Foxconn founder and chair Terry Gou loves ginseng. And so does his mom.
That’s at least according to Ginseng Board of Wisconsin president Bob Kaldunski, who wasn’t paying much attention to negotiations between the state and the Taiwanese manufacturing company — until he heard they wanted to meet up.
“It caught us by surprise,” Kaldunski says.
And Wisconsin is no small player in the ginseng supply chain. 95 percent of ginseng produced in the United States is grown in Marathon County.
Foxconn and the Ginseng Board have signed a memorandum of understand to start of year of collaboration to promote Wisconsin ginseng in Asia.
Ginseng is a root, often consumed in a tea and used in traditional Chinese medicine. Wisconsin’s ginseng also has an energy-boosting property, that Kaldunski says doesn’t come with some of the side effects that sugar or caffeine have.
And Kaldunski says the demands for ginseng in Asia are changing, especially with millennials. He says with Foxconn’s help, they can better understand that market and tailor products to reach them.
“The market’s changing,” Kaldunski says.
Kaldunski says he also hopes he can partner with Foxconn in other ways.
“What I hope comes out of it is their technologies, their bioscience that we can leverage for value-added products, that we can leverage distribution into Asia,” Kaldunski says.
The state Legislature is currently considering a bill to give $3 billion worth of tax credits and other incentives to Foxconn, which is looking to build a thousand acre facility in the southeastern part of the state.