SAN FRANCISCO — In an innovative effort to defray the enormous cost of modern computer chip factories, Texas Instruments announced Thursday that it had enlisted the government of Singapore, Hewlett-Packard and Japan's Canon Inc. as partners in a $330-million chip-making joint venture.
The venture is one of the few American high-technology efforts in which a government entity is participating as an equity partner, and it is also one of the first to link a major chip vendor with major computer systems suppliers.
Many developing countries--and even some industrialized nations such as Ireland--have aggressively sought semiconductor investment on the grounds that chip-making forms a key part of an electronics industry infrastructure. In most cases, including a major Texas Instruments factory in southern Italy, incentives are limited to things such as tax breaks and infrastructure improvements.
Len Hills, an analyst with Dataquest, noted that the Singapore government had previously invested in a chip venture called Charter Semiconductor, and that the government of Taiwan holds a large share in a firm that produces chips for other companies. But he and other analysts said they did not know of any other such government investments.