Japan to give Micron Tech up to $320 million to boost Hiroshima chip production


TOKYO, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Japan will provide Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) with a grant of up to 46.5 billion yen ($320 million), the industry ministry said on Friday, in order to manufacture advanced memory chips at its Hiroshima plant, even as the US chipmaker cuts capital investment elsewhere.

The announcement, which follows a visit to Japan by US Vice President Kamala Harris, is the latest example of growing cooperation between Tokyo and Washington in chipmaking amid growing tension and technological rivalry with China.

“Micron appreciates the support of the Japanese government and is proud to be a global partner in Japan’s efforts to expand semiconductor production and advance innovation,” said Micron’s executive vice president of global operations. , Manish Bhatia, in a press release.

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Micron said it will build its new 1-Beta dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips at the Hiroshima plant.

The U.S. chipmaker cut its overall investment plans by 30% on Thursday amid falling demand for personal computers and smartphones. Read more

“Today’s landmark announcement by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) and Micron symbolizes the investment and integration of our two economies and supply chains,” said U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel in a statement. “And it’s only going to get faster from now on.”

The latest piece of Japan’s plan to bolster domestic chip production comes after it gave 92.9 billion yen to US-based Western Digital Corp (WDC.O) in July to boost production of flash memory chips in a Japanese factory operated with local partner Kioxia Holdings, which was spun off from Toshiba Corp (6502.T).

Kioxia said on Friday it would cut production at two factories in Japan by 30% from October to “align production with current market conditions.”

The Western Digital grant announcement preceded a trip to the United States by then-Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda for talks on semiconductor cooperation that led to an agreement to establish a joint research center for next-generation chips.

In Japan this week, Harris spoke with heads of semiconductor-related companies about the incentives offered to manufacturers in the United States following the passage of legislation providing $52 billion in subsidies. Read more

Japan is also providing funds to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (2330.TW) to build a chip factory in Japan with Sony Corp (6758.T) and auto parts maker Denso Corp (6902.T).

Once the world’s largest semiconductor production hub, Japan has seen its share of global output shrink as chipmakers ramp up capacity elsewhere, particularly in Taiwan, which makes most of the advanced semiconductors. of the world of less than 10 nanometers that are used in smartphones and other products.

($1 = 144.7000 yen)

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Reporting by Tim Kelly and Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Christopher Cushing

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