NEC is sticking its corporate neck out with the construction of a $1.4 billion semiconductor factory in Roseville, California, despite the slump in its native Japan.
The company's figures have been hit hard by the drop in demand for PCs in Japan and by falling memory prices, but although most Japanese companies are cutting investment to the point where some analysts fear they may lose their market position, NEC seems to be taking the reverse approach.
The Roseville plant will be built on the site of an existing NEC operation, and is aiming at producing 256Mbit and 1Gbit Dram memory chips. It will open in 2002, with initial production targeted at 20,000 units a month.
The new plant seems to signify a U-turn in NEC's strategy. It was reported in Japan last December that the company would cut investment this year, but now it looks increasingly likely that NEC has decided to join Samsung in betting heavily on the next generation.
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