Jun 8, 2022 - Business

Meta could join tech giants' growth in the Triangle

A sign in front of Meta's headquarters in California.

Signage in front of Meta Platforms headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Monday, WRAL reported that Meta, the parent company of Facebook, was looking at opening an office in Durham.

  • Though it remains unclear what that office could look like (Meta declined to comment), it's yet another sign that U.S. tech giants view the Triangle as a hub of talent — much like they have with Austin, Texas over the last decade.

Yes, but: Meta said last month it would reduce its hiring after posting slowing revenue growth in the first quarter of the year. It’s possible that could impact the reported plans.

Why it matters: Even if Meta doesn't expand to the Triangle, companies from Apple to Amazon are already hiring here — whether remotely or for a planned office.

  • Meta already has remote workers here as well as online job postings that already advertise Durham as an option.

What they’re saying: "I think what you are seeing in the Triangle is a maturation," former N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland, who helped recruit many tech companies, told Axios.

  • "The Triangle," he added, "has morphed into a place that can offer talented people, who could go anywhere in the world, cultural and intellectual stimulation and the ability to raise children."

The growth has really accelerated since the pandemic, which has caused a reshuffling of workers from the country's largest cities to cheaper markets.

  • The number of tech workers in the state grew by nearly 5% since 2019 — the fifth-highest growth rate in the U.S., according to a recent analysis by the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA).
  • And that was before the tech giants really exerted themselves.

Apple, for example, just recently started hiring for the first jobs at its new East Coast HQ in Research Triangle Park, and sublet space in Cary.

  • North Carolina gave Apple the largest incentive package in the history of the state to open a 3,000-person campus in Wake County.
  • And Google, Amazon and Microsoft are already expanding in Raleigh and Durham.

The big picture: The Triangle has been identified as a place for future growth by the country’s largest tech firms. The growth brings a lot of new opportunities to the region, but also many challenges, most noticeably rising housing and rental prices.

  • Ted Zoller, a professor of entrepreneurship at UNC-Chapel Hill, said the tech giants will make hiring harder and more expensive for homegrown companies.
  • "Of particular note, Meta may seek to challenge Epic Games, by far North Carolina’s most exciting growth venture," Zoller said in an email.

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