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India: Reaching its full potential

Posted: 09 Jan 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:engineering design  systems manufacturing  VLSI design  foundry industry 

Talwalkar: India possesses a unique combination of enablers that can greatly elevate its role into the future.

Its portion of a Rs.1,250,909.75 crore ($250 billion) semiconductor market is marginal, it has only two fabless start-ups, its innovation record as measured by the number of patents granted is dismal, it suffers from a dearth of Ph.Ds and high attrition rates, what talent it does have is undisciplined and it lets China rule systems manufacturing.

Yet for Abhi Talwakar, president and CEO of LSI Corp., India, remains firmly in the driver's seat of its own semiconductor and engineering design destiny.

"India possesses a unique combination of enablers that can greatly elevate its role into the future," he said during his kick-off keynote for this year's VLSI2009 Conference taking place in New Delhi this week.

"There's no reason it can't get on the map [next to Europe and China]," he said, though the US remains clearly in the lead with 48 per cent of the market share, based on the number of companies headquartered there. India currently enjoys a meager Rs.36,527 crore ($7.3 billion) of that Rs.1,250,909.75 crore ($250 billion) market, or 2.92 per cent.

While PCs, consumer and handsets face challenges due to circumstances outside of the industry, he's confident that India will grow, particularly in the areas of automotive, healthcare and energy.

Talwalkar's optimism rests on India's dominance in four criteria, relative to its counterparts in the region, specifically China, Korea and Japan. Those criteria are cost of talent, internal market potential, diversity and scalability and language. While China is comparable on the first three, India wins on language, according to a table he presented.

Not be overlooked are the technology 'anchors' for each country. China has depended on system manufacturing, Korea on memory and Japan on consumer electronics. However, India has depended on software, which, given the increasing role software plays in system design, is of fundamental importance of the country's future, he said.

However, it must be added that according to Sandeep Bhatia, engineering director for Broadcom, India (Bangalore), "there are many different kinds of software," and the software expertise in India to date has been largely focused on financial and IT markets. As such, it will require a shift to adapt to electronic and embedded systems development. Bhatia was speaking as part of a panel later that day on "Accelerating Embedded Systems Development," moderated by TechOnline.

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