20210601 EP6 科科人回歸 經濟學人本日濃縮 日經亞洲 TSMC在日本半導體投資計劃


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  1. Chinese parents will soon be allowed to have a third child (see main stories). The move was one of a range of measures introduced by the Communist Party’s Politburo to manage the rapid ageing of China’s population. The party’s leadership also agreed to raise the retirement age and to improve pensions and health care for the elderly.
  2. The World Health Organisation will use the Greek alphabet to refer to variants of SARS-CoV-2. “Variants of concern” first detected in Britain (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P.1) and India (B.1.617.2) will be labelled Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta following the order in which they were first reported. The WHO hopes the system will lessen the stigma on countries detecting new strains.
  3. Peru changed the way it calculates covid-19 deaths. In the process its official mortality rate from the disease became the world’s highest, nearly tripling to 500 per 100,000 people. A lack of testing meant the disease had been dramatically undercounted in the country. The new figures are in line with its excess-death rate—an often more robust measurement which is rarely incorporated into official covid statistics.
  4. The OECD revised up its forecast for world economic growth this year from 4.2% to 5.8%. Expansion of 4.4% next year will bring GDP in most places back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022. The club of mostly rich countries advised governments to switch their efforts from emergency-stimulus schemes towards long-term investment programmes.
  5. Annual inflation in Germany reached 2.4% in May. Up from 2.1% in April, the figure was much higher than economists had forecast. The country’s central bank predicts that inflation “could temporarily reach 4%” at the end of the year, the highest level the country has seen since it adopted the euro in 2002.
  6. The yuan fell against other currencies after China’s central bank forced banks to hold a greater share of their foreign exchange in reserve. The increase, from 5% to 7%, in effect reduces the supply of dollars and other currencies in the country. The move is intended to rein in the yuan’s surging value, caused by a strong post-lockdown economic recovery.
  7. At least 50 people were killed in two attacks in Ituri province in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Local officials blamed ADF, a Ugandan Islamist group with ties to ISIS that has been terrorising the region. In a bid to restore peace in early May President Felix Tshisekedi placed Ituri and the neighbouring province of North Kivu under martial law.

TOKYO -- The Japanese government on Monday was set to finalize a plan in which it has enlisted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to develop cutting-edge chipmaking technologies in Japan.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been concerned about the Japanese semiconductor industry's declining position in the global market, which led it to seek TSMC's cooperation.
TSMC, the world's biggest contract chipmaker, intends to bear around half the project's cost of about 37 billion yen ($337 million). Over 20 Japanese companies -- including Ibiden, which is strong in chip packaging -- will participate.
The Japanese government -- which intends to establish a joint public-private sector concern to cooperate with TSMC -- expects the effort to pay off with improved international competitiveness for Japanese industry.
Construction of a trial facility will begin this summer at the earliest at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. Full-blown research and development work will begin as early as 2022.
The chip industry is nearing limits in some crucial areas, including in the thinning of wires so semiconductors can have ever greater processing power.
Now the Taiwanese company, which has led the global industry in miniaturization, is embarking on another strategy to make the more powerful and sophisticated chips of tomorrow -- cooperate with Japanese companies and harness their strengths in materials and manufacturing equipment.
Part of TSMC's plan is to come up with so-called 3D packaging technology -- which vertically layers semiconductors -- and to do so in Japan.
Ibiden is a global leader in packaging technology.
Other companies participating in the project include Asahi Kasei, a materials maker known for its ultrathin wiring; Shin-Etsu Chemical, which makes a new heat-dissipating material; Nagase & Co., a molding materials specialist; and Shibaura Mechatronics, a manufacturing equipment producer.
There is a significant advantage for Japan's atrophying semiconductor industry to collaborate with TSMC, and the Japanese government intends to partially finance the project by using a fund established to promote the development of next-generation semiconductors.
It is likely that Japan is cooperating with TSMC on the condition that the Taiwanese company set up a manufacturing operation in Japan.

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