Chip Foundry Venture Rapidus to Receive $3.9 bn in Subsidies in Japan

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced the approval of subsidies amounting to up to 590 billion yen ($3.9 billion) for chip foundry venture Rapidus, as part of Tokyo’s efforts to revitalize the country’s chip manufacturing capabilities.
BE SemiconductorsPreviously, Japan had committed to providing subsidies totaling 330 billion yen to Rapidus. The newly approved assistance includes 53.5 billion yen allocated for advanced packaging, recognizing its growing significance in enhancing chip performance, Reuters news report said.

Rapidus, led by industry veterans, aims to commence mass production of chips on the northern island of Hokkaido by 2027 in collaboration with IBM and Belgium-based research organization Imec.

Despite these initiatives, industry observers remain skeptical about Rapidus’s prospects for success, especially in comparison to established giants like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, which has honed its processes over decades.

Rapidus is expected to mass-produce logic chips of 2 nanometers or less by 2027. The first plant, “IIM-1,” located in Chitose City, Hokkaido, began construction in September 2023. The trial production line is scheduled to start in April 2025, with mass production slated to begin in 2027, TrendForce said in a news report. Tenstorrent is currently collaborating with TSMC and Samsung to mass-produce 2-nanometer chips by 2027, according to media reports.

Rapidus earlier announced its contract manufacturing order from Canadian artificial intelligence (AI) chip startup Tenstorrent to accelerate the development of AI chips.

Rapidus is founded by eight Japanese companies, including Toyota, Sony, NTT, NEC, Softbank, Denso, Kioxia, and Mitsubishi. News Desk