Foxconn picked Wisconsin for its $10 billion plant in a much-anticipated announcement on Wednesday, but more facilities are expected. Maybe our state will land one of those.
Foxconn, the world’s largest assembler of iPhones as well as other tech devices, has plans for as many as three U.S. manufacturing plants.
Foxconn is going to invest $7 billion in U.S. operations, according to Bloomberg news service. Earlier reports pegged the investment as high as $10 billion with some 8,600 jobs at stake, and N.C. was mentioned as a candidate.
Also, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Wednesday, President Trump said Apple CEO Tim Cook had promised to build three manufacturing plants in the U.S. So far, Apple isn’t commenting, but earlier this year Cook said the company would invest $1 billion in a fund focused on bringing advanced manufacturing jobs to the U.S.
Cook has “promised” to build “three big plants, beautiful plants” in the U.S., Trump said.
“I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success,” Trump said, according to the newspaper. “He called me, and he said they are going forward.”
So why not cross North Carolina off the list?
WRAL TechWire has been told that a mega-size development site near Rocky Mount has been the subject of almost daily talks between local economic development officials and the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
A prospective client needs a lot of land at reasonable prices – and lots of employees. Nash and Edgecombe Counties have both, as the landing of that huge CSX rail complex shows quite clearly.
And Anthony Copeland, who heads the Commerce Department, told WUNC TV in an interview that aired last week that Foxconn officials have visited the state.
Then there are the politics of this jobs news.
Trump is targeting swing states in the Midwest – but as the recent split election results in North Carolina showed (Trump wins; Roy Cooper beats sitting Republican governor Pat McCrory), this state is definitely in play.
Jobs mean votes.
Still, most media reports have not included North Carolina on the short list of possible Foxconn (Apple?) expansion sites.
The competition to land Foxconn (or Apple, or a combination thereof) is intense for many reasons.
“It’s not just jobs that are up for grabs — possibly 5,000 alone at the plant and potentially thousands more at other unspecified U.S. operations the company intends to launch,” The AP noted.
“Luring Foxconn to build the country’s first liquid-crystal display factory would signal that the Midwest, which has hemorrhaged manufacturing jobs in recent decades, can diversify into again producing high-tech consumer gadgets often assembled in Asia.”
No mention of North Carolina – again – but don’t be surprised if our state ends up a winner in this big jobs sweepstakes down the road.