NEC and Hitachi last week signed an agreement to form a joint venture, NEC-Hitachi Memory, to develop and market advanced DRAM chips.
The agreement will initially be capitalised at 500 million yen ($7.7 million), but this will be raised to 2 billion yen ($30.8 million) in March. Company operations are scheduled to begin in April.
Officials from the two companies said they expect the new company to have a 20 per cent share of the worldwide market by 2003, and for sales to hit 50 billion yen in fiscal year 2000 and 350 billion yen in fiscal year 2001.
NEC-Hitachi Memory will initially work on development of next-generation 256Mb and 512Mb DRAM chips for production on the 0.13 micron process.
By the end of 2000 the new company is also scheduled to have an integrated sales organisation that under a joint brand will sell both newly developed chips as well as existing NEC and Hitachi DRAMs.
The joint venture hopes to accomplish several goals for the partners. One of the main benefits will be a sharing of the burden of development costs for new chips.
As companies race to get more memory onto each chip, they must work to ever smaller scales; with each step up in resolution, development becomes increasingly expensive as scientists get ever closer to fundamental physical limits.www.hitachi.co.jp www.nec.co.jp