LONDON – The so-called Empowered Committee, set up by the Indian government to get the country into chip manufacturing, has prepared an advertisement inviting potential technology providers and financial investors to make a preliminary expression of interest in setting up semiconductor wafer fabs in India.
Those interested have four weeks to send an email to email@example.com including a profile of the investor consortium, the technology experience, the technology, product and manufacturing proposals and how much money they need and how much they intend to spend.
The advert points out that the Indian government has multi-billion dollar projects to provide 3G, WiMax and 4G access to 600,000 villages around the country and to provide 100G broadband to 20,000 colleges and research institutes.
It adds that India has a strong semiconductor design infrastructure that works on the design of nearly 2,000 chips each year and which employs more than 20,000 engineers engaged in various aspects of chip design and verification. The advert claims it that the total of VLSI design, board and systems hardware design plus embedded software development created a market that was worth $6.5 billion in 2009 and that will be worth $10.6 billion in 2012.
The advert also boasts that India possesses the third largest scientific and technical base in the world with 400 universities producing 200,000 engineering graduates every year.
The Empowered Committee, set up in April, is chartered to help set up at least two wafer fabs at a cost of about $5 billion. Along with identifying technologies and potential investors, the committee will recommend the level of government support for projects and the mix of grants and subsidies. The panel's recommendations are scheduled to be delivered to the Indian government by July 31.
Two earlier commercial initiatives, SemIndia and Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. failed to materialize. As yet there is no indication as to whether the Indian government has any preferred locations where it wants wafer fabs to be built.
The IT agency announced in April that it was considering two fab plans: either a new fab with established technology or acquiring an existing fab and relocating it here. It also is considering taking an equity stake in an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) that would then be prepared to set up an India facility. This would have similarities to the steps being taken by Abu Dhabi where a sovereign wealth fund has the controlling interest in Globalfoundries Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.).
India’s $45 billion electronics market is expected to reach $400 billion by 2020, which could translate into $50 billion in domestic chip demand.
Full foreign direct investment is allowed in Indian fabs, and the government is developing a policy that would give preference to for domestically-produced electronics procured by government agencies. Along with financial incentives, the government would help provide fab infrastructure.
The India Semiconductor Association (ISA) praised the agency’s proposal, but called for the panel reviewing proposals to provide more details. The initiative will build on previous efforts, said ISA president Poornima Shenoy.
Meanwhile, a report by the Hindustan Times said card maker Sandisk is considering whether to create an assembly unit here for digital storage products. SanDisk, which has a design center here, could not be reached for comment.
India is geographically a big country and it is possible to identify areas which are less prone to earthquake.In fact even Taiwan fabs like TSMC,UMC are also in earthquake prone zone and even they can move some production to India.
@Atul excellent idea. I totally agree with your opinion. I would not be surprised 15 years down the line most of the fabs would operate from India (if indian govt is serious about semiconductor growth). We all know how IT industry grew in India. India has got lof of engineering talent, all that is needed is will to implement the project.
Are you suggesting India should stop launching satellites because there are already too many of them in the space ? I find you logic pretty wague. India needs fab because it has to mark its presence in the world of semiconductor. We all know what happened to Japanese fab during Tsuname, all of them were shut down. Its good to diversify fab location so that we dont encounter those shutdowns again.
After recent earthquakes in Japan , they must be planning to derisk future Semiconductor production by shifting some of the fabs out of Japan . Indian government should approach top Japanese Semiconductor manufacturers to relocate some of their fabs to India . This will be a win-win situation for India and Japan . India will not start from scratch for their fabs and Japan will find a place for its fab which is less earthquake prone. Additionally , Japan can try to get a big share of USD50 billion Indian Semiconductor market being projected.
You point out to the "hurdles" correctly. But, what I dont understand is the disproportionate and overwheling cynicism. Why does everyone sound gloomy about attempts beyond mediocrity? Is it the nation that makes the citizens or the citizens who make the nation?
The new agency is not chartered to help set up many fabs. It would be a strategic step in the technology ecosystem of the country to have at least one semiconductor wafer fab. facility. It will boost the semiconductor design/electronics design community too. I agree there is a sense of dis-belief and bias to the article, but Indian Govt. and its policies have long been too farcical and one would expect such skepticism from even the most neutral observers.
I would suggest that if it made economic sense then a fab would be built, otherwise it could be an expensive project. On the other hand, it would have been nice to have alternate fab sources as insurance against earthquakes prone Japan given the significant numbers of fabs there. Perhaps, some automakers would be interested in setting up fabs in India as a hedge against natural or man made disasters? Just a though.