Apple Chooses Munich For Chip Design Centre

Germany is to benefit from a $1.1 billion investment from Apple, after it confirmed the creation of a major new chip lab in Munich.

Apple will make Munich its ‘European Silicon Design Center’ it announced, adding hundreds of new staff and a new state-of-the-art facility focused on connectivity and wireless technologies.

Indeed, it will open a 30,000-square-meter facility in central Munich’s Karlstrasse later next year. It comes after the European Union announced plans to become less reliant on technologies traditionally manufactured outside of the bloc, such as the ramping up of chip production.

Apple European Silicon Design Center

Munich chip lab

Apple’s claims the new facility will be Europe’s largest research and development site for mobile wireless semiconductors and software, suggests it will eclipse similar sites like ARM’s in Cambridge and NXP’s in Eidenhoven.

But Munich is already Apple’s largest engineering hub in Europe, with close to 1,500 engineers working in a variety of areas including power management design, application processors, and wireless technologies.

Engineers at Apple’s new facility will focus on 5G and future wireless technologies, Apple said, adding that they’ll also develop modems for Apple products.

So why Germany? Well, it should be remembered Apple had acquired Intel’s smartphone modem business for $1bn (£804m) in July 2019.

And Intel’s modem business had its foundation in Germany, after it had purchased chip maker Infineon in 2011 for $1.4 billion.

Infineon’s modem operations were based in Germany.

“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,” Cooked added.

Apple already has 4,000 staff in Germany, including 1,500 engineers spread across seven offices in Munich.

The new centre, when it is built, could possibly consolidate all its staff under one roof.

UK centre

Apple isn’t the only tech firm building a new chip lab in Europe.

In June 2020 Huawei gained approval by a local council to build a $1.2 billion research facility in Cambridgeshire.

That new “state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing centre” is to be located in the heart of the UK’s ‘Silicon Fen’, and will be spread over nine acres, and will “focus on researching, developing, and manufacturing optoelectronics products.”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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