Fujitsu, NEC, Docomo, square up to Qualcomm

Fujitsu, Docomo, and NEC Corp have formed a smartphone chip company – Access Network Technology Ltd – which aims to cut reliance on foreign companies and promises to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Qualcomm.

Fujitsu will own the majority shares, at 52.8 percent. Originally it planned to go ahead with the venture on its own, but NTT Docomo and NEC will have 19.9 percent and 17.8 percent of the company, respectively. Fujitsu Semiconductor will account for 9.5 percent. The company will launch with approximately 85 employees. 

Access Network Technology hopes to gain as much as seven percent in share for global smartphone  chips by 2014, a lofty goal considering the competitive marketplace. The company will focus on chips for wireless communications and signals, as well as investing in research for future LTE products and future generations of networking technology.

The companies have said that chip production will be outsourced, but not where. However, Fujitsu promises that the companies will collaborate to develop “industry leading communications platform products,” and will “provide customers with highly competitive products”.  We have approached Qualcomm for comment. 

Sections of the Japanese electronics industry have been having a hard time of it lately – the yen is too strong for many to remain competitive, and native chipmaker Renesas has just been saved by fellow countrymen at Mitsubishi. Elpida had to file for bankruptcy, and Toshiba had to slash its own chip production.