Japanese electronics maker Toshiba plans to invest about 500 billion yen (4.3 billion dollars) in a new plant to triple production of flash memory chips.
Toshiba, the second-largest player in the global market for flash memory chips, aims to catch up with industry leader Samsung Electronics of South Korea with the new facility, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
The company will start building by the year end a fourth facility at its key flash memory plant in the southwestern Japanese city of Yokkaichi to begin production as early as 2007, the business daily reported.
The new facility will produce NAND-type flash memory chips to meet fast-growing demand for use in mobile phones, USB memory devices, MP3 music players, digital cameras and memory cards, it added.
Toshiba has formed a business partnership with US Sundisk, which will shoulder a portion of the investment, the newspaper added.
A Toshiba spokesman confirmed that the home appliance manufacturer was considering boosting investment to increase its flash memory production but was unable to give details.
"We've not decided on which plant but it's true that we're considering making some investment to raise the production of flash memory chips because the market for NAND-type chips is growing," he said.
Last month, Toshiba said it planned to invest a record 289 billion yen in its semiconductor business this fiscal year due to the popularity of mobile telephones, portable music players and digital cameras.
The spokesman was unable to say whether the reported investment of 500 billion yen in the new plant was part of that planned spending.