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"Hitachi, Toshiba and Renesas today announced that they have initiated a joint study on the feasibility of an independent semiconductor foundry business offering advanced fabrication processes to which each of the companies could outsource fabrication. The joint study will consider establishing of a planning company, the outline of which is not yet decided."
A Japanese chip house with such impressive backing would aid competition against the likes of Taiwan's TSMC, Intel in the US and a growing Chinese chip presence. The costs of chip fabrication continue to rise, making it difficult for individual companies to fund disparate efforts. Creating a joint foundry would help stretch research and development funds and let the Japanese companies go up against rivals more effectively.