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Apple to build $1B Austin campus, add thousands of jobs in US expansion

It'll also build new sites in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, Calif., as it fulfills a vow made after it brought overseas cash back to the US.

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Apple already employs 6,200 people in Austin, Texas. Its new campus will initially add another 5,000.

Apple

Apple will build a new $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, part of an expansion of operation across the US, the company said Thursday.

The iPhone maker will also set up new offices in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, as well as expand operations in Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado, according to a release.

The planned expansion fulfills a vow Apple made in January to set up a second large campus in the US. The company made the pledge as it repatriated overseas cash, generating a tax bill of $38 billion. The company said it planned to invest $30 billion in the US over the next five years by building a new campus and creating 20,000 new jobs. Factoring in current spending, product sales tax and taxes on employees' wages, Apple said it expects to contribute $350 billion to the US economy over that period. 

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"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 the release about the expansion.

The Austin campus will be located less than a mile away from existing Apple facilities, which already employ 6,200 people. The Austin workforce is Apple's largest outside its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. The new area will initially hold 5,000 employees, with capacity to grow to 15,000 over time.

The Austin facility will take up about 3 million square feet of development on 133 acres. About 50 acres will be preserved open space, and the new campus' work spaces will be entirely powered by renewable energy, as are all Apple facilities

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Apple offered a forecast on its US growth plans.

Apple

Over the past decade, Apple has been steadily growing its operations and investing in new businesses, like developing its own original content. It also has been overhauling its Apple Stores and even its offices. Its new Apple Park campus opened to employees in April 2017, six years after company co-founder Steve Jobs pitched the project.

The new Austin facility will be located on undeveloped property, which means utilities infrastructure need to be installed before building can begin. Apple plans to submit a site preparation permit to the city and start development work next year. Its first buildings will open in roughly 30 to 36 months. 

Widespread expansion

The choice of locations for the other new offices -- each of which will employ more than 1,000 people -- hints at various aspects of Apple's business and its opportunities to woo talent. Seattle is home to Microsoft and Amazon; San Diego is where chipmaker Qualcomm is based; and Culver City could be linked to its plans for original programming

It'll also add hundreds of new jobs in Pittsburgh, New York, Boulder, Boston and Portland, Oregon, after having brought on 6,000 new American workers in 2018. The company noted that it's on track to create 20,000 US jobs by 2023, as promised in January.

The announcement comes at a tough time for Apple. 

In August, Apple became the first US public company to valued at  $1 trillion. However, the company's stock has lost about a quarter of its value since October, pushing it below that level. On Thursday, Apple's shares were up 1 percent at $170.77.

Market watchers have been worried about Apple since it reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Nov. 1. Its quarterly results showed it may be grappling with iPhone fatigue -- though it's still getting people to shell out more money for the phones they do buy. Apple also said it would no longer detail unit sales of its major devices. The quarterly results and plans to no longer break out iPhone sales have made investors skittish.

Apple currently employs 90,000 people across the country, but has come under political pressure from President Donald Trump, who wants the company to move production of its devices to the US from China. Apple does the majority of its research and development in the US, but the bulk of its devices have been assembled overseas. Apple also potentially faces tariffs on its products as part of Trump's trade war with China, which would mean higher iPhone, iPad and other device prices. 

The Austin expansion announcement comes a month after Amazon picked New York's Queens borough and Arlington, Virginia, as the two locations for its HQ2 project, promising to bring 25,000 well-paying jobs to each of those locations.

Originally published at 3:30 a.m. PT
Update at 10:10 a.m. PT: Adds additional details and background.

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