The Japanese consortium Rapidus expects to begin mass production of 2nm chips in Japan by 2027. To catch up with the local semiconductor industry, the company is actively collaborating with IBM and Imec, but must also seek talent from domestic industry veterans and abroad.
Agency Reuters refers to an August interview with Rapidus boss Tetsuro Higashi, in which the 74-year-old leader admitted that the search for qualified employees was being carried out not only in Japan, but also abroad. Candidates for a position in this company are specialists who have previously left Japan and gained relevant experience abroad. Some of them are ready to return to serve the country’s semiconductor industry. The company does not give up on the idea of employing industry veterans who are already in well-deserved retirement and have valuable experience from “better times”.
In the mid-1980s, the Japanese semiconductor industry controlled half of the world market, but since then the indicators have worsened both in terms of share (it fell to 10%) and in terms of technological development. Currently, the country predominantly produces components “coarser” than 40 nm, and only the emergence of a TSMC joint venture in southwest Japan next year will enable local production of 28 nm and 12 nm products to dominate. TSMC is also rumored to be ready to build two more factories in Japan that could produce 6nm and 3nm products, respectively.
As of this month, Rapidus had about 250 employees, some of whom were interning in upstate New York, where IBM’s semiconductor labs are located. Masami Suzuki, senior research manager for packaging technology at Rapidus, explains that in her mid-sixties she has about ten years to create something new and has decided to devote the rest of her career to working for the Japanese company. Her younger colleague Naoto Yonemaru adds that Rapidus’ ability to source technology from partners does not mean there is no need for independent research and development. The senior process engineer is currently completing a long-term internship in the USA to use his knowledge for Rapidus.