Toyota Motor will join seven other leading Japanese companies—Sony Group, NEC, Toyota supplier Denso, NTT, chipmaker Kioxia Holdings, SoftBank and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Grou—in working with the Japanese government in a new next-generation semiconductor venture named Rapidus. The companies are investing a combined ¥7.3 billion (US$52.2 billion) and the government is contributing ¥70 billion (US$500 million).
Rapidus is intended to work with Japan’s also newly established Leading-edge Semiconductor Technology Center (LSTC)—a joint R&D hub with US and European participants—to build a mass production base for next-generation semiconductors in Japan.
Rapidus will work on the research and development of 2nm generation semiconductor integration technology and short turnaround time (TAT) manufacturing technology based on Japan-US collaboration.
Rapidus will collaborate with IBM and other companies in the United States to develop technology for 2nm-generation logic semiconductors; Rapidus will demonstrate it with a test chip. After the research period ends, Rapidus aims to commercialize it as an advanced logic foundry.
Japan, notes the Nikkei, has some catching-up to do. Its latest logic semiconductor production lines are for 40-nm chips. Japan had not been able to keep up with the massive investments by companies overseas and other governments as competition in advanced technologies has been hot since the 2010s.