Hon Hai plans high performance computing data center in Wisconsin

09/21/2019 04:43 PM
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Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) Taiwan-based manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. plans to build a High Performance Computing Data Center (HPCDC) in Wisconsin as part of its major investment in the U.S. state.

Hon Hai, known as Foxconn on the global market, is also planning to add a Smart Manufacturing Center (SMC) to the Wisconsin investment project, the company said in a statement released earlier this week.

The HPCDC and SMC plans are the latest steps in Hon Hai's US$10 billion Wisconsin project which is focused on a sophisticated sixth generation flat panel complex (Gen 6 Fab) in the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park (WVSTP) and aims to transform Wisconsin into a high-tech hub.

Separate from the Gen 6 Fab, Hon Hai will build a 260,000-square-foot SMC located in Area 1 of the Wisconn Valley science park. The manufacturing center will be a high-mix, low to medium volume production facility and roll out components for server racks.

Hon Hai said it will continue to evaluate additional design options for the planned HPCDC to meet the needs of the company as well as those of its business, academic and community partners.

"Foxconn is happy to announce this new partnership with Mortenson, who for the last 30 years, has been constructing landmark facilities throughout the state," Joe Lambke, operations director for Hon Hai's Wisconsin Data Center, said in the statement.

"As Foxconn develops the WVSTP, anchored by the nearly 1,000,000-square-foot Gen 6 Fab, we are excited to begin the next phases of this project with facilities that will support smart manufacturing, AI initiatives, high-performance computing and more," Lambke said.

In addition to the Gen 6 Fab, Hon Hai said, the SMC and HPCDC will add to the list of Foxconn facilities, either constructed, or currently under construction at the Wisconn Valley science park, including a Multipurpose Building and Power Substation.

Hon Hai said it has chosen Morteson to serve as construction manager for the plans to build the SMC and HPCDC.

The company signed an agreement with Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) to build a flat screen manufacturing campus in the state in November 2017 and received a package of potential subsidies and tax breaks worth over US$3 billion, based on the promise of creating 13,000 jobs over six years.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers had expressed doubts that Hon Hai would create 13,000 jobs as planned and suggested the agreement on incentives offered to the electronics manufacturer could be revisited.

In May 2019, former Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) met with U.S. President Donald Trump to reaffirm the company's commitment to the Wisconsin project, and said construction of the sophisticated flat panel compound would be completed in May 2020 as scheduled.

After Gou stepped down in June to try his hand at politics, new Hon Hai Chairman Liu Young-way (劉揚偉), Vice Chairman Lee Chieh (李傑), and top strategist for Hon Hai's U.S. operations Yang Chao-lun (楊兆倫) visited Evers and other state leaders earlier this month to discuss the development of the project.

The Wisconsin plant is expected to start mass production in the fourth quarter of next year and to target such markets as high definition 8K TV panels and automotive displays, Louis Woo (胡國輝), a top aide to Gou, has said.

The Wisconsin investment will also have an incubation center to help high-tech startups develop artificial intelligence and integrate AI with 8K screen production and a 5G ecosystem.

In June 2018, Trump attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Hon Hai's Wisconsin complex, and described Gou as "one of the most successful" businessmen in the world.

(By Chung Jung-feng and Frances Huang)


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