SAN FRANCISCO—Toshiba Corp. said it established a semiconductor design house, STI Semiconductor Design Brasil Ltda., as a joint venture with Semp Toshiba Informática Ltda. (STIL), a Brazilian Toshiba affiliate.
The joint venture is based on a memorandum of understanding signed last December, reinforcing cooperation in economic and industrial development between the Brazilian and Japanese governments, including the cultivation of a Brazilian semiconductor industry, Toshiba said.
Brazil, the world's fifth most populous nation, has for years been pushing for the establishment of a domestic semiconductor industry. The country is home to more than a dozen fabless design houses, and several multinational chip companies have operations there. Last year, Ceitec SA, a Brazilian-government back semiconductor startup, opened a six-inch chip fab in the southern city of Porte Alegre with great fanfare.
The Brazilian government has also been pushing for multinational chip firms to establish fabs in Brazil. In a speech last year at the Ceitec fab grand opening, former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva stopped just short of a accusing Japan of reneging on a promise to build a fab in Brazil. Some people believe that Toshiba agreed to locate a fab in Brazil in exchange for Brazil adopting Japan's ISDB-T digital TV standard in 2006.
STI Semiconductor Design Brasil will be based in São Paulo, Brazil's most populous city, Toshiba said. The JV will be headed by Afonso Antonio Hennel, the president of STIL, Toshiba said. The JV will be capitalized with $4 million and be 70 percent owned by STIL and 30 percent owned by Toshiba, according to Toshiba.
The new company will initially design radio frequency ICs, widely used devices that are expected to see demand growth in Brazil, Toshiba said.