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Rapidus to Establish 1st Hokkaido Office in Chitose

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Rendering of the Rapidus Corp. plant

SAPPORO (Jiji Press) — Rapidus Corp. plans to open an office as early as next January in the city of Chitose, Hokkaido, where it is currently building a cutting-edge semiconductor plant, Jiji Press learned Tuesday.

It will be the Tokyo-based next-generation chip developer’s first business foothold in Japan’s northernmost prefecture.

The office, to be located near Hokkaido Railway Co.’s Chitose Station and Chitose city hall, will prepare for the launch of a pilot production line in April 2025, according to people familiar with the matter.

From around autumn next year, engineers from Dutch chipmaking equipment maker ASML Holding NV, which has partnered with Rapidus, are also scheduled to work at the office.

Rapidus is aiming for domestic production of next-generation chips with a circuit line width of 2 nanometers, which are essential for cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

It plans to set up facilities necessary for mass production in the first quarter of 2027 and begin full-scale output in April that year.

Rapidus President and CEO Atsuyoshi Koike told a meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday that his company aims to open the Chitose office by the end of January, sources with access to the meeting said.

Rapidus was established in 2022 with investment from Toyota Motor Corp., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., Sony Group Corp. and other companies to domestically produce next-generation semiconductors.

The industry ministry seeks a fiscal 2023 extra budget allocation of ¥1,853.7 billion to support chipmakers including Rapidus and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest foundry, which is constructing a plant and plans to build another in the southwestern prefecture of Kumamoto.