Renesas Electronics Corporation will make active investments to ensure a stable supply of semiconductors, President Shibata Hidetoshi said in an interview with the Nikkei Shimbun on Sept. 1. Renesas will resume its large-scale investments that had been put off for the past several years. Over the next three years, Renesas plans to allocate more than 10 billion yen for retrofitting facilities so they can withstand natural disasters and a considerable amount of money for boosting the company’s production capacity. A British firm that Renesas acquired in August will help the company accelerate its automation and promote IoT connectivity at its factories. They hope to achieve synergy by producing a combination of products that will allow them to earn approximately 36 billion yen in profit.
Semiconductors, including the “Micon” motion-control chip that is Renesas’s core product, are in short supply globally. Shibata expects supply and demand for semiconductors to become more balanced by the first half of 2022. To establish a stable supply chain for the mid-to-long term, production plans need to be more predictable, Shibata says. He expects that manufacturers will increasingly base their production plans on confirmed orders (as opposed to unofficial orders) and that longer waiting periods before delivery will become more commonplace.
Renesas purchased the British firm Dialog Semiconductor in late August for roughly 620 billion yen. Renesas also acquired the U.S. firms Intersil and Integrated Device Technology (IDT) in 2017 and in 2019, respectively. Through these investments, totaling about 1.6 trillion yen, Renesas focused on the field of analog signals, such as voltage, electric current, and frequency. The company offers these products in combination with its key product, Micon.
Renesas’s strategic focus on analog technology has enabled the company to remain a technological leader in the field among its competitors overseas. Although Chinese firms are growing increasingly competitive in the power chip and memory chip markets, it is “harder for them to catch up [in the field of analog signals] compared with other semiconductor fields,” according to Shibata, as processing analog signals requires the accumulation of special technology and knowhow. As such, the field is recognized as an important component of the government’s semiconductor strategy. (Abridged)