By Ayushman Baruah
As the world grapples with an acute 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 nascent stages, the country has always been a strong base for semiconductor chip design, a software-intensive area.
Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of digitally enabled consumer products, which has increased our dependence on electronic goods, creating a new wave of growth for the semiconductor industry.
To meet this growing demand, the Indian government, in December 2021, rolled out an incentive scheme worth Rs 76,000 crore to attract international semiconductor and display manufacturers in a bid to establish the country as a global chip manufacturing hub.
US-based Applied Materials recently made a $50-million investment to establish an R&D facility in Bengaluru.
Applied Materials has completed 20 years of operations in India and now has a team of more than 6,000 people across 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 the development of the local supply chain,” said Srinivas Satya, country president, Applied Materials India. “The government’s mission mode approach to evolve the country’s semiconductor sector, together with the ease-of-business initiatives and scaling up of indigenous electronics end-manufacturing, are positive and practical steps to enable India’s semiconductor mission.”
As per an April 2022 report by Indian Electronics and Semiconductors Association (IESA), India could account for $85-100 billion of the global $550-600 billion global market for semiconductor manufacturing by 2030.
For Texas Instruments, India is the largest R&D centre outside of its headquarters in Dallas. “As far as India is concerned, our focus remains on growing our R&D centre…we continue to actively grow and leverage our talent to innovate and build products across medical, EV (electric vehicles), ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), analog power products, etc. At a global level, we continue to expand our manufacturing capacities, having added two new facilities at Sherman and Lehi in Texas last year,” said Rajeev Khushu, director of corporate affairs and government relations, Texas Instruments India.
Texas Instruments has also been investing in maintaining one of the largest customer support footprints in India with offices across Delhi, Pune, and Ahmedabad, in addition to its R&D centre in Bengaluru. “The idea is to reach and support Indian customers, thereby helping them deliver faster,” added Khushu.
US-based semiconductor company Micron Technology has quickly ramped up in India, having grown to 3,500 employees in a little over three years. It aims to touch 5,000 employees in the next couple of years. Micron recently set up its India research centre, which is a cross-functional, research-driven organisation based in Hyderabad to support current and future technology and product roadmaps.
“The centre will leverage Micron India’s unique operational footprint and co-location advantages to further collaboration and research, provide opportunities for customer engagement, and is home to some of the brightest minds in the country. Key focus areas are AI (artificial intelligence), data sciences and analytics, engineering CAD (computer-aided design) and system-level solutions,” said Anand Ramamoorthy, vice-president and managing director of Micron India.Lam Research, American supplier of wafer fabrication equipment to the semiconductor industry, also plans to set up its second R&D centre in India in September. Lam Research has been operating in Indian since 2000 and has over the years, expanded its focus from software development and support to include hardware engineering, global operations management, and analytics.