Japan's Kyocera said Monday it will invest $9.8 billion in chips over the next five years, as the country looks to take advantage of a global semiconductor boom. Japan is now the leading investor in chips, according to a new report from market research firm IC Insights.
For the first time since 2011, Japan surpassed South Korea as the leading investor in semiconductors. The country’s chip market has grown by $1 billion over the past year and is expected to grow by another $10 billion by 2024.
The US remains the largest consumer of semiconductors with a spend of $173 billion last year but is expected to see its share of chip spending drop from its current 50% due to increased spending on mobile devices and automotive electronics.
The chipmaker said it would increase its investments in equipment and semiconductors by 50 percent to $9.8 billion from fiscal 2020 through fiscal 2025. It also plans to spend about $1 billion on research and development for chip technologies during that period.
Kyocera's announcement comes after rival Renesas Electronics Corp said it would spend $7 billion on chipmaking and other technologies over the next five years to better compete with rivals such as Intel Corp and Nvidia Corp."
They will invest in semiconductors and raw materials over the next five years, a rise from its earlier plan to increase chip spending to $8 billion over the same period.
The Japanese company will also spend another $1 billion on research and development in FY 2023-25, Kyocera said Thursday in a statement. The investment is on top of the company's previously planned chip spending of $5 billion per year.
The new plans, which are subject to approval by shareholders, mark an expansion of Kyocera's chip business after it announced plans late last year to focus on future semiconductor technologies.
The company said in a statement on Monday that it plans to increase its wafer capacity by 20 percent annually between 2019 and 2021, adding 200,000 wafer starts every year.
Kyocera also plans to increase its manufacturing capacity for memory chips from 2020, but did not provide details on how much it would invest or what kind of technology it would use.
The chipmaker has struggled with a slowdown in demand for smartphones for several years and announced last month that it had lost the No. 1 ranking in the global smartphone market to Taiwanese rival Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (00250.HK).
Japan's Kyocera Corp investment of $9.8 billion in chip production will definitely help all the industries and the chipmakers itself , dependence on sales of flat-panel displays and smartphones, Kyocera said Wednesday.
The investment is part of an overall plan by Kyocera to increase its manufacturing facilities, which include semiconductor plants in Japan and China, as well as one in Germany, to meet increased demand for chips used in mobile devices and other electronic products over the next five years.
Kyocera last year bought U.S.-based MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., a maker of NAND flash memory chips used in mobile devices and other electronics applications. The acquisition added $1 billion in annual sales when combined with its existing business, according to its website. Japan is now the leading investor in chips. The country has been investing more than $1 billion in semiconductor companies every year for the past two years.
This is a huge shift from just a few years ago, when Japan was reluctant to invest in semiconductors, preferring to focus on its traditional markets of robotics, robotics and industrial automation. But that strategy changed as the world's biggest chipmakers lured top engineers away from Japanese firms with better pay packages and perks like company cars, according to people familiar with the matter.
The shift is also a reflection of an increasingly globalized semiconductor industry that has made it easier for companies outside Japan to compete with their home-grown rivals.