ASML Holding N.V., a Dutch semiconductor equipment manufacturer, has announced its plans to establish a support center in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost main island, by 2024. This support center will collaborate with Rapidus Corp., a recently-established Japanese chip producer.

a rendered image of the completed site of a Rapidus Corp. factory being constructed in Chitose, Hokkaido. (Courtesy of Rapidus Corp., with cooperation of Kajima Corp.)

Around 40 to 50 engineers from ASML will be deployed to the city of Chitose, where they will focus on providing technical support to Rapidus. ASML is renowned for its production of lithography machines, which are critical in the chip-making process. Notably, ASML is the sole manufacturer of extreme ultraviolet lithography tools used in the manufacturing of advanced chips. Additionally, the company offers maintenance services to its customers.

Rapidus Corp. was formed last year by eight prominent Japanese companies, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Group Corp., with the objective of establishing a domestic source of next-generation semiconductors. The Japanese government fully supports the venture, recognizing its significance in enhancing supply chain and economic stability.

Rapidus recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for its factory in Chitose, where it aims to produce cutting-edge 2-nanometer chips. Test production is planned to commence in April 2025.