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EAU CLAIRE — Foxconn Technology Group announced Monday it is expanding its Wisconn Valley Innovation Network to west central Wisconsin, specifically Eau Claire, as part of its initiative to spur innovation, attract talent and connect with supply chain partners.

To foster entrepreneurship, Foxconn plans to invest in and create a technology hub in the heart of Chippewa Valley through the acquisition of a historic office building and creation of innovation and test centers in downtown Eau Claire. The company plans to close on these properties later this year and open new operations in early 2019.

Foxconn said the new centers, to be named Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley, will create at least 150 high-tech jobs in Eau Claire. Employees will work with companies that will become part of Foxconn’s large supply chain and contribute to the development of the AI (artificial intelligence) 8K+5G ecosystem that Foxconn is building across the Badger State. The term 8K refers to super-high-resolution imaging, and 5G refers to the next generation of cell phone technology.

“We are excited to expand our Wisconn Valley footprint to the Chippewa Valley and west central Wisconsin," stated Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s director of U.S. strategic initiatives and president of FEWI Development Corp. “Our goal in establishing Foxconn Place here is to help inspire innovative ideas, attract talent and catalyze cutting-edge solutions in this part of the state.

“Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley will play a key role in building a vibrant AI 8K+5G ecosystem in the U.S., with Wisconsin at the center of this vision.”

Yeung announced the Foxconn expansion to the Chippewa Valley at a news conference today alongside Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Sec. and CEO Mark Hogan, Momentum West Executive Director Steve Jahn and Eau Claire City Manager Dale Peters.

“Once again, we’re seeing how Foxconn’s historic investment in Wisconsin is impacting every region of the state as the company makes yet another commitment to both create jobs and support entrepreneurs and innovators,” Walker stated. “This is another example of the ‘Foxconn bonus’ that goes well beyond the company’s $10 billion advanced manufacturing campus in Racine County.”

The Eau Claire project

Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley will include two properties. The company has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire "The Grand," a six-story building in downtown Eau Claire. Constructed in 1929, the building is a prominent part of Eau Claire’s central business district and will be updated and converted into an incubator and laboratory for next-generation technological solutions.

Foxconn has also purchased over 15,000 square feet of co-working space in Haymarket Landing, which is a part of the Confluence Project and a major public-private partnership aimed at redeveloping the center of downtown Eau Claire and its riverfront. Foxconn will use this space as an innovation center that will be part of a talent and innovation network for the AI 8K+5G ecosystem that Foxconn is creating in Wisconsin and the U.S.

Foxconn recently also announced a similar investment in Green Bay.

“Establishing Foxconn Place here will connect Foxconn to UW in Eau Claire and Barron County, Chippewa Valley Technical College and the talented workforce across the Valley. In addition to investing in talent development at Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley, we are also turning this technology hub into a smart building and a smart place to learn, work and create,” Yeung stated.

He added, “This initiative represents a major milestone in Foxconn’s plans to create significant high-tech jobs in Wisconsin, and contribute to Wisconsin’s transformation into a global hub for entrepreneurs and technologists alike — ensuring that our contributions go well beyond the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park in Racine County, our North American headquarters in the city of Milwaukee and Foxconn Place at The WaterMark in Green Bay.”

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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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