Japan earmarks $307m for optical chip R&D centre
The Japanese government is making available USD 307 million in subsidies for a new unit to research optical technology semiconductors. The project is backed by NTT, Intel, and SK Hynix.
Optical semiconductor technology is emerging as a low-power alternative to conventional electrical processes. It is attracting interest as advanced computing places more strain on existing chips, which are nearing their physical limit for supporting more transistors.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is hoping the initiative will make Japan a world leader in the field. It expects the three companies to begin producing related products by 2027.
The scheme is one of many introduced by the Japanese government to position the country for the next era of semiconductor manufacturing. In November, Evertiq reported that Japan had allocated USD 13 billion to the domestic chip sector via a USD 59.8 billion bond sale.
Government support played a part in TSMC's decision to announce a second chip plant in Japan to manufacture 5 and 10 nanometre chips from the second half of the decade. Its first foundry on Kyushu island is expected to start production of 12 and 16 nanometre semiconductors in the coming weeks.
Elsewhere, the Japan Investment Corporation (JIC) – a government-backed fund – announced the takeover of microelectronics specialist JSR for USD 6.4 billion last summer. In December, the JIC acquired Fujitsu’s semiconductor packaging arm Shinko Electric Industries for around USD 4.7 billion.