By Ayushman Baruah
As the world grapples with a severe shortage of chipsets, global semiconductor companies are expanding their research and development (R&D) footprint in India. Although semiconductor manufacturing in India is still in its infancy, the country has always been a strong base for semiconductor chip design, a software-intensive field.
Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of digital consumer products, which has increased our reliance on electronics, creating a new wave of growth for the semiconductor industry.
To meet this growing demand, the Indian government in December 2021 introduced an incentive program worth Rs 76,000 crore to attract international semiconductor and display manufacturers with the aim to make the country a global chip manufacturing hub.
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The American company Applied Materials recently invested $50 million to establish an R&D facility in Bengaluru.
Applied Materials has completed 20 years of operations in India and now has a team of over 6,000 people in product development, operations and information technology services.
“We plan to expand our engineering infrastructure and support the next phase of our growth. We expect this investment to support future product development and R&D, as well as benefit local supply chain development,” said Srinivas Satya, Country President, Applied Materials India. “The government’s mission mode approach to scaling the country’s semiconductor industry, along with the ease of doing business initiatives and scaling up end-use manufacturing of indigenous electronics, are steps positive and practical ways to enable India’s semiconductor mission.”
According to an April 2022 report by the Indian Electronics and Semiconductors Association (IESA), India could account for $85-100 billion of the $550-600 billion global market for semiconductor manufacturing by 2030.
For Texas Instruments, India is the largest R&D center outside of its headquarters in Dallas. “As for India, our focus remains on growing our R&D center…we continue to actively develop and leverage our talents to innovate and create products in medical, EV (electric vehicles), ADAS ( advanced driver assistance systems), analog power products, etc. Globally, we continue to expand our manufacturing capabilities, having added two new facilities in Sherman and Lehi in Texas last year,” said Rajeev Khushu, director of corporate affairs and government relations, Texas Instruments. India.
Texas Instruments has also invested in maintaining one of the largest customer support footprints in India with offices in Delhi, Pune and Ahmedabad, in addition to its R&D center in Bengaluru. “The idea is to reach and support Indian customers, helping them deliver faster,” Khushu added.
US semiconductor company Micron Technology has grown rapidly in India, growing to 3,500 employees in just over three years. It aims to reach 5,000 employees in the next two years. Micron recently established its India Research Center, which is a cross-functional research-focused organization based in Hyderabad to support current and future technologies and product roadmaps.
“The center will leverage Micron India’s unique operational footprint and the benefits of co-location to enhance collaboration and research, provide opportunities for customer engagement, and house some of the country’s brightest minds. The main areas of focus are AI (artificial intelligence), data science and analytics, CAD (computer-aided design) engineering and system-level solutions,” said Anand Ramamoorthy, vice- Chairman and Managing Director of Micron India. Lam Research, a US supplier of wafer fabrication equipment to the semiconductor industry, also plans to set up its second R&D center in India in September. Lam Research has been operating in India since 2000 and has over the years expanded its scope from software development and support to include hardware engineering, global operations management and analytics.