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Japanese gov't, 8 leading firms launch chip development consortium

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TOKYO, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) — Japan’s industry minister on Friday unveiled that the central government and eight major Japanese companies are joining forces to set up a new company to develop next-generation semiconductors amid intensifying international competition.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a press conference that semiconductors are a key technology which can bring major innovation in the fields of quantum and artificial intelligence technologies, as well as play a role in the digitalization and decarbonization of Japanese society.

The eight firms, including Toyota Motor Corp., Sony Group Corp. and Softbank Corp., will provide capital for Rapidus, the new company established to serve as a future base for domestic production of advanced chips.

The government pledged to provide 70 billion yen (494 million U.S. dollars) to Rapidus in subsidies, said Nishimura.

“I hope this endeavor to bring Japan’s academia together with the business sector will strengthen the competitiveness of Japan’s semiconductor sector,” Nishimura added.

Rapidus is expected to engage in research, development and manufacturing of the advanced chips to be used in quantum computers and AI.

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