By Pádraig Hoare
Apple boss Tim Cook took in some of Cork’s most famed landmarks yesterday before he officially opened a new extension at the tech giant’s Hollyhill campus.
The CEO of the Cupertino, California-headquartered iPhone maker, worth more than $922bn (€797bn), visited Cork’s English Market in the city centre before addressing staff at Hollyhill.
Mr Cook’s address was part of a ceremony that celebrated the firm’s diversity and included live performance by The Script.
The Apple boss has been on a tour of his firm’s European bases in recent days, and also met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin before heading to Cork.
Since 2012, Apple says it has invested nearly €220m to develop its Hollyhill campus on Cork’s northside, and has expanded again with a new building that provides space for 1,400 employees.
The firm recently published a report where it affirmed Cork’s importance to its business, saying the city’s employees play a critical role in product delivery and after-sales support.
“Cork is home to Apple’s support and service teams, known as AppleCare. They support Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa and provide support to customers via multiple channels including phone, email, and chat.
“In addition to the employees in Cork we have a large at-home advisor population providing technical support to customers from their homes across Ireland.
“Apple has been based in Cork for over 35 years and now directly employs 6,000 people throughout Ireland supporting all aspects of the business. Apple’s Irish team has doubled in size over the last five years and includes over 80 different nationalities.
“Apple is Cork’s largest private employer and we are proud that many of the team have been with us for decades,” the company said.
Apple, which is predicted by analysts to soon pass $1tn in market capitalisation, said Cork had its only wholly-owned manufacturing facility in the world, which provides configure-to-order iMacs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The firm said it has worked with 386 Irish suppliers and spent over €550m with companies in the last two years, supporting more than 25,000 jobs.
It has 22,000 employees in 19 countries.
The firm’s future Irish plans were scuppered last month as it said it would pull out of a planned data centre in Galway, in which it would have invested €850m.
Delays in the planning process were blamed for the decision, which led to a wider discussion among political and business leaders about overhauling the planning system.