Micron Begins Mass Production of Advanced DRAM Memory Chip in Japan

Memory chip maker Micron on Wednesday began mass production of its new low-power 1-beta dynamic access memory (DRAM) chips at its plant in Hiroshima, Japan. Both the US Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, and Japanese officials attended a ceremony in Hiroshima to mark the beginning of the major effect, highlighting the growing political importance of semiconductors for both allies.

Earlier this month, Micron said it began sending samples of its most advanced DRAM chip based on LPDDR5X, a low-power double data rate of 5X, standard to smartphone makers for testing.

At the time, the company said it was able to achieve 1-beta production technology without using expensive ultraviolet, or EUV, lithography tools, which are used in the latest chip processors in high-end smartphones.

The production of Micron’s most advanced chip, which can store a third more data than older chips, comes as Japan tries to revive and modernize its once-powerful chip industry.

Emanuel said on Twitter that Wednesday’s launch is an example of how the two countries are “committed to strengthening semiconductor supply chains” and national security together.

The former mayor of Chicago is focused on strengthening trade relations between the two countries to protect supply chains and break dependence on China.

Tokyo is concerned that growing trade tensions between the United States and China could cause shortages of semiconductors needed by automakers and other manufacturers.

The Japanese government in September gave Micron JPY 46.5 billion (about Rs. 2,709 crore) to increase production capacity at its plant.

In July it offered JPY 93 billion (about Rs. 5,417 crore) in funding to rival memory makers Kioxia and Western Digital to help them expand production at their joint venture in Japan.

DRAM chips are widely used in data centers, personal computers and other devices.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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