Japan's Rapidus, Belgium firm to join hands on advanced chip R&D

New Japanese semiconductor producer Rapidus Corp. and a Belgian nanotechnology organization are joining hands in developing advanced chips, industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Tuesday.

Collaboration between the manufacturer, set up by eight major Japanese companies, and Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre, also known as Imec, will give rise to a global alliance amid intensifying competition in the computer chip-making industry.

Rapidus and Imec will sign a memorandum of cooperation at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Tokyo later Tuesday.

"Our country, with Rapidus taking a leading role, aims to establish a design and manufacturing foundation for next-generation chips, and it is extremely significant to cooperate with Imec in the field of semiconductor producing process, including extreme ultraviolet lithography," Nishimura said at a press conference.

Imec is known for developing a lithography system to pattern the finest details on the most advanced computer chips, an essential technology in producing state-of-the-art semiconductors.

Rapidus, formed this year through investments from such companies as Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Group Corp., aims to begin domestic production of 2-nanometer computer chips in 2027.

The Japanese government will provide Rapidus with 70 billion yen ($510 million) in subsidies as part of its semiconductor strategy.

© Kyodo News