Is the Foxconn Deal A Big Win For President Trump?

July 27, 2017, 1:49 PM UTC

Good morning.

The Facebook juggernaut continues, Samsung is printing money despite its many woes, and just as many CEOs pride themselves on being their company’s chief product officer or the top dog on marketing, Donald Trump is proving to be a very fine commerce secretary.

Contract manufacturer Foxconn boldly announced plans to build a TV panel factory somewhere in southern Wisconsin and to invest $10 billion in the effort. Foxconn’s leader Terry Gou met three times with the President of the United States to seal this deal, said to account initially for 3,000 jobs. Foxconn has a history of vaporware factory announcements, so Wisconsinites ought not get too excited just yet. (The Washington Post has a nice overview of the history—and the potential complications.) As well, the state of Wisconsin will offer $3 billion in tax breaks, meaning its taxpayers will be paying a cool million dollars per job.

Still, if Foxconn follows through, it is a huge win for an administration that has hectored foreign and U.S. manufacturers alike to build their wares here. This is, after all, what a bully pulpit is for, and this President is using it. Next week, when Apple (AAPL) reports earnings, it is certain to be asked if it is building three “beautiful” factories as Trump has pre-announced on Apple’s behalf. Three factories, incidentally, would increase the number of factories Apple owns by a factor of four. Stranger things have happened.


Thanks to the readers who responded to my praise for a new biography of information-age pioneer Claude Shannon with two additional book recommendations. Shannon plays a big role in The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, by journalist James Gleick. Another reader pick is A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market, by Edward O. Thorp, in which Shannon also figures prominently.

For my time away from work I prefer fiction to math. I’m taking two novels along with me on vacation, which will take me away from Data Sheet until Aug. 7. If they’re any good I’ll tell you about them when I’m back.

Happy summertime to all.

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