According to the Nikkei News, on April 19, Japanese high-end chip company Rapidus held a media roundtable where President and CEO Junyi Koike explained the concept of the company’s first factory, which was announced in February this year to be built in Chitose City, Hokkaido.
The Rapidus Chitose facility is reportedly planning to build two or more manufacturing buildings, each corresponding to a different technology generation after 2nm. The number of employees is expected to double from the current 100 by the end of 2023, with further increases from fiscal 2024 onwards to strengthen technology development.
Founded in August 2022, Rapidus is a joint venture between eight Japanese companies, including Toyota, Sony, NTT, NEC, Softbank, Denso Denso, Armor Man and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, with a capital contribution of 7.3 billion yen (currently about RMB 376 million) and a 70 billion yen (currently about RMB 3.605 billion) subsidy from the Japanese government. The Japanese government has also provided a 70 billion yen (currently about 3.605 billion yuan) grant as a research and development budget.
The Rapidus version of the manufacturing technology is planned to be developed based on IBM’s 2nm process technology “Rapidus Edition”, with trial production of logic semiconductors starting in 2025 and mass production in 2027:
- High-performance computing (HPC) chips, for which demand is expected to grow
- Ultra Low Power” chips, which are predicted for the future of smartphones
Rapidus signed a technology licensing agreement with IBM in the US at the end of 2022, and IBM has successfully piloted a 2nm product in 2021.
Junyi Koike spoke about the background to the choice of Chitose City as the site for the plant, explaining that the most important thing was scalability to meet future demand for semiconductors. Eam 1 (Building 1), which will begin mass production in 2027, will be compatible with the 2nm generation, while Eam 2 (Building 2), planned for the same location, will be the “next-generation 2nm (1nm class)”. The planned ‘Eam 2’ (Building 2) at the same location will be the “next generation of 2nm (1nm class).
The technology generations in each building will be updated sequentially so that the entire plant will always be able to OEM the latest generation,” said Junyi Koike. For the first building, we hope to receive government approval as soon as possible and start construction as soon as possible.”
Also according to the Hokkaido News, multiple sources say Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is drawing up a plan to provide an additional 300 billion yen (currently about RMB 15.63 billion) in funding to Rapidus for the construction of a semiconductor factory in Hokkaido.