Foxconn signs deal to jointly develop Wisconsin ginseng

Associated Press

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) — Foxconn has signed an agreement to jointly develop Wisconsin's ginseng industry and grow its newly-established Wisconsin-based brand.

Governor Scott Walker, middle; along with Charlie Alvarez, vice president of North American Foxconn Health Technology Business Group, left; and Paul Hsu, founder of Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises; sign the letter of intent Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, at the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce in Wausau, Wis. T'xer Zhon Kha/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The Taiwan-based company announced the deal Tuesday, Sept. 18. Gov. Scott Walker joined with representatives of Foxconn and others for the signing of the deal in Wausau.

Foxconn Health Technology Business Group signed the agreement with the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin and the largest supplier of American ginseng in the United States.
The deal is to jointly develop Wisconsin's ginseng industry and grow Foxconn's ginseng brand, Hong Seng.

Foxconn says the agreement will bring together its high-end inspection technology and production capabilities to support holistic development of the American ginseng market.

Charlie Alvarez, vice president of the North American hub of Foxconn health technology business group, said the partnership will allow the ginseng products made in Wisconsin to be sold not only in Asia, but the U.S. as well. Foxconn also is partnering with the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center to allow for research into use of the herb in cancer prevention and treatment. 

"There are a lot of great medicinal reasons that people use ginseng," Alvarez said at the conference. "And we're partnering and looking at what some of those benefits can be." 

Wisconsin dominates U.S. ginseng production, and the state’s root is highly valued in Asian markets. The great majority of Wisconsin’s crop is grown in Marathon County.

While the state is a major force in ginseng, however, the industry is relatively small. Last year, Wisconsin exports of ginseng — almost the entire crop is exported — brought in $30.4 million. Wisconsin milk production, meanwhile, was worth nearly $5.5 billion.

Foxconn also said it had struck an agreement to establish a joint venture to promote sales of the Hong Seng brand in China. The agreement is with HOPU Investment Management Co., a Chinese private equity firm.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also contributed to this story.