Canon’s Chief Executive Officer Fujio Mitarai said his outfit’s new nanoimprint technology would open up a way for smaller semiconductor makers to produce advanced chips, now almost wholly the domain of the sector's biggest firms.
"The price will be a digit less than ASML's EUVs," Mitarai said, although he said that a final pricing decision had not been made.
Veldhoven, Netherlands-based ASML is the only supplier of extreme ultraviolet lithography tools, the world's most advanced chipmaking machines costing hundreds of millions of dollars each.
The product of decades of research and investment, EUV rigs are essential for mass-producing the fastest and most energy-efficient chips, which cram millions of transistors into every square millimeter of silicon.
Only a handful of cash-rich companies can afford to invest in the tools, which are now under scrutiny for their linchpin status in the tech supply chain.
To make matters worse, ASML is banned from exporting EUV systems to Chinese customers, following US pressure on its allies to restrict technology flows to Beijing.