Apple Inc. said it’s planning to establish a new European semiconductor design center in Munich, Germany, as part of a 1 billion-euro ($1.2 billion) investment push over the next three years to expand its team there and develop custom chips for 5G mobile and other wireless technologies.
In an announcement on Wednesday, Apple said it plans to move into the 30,000-square-meter (98,400-square-foot) facility near central Munich in late 2022. It will be Apple’s largest R&D site for mobile wireless semiconductors and software and it plans to hire hundreds of people. Like all of the company’s offices globally, the Munich design center will run entirely on 100 percent renewable energy.
“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,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in a statement according to Apple Insider. “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,” he added.
The area around the Bavarian capital is a hub for chip development, with one of Europe’s major semiconductor-based technology research institutes, the Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics present there and also] longtime Apple partner Infineon Technologies AG located in the region.
The company has been developing its own semiconductors so it does not have to outsource the technology that runs its smartphones, laptops, and tablets. According to a report by Bloomberg, “Last year, it said it will develop its own cellular modem, potentially displacing supplier Qualcomm Inc. for the technology that lets iPhones connect to the web, access apps and make phone calls.”
Last year, due to the pandemic, companies underestimated consumer demand, which created a shortage of semiconductors. These supply chains are difficult to adjust quickly and several industries have been hit.
The European Union outlined the digital goals for the bloc and kicked off a program this week to produce its own advanced semiconductors by 2030. Its aim is to account for at least 20% of the world’s chips by value and to create technology more advanced than those made by leaders of the chipmaking industry like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Samsung Electronics Co.