Idled factories repurposed to boost chip output in Japan

NHK -- Nov 14

Japanese manufacturers are repurposing idle factories to expand their production capacity of semiconductors used in electric vehicles. Remodeling existing plants is faster than building new ones from scratch.

Chipmaker Renesas Electronics is spending 90 billion yen, or nearly 600 million dollars, to refurbish a factory in central Japan that was shuttered in 2014.

The company is equipping the plant in Yamanashi Prefecture with clean rooms and other facilities with a view to starting production next April.

Another chipmaker, Rohm, has acquired a former solar panel factory further south, in Miyazaki Prefecture. It plans to start rolling out semiconductors there next year.

In nearby Kumamoto Prefecture, Mitsubishi Electric is planning to convert one of its plants where output of liquid crystal displays ended last year.