No “$10 billion factory”: Microsoft buys Foxconn site in Wisconsin

Microsoft has bought part of the land in the US state of Wisconsin for 50 million US dollars, on which the Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn had announced a “10 billion dollar factory” with up to 13,000 jobs. After nothing came of it six years later, Microsoft now wants to build a data center on the site for a billion US dollars, reports the AP news agency. Typically, such facilities have around 300 to 400 employees, the report quotes the US company as saying. Construction must therefore begin by July 2026, and the second phase must begin by 2033 at the latest.

The area now acquired near Mount Pleasant is just part of the larger area that Foxconn has purchased. The Taiwanese company has set up a production facility there, but its dimensions are far from what the region was once promised. Foxconn was originally promised $2.85 billion in tax breaks for building the display panel factory. When Foxconn failed to even begin to live up to its end of the bargain, a new deal was signed that still included tax benefits of up to $80 million, depending on the number of jobs created. According to the AP, Foxconn was recently able to secure a discount of 8.6 million US dollars.

In July 2017, then US President Donald Trump announced that Foxconn wanted to invest 10 billion US dollars in the site. The plant will offer new jobs to 3,000 “American workers” right from the start. Many more would follow, he said. Republicans like the then incumbent governor Scott Walker raised hopes for a second Silicon Valley. During a visit in 2018, Trump even congratulated Foxconn on an “eighth wonder of the world”. However, it later became known that buildings erected there were empty and employees watched Netflix because they had nothing to do. Even the fact that each job would have been partially subsidized with 200,000 US dollars was not enough of an incentive for Foxconn. What Microsoft delivers now remains to be seen.


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