Japan to spend $300m on public sector chip R&D centre
Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has approved a huge grant to support the country's Leading-edge Semiconductor Technology Center (LSTC).
The government will spend as much as USD 300 million over five years to back the one year old public sector facility, which was set up to consolidate the country's research into nanotechnology, materials, artificial intelligence and chip manufacturing.
The centre is being run by Rapidus Corp, the domestic manufacturer which is co-owned by Denso, Kioxia, MUFG Bank, NEC, NTT, SoftBank, Sony, and Toyota. Rapidus is currently working towards producing advanced 2nm chips to compete with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and Samsung.
Tokyo-based LSTC is headed by Rapidus chairman Tetsuro Higashi, and brings together researchers from the University of Tokyo, Tohoku University and others. It will also serve as the centre of joint development with overseas partners on next-generation semiconductor technology.
This is the latest move by the Japanese government to claw back some initiative in the chip/electronics space that it once dominated. In November, it assigned USD 13 billion to drive investment in its chip industry via a supplementary budget for its fiscal year.