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Ex-Elpida chief sets up China-backed Japan-Taiwan venture

TOKYO -- A former Elpida Memory president has established a new company to develop next-generation memory, combining Japanese and Taiwanese technology with China's financial clout.

     Sino King Technology, set up by Yukio Sakamoto, will be a key part of a roughly 800 billion yen ($7 billion) project by the Chinese city of Hefei to build a plant to churn out cutting-edge semiconductors. The company will develop memory chips and supply production technology. The first step will be designing low-power DRAM chips needed for Internet of Things technology, with mass production slated to start as early as the second half of 2017.

     China's central government has set up a roughly 120 billion yuan ($18.3 billion) fund to foster the country's chipmaking industry, and regional governments have set up their own funds. Sino King plans to specialize in design and production technology while leaving plant investments in the billions of dollars to China in a cross-border division of labor.

     The company was formed with 10 Japanese and Taiwanese engineers. It plans to hire experts in design and production technology, mainly from Japan, Taiwan and China, aiming to employ around 1,000 engineers.

     Elpida was acquired in 2013 by U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology and renamed Micron Memory Japan in 2014.


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