Report: Another Japanese 32nm group emerges

July 26, 2007 – Efforts to develop 32nm semiconductor process technologies is heating up in Japan, where the second rumored partnership in as many days suggests a bifurcation among local industry leaders, according to media reports.

The Nikkei daily, which yesterday broke news of a Toshiba-NEC-Fujitsu 32nm pact, says that there’s another 32nm pair-up in the works, this time involving Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (Panasonic) and Renesas Technology Corp., claiming the two hope to have a deal completed by year’s end. The proposed work also would follow a two-year development schedule, although Matsushita would then pursue manufacturing on its own, to make smaller and more energy-efficient chips for its flat-panel TVs and other home electronics, and perhaps on a contract basis for other electronics manufacturers, the paper noted.

In the previous report, the paper reported that Toshiba Corp., NEC Electronics Corp., and Fujitsu Ltd. plan to jointly develop 32nm process technologies as well as share manufacturing responsibilities and costs. Development would take about two years to complete, followed by mass manufacturing in one or a combination of the partners’ facilities across Japan.

Renesas already has done some preliminary 32nm work, describing a 32nm on-chip SOI SRAM at this year’s VLSI Symposium. At the same time, Matsushita claimed it has begun the “world['s] first” mass production of 45nm LSI chips at its factory in Uozu, central Japan.

Interestingly, Renesas was behind a proposal to form a joint foundry in Japan, but last summer a planning commission determined that the project wouldn’t be profitable enough to compete with established foundry competitors.

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