Toshiba to Invest $6.6 Billion in New Chip Plant


Japanese electronics conglomerate Toshiba will spend more than 700 billion yen ($6.6 billion) to build a new NAND flash memory factory in northern Japan, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Thursday.

Toshiba said that nothing had been decided.

The world's No. 2 maker of NAND flash memory chips, used for data storage in portable electronics such as Apple's iPod digital media player devices, has said that it hopes to get its next plant onstream by the time its most recent plant hits maximum capacity in fiscal 2009.

It has been considering several different sites in Japan for the plant, expected to have capacity of at least 200,000 wafers a month. The candidates raised have included Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan and Fukuoka Prefecture in southwestern Japan.

Under consideration are power procurement, tax breaks, logistics, ease in finding engineers and vulnerability to earthquakes, sources briefed on the matter said.

Toshiba, which makes microchips with partner SanDisk, held 27 percent of the NAND market in 2007, according to research firm iSuppli. It aims to boost output capacity to overtake market leader Samsung Electronics of South Korea, which held 42 percent.

Shares of Toshiba were down 3.3 percent at the midday break, against a 0.8 percent fall in the benchmark Nikkei 225 Average.