Japanese electronics maker Sony and Taiwan’s TSMC have announced plans to jointly build a computer chip factory in Japan with an initial investment of $ 7 billion. The plant in the southwestern city of Kumamoto will be the first foundry in Japan for TSMC, one of the world’s leading chipmakers. Construction will begin next year for the plant to be operational by 2024, employing 1,500 high-tech professionals.
The move comes as a chip shortage has hit various Japanese companies, including automaker Toyota Motor Corp. and video game maker Nintendo Co., as lockdowns and other coronavirus measures in parts of Asia have hampered chip production.
Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corp., will be a minority shareholder, with less than 20% stake, investing $ 500 million in TSMC’s new subsidiary, Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing. Global investment enjoys “strong support from the Japanese government,” the joint statement said. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
Speculation is that Toyota could join
Terushi Shimizu, president of Sony Semiconductor Solutions, said the global semiconductor shortage is expected to continue. The partnership with TSMC will help not only Sony but other companies as well, he said. There has been speculation that other Japanese companies, such as Toyota Motor Corp., could join the project, but TSMC declined to comment, saying nothing has been decided.
“We are delighted to have the support of a leading player and our long-time customer, Sony, to provide the market with a brand new factory in Japan, and we are also delighted at the opportunity to bring more of Japanese talent in TSMC’s global family, ”said Managing Director CC Wei.