Japan, once a dominant player in the global semiconductor market, is making efforts to regain its position. This comes as the US and China engage in geopolitical competition that is reshaping the industry. The Japanese government is investing billions of dollars to boost its domestic chip industry, attracting global giants like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung. In June 2021, Japan announced a support plan worth $14 billion to further strengthen its chip industry. The country aims to increase its chip sales to 15 trillion yen by 2030 and is offering subsidies for companies to launch production fabs or research and development institutes. Japan is also partnering with the US and establishing a memory chip firm called Rapidus. However, experts are skeptical about Japan’s ability to catch up with industry leaders like Samsung and TSMC, who are considered to be ten years ahead in production and technology. Rapidus, in particular, aims to produce cutting-edge 2nm chips, but Japan’s latest logic semiconductor production is only at 40nm nodes. Japan’s commitment to revive its chip industry is evident, but it faces challenges in securing the necessary funding and overcoming past failures. South Korea is advised to boost its weak areas and focus on nurturing skilled talents to stay competitive in the long run.
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