On February 28, Rapidus Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, announced plans to build a new state-of-the-art semiconductor plant at the Chitose Bibi World industrial park in Chitose City. Meeting with Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki at the Hokkaido Government Building, Rapidus President and CEO Atsuyoshi Koike enthused, “We are building an unprecedented factory. Creating a plant of this magnitude in Hokkaido poses a significant challenge.” He also mentioned the company’s plan to integrate AI and other cutting-edge technologies. Construction of the new plant will begin as early as fiscal 2023, with investments of approximately five trillion yen.
The plant will comprise several buildings that will be constructed on a vast plot of land situated in the southeastern part of Chitose Bibi World. Concerning the first building, the company expects to complete a pilot line in the first half of 2025 and launch a mass production line in the second half of the 2020s. The project will require a total investment of some five trillion yen: two trillion yen to develop the technology and three trillion yen to establish a mass production line.
Rapidus will employ 500 to 600 engineers in the mass production phase. The site area of the new plant will ultimately cover 100 hectares, where several thousand workers and other personnel will be employed. Construction is slated to start in April or later. The company aims to mass-manufacture next-generation chips with a circuit line width of 2 nanometer (nano means 1 billionth), essential for self-driving vehicle and other cutting-edge technologies, by 2027.
Governor Suzuki articulated his understanding for the need to cooperate with Rapidus to complete the plant, stating, “The plant requires investments amounting to trillions of yen, the largest such project in Hokkaido’s history. We will promptly establish a support framework.” He also remarked, “I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to embrace the challenge of Hokkaido-produced chips bolstering the livelihoods of our citizens.”
In the afternoon of the same day, President Koike visited Chitose to inform Mayor Kotaro Yamaguchi of his company’s decision regarding the construction site. Mayor Yamaguchi expressed his gratitude to Koike for the opportunity to contribute to a national project, acknowledging that the selection of the city was due to its abundant water resources and excellent accessibility, including its proximity to New Chitose Airport.
Rapidus will also provide a comfortable living environment for engineers and other employees. A cluster of related businesses, including material suppliers, maintenance services, and security management firms, will potentially be located near the new plant to support the research and manufacturing efforts.
(Excerpt from an article on March 1, 2023)
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