Business & Economy

Japan’s Rapidus ties up with IBM to develop next generation microchips

Tokyo, Dec 13 (EFE).- Japanese semiconductor consortium Rapidus has signed an agreement with the United States-based tech giant IBM to develop and produce next generation chips, the firms said in a joint statement released on Tuesday.

Thus, IBM has joined other companies which have recently announced collaborations with the Japanese semiconductor foundry – which includes companies such as Toyota Motor, Sony and Softbank – aimed at manufacturing chips with 2 nanometer (nm) node technology by 2027.

The agreement is “part of Japan’s initiatives to become a global leader in semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing,” Rapidus said.

It is expected that IBM, which in 2021 announced the world’s first system to develop 2 nm node chips, said it brings “decades of expertise in semiconductor research and design” to the project.

The 2 nm node chip is “projected to achieve 45 percent better performance or 75 percent more energy efficiency” compared to the currently leading 7 nm chips, according to the statement.

IBM senior vice-president and director of research Dario Gill said that the collaboration was “critical to ensure a geographically balanced global supply chain of advanced semiconductors, built through a vibrant ecosystem of like-minded companies and nations.”

As part of the project, Rapidus personnel will collaborate with the IBM workforce at the latter’s nanotechnology facility in Albany, New York, considered among the world’s most advanced semiconductor research labs.

The formation of Rapidus was announced by the Japanese government in November, and the consortium also includes Kioxia, Denso, NEC, NTT and finance firm Mitsubishi UFJ apart from the previously mentioned companies.

Last week, Belgian tech company IMEC had already announced signing a memorandum of understanding with Rapidus, and other American and European companies are also expected to follow suit.

The initiative is being seen as an effort by the Fumio Kishida-led Japanese government to improve the supply of chips for domestic use and allied countries, aiming to reduce the dependence on China, with Japan having lost competitiveness in recent years as Taiwanese and South Korean companies rose to prominence. EFE


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