Japan has approved up to ¥590 billion ($3.9 billion) in subsidies to chip venture Rapidus, committing more money to its ambition of catching up in semiconductor manufacturing.

The additional funding will help Rapidus buy chipmaking equipment and also develop advanced back-end chipmaking processes, economy minister Ken Saito said.

The amount is on top of billions of yen in public money the 19-month-old startup has already received in its long-shot bid to mass produce chips in Hokkaido and compete with leaders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics.