The recently founded Japanese consortium Rapidus has already laid the foundation for a future company that will dominate the production of 2nm chips in the Land of the Rising Sun by 2027. Dutch company ASML, which supplies advanced lithography scanners, is ready to open a service center in Japan next year to support Rapidus.
The news agency reported this today Nikkei with reference to our own sources. According to them, ASML will open a local technical support center on the island of Hokkaido in the second half of next year. By 2028, ASML plans to increase its workforce in Japan from 400 to 560 people. The presence of a local service center significantly accelerates the introduction of new lithography technologies and the construction of chip production facilities. ASML has similar centers, also used to train staff at customer companies, in South Korea and Taiwan, where its major customers’ companies such as Samsung Electronics and TSMC are located.
Around 50 ASML engineers will support Rapidus in installing Dutch lithography systems in a pilot line on the island of Hokkaido. The corresponding equipment is aimed at working with ultra-hard ultraviolet radiation (EUV), which is necessary for the production of chips according to technological standards with a thickness of less than 7 nm. Over the next five years, ASML plans to increase the wage fund of its specialists in Japan by 40%. In Kumamoto Prefecture, where the Taiwanese company TSMC is setting up its joint venture, ASML also employs 10 specialists; their number is expected to increase to 40 people in the future. The most important technology donor to Rapidus is likely to be the American company IBM, which will create the conditions for the production of 2 nm components in Japan.
Japan will be the fifth region in the world to use ASML’s EUV equipment, after the United States, Taiwan, South Korea and Ireland. An Intel company producing processors and chipsets has long been operating in the latter country and is currently undergoing a planned modernization. Other lithography equipment suppliers are also expanding their presence in Japan. American Applied Materials and Lam Research do this, for example. In turn, Japanese specialty equipment manufacturers are seeking to expand their presence outside the country in close proximity to customers, so this “migration” occurs in both directions.