More Trouble For Semiconductor Industry's Revival as Japanese Chipmakers See Engineers Shortage

  • Japan’s leading semiconductor makers, from Toshiba Corp TOSYY to Sony Group Corp SONY, warned against a crisis of engineers threatening the government’s push to revive its domestic chip industry, the Financial Times reports.
  • The Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association highlighted how the sector’s success hinged on securing enough talent. 
  • The group expected eight big producers to hire about 35,000 engineers in the next ten years to keep up with the pace of investment. 
  • Japan ceded its dominance to companies in South Korea, Taiwan, and China following a ravaging trade conflict with the U.S. triggering mass lay-offs of engineers following the global financial meltdown in 2008. A Tokyo University professor ascribed the crisis to the dearth of engineers.
  • An expert said that students studying semiconductors prefer financial institutions or tech companies as the chip industry has lost its sheen.
  • Therefore, Toshiba, Sony, and others bonded with the best science departments and ramped up funding for chip research and recruitment.
  • U.S. and Japanese governments had expressed their support for the industry. 
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd TSM bonded with Sony over an $8.6 billion plant on the southern island of Kyushu and looked to hire 1,700 workers for the facility. The government offered subsidies of up to ¥476 billion ($3.5 billion). 
  • Kioxia and joint venture partner Western Digital Corp WDC spent ¥1 trillion on a factory in central Japan and looked to allocate another ¥1 trillion for a factory in northern Japan. 
  • Renesas Electronics Corp RNECY looks to invest ¥90 billion to reopen a factory to expand the production of semiconductors used in electric vehicles.

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