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Technology

Chipmaker Renesas extends China reach with FAW research lab

Japanese company positions itself for growth in booming EV market

Renesas Electronics and FAW Group will develop smart driving systems that will be installed in FAW's Hongqi line of vehicles.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics has established a joint research center in China with local automaker FAW Group to develop technologies for electric and self-driving cars in the world's biggest auto market.

The partnership "will drive further development and innovation for China's automotive industry," Tomomitsu Maoka, chairman of Renesas Electronics China, said in a statement Wednesday. The lab opened Dec. 1 in Changchun.

Renesas will contribute its high-performance automotive processors, an area the company is strong in, as well as system chips and software. The first fruits of the development tie-up will go into FAW's flagship Hongqi brand of vehicles.

The Chinese government aims to have all new vehicles sold in 2035 be all-electric, hybrid or fuel-cell vehicles. Renesas has been busy staking out a position in China in anticipation of a long-term growth for the local automotive semiconductor market.

Last year, Renesas set up another joint research center with SAIC Volkswagen Automobile, a joint venture between Volkswagen and Shanghai-based automaker SAIC Motor.

Renesas generates half its revenue from its automotive business, and its shareholders include Toyota Motor, one of the companies that contributed to a rescue of the then-struggling chipmaker in 2013.

Its peers in the Japanese electronics industry are also building up their presence in components for the world's increasingly wired cars.

Toshiba and Fuji Electric will invest a combined 200 billion yen ($1.9 billion) to ramp up output of power-saving chips for electric vehicles, Nikkei reported Tuesday.

Murata Manufacturing, a key supplier of components for smartphones, has used its knack for miniaturization to produce specialty capacitors for automobiles.

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