets, but potentially high costs forced Hon Hai to reposition the complex as a 6th-generation flat panel plant used to make smaller screens for various industries.

Construction on the facility is expected to begin by the summer of 2019, and production could start in the fourth quarter of 2020, Hon Hai said.

News of Gou's trip also led to speculation over whether he will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump during his U.S. visit, especially after Gou declared in mid-April his intention to run for president by participating in the opposition Kuomintang's presidential primary.

Trump, who also jumped into politics after a career in business, attended a groundbreaking ceremony for Gou's project in Wisconsin in June 2018 and described Gou as "one of the most successful" businessmen in the world.

(By Chung Jung-feng and Frances Huang)
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