India is set to get ambitious and competitive by building a world-class semiconductor facility, similar to Taiwan’s Hsinchu or Singapore’s Woodlands Wafer Fab Park. This will surely give India a major push as there is a global shortage of chips since 2020 and this has impacted world economies. Currently, Taiwan as per Boston Consulting estimates accounts for 92% of the world’s most advanced semiconductor manufacturing capacity.
Saurabh Gaur, a joint secretary in the Ministry of Electronics & IT, believes there is enough economic rationale for India to build a modern fab. He highlighted that global brands like Apple, Dell, Samsung, Acer, HP and Asus have shown interest in manufacturing their electronic products in India through the production linked incentive (PLI) schemes.
Gaur says India’s share of global electronics manufacturing will rise from 3.5% now to 10%, or about $300 billion in four to five years. He said manufacturing semiconductor components from the India fab should have better control of their supply chains. The minister attributed the optimism to the larger semiconductor policy. This will be driven in a mission mode by a professional body with guidance from Indian and global experts.
Moreover, there are plans for small fabs and chip packaging units, plus attractive incentives for chip design and research in semiconductors. It will be directed towards creating Indian companies in chip design and semiconductor products. Satya Gupta, president of the VLSI Society of India, said there’s a global perception that India does not have a good infrastructure. “So it’s important to pre-build a fab park in one location where we build power, water, a place for gases, for chemicals, easy customs, easy logistics and transportation. While the fab is getting ready, India should identify and focus on some areas of good market demand, where India also has the technology and some level of manufacturing capability.” Gupta says LED driver chips can be manufactured with the technology India has.
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Sambit Sahu, VP of network and edge group at Intel, said applications around AI, 5G and IoT will need more and more differentiated chips to be built. He pointed out that AI is trying to mimic the human brain but it still doesn’t match even 1% of the brain. “So you can imagine how far we have to go. India can lead in product development in areas where there is huge domestic demand, particularly in the areas of healthcare, education and agriculture.”