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Apple chip lab set to boost Munich semiconductor scene

Amidst the innovation battleground of the semiconductor industry, Munich is becoming a key stronghold.

Apple has revealed it will be boosting the Bavarian capital’s chip capabilities with a new European Silicon Design Centre. This will bring hundreds of jobs to a facility focused on researching and designing chips to run the latest smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

The world’s largest tech firm plans to move into the building in late 2022, and claims the site will be Europe’s biggest research and development site – outstripping other European locations like Arm’s Cambridge research centre. In the facility, Apple will focus on wireless connectivity research, helping the firm reduce its reliance on the likes of Qualcomm, which supplies the cellular modem chips for the iPhone that Apple plans to replace with a proprietary modem in the next few years.

In Munich, Apple’s Design Centre will join a burgeoning semiconductor scene that revolves around the Technical University of Munich (TUM). This academic institution fills a steady reservoir of tech talent, which is drawn from by several big tech firms in the area – including Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, Google, and Intel, along with carmakers BMW and Audi that are working on their own connected and autonomous mobility development.

Local semiconductor firms include Texas Instruments, which sits thirty miles north of Munich in Freising, and Apple’s partner Infineon Technologies. One of Europe’s biggest semiconductor-based technology research institutes – The Fraunhofer Microelectronics Group – also has a large presence.

Apple’s addition to the scene will further boost efforts to scale up chip production and research in the EU. In December 2020, the European Commission laid out plans to transform the bloc into a semiconductor powerhouse that will produce as much as 20% of the world’s semiconductors by 2030, and create its own advanced semiconductors to contend with those made by industry leaders like Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

“Apple’s decision is a ringing endorsement for Munich as one of Europe’s leading high-tech capitals. In addition to offering a great quality of life, the city has managed to create a very healthy ecosystem for tech businesses – and in particular the semiconductor segment – all the way from academia and research institutions through to start-ups and established corporates. I expect Apple’s move will in turn attract new semiconductor activity to Munich, so we are excited about strengthening our presence in the region.”

Matthew Byatt | Managing Partner

Matthew is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Acuity and leads the Acuity Advisors’ Deeptech practice.

Matthew has held senior leadership and corporate finance positions with some of the UK’s most successful and influential technology and consultancy companies. Roles with ARM, McKinsey and Cadence have given Matthew an exceptional insight into the world’s most successful businesses and a number of the UK’s eminent start-ups, underpinning his success at Acuity.

Matthew has considerable experience across a broad range of technology sectors throughout the UK, US and Asia, ranging from nanotechnology, semiconductor and cleantech to digital media and internet businesses. It’s experience that has given him a robust, well-developed and international network. Having also run and successfully exited his own business, Matthew has a deep understanding of the financial and emotional aspects of this demanding process, bringing a unique and authoritative perspective to each business sale.

One of Matthew’s strengths is understanding complex technical value propositions, one of the benefits of training as an electronic engineer. He gets to the heart of what drives a company’s value and communicates this persuasively to potential buyers and investors. Matthew understands a buyer’s motivation intuitively and delivers a compelling rationale for why a business sale should be of strategic interest. His insight consistently yields higher deal values and results in great successes for his clients.

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