Dan Ives, an analyst from investment firm Wedbush Securities, said during an interview with Fox Business that the world’s richest man has a clear motive for relocating the social media giant to central Texas. “This has become the foundation of the Musk ecosystem with Giga Austin,” he said. “We believe it’s a matter of when, not if, Musk opens up a Twitter Austin office.”
Musk earlier this month revived efforts to purchase Twitter after fighting the company in court over his attempt to cancel a previous offer, a move he said was driven by concerns that executives were underestimating the number of fake accounts on the platform. The company, now a private venture belonging to Musk and a handful of smaller investors, ceased trading last week and will delist from stock markets on November 8.
Musk moved Tesla’s headquarters to the Lone Star State after antagonism from Left-wing officials in California, the electric car manufacturer’s former home. He said he had grown increasingly frustrated as government lockdowns prevented the reopening of his companies during the spring of 2020, calling the phenomenon “the final straw.” Democratic lawmakers and other leftists have balked amid the Twitter acquisition and Musk’s plans to revise the platform’s content moderation policies such that free expression is promoted for all viewpoints.
Beyond the Tesla factory that opened in Austin earlier this year, rocket company SpaceX has major launch facilities in the region. Brain machine startup Neuralink and tunnel construction venture The Boring Company also maintain operations in Austin. Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) previously invited Musk to his state upon news that he was preparing to acquire Twitter, while Governor Kristi Noem (R-SD) also threw her hat in the ring.
Austin already has a significant presence from leading technology companies because of a large student population, the absence of both individual income taxes and corporate income taxes, and various economic zoning opportunities, according to a report from the Austin Chamber. Companies such as Apple, Dell, Meta, General Motors, and Oracle have major corporate and regional headquarters in the area.
“Austin has become Silicon Valley 2.0,” Ives told Fox Business.
Musk, however, has warned that Austin cannot merely become a “copycat” of San Francisco, noting low housing affordability that has presented hardship to his employees. Beyond the crime and homelessness problems that led San Francisco to recall its leftist district attorney, Austin was also home to one of the most aggressive police defunding policies sparked by the social justice movement of 2020. The city went on to experience an elevated homicide rate as law enforcement lost one-third of its resources.
Upon officially acquiring Twitter, Musk fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde, who had a role in removing former President Donald Trump from the platform and suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story days before the election of 2020.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk explained in a statement last week. “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”