Apple is investing $1bn into a new US-based “advanced manufacturing fund” as part of an effort to boost American job creation.
The move comes after President Trump criticised Apple during the US election campaign last year for its reliance on manufacturing the iPhone and other products overseas, particularly in China.
Apple is the latest Silicon Valley company to attempt to build bridges with the Trump administration, after Amazon promised to create 100,000 US jobs over the next two years and Intel said it would invest a total of $7bn in a new chip-making plant in Arizona.
In an interview on CNBC on Wednesday, Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said the new fund’s first investment in an as-yet unnamed US company would be announced later this month, out of an “initial” $1bn commitment. “By doing that, we can be the ripple in the pond,” he said, because new manufacturing jobs would create new service-industry positions around them.
Mr Cook said that the fund was the first of several US job-creation initiatives to come later this year, including increasing Apple’s own employee base and stimulating mobile app development by teaching people to code.
Although Apple has criticised the Trump administration over issues such as its proposed immigration restrictions, Mr Cook emphasised the importance of engaging with the US government as well as protesting.
“My view on working with any government in the world is, there are things that you will agree upon and there will things that you will not. And you don’t want to let the things you don’t [agree on] mean that you don’t have any interface,” he said. “If you don’t show up, I think that’s the worse scenario.”
He also urged the Trump administration to offer a tax break for repatriating its overseas cash pile, which now stands at $239bn.
“To invest in the US we have to borrow. This doesn’t make sense on a broad basis,” he said. “I think comprehensive tax reform is so important to this economy… I hope that comes to pass.”
Apple says it has created 2m jobs in the US, through a combination of its own employees, suppliers and app developers, and that it invested $50bn in US suppliers last year, including companies such as Corning, which provides glass for the iPhone. “You can bet we are going to be hiring thousands more employees in the future,” Mr Cook said.