Canon to build $350 million factory for key chip devices | Whuff News

(Bloomberg) — Canon Inc. will spend more than $50 billion ($350 million) to build a plant in central Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture to expand its existing lithography machines for chip manufacturing.

Construction will begin in Utsunomiya in 2023 and the factory will open in 2025, Canon spokesman Hiroki Kobayashi told Bloomberg News by phone on Wednesday. The company may use it to produce next-generation chip manufacturing tools — around a technique it calls nanoimprint — but that technology is still under development, so it hasn’t made a final decision yet, Kobayashi said.

Lithography machines are critical tools in the chip manufacturing process. Washington has confirmed that China cannot buy the most advanced lithography technology from industry leader ASML Holding NV, and is ramping up efforts to further restrict its use of China’s more mature lithography equipment.

The US is about to announce new limits on chip technology exports to China.

Tokyo-based Canon, its compatriot Nikon Corp., and the Netherlands’ ASML are involved in the supply of chip manufacturing gear and products used to make immature semiconductors at mature production nodes. Canon’s lithography machines can only make chips as small as 130 nanometers, a technology first used 20 years ago, according to China’s Founder Securities.

Canon’s move to build a new plant shows that it expects sustained demand for older chip technology.

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