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10 Japan, US firms join forces to develop chip tech for AI

Leading Japanese chip material maker Resonac Holdings Corp. said Monday it will form a consortium with nine other Japanese and U.S. firms to collaborate over the development of technologies deemed key in manufacturing state-of-the art semiconductors used for generative artificial intelligence.

The consortium, called US-JOINT, will be based in Silicon Valley, setting its main focus on developing so-called back-end technologies of packaging semiconductors. Its facility is expected to become fully operational next year.

“Today’s rapidly expanding next-generation semiconductors for generative AI and autonomous driving require new approaches to advanced packaging technologies,” Resonac, which holds the world’s top share in semiconductor back-end process materials, said in a press release.

Noting that back-end processing of semiconductors has traditionally been located primarily in Asia, the company said, “Bringing packaging R&D closer to major semiconductor device makers in Silicon Valley will help to further advance the technology and solve technical issues, especially in the areas that other U.S. consortiums do not cover enough,” it said.

Among the 10 companies, six are Japanese, such as chip manufacturing equipment maker Towa Corp. and Tokyo Ohka Kogyo Co., the world’s leading maker of photoresist, a key chip-making material.

The four U.S. firms include semiconductor packaging company Azimuth Industrial Co. and chip toolmaker KLA Corp., Resonac said.

The move comes as the race to develop state-of-the-art chips intensifies across the globe to respond to growing demand for generative AI and data centers to power it.

“This new consortium of leading American and Japanese companies in the semiconductor industry is the latest example of our two nations joining forces to accelerate the development of advanced technologies of global importance,” U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel was quoted as saying in Resonac’s press release.

Resonac was set up in January last year after the integration of chemical firm Showa Denko K.K. and its unit Showa Denko Materials Co. It makes a variety of chemical and other materials such as those used for back-end chipmaking processes. Mainichi

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