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Motorola Opening Fort Worth Plant For First US Assembled Smartphone

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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - The next big smartphone won’t come from China, Malaysia or Taiwan. It will be put together in a plain, but perfectly designed building in Fort Worth. Motorola Mobility said Wednesday its new signature phone, the Moto X, would be made exclusively in a facility in the Alliance industrial development.

The opening will bring as many as 2,000 new jobs to the area. It will be the first smartphone assembled in the United States.

The manufacturing company that will build the phones for Motorola, Flextronics, has already started hiring. More than 150 jobs were posted on a company website Wednesday. A spokesperson said career fairs are scheduled each Monday through Wednesday. Employees already hired were coming in and out of the building Wednesday night, some of them having just gone through orientation classes.

Mark Randall, a senior vice president of supply chain and operations for the company, said Fort Worth is an ideal location.

“Our engineers are in Chicago and California they can come here,” he said. “It’s much easier than going to Asia. They can iterate the product and make the product change to our customer’s needs.”

Phone will get to customers faster he said, once they are released in August. Some have already been made to send to wireless carriers before release.

Phone companies have traditionally taken advantage of lower labor costs in Asia, and proximity to parts suppliers when making smart phones. Randall said the margin though has been shrinking and that parent company Google had allowed them to take bigger risks.

The Fort Worth facility is one Randall was familiar with. He helped design it while working with phone Nokia in the 1990’s. The docks, floor design, mezzanine were all designed with phone manufacturing in mind. He also believes it will not be the only facility of its kind to start manufacturing in the U.S.

“We want to encourage our second tier suppliers to come localize close to us. Back in the mid-90s at the Nokia facility we had all the second tier suppliers in the alliance gateway around us,” he said.

The company did not reach out to city or state government entities for economic development incentives to move to Texas.

In a statement Wednesday, Governor Rick Perry cited the state’s “low taxes, smart regulation, fair legal system and a skilled workforce “ as helping draw the company in.

Mayor Betsy Price called it “another example of how competitive Fort Worth remains in the global marketplace.”

Mike Berry, the president of Hillwood Properties which sold the building to Flextronics, said “all the amenities are in place for Motorola to operate successfully for many years to come.”

To apply for jobs online, please go to www.flextronics.com, click on the careers tab and then select Ft. Worth, Texas as your location.

Career fairs for Motorola’s Moto X are being held at the Flextronics location at 5650 Alliance Parkway on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as well as other locations around the Metroplex.  For more information on those open houses, please call 469-229-2730.

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