Foxconn held a holiday celebration on Friday, Dec. 6, at a downtown Milwaukee hotel. The event also sent a message about next year.
The Taiwan-based, high-tech manufacturer said the event was partly to "welcome new hires." But also in the crowd of several hundred people were former and current state officials, including several from Racine County — where Foxconn is putting up buildings it says will become a manufacturing and research center.
The news media were allowed to watch and listen, as several Foxconn officials addressed the crowd, including Foxconn founder Terry Gou. While Gou's no longer chairman of the company, he helps run it.
Gou said he and his wife were at the White House on Thursday night and met with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump. Gou said Trump told him, " 'Terry, bring more jobs to the United States. Bring more jobs to Wisconsin!' "
Gou reported that Trump also said, "For the future, we don't just want agricultural businesses or just farmers. We want farm technology, then go to AI (artificial intelligence) agriculture.'"
Gou summarized that Trump wants Wisconsin to upgrade to changing from agricultural business and industry to new high-tech industries.
Gou said that on Friday, he visited Wisconsin Valley Science and Technology Park. That's the name given to Foxconn's development in Mount Pleasant. He said he's very impressed with the progress and he predicts the facility will be a long-term success.
"As the founder of this company, I am committed to Wisconsin, to the United States, to Racine County, " Gou said.
A Foxconn spokeswoman told WUWM that Foxconn will announce later if it will meet hiring and investment requirements to qualify for state subsidies by the end of 2019.
Gou's visit to Milwaukee came about two weeks after George Mason University released a report saying Wisconsin will lose billions of dollars to its economy if it continues with targeted help for Foxconn.