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ASML to boost Japan’s chip production

Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML plans to set up a base in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido to support production at a chip plant for Japanese startup Rapidus, the company said on Tuesday.

An ASML spokesperson said the company will have a customer support team for Rapidus, but could not immediately confirm staff numbers. Nikkei, which first reported the news, said that 50 ASML engineers will install an ASML “EUV” machine on a prototype line in Chitose City, Hokkaido.

“We always have engineers that support our systems in our customers’ fabs,” the ASML spokesperson said, referring to customers’ factories.

Rapidus, which broke ground on its plant in Chitose City on Sept. 1, is receiving billions of yen in funding from the Japanese government as it seeks to break into the market for manufacturing custom-made, leading-edge microchips.

Rapidus is aiming to manufacture chips at the 2 nanometre process node, which will require using ASML’s most advanced EUV, or extreme ultraviolet, lithography tools to help create the circuitry of chips.

TSMC, Samsung, Intel and memory chip specialists SK Hynix and Micron currently manufacture using ASML’s EUV tools.

The Nikkei report said ASML is also expanding its existing support base for TSMC, which is building a major plant in Kumamoto in Japan. Reuters

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