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¥700 Bil. to be Invested in Cutting-Edge Kioxia Chip Plants; Mie and Iwate Factories to Make 8th-, 9th-Gen Chips

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Major semiconductor maker Kioxia Corp.’s Yokkaichi plant in Mie Prefecture in August 2021

Major chipmaker Kioxia Corp. will begin mass production of cutting-edge flash memory at its plants in Mie and Iwate prefectures as early as fall 2025, the company announced Tuesday.

The company, along with U.S. partner and semiconductor giant Western Digital Corp., will invest about ¥700 billion to start production earlier on state-of-the-art products, according to sources. The government is also expected to subsidize the project to the tune of around ¥240 billion.

According to the sources, the two companies will soon lay out a new development plan. Kioxia will also revise a plan it approved in July 2022 as it shifts emphasis to cutting-edge memory.

At Kioxia’s Yokkaichi plant in Mie Prefecture and its Kitakami plant in Iwate Prefecture, the company will produce eighth- and ninth-generation memory chips that will have some of the world’s highest storage capacities and fastest speeds, the sources said.

Investments under the new plan will come to around ¥450 billion, with the government providing ¥150 billion in subsidies. Kioxia aims to produce 60,000 next-gen wafers per month at the Yokkaichi plant and 25,000 per month at the Kitakami plant. Both plants are looking to make their first shipments in September 2025.

In addition to the ¥450 billion, the two companies will shift from sixth-generation to eighth-generation chips at the Yokkaichi plant to capture more demand with the about ¥280 billion invested.

The companies had previously decided on an investment plan in July 2022 for the Yokkaichi plant but postponed it due to a decline in the semiconductor market. They will revise the plan to start production earlier on cutting-edge products. Of the about ¥280 billion to be invested, about ¥93 billion will likely be covered by subsidies.

Demand for state-of-the-art memory is increasing thanks to larger volumes of data and faster processing speeds at data centers and in cars.

The government is supporting the development of semiconductor plants in a bid to boost economic security.