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TSMC tie-up puts spotlight on Japan's hidden chip champions

Taiwanese star enlists Ibiden, JSR and others for energy-saving 3D integration

A Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. fab: The company has established a research hub in Japan. (Photo courtesy of TSMC)

TOKYO -- Japan's semiconductor industry has attracted newfound attention as the race to build ever more powerful chips pushes development in a new direction: up.

Japan's concentration of the technology needed to stack chip layers has drawn the world's biggest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., into a new research and development center in the country. TSMC will partner with some of the top semiconductor industry players here, including chip packaging provider Ibiden, materials supplier JSR and cutting device maker Disco.

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