Apple unveils plan for USD1B campus in Texas, US expansion

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Apple unveiled plans on Thursday for a USD1 billion campus in Texas that will create jobs for the tech giant outside Silicon Valley, a move made without the fanfare of the recent Amazon headquarters bidding war.

The new campus – which will be used for engineering and other functions, but not manufacturing – will be near the tech giant’s existing facility in Austin and initially accommodate 5,000 new employees, with room to grow to 15,000.

Currently, Apple employs some 6,200 in the Texas capital, the largest cluster outside its headquarters in Cupertino, California.

In January, Apple said it would invest USD30 billion in the US over the next five years and create 20,000 new jobs, using some of the overseas profits repatriated at a tax rate lowered under a law passed by Congress last year.

The move comes amid intense pressure from President Donald Trump to move jobs, especially in manufacturing, to the US, with the White House imposing heavy tariffs to counter what he calls unfair trade practices.

A sign for an Apple Inc campus on West Palmer Lane in Austin, Texas. – AFP

Trump in September singled out Apple, calling for the California giant to bring iPhone manufacturing back home.

“Apple prices may increase because of the massive tariffs we may be imposing on China – but there is an easy solution,” the president tweeted on September 8.

“Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now.”

Apple’s announcement on Thursday does not concern manufacturing of its iPhone, which is assembled in China with components from various locations.

Employees at the new campus will work in fields including engineering, research, operations, finance, sales and customer support, Apple said in a statement.

“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 Chief Executive Tim Cook said.

“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 also said it plans to boost its employee base in regions across the United States over the next three years.

It will expand to over 1,000 employees each at new sites in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, and add hundreds of jobs in Pittsburgh, New York, Boulder, Colorado, Boston and Portland.

Apple said it plans to invest USD10 billion in US data centres over the next five years, including USD4.5 billion this year and next.

The statement did not indicate whether Apple had received any tax incentives for its new facilities. Some reports said Apple could receive up to USD25 million from the state’s Texas Enterprise Fund.

The iPhone maker steered clear of the public bidding war employed by tech rival Amazon, which last month unveiled two new locations for major investments in its selection of a second headquarters, or “HQ2” – a process denounced by critics as a Hunger Games contest.

Amazon selected Long Island City in New York’s Queens neighbourhood and Crystal City, across the Potomac River from Washington, for its USD5 billion investment said to create 50,000 jobs.

The Amazon deal was clinched with up to USD3 billion in incentives from New York and USD2.5 billion in Virginia, which have been criticised from both the political left and right.