Apple currently employs about 7 000 employees in Austin. Photo: AP

INTERNATIONAL – Apple said on Wednesday that it had started construction of a new campus in Austin, Texas, beside its existing facility where it makes the new MacBook Pro laptops.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook is set to give a tour of the Texas factory to US President Donald Trump later on Wednesday.

The company has come under fire from Trump because it makes most of its products in China. But Cook and Trump have developed a good relationship. In 2017, Trump said Cook had “promised me three big plants — big, big, big.

Apple said it had started construction of a new campus in Austin, Texas, beside its existing facility where it makes the new MacBook Pro laptops. Photo: Reuters

The new $1 billion, 3-million-square-foot campus will initially house 5 000 employees, with the capacity to grow to 15 000, and is expected to open in 2022, Apple said.

Austin is one of the fastest-growing US cities, with a population of about 1 million, and is home to the University of Texas and other tech companies, including Dell Technologies Inc in nearby Round Rock, Texas.

Apple currently employs about 7 000 employees in Austin.

The company also continues its expansion in Boulder, Culver City, New York, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Seattle, it said in a statement.

Apple said it is also preparing to ship the new Mac Pro desktop computers to customers, at a production facility just a short distance away from Austin, starting in December.

The new Mac Pro desktop became a political flashpoint earlier this year when the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was moving production to China. 

Reuters