Rapidus seeks billions of dollars to use IBM’s 2nm process

Rapidus seeks billions of dollars to use IBM’s 2nm process

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

As expected Rapidus, the newly formed advanced logic foundry, has said it will make use of IBM’s semiconductor expertise and 2nm manufacturing process.

Rapidus CEO Atsuyoshi Koike announded a joint development partnership with IBM and said; “We will need to invest several trillion yen,” during a press conference held on Tuesday, December 13.

Rapidus said it is planning to deploy differentiated strategies in manufacturing, including automation and efficiency, to ensure speed to market and competitiveness. Rapidus said it will begin mass production of the chips in 2027 at a plant it plans to build in Japan.

The formation of Rapidus by a consortium of eight companies was announced in November (see Consortium forms Rapidus to get Japan back into chip race at 2nm). The consortium comprises Toyota, Sony, NTT, SoftBank, Kioxia, Denso, NEC and MUFG Bank. It is notable that there are only two chip companies amongst the backers and that the backers only pledged to put up 7.3 billion yen (about US$50 million) to create the company, the reports said. The Japanese government promised to provide 70 billion yen (about US510 million) to help the company get started.

It is clear that to catch up with market leaders TSMC, Samsung and Intel any startup would need made years and tens of billions of dollars.

Nonetheless Rapidus said that it would work with IBM to further develop its 2nm manufacturing process for implementation by Rapidus at its fab in Japan.

IBM announced it had developed a 2nm manufacturing process and designed a first 2nm chip in May 2021 (see IBM announces 2nm chip, and manufacturing process). IBM claimed that the chip should offer 45 percent better performance or 75 percent more energy efficiency than 7 nm chips. IBM has not been a chip manufacturer for some time. It relies on foundry suppliers to produce its chips.

“It is my great pleasure to announce today that Rapidus has officially partnered with IBM for the joint development of 2 nm node technology,” said Atsuyoshi Koike, President and CEO of Rapidus, in a statement. “This is a long-desired international collaboration, truly essential for Japan to once again play a vital role in the semiconductor supply chain. I am fully confident that this collaboration will pave the way for our goal of contribution to the well-being of humanity through advanced logic semiconductors produced with technologies jointly developed with IBM.”

Darío Gil, director of research at IBM, said: “This collaboration is critical to ensure a geographically balanced global supply chain of advanced semiconductors, built through a vibrant ecosystem of like-minded companies and nations.”

Related links and articles:

News articles:

Consortium forms Rapidus to get Japan back into chip race at 2nm

Japan’s Rapidus signs up IMEC to support 2nm push

Japan budgets $2.4 billion for chip R&D hub with US, Europe

Japan, US make plans for independent 2nm production

IBM announces 2nm chip, and manufacturing process


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