[News] Multiple Fabs in Japan to Commence Production Post-2024 Boosting Industry

2024-01-30 Semiconductors editor

With the highly anticipated opening of TSMC’s Kumamoto fab on February 24th, 2024, multiple Japanese or global semiconductor manufacturers are set to begin large-scale production in newly established plants in Japan.

According to sources cited by TechNews, this development will stimulate the growth and advancement of Japan’s domestic semiconductor supply chain, enhancing Japan’s semiconductor manufacturing capabilities, transitioning from Renesas Electronics’ 40-nanometer process to JASM’s 12-nanometer process.

TSMC Kumamoto Fab Set to Open on February 24

In Kikuyo Town, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing (JASM) company, jointly invested by TSMC, SONY, and Japan’s DENSO, is currently constructing a 12-inch fab.

▲ TSMC’s Layout of Global Production Capacity Edited by TrendForce, January, 2024

The facility will employ 12/16-nanometer and 22/28-nanometer process, focusing on the production of chips for automotive electronic applications. The fab is scheduled to open on February 24, with mass production expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2024.

This shift is regarded as the first step in Japan’s semiconductor revitalization policy. In support of this initiative, the Japanese government has provided a financial subsidy of JPY 476 billion (approximately USD 3.2 billion) to the JASM fab, covering nearly one-third of the total expenditure, which amounts to USD 8.6 billion.

Kioxia and Western Digital Jointly Constructing 12-Inch Plant

NAND Flash memory giants Kioxia and Western Digital are jointly investing in the construction of a 12-inch plant in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture. The facility is set to begin preparing for mass production of 3D NAND Flash memory products by March 2024.

Industry sources note that the plant’s construction will cost JPY 280 billion (approximately USD 1.8 billion ), with the Japanese government providing up to 92.9 billion yen (approximately USD 600 million) in subsidies.

Another Kioxia and Western Digital joint venture plant located in Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture, is slated to open in the second half of 2024. Originally scheduled for completion in 2023, the project faced delays due to unfavorable market conditions.

Renesas Electronics Expands Power Semiconductor Capacity

Renesas Electronics is set to launch a new power semiconductor production line in 2024. However, since the company’s Kofu factory in Yamanashi Prefecture closed in October 2014, Renesas is committing JPY 90 billion to install a 12-inch wafer production line at its existing facility to meet the growing demand for power semiconductors, especially in electric vehicles (EVs).

The new production line will enable Renesas Electronics to enhance its capacity for power semiconductors such as IGBT and MOSFET, with plans to achieve mass production by 2024. Renesas Electronics’ expansion plan is expected to receive subsidy support from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

Toshiba and ROHM Semiconductor Collaborate to Integrate Production Lines for Power Semiconductors

Toshiba and ROHM Semiconductor have reached an agreement to collaborate. Under the agreement, Toshiba’s power semiconductor factory will begin integrating production with ROHM’s newly developed Silicon Carbide (SiC) power semiconductor plant in Kunitomi City, Miyazaki Prefecture. This collaboration is expected to receive government subsidies equivalent to one-third of the investment in the project.

Japan’s New Fab Projects Beyond 2025

Beyond 2025, Japan is set to witness the emergence of several new plants, including Micron Technology’s new 1-gamma (1γ) DRAM production facility in Hiroshima Prefecture.

JSMC, a foundry subsidiary of Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (PSMC), is collaborating with Japan’s financial group SBI to complete construction by 2027 and begin chip production thereafter.

Additionally, Japanese semiconductor startup Rapidus plans to commence production of 2-nanometer chips in Hokkaido by 2027.

Furthermore, TSMC is currently evaluating plans for its second plant in Japan, expected to be located in Kikuyo Town, Kumamoto Prefecture. Reports suggest that TSMC is set to officially announce the location of the second wafer plant on February 6th.

Earlier discussions by TSMC Chairman Mark Liu regarding the second plant in Japan indicated ongoing evaluations and discussions with the Japanese government. Once the decision to build the second plant is finalized, it is anticipated to manufacture products utilizing 7-nanometer to 16-nanometer process technologies.

Japan’s resurgence in the semiconductor arena is palpable, with the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry fostering multi-faceted collaborations with the private sector. With a favorable exchange rate policy aiding factory construction and investments, the future looks bright for exports.

However, the looming shortage of semiconductor talent in Japan is a concern. In response, there are generous subsidy programs for talent development. Japan is strategically positioning itself to reclaim its former glory in the world of semiconductors.

Read more

(Photo credit: TSMC)

Please note that this article cites information from TechNews.