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IBM collaborates with Japan’s Rapidus in an effort to produce cutting-edge semiconductors.

On Tuesday, IBM Corp. and Rapidus, a recently established chip manufacturer sponsored by the Japanese government, announced a cooperation with the goal of producing the most cutting-edge chips in the world in Japan by the middle of the next decade.

The accord comes as heated tensions between the US and China persist, particularly over chips. Beijing’s access to cutting-edge semiconductor technology has been restricted by Washington, which has urged its allies—including Japan—to follow suit. Japan, which long ago lost its competitive edge in chip production, especially for advanced semiconductors, is scrambling to catch up in order to ensure that its automakers and IT firms don’t run out of the essential component.


Atsuyoshi Koike, president of Rapidus, stated during a news conference in Tokyo that it would cost several trillion yen to start up pilot production. He didn’t specify where the funding would come from or where a foundry would be built in Japan.

Related: RIA says that IBM has stopped doing business in Russia.

The Rapidus initiative, led by tech companies such as Sony (NYSE:SONY) Group Corp. and NEC Corp., was announced last month to receive an initial investment of 70 billion yen ($500 million) from Japan’s industry and trade ministry.Despite the fact that plants in the chip manufacturing industry can cost tens of billions of dollars, sources claim that additional investments are imminent.

Dario Gil, director of research at International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) Corp., announced that the two businesses would collaborate to produce IBM’s 2-nanometer-node processors, which were presented last year.

In the semiconductor industry, a “nanometer,” or one billionth of a metre, refers to a particular technology rather than the measurement. In general, the lower the number before the word “nanometer,” the more advanced the chip.

When asked if Japan could manufacture such cutting-edge technology given that its most advanced factory now only produces chips that are 40 nanometers thick, Gil responded, “It’s not like you’re beginning from zero.”


As part of their partnership, IBM Japan and IBM researchers will collaborate with Rapidus scientists and engineers at the Albany NanoTech Complex in New York state.


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