The new facility will reportedly focus on 5G and wireless technologies

Yesterday, the European Commission announced its creation of a the European Digital Compass, a framework aimed at fostering what they called the coming ‘digital decade’. Contained within this Digital Compass roadmap was a renewed focus on the European semiconductor industry, saying that “the production of cutting-edge and sustainable semiconductors in Europe should be 20% of world production” by 2030.

Now, just one day later, coincidence or otherwise, Apple have announced that they will be investing over €1 billion over the next three year in a new chip design centre in Munich, Germany. The 30,000-square-metre facility will reportedly be ready for operation by late 2022 and will run entirely on renewable energy. 

Munich is already the central hub for Apple’s German engineering works, already employing around 4,000 staff, including 1,500 engineers, from 40 countries. The operations work primarily on power management design and application processors, as well as wireless technologies. In the past, these facilities have created customer silicon for products including the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Macs.

“I couldn’t be more excited for everything our Munich engineering teams will discover — from exploring the new frontiers of 5G technology, to a new generation of technologies that bring power, speed, and connectivity to the world,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Munich has been a home to Apple for four decades, and we’re grateful to this community and to Germany for being a part of our journey.” 

Apple was also keen to extol the virtues of Germany’s local supply chain, highlighting its over €15 billion investment in more than 700 local companies, covering everything from battery makers to resin producers. 

Besides this announcement arriving at a very convenient time with relation to the European Commission’s Digital Compass plan, the move also coincides with something of a geopolitically manufactured semiconductor shortage, with US sanctions against Chinese companies causing enormous upheaval for the global chipmaking industry.  Indeed, hopes that new US President Joe would relax some of the sanctions which rattled in 2021 are beginning to subside, with the result being that companies like Apple are increasingly incentivised to invest at home or in politically aligned markets such as Europe.


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