Toshiba Corp. plans to start mass-producing semiconductors with circuit widths of 90 nanometers, the narrowest in the world, this spring, company officials said Thursday.

The chips will be about half the size of chips with circuit widths of 130 nanometers — the highest level of integration currently available — and their data processing speed will be around 20 percent faster, the officials said.

A nanometer is equivalent to one-billionth of a meter.

They will also consume 40 percent less energy than 130-nanometer chips and will contribute to the production of even smaller household appliances, according to the officials.

Toshiba will start mass-producing the new chips at its plant in Oita and will market them for use in digital household appliances and game consoles, they said.

Toshiba’s move is likely to spur fierce competition among chip makers.

U.S. chip maker Intel Corp. has announced plans to mass-produce 90-nanometer chips, while Fujitsu Ltd. may start manufacturing them as early as the summer.

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