Japan allocates $300 million to boost domestic chip research

(Bloomberg) — Japan will spend up to 45 billion yen ($300 million) to support a research group developing advanced chip technology, part of a national effort to catch up in semiconductor manufacturing.

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The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it has approved outsourcing research on cutting-edge fabrication technology to a leading semiconductor technology center. The years-old organization was founded to gather researchers from Japan in fields such as nanotechnology, materials and artificial intelligence and to support chip manufacturing at state-backed Rapidus Corp.

“We outsource research and development that the government deems necessary but that are too risky for the private sector to implement,” Hidemichi Shimizu, director of METI’s strategy office for the software and information services industry, said at a news briefing on Friday. ” He said the contract is for up to five years and will include chip technology for 2 nanometers and above as well as AI-enabled chip design.

Rapidus is spending billions of dollars in subsidies to produce advanced 2nm chips in Chitose, in Japan’s northernmost Hokkaido province, and compete with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and Samsung Electronics Co.

Tokyo-based LSTC, headed by Rapidus Chairman Tetsuro Higashi, a former chairman of chip equipment maker Tokyo Electron Ltd., is working on designs that will enable AI applications on gadgets such as smartphones as well as connected electric vehicles. According to its website, the center includes researchers from the University of Tokyo, Tohoku University and others.

LSTC will also serve as a joint development center with foreign partners on next generation semiconductor technology and help generate demand for rapidus…

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