TSMC forged an alliance with Japan's Sony by establishing a joint venture semiconductor plant in Japan.

TSMC and Sony Semiconductor Solution (SSS), a semiconductor subsidiary of Sony, announced on Nov. 9 that they will jointly build a semiconductor plant in Kumamoto, Japan.

TSMC CEO C.C. Wei unveiled his plan to establish a factory in Japan during the third-quarter earnings conference last month. But at the time, he did not say that Sony will participate as a co-shareholder of the Japanese factory.

TSMC and Sony will jointly establish JASM, the operator of Kumamoto's semiconductor plant, by investing US$7 billion and US$500 million, respectively. Sony will hold a 20 percent stake in the joint venture.

Ground will be broken for the Kumamoto plant in 2022. The plant will start mass production at the end of 2024 and process 45,000 12-inch wafers per month. It will roll out 22-nm to 28-nm semiconductors.

The processes used for the semiconductors are not state-of-the-art in terms of production technology, but they can manufacture products such as image sensors used by Sony in camera products and microcontrollers for vehicles, which have recently been in high demand worldwide.

TSMC and Sony said in the press release that the Japanese government has decided to provide strong support for the construction of the Kumamoto plant.

Earlier, the Japanese government decided to shoulder half of the 37 billion yen that TSMC will invest to build a semiconductor R&D base in Tsukubashi, Ibaraki Prefecture of Japan.