Manufacturing News

County Wins Foxconn's Favor in Solar Project

It is rare for the world's biggest contract manufacturer, Foxconn, to pick a county as its production base. But Funing, which is not considered a star county even within the rich Jiangsu province, succeeded in persuading Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn's owner Hong Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, to set up the company's solar cells production base in the county.

Foxconn aims to build its Funing plant into a world class photovoltaic (PV) base, hoping to claim one third of the global market in three years.

The project, with an expected total investment of $2.5 billion, sets the short term capacity goal for PV cell at 5GW and the long term goal at 10GW, according to Funing county. The construction of the plant began on Dec 15, 2011, only three months after the agreement was signed on Sept 17. The first phase of the project is expected operate July this year and construction of the second phase will begin in August.

The county has already sent more than 600 people to Kunshan, Foxconn's production base near Shanghai, for training, and they will immediately begin work as soon as the plant opens.

The tight schedule is in perfect accordance with Foxconn's working style: quick and resolute. The company is famous for its demanding requirements for local partners.

However, regional governments are still rushing to invite Foxconn to their regions after the company announced that it would move some production inland in response to higher labor costs in its Shenzhen plant. Foxconn's plants usually employ a large number of high quality workers and would greatly boost the local economy.

Wang Qiang, deputy head of Funing, told reporters that the county had tried every possible way to attract Gou's attention.

He revealed that Funing's party secretary, Wang Jinsheng, waited for a long time to see Gou in person during his Taiwan trip to impress him with explanations of Funing's sincerity and advantages.

The county also boasted existing plants which can complement Foxconn's PV industry chain. Wang said that Hong Kong's GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd, which is in close cooperation with Foxconn, has several plants in Funing.

Wang also revealed the detail that Funing is the hometown of Zhu Gongshan, GCL-Poly's chairman.

It is expected that a large number of future employees will be locals, who would most likely feel less pressure than migrant workers.

A person in charge of the construction said dorms for non local workers will be built inside the county's communities to make the workers feel at home.

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