Rapidus, a semiconductor company in Japan, is seeking American partners to help secure profitability amidst financial challenges. The company had set a goal to mass-produce advanced 2-nanometer semiconductor chips by 2027, but despite significant investments, it has struggled to secure customers for these chips. Rapidus CEO Atsuyoshi Koike revealed that discussions had begun with companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. While Japan's semiconductor manufacturing process technology has stalled at the 4-nanometer level, Rapidus aims to begin mass production of 2-nanometer chips in 2027.
However, the development and production costs of these advanced chips are a significant burden on Rapidus. To reduce research and development costs, the company is collaborating with IBM on transistor structure research. Additionally, Rapidus needs to construct modern semiconductor manufacturing facilities, which will cost tens of trillions of won. It is projected that starting pre-production of 2-nanometer chips in 2025 and mass production in 2027 will cost about US$35 billion. To cover these costs, Rapidus is seeking orders from multinational companies like Apple, Google, and Meta.
Rapidus plans to focus on about five client companies initially and gradually expand. This approach may complicate the competition for Samsung Foundry, which is chasing TSMC in the advanced chip market. Intel, another major player in the industry, has also expressed its commitment to mass-produce advanced chips under 2 nanometers globally. While Samsung and TSMC have implemented the 3-nanometer process, Rapidus' approach to 2-nanometer chip clients does not immediately concern them. However, if Rapidus successfully implements the 2-nanometer technology, it could pose a threat to Samsung and TSMC's market share.