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Siemens CEO Busch (right) with Olaf Scholz (center) and Markus Söder (left) in Erlangen

Photo: Daniel Vogl / dpa

The industrial group Siemens is investing half a billion euros in its Digital Industries site in Erlangen. Together with projects that have already been announced, the planned investments in Germany added up to around one billion, said CEO Roland Busch, who appeared in Erlangen together with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU).

Research and production capacities are to be expanded in the Franconian city. This also creates new jobs – but Busch left open how many. The site is to become the core for the technology of the "industrial metaverse", which is intended to connect the real and virtual worlds. We are revolutionizing the way we produce," said the Siemens CEO.

Siemens has announced an investment initiative of two billion euros worldwide, including its German projects. Some of them, including in the USA, China, Singapore and Spain, are already known. In Germany, investments are already known in Forchheim in Franconia, in Frankfurt and others in Erlangen. If you count the medical technology division Healthineers, the Franconian city is the largest Siemens site in the world with around 20,000 employees, said a company spokesman.

According to the text of the speech, Scholz called the production in Erlangen "a good example of how our economy is moving into a climate-neutral future - as a strong industrial country with good sustainable jobs". In view of the current debate about a possible deindustrialization, Busch said that the investment in this country does not see itself as a wrong-way driver. However, Siemens is not an energy-intensive company either: other factors such as talent, economic ecosystems or infrastructure are more important for the company.

Belief in a digital Germany

Overall, however, Busch was critical of the situation at his home base. "Conditions in Germany have deteriorated significantly," he told Handelsblatt. We have become incredibly complicated and slow with everything. This is increasingly becoming a competitive disadvantage internationally.« For energy-intensive companies, "investments in Germany make less and less sense."

The demand for automation technology from Siemens is high. Production at the 50-year-old electronics plant in Erlangen is to be expanded by 60 percent and the area expanded. "We are investing in Germany because we believe that Germany has a digital future," said CEO Busch. "That together we can take this economically unique ecosystem to the next level."

In June, Busch announced the construction of a third plant for control technology in Singapore. In this way, Siemens wants to meet the high demand in Southeast Asia and at the same time make itself less dependent on China.