Executives from newly-founded Japanese chip company Rapidus and Belgian research institute IMEC have agreed to enter a long-term collaboration on semiconductor R&D.
The memorandum of cooperation was signed by Atsuyoshi Koike, CEO of Rapidus, and Luc Van den hove, CEO of IMEC and endorsed by Yasutoshi Nishimura, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and Jan Jambon, Minister-President of The Government of Flanders.
Rapidus plans to manufacture chips in Japan on a 2nm manufacturing process in the second-half of this decade (see Consortium forms Rapidus to get Japan back into chip race at 2nm).
This will be difficult to achieve as many Japanese electronics companies, like European ones, have opted out of leading-edge manufacturing preferring to get complex digital ICs made for them by foundries such as TSMC and Samsung.
In the last couple of years governments have realized that the ubiquity of semiconductors in communications, data centers, vehicles and AI systems means that the ability to control chip manufacturing is a strategic asset.
Under the terms of the MoC Rapidus will become a core partner in IMEC’s advanced nanoelectronics program and IMEC will collaborate with the Leading-edge Semiconductor Technology Center (LSTC). LSTC is being set up in Japan as an R&D hub for technology development beyond 2nm.
“Building on our years of expertise in advanced chip technologies and on our global ecosystem of partners including the entire value chain of the semiconductor industry, we will support Rapidus in their intention to mass-produce chips with state-of-the-art 2-nanometer technology in Japan,” said Luc Van den hove, in a statement.
Atsuyoshi Koike, CEO of Rapidus, said: “I am very excited to think that the day is approaching when Japan can once again play an active role in the semiconductor arena and contribute to the well-being of humanity by taking advantage of this long-desired opportunity.”
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