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Sony Says It’s Mulling Participation in TSMC Japan Fab Project

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(Bloomberg) -- Sony Group Corp. confirmed for the first time it may partner with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to set up a semiconductor factory in Japan, where the government has been seeking to shore up domestic chipmaking capabilities to alleviate a supply shortage.

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The company is in discussions with TSMC and the Japanese government to help the Taiwanese chipmaker establish a fab in the country, Sony Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said on an earnings call Thursday. An investment is one of the options being considered, and the company will make an announcement when it has reached a decision, he said.

“Our basic stance is we would provide support for TSMC in setting up and operating a new factory in Japan,” he said. “Deepening the relationship with TSMC will have a big benefit for us.”

TSMC, the world’s No. 1 contract chipmaker, said earlier this month it will build a fabrication facility in Japan, which is expected to start making semiconductors mainly for automobiles starting in late 2024. Local media have reported that the company is considering setting up the facility in Kumamoto prefecture in Kyushu region, where Sony is operating a major image sensor factory for digital cameras.

Read more about TSMC’s plans to set up a Japan fab

Japan’s government is providing financial subsidies to attract investment to its domestic chipmaking industry, after a shortage of the vital components hammered automakers like Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. The Covid-19 pandemic has also accelerated the trend toward digitalization, in which semiconductors play a central role.

Sony, which has been unable to produce enough PlayStation 5s to satisfy demand, kept its forecast for sales of the consoles unchanged on Thursday. Still, the company boosted its full-year operating outlook, citing improvements in its music, movies and electronics businesses.

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