Apple announced overnight that the tech giant will open a new $US1 ($1) billion campus in Austin, Texas, just a mile away from its existing presence in the city. The 133-acre campus will house 5,000 employees, with an eventual capacity for as many as 15,000 workers.
Apple also plans to expand its presence in cities like Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, the last of which is part of the L.A. metro area and focuses on content creation in Hollywood. The company claims that there will be new growth at its sites in Pittsburgh, New York, and Boulder over the next three years—part of a promise to expand its domestic footprint as it comes under fire in the U.S. for having such a large manufacturing presence in China.
“Apple is proud to bring new investment, jobs and opportunity to cities across the United States and to significantly deepen our quarter-century partnership with the city and people of Austin,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement posted online.
“Talent, creativity and tomorrow’s breakthrough ideas aren’t limited by region or zip code, and, with this new expansion, we’re redoubling our commitment to cultivating the high-tech sector and workforce nationwide.”
Apple already employs 6,200 people in Austin, the largest number outside of Cupertino, California if you don’t count enormous contractors like Foxconn, which Apple uses to manufacture its flagship brands like the iPhone in China.
The overnight announcement is a smart business decision for a company that wants to take advantage of generous tax breaks that are now available after the Republican tax bill gave so generously to corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The state of Texas is reportedly giving Apple $US25 ($35) million for Apple’s expansion, and it’s not immediately clear if the company will be building in a so-called Opportunity Zone, which provides tax breaks for companies that build in “economically distressed” areas. It should be noted, however, that the definition of “economically distressed” is open for debate. Amazon, for example, will get tax breaks for building in an “Opportunity Zone” when it builds its new site in New York.
Expansion of the Austin campus is also a smart political and PR decision for the company as it faces increased stress from President Donald Trump, who says he’d like to bring more jobs to the United States. Apple’s announcement is filled with maps and charts touting how many Americans it employs, and claims the company, “is on track to create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2023.”
The company is also touting its investment in domestic data centres, and plans to spend roughly $US10 ($14) billion on data centres throughout the U.S. in the next five years. Gizmodo has reached out to Apple for comment and will update this article when we hear back.
“Apple has been a vital part of the Austin community for a quarter century, and we are thrilled that they are deepening their investment in our people and the city we love,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in Apple’s PR statement.
“Apple and Austin share a creative spark and a commitment to getting big things done,” Adler continued. “We share their commitment to diversity and inclusion. We’re excited they are bringing more middle-skilled jobs to the area. And we’re particularly gratified by their commitment to providing a great place to work for a large and growing number of America’s veterans.”