Oct. 15--Flextronics America, which has ramped up hiring and spent tens of millions of dollars to renovate its Northwest Austin factory over the past two years, will start manufacturing a "next generation desktop computer" at the upgraded plant, according to a presentation it filed Monday with Travis County commissioners.
The document, part of a push by the computer and electronics manufacturer to have its Central Texas facilities designated as a foreign trade zone, suggests the company already created 879 jobs for the project and could add another 815 positions if it hits peak targets.
In the document, the company said it already employs more than 2,500 people in the Austin area.
In its presentation, Flextronics, which builds computers, smartphones and other products for a range of brands, specified only that the foreign trade zone designation would help it move production of a "next generation desktop computer" from China to Austin.
The presentation did little to identify an exact brand. A spokesman for Dell Inc., which at one time produced desktops and laptops in North Austin factories, said it no longer builds them in the U.S.
However, Flextronics' presentation did add fuel to the ongoing rumors that Apple Inc.'s new line of Macintosh desktop computers could be built in Austin. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in May that the company would spend about $100 million to move its Mac production to Texas, but he did not disclose a specific site.
Messages left for Flextronics and Apple spokeswomen were not returned Monday. Both companies have been consistently tight-lipped -- Apple about its plans and Flextronics about its clients.
"They won't say. They won't tell us," said Dave Porter, senior vice president of economic development at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
"My bet is it's them," he added later. "But I don't know."
Apple's decision to move its production back to the U.S. reflects a broader national trend that has seen a minor renaissance in U.S. manufacturing. In many cases, companies have found that labor-cost advantages overseas no longer outweighed the benefits of having their manufacturing near their design, logistics and research teams.