Foxconn Technology Group Chairman Terry Gou announced from the White House Wednesday that the company will spend $10 billion to create a Wisconsin plant that will create many display panels and jobs. That sounds great but represents both good news and bad news.
Let's start with the good news.
First, the deal will create thousands of jobs. Foxconn said it will create 3,000 jobs over four years with the potential for 10,000 more. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker more optimistically said it would create 13,000 jobs. So the number of jobs is uncertain, but even the conservative estimate means thousands of new jobs for Americans and that — especially in the beleaguered manufacturing sector — is a good thing.
Second, President Trump campaigned on reviving manufacturing in America and bringing jobs home from overseas, and Walker has campaigned on helping blue-collar workers. So the deal would clearly be a big win for both of them, and an even bigger win if Foxconn builds additional facilities in the U.S. and other companies follow their lead.
Third, Foxconn is the world's largest contracts electronics manufacturer, so this is major league manufacturing. The company has produced electronic devices for powerhouses like Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, HP and others for years.
But there is also potentially bad news.
First, Foxconn has a spotty track record of delivering on its promises. The company caused a lot of excitement about a revival of American manufacturing when it announced in 2013 that it would build a $30 million high-tech plant in central Pennsylvania but failed to deliver. The company also announced in 2014 that it would invest up to $1 billion in Indonesia, but failed to deliver on that promise, too.