Tech giant invests in ginseng

By Jesse Cameron
A Tawainese tech company is looking to transform Wisconsin’s ginseng industry.
Foxconn Health Technology Business Group signed an agreement earlier this fall with the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin and Hsu’s Ginseng to jointly develop Wisconsin’s ginseng industry and grow Foxconn’s Wisconsin-based ginseng brand, Hong Seng.
Foxconn is building a $10 billion manufacturing campus in southeast Wisconsin and is also investing in other parts of the state, such as opening innovation centers in Eau Claire and Green Bay.

Foxconn said its partnership with the ginseng industry will support hundreds of jobs and also boost the availability of Wisconsin ginseng.
“We are excited about partnering with the board here and with Hsu Ginseng. Ginseng has been a part of Chinese medicine for over 500 years and there’s a lot of great medical reasons why people use ginseng,” said Charlie Alvarez with the Foxconn Health Technology Business Group in North America.
Wisconsin is a major ginseng producer, growing 90 percent of cultivated ginseng produced in the United States. Nearly all of the ginseng grown in Wisconsin is exported to Asia.
Wisconsin’s soil and climate are perfect for growing ginseng. It takes several years before the crop’s roots can be harvested. The white spindly roots are what consumers are interested in since they can be ground up and used in a variety of herbal medicines and teas.
Foxconn plans to help market the ginseng while modernizing the industry and conducting research.
“Foxconn could bring technical innovation to lab testing and use robotics and AI to make sorting, trimming and slicing roots less labor-intensive, potentially reducing costs,” said Will Hsu, the owner of Hsu’s Ginseng.

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