Apple to build R&D facility in Yokohama


U.S. computer maker Apple Inc. plans to build a technology development facility at a former Panasonic Corp. plant site in Yokohama, Mayor Fumiko Hayashi said Wednesday.

“Apple’s presence could trigger a virtuous cycle where new values and industries will be created,” she said at a press conference. “I hope the company will cooperate with small firms and universities.”

Apple said in a statement it plans to cooperate with the Yokohama Municipal Government in developing an environmentally friendly facility in Kohoku Ward.

Apple, which is also expected to build another facility in Yokohama’s Minato Mirai area, is looking to secure excellent Japanese engineers and take advantage of the facilities to expand its sales in Japan, an industry source said.

The U.S. firm intends to complete the technology development facility by March 2017 on a 12,500-sq.-meter plot in the 37,900-sq.-meter site where Panasonic shut down a measuring instrument plant in 2011.

Panasonic plans to redevelop the site into the Tsunashima Sustainable Smart Town, including retail facilities and condominiums as well as the Apple facility.