EmergingTech from Japan

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The book-to-bill ratio of Japan-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment was 0.87 in March, according to the book-to-bill ratio report issued by the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ). The ratio dropped below 1 after 11 consecutive months above 1, as billing, surged to the highest level in six years.
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Fujitsu Ltd. and Panasonic Corp. have agreed to establish a fabless JV this autumn by integrating their system-on-chip LSI design businesses, using investment by the Development Bank of Japan for that purpose, media reported.
I was born and bred in Yokohama, where my family has been running a busy restaurant specializing in delicious soba noodles, a Japanese favorite, for more than 130 years. Looking back to my childhood, I have vivid memories of workers from factories across the Keihin Industrial Zone* dropping into our shop to eat, drink, talk about everything under the sun and generally have a good time.
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April 1 looms large in the Japanese calendar. For government and most companies it signaled the start of fiscal 2014. This year the date had added significance because consumption tax jumped from 5% to 8% on that day. There are fears that the tax hike will be like a bucket of cold water chucked over the Japanese economy, which after marking time for more than 20 years, is at last showing signs of renewed vitality.
Semiconductor production equipment manufacturers' expectations of the post-sales business, including refurbishing used equipment and after-sales services, are on the rise as they endeavor to turn it into a major revenue stream. This is certainly true of Canon, whose imminent acquisition of Austin, Texas-based Molecular Imprints Inc., a nanoimprint system manufacturer, indicates its aggressive plans concerning leading-edge lithography systems.
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Apple Inc. is negotiating with Renesas with a view to acquiring the Japanese company's subsidiary Renesas SP Drivers Inc., attracted by its technology, Nikkei reported from Silicon Valley.
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Panasonic Corp. announced a new sales target of 10 trillion yen (US$100 million*) for fiscal 2019**, its centennial year, and what's more, aims to hit that number mainly on the strength of businesses other than consumer electronics, signaling dramatic change for an enterprise that has traditionally been synonymous with consumer electronics.
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Nikon Corp., which has promised to ship a 450mm tool in 2015, intends to boost ArF immersion lithography technology with its newly announced NSR-S630D for 300mm lines and is positioning the upcoming 450mm tool as an extension of ArF technology.
Mitsubishi Electric Corp. launched its new Power Device Innovation Center earlier this month to concentrate development, design and sales of power devices at its Power Device Works in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka prefecture. Thus, sales, design and development operations for power devices are now integrated under one roof alongside the company's manufacturing plant for these products. The center represents investment totaling 2.5 billion yen (US$25 million).
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The book-to-bill ratio of Japan-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment was 1.12 in February, according to the book-to-bill ratio report issued by the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ).

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