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TSMC, Sony Said to be Considering Joint Chip Factory

Companies reportedly looking at plans for project to be part-funded by the Japanese government

The company logo of Sony Corporation is seen at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Reuters

 

Taiwan’s TSMC and Japan’s Sony Group are considering jointly building a chip factory in Japan, with the government in Tokyo ready to pay for some of the investment of about 800 billion yen ($7.15bn), the Nikkei reported on Friday.

The plant in Kumamoto, southern Japan, is expected to produce semiconductors for automobiles, camera image sensors and other products that have been hit by a global chip shortage, and is likely to start operations by 2024, the report said.

Japan’s top auto parts maker Denso is also looking to participate through such steps as setting up equipment at the site, the report said. The Toyota Motor group member seeks stable supplies of chips used in its auto parts.

Governments are seeking to shore up national chip production capabilities as a shortage of the processing power behind everything from fridges and iPhones to cars and power stations has hit global manufacturers. Among them, China has invested heavily in its homegrown fabricator SMIC.

 

CHINA ANNOYANCE

Both Sony and TSMC declined to comment, while Denso was not immediately available to comment. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker and major Apple Inc supplier had said in July that it was reviewing a plan to set up production in Japan.

TSMC has been concerned about the the concentration of chipmaking capability in Taiwan, which produces the majority of the world’s most advanced chips. China does not rule out the use of force to bring the democratic island under its control.

Japanese officials are also worried about the supply chain stability of its industries, with a global chip shortage forcing automakers to cut production.

 

• Reuters with additional reporting by Mark McCord

 

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Mark McCord

Mark McCord is a financial journalist with more than three decades experience writing and editing at global news wires including Bloomberg and AFP, as well as daily newspapers in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. He has covered some of the biggest breaking news events in recent years including the Enron scandal, the New York terrorist attacks and the Iraq War. He is based in the UK. You can tweet to Mark at @MarkMcC64371550.

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