U.S. chipmaker Micron will receive up to $320 million in grants from the Japanese government, marking the first in a series of long-awaited deals to bolster supply chains against the disruptive threat from China.
Beijing currently does not compete with Washington and Tokyo in the most advanced segment of semiconductor technology. But Covid-19 disruptions have underscored the fragility of the supply chain, while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has heightened fears that China could invade Taiwan, the world’s center of chip production. point.
The Micron deal announced on Friday follows months of negotiations between the United States and Japan to expand cooperation in semiconductor production, in a bid to reduce heavy reliance on the chipmaker Taiwanese TSMC.
The notice came within 48 hours of a meeting in Tokyo between US Vice President Kamala Harris and senior executives from more than a dozen Japanese tech groups to discuss the chip and science law passed by the US Congress in July, which offers $52 billion in grants. to support advanced semiconductor manufacturing in the United States.
“We need to diversify our dependence on essential supplies, from Japan, the United States and the world. We also understand, on this issue, that no country can meet global demand,” Harris said at the start of the meeting on Wednesday.
Micron, which acquired Japan’s Elpida Memory in 2012, said it would use the investment to develop new Dram memory chips at its Hiroshima plant.
Rahm Emanuel, US Ambassador to Japan, said the Micron deal symbolizes “the investment and integration of our two economies and supply chains. And it will only accelerate from now on.
In July, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti) announced it would provide a grant of up to 92.9 billion yen ($644 million) to Western Digital, the American manufacturing from Japanese chipmaker Kioxia, to expand production in Japan.
Last year, TSMC announced it would build a $7 billion chip-making factory in Japan with Sony, with half the investment to be subsidized by Meti.
Japanese investments in Micron and TSMC are not intended to support the development of the most advanced chip technology, but an industry executive familiar with the negotiations said Japan and the United States are discussing cooperation in this area. domain with IBM.
“Discussions with IBM are really about cutting edge technology, and progress is being made,” the person said.
IBM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.