Foxconn official on why Wisconsin was their pick

Posted at 10:20 PM, Apr 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-12 22:12:53-04

Foxconn hopes to change the manufacturing landscape in Wisconsin and the man leading the effort sat down with TODAY'S TMJ4 about the company's big vision for Wisconsin. 

Woo doesn't have a big fancy title but as special assistant to the company's CEO he talked to me about the company's big vision for Wisconsin.

Special assistant to the company's CEO Louis Woo is a world traveler. 

"I come almost once every month sometimes twice a month," he said. 

These days he's spending more time in Wisconsin getting to experience our culture and cuisine.

"Food I'm not so sure but people absolutely, I find the people extremely warm," he said. 

Milwaukee is the new home to Foxconn's headquarters here and Racine County will be the home to its new manufacturing campus with up to 13,000 employees.

To put that into context. Quad Graphics is the largest Milwaukee area manufacturing firm with 7,500 local employees. Harley Davidson is number five with nearly 2,700 employees.

When asked why the company chose Wisconsin, Woo replied, "Wow that's a billion-dollar question."

$10 billion to be exact. The massive maker of television display screens has been very successful in Asia.

Woo says the cost of doing business in America is much higher because of wages.

But he credits a more pro-business Administration under President Donald Trump and Wisconsin's manufacturing history for setting up shop here.

"We have to do something different than just a television because if we are building a television there is no way we can compete even against ourselves let alone with other competitors," Woo said.

"That's why 8k 5G," our Charles Benson asked.

"Exactly," Woo replied.

Think of 8k as sharper, clearer display panels with unprecedented clarity and 5G with ultra fast wireless delivery speed. Woo says the benefits of this cutting-edge technology extends to healthcare.

"Especially exciting for surgeons that the 8k camera will be able to capture cells and cell level that naked will not able to see," said Woo.

For now its about getting the ball rolling in Mount Pleasant. Woo defends the Foxconn deal and the state's $3 billion taxpayer incentive saying the company is also taking a risk and says the subsidies will only flow after Foxconn hits specific jobs goals.

"So it's not a free hand out," said Woo. "The state will only look at every stage of investment and head count only after what we have done. We should look at this as joint investment."

Woo has a PhD from Stanford and has taught at his alma mater and the University of Chicago. Any chance he would end up in a university classroom in Wisconsin?

"I don't see why not, if I'm needed," he said.

"Has anybody offered?" Benson asked.

"No," he replied with laughter. 

"Are you seeking any offers?" Benson asked.

"No, I'm not seeking any offers," Woo said.

Woo said the "start of construction" is now less than 60 days away in Mount Pleasant.