It may not be too late for Michigan to get a piece of Taiwanese electronic giant Foxconn's American dream.
Even though the company, which builds display panels for televisions and cell phones, announced 10 days ago that it would invest $10 billion in a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin, Chinese media is reporting that Foxconn will build a research and development center in Michigan.
The China Daily reported that Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou plans a Michigan R&D center because of its proximity to the automobile industry.
"I can't say it is a sure thing, but we are indeed in discussion with several other states and the details will be announced soon," Gou said, according to China Daily.
And Gov. Rick Snyder met Saturday with Gou during his trade mission to China.
"We had a very productive dialogue about the importance of talent in manufacturing and the future of autonomous driving in addition to a tour of Foxconn's world class products and manufacturing facility," Snyder said in a statement released this morning. "Michigan is where innovation happens. We are leading in mobility and the transformation of manufacturing, and the rest of the world is clearly taking note. I believe we have a strong future with Foxconn, and while I don't have an announcement to make today, I think there are very exciting things to come in the future."
Foxconn officials have visited Michigan at least three times and have looked at sites in Romulus and Lyon Township.
Two weeks ago, Snyder signed a package of bills that would provide significant tax incentives for companies like Foxconn. The lure of the huge investment from the foreign manufacturer was one of the primary selling points for the Legislature to approve the bills last month.
The bills would:
- Allow businesses that expand or relocate to Michigan to receive up to a 10-year, 100% abatement on the personal income-tax withholdings of new employees if at least 250 new jobs are brought to the state, at wage rates that are at least 125% above the average for the region.
- Make the incentive a five-year, 50% abatement on those withholdings for companies that bring in at least 500 jobs that pay the average wage for the region.
- Allow companies that bring up to 3,000 jobs to the state at average wages in the region to qualify for the 100% incentive for up to 10 years.
- Require that eligible companies make a good-faith effort to hire Michiganders for the new jobs in the state.
- Prohibit eligible companies from using jobs obtained through a merger or acquisition of another company as a qualifier for the incentive.
- End incentives in 2019 and lower the maximum amount of tax incentives at any one time to $200 million.
Foxconn's announcement about the investment in Wisconsin came on the same day that Snyder signed the bills. In Wisconsin, the $10 billion Foxconn investment comes at a big price. Wisconsin is kicking in $3 billion in tax incentives for the company.
The plant in Wisconsin is expected to create 3,000 manufacturing jobs, 23,000 indirect jobs and 10,000 construction jobs to build the sprawling Foxconn campus in southeast Wisconsin.
Snyder's trade mission to China is the seventh time he has traveled to the country. He returns on Tuesday.
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