Japan appears set to pump 70 billion yen ($500 million) into a new semiconductor company as part of plans to restart production of advanced next-generation chips with help from IBM.
Earlier this week, we reported on the country’s preparations for a joint research program with the United States to build state-of-the-art chip factories. The project will be allocated 350 billion yen ($2.38 billion) and follows earlier proposals for a bilateral chip agreement between America and Japan to develop 2nm chip technology.
Now, Tokyo has announced that it will form a new semiconductor company named Rapidus, backed by the initial investment of 70 billion yen, which will play a pivotal role in this project. It will also be backed by a number of companies in the country, including Toyota, Sony, NTT, SoftBank, Kioxia, Denso, NEC and MUFG Bank, according to The Japan Times.
The latest decision was announced during a briefing with Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who said Rapidus is expected to start manufacturing chips in the second half of the decade. as part of an effort to revitalize its semiconductor industry and strengthen ties. with allies, primarily the United States.
“As the rivalry between the United States and China over technological supremacy intensifies, chips are becoming increasingly important in terms of economic security,” Nishimura said.
IBM is set to partner with Rapidus for chip technology development, according to the Financial Times. He says the deal will also involve a Japanese research institute set up for this purpose, with help from Japanese universities and other publicly funded research groups.
Last year, IBM claimed to be the first company in the world to introduce 2nm chips, and was also the first to introduce 5nm and 7nm wafers before, although Big Blue does not mass-produce the chips itself. Taiwan’s TSMC leaked details of its upcoming 2nm process in June and said it intended to start production in 2025.
Also in Japan, struggling Toshiba lowered its full-year operating profit forecast after a 75% drop in second-quarter profits [PDF]. It said earnings were hit by factors such as lower demand in the hard drive market and cut its forecast for the year ending March by about a quarter to 125 billion yen (885 millions of dollars). ®