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22 Feb 2023

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Japanese Venture Rapidus Expects It Will Take $50 Billion to Mass-Produce Chips in 2027

The new Japanese chip manufacturer Rapidus will include a new facility to be located on the nation's northern island Hokkaido, as part of a an ambitious program announced recently that it would need more than $50 billion to begin mass production in 2027.

Rapidus was formed last year with the backing of the Japanese government, then joined by Toyota, auto supplier Denso, memory-chip company Kioxia (originally spun out of Toyota), NEC, NTT, Sony, VC giant Softbank, and megabank Mitsubishi UFJ. The companies involved and the scale of their backing illustrates that Japan as well as the US and EU are motivated to become leaders in 21st-century chip manufacturing, avoid a repeat of the supply-chain problems that occurred during the pandemic era and along with an over-reliance on China.

Rapidus will focus on so-called 2-nanometer (2nm) technology, the latest generation in a long progression dating back more than 50 years of decreasingly sized details of semiconductors. Japan's chip manufacturin industry has fallen behind world leaders in Taiwan, China, and the United States, even as the country is home to companies such as Kokusai who are world leaders in manufacturing the machines that fabricate the chips.

Rapidus CEO Atsuyoshi noted the urgency behind this venture in a report in the Japan Times, saying, “The ramifications will be huge if we cannot achieve 2-nanometer capabilities.”

Photograph of Hokkaido, Japan.

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