BUILDING & DESIGNING TOMORROW’S PRODUCTS Some of the world’s most advanced products are designed and/or made and assembled in Austin. The region supports manufacturers through a geocentral location in a business-friendly state, a low tax burden and no state income tax, and living costs below the national average. Fueled by Austin’s young, highly trained workforce and partnerships between the region’s higher education institutions and the private sector, Austin is a leader in semiconductor and electronics R&D and manufacturing. The region has also seen growth in diverse sectors including automotive technology, medical devices, nanotechnology, and aerospace manufacturing, as well as a rebounding of general manufacturing since the 2009 recession. Total manufacturing employment in the region is at about 55,000 in 2016, up by 16 percent from 2010. Over 300 high-tech manufacturing firms employ 31,000, up 13 percent since 2010. High-tech manufacturing currently represents 56 percent of the region’s manufacturing employment. Innovation is a key export for the Austin high-tech economy. • The region ranked 9th in per capita patent activity, according to a 2013 Brookings Institute report, and averages 2,500 patents per year. • According U.S. Patent and Trademark Office data on patent activity for 2005–2015, Austin ranked 11th for both total patents awarded and for per capita patent activity. • A 2014 National Science Foundation report ranks Austin in the top 10 for business R&D performed and paid for by large R&D companies. • Additionally, The University of Texas at Austin consistently ranks among the top research universities in the country with over $623 million in research expenditures annually. Spurred by annual population growth of 3 percent and a favorable business climate, the Austin region is ready to be considered a location for general and advanced manufacturing projects. The five-county metro area includes several communities with freeport tax exemption on goods in production and transit, and also a Foreign Trade Zone framework which allows streamlined site activation. Many of the top computer and microchip firms have established major design and production centers in Austin. Austin is home to Samsung’s largest semiconductor production center outside of Korea, to which a new R&D center was recently added. Singapore-based contract electronics manufacturer Flextronics recently expanded its footprint in Central Texas for production of Apple’s new Mac Pro.
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