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Former TI execs behind India's $1B analogue fab

Posted: 17 Feb 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wafer fabs  Make in India  manufacturing 

2. The fab would manufacture analogue/power chips that can go into products such as mobile phones, UPS inverters, smart meters, automotive as well as other industrial products. Large economies of scale are required to drive down costs. This fab will produce 60,000 wafers per month—at this sort of volume, the fab could become cost competitive.

3. Government support is critical and is needed to make a fab competitive. That is a lesson that India needs to learn from the Chinese. The government of Madhya Pradesh, which recently approved an analogue semiconductor (probably keeping Cricket Semiconductor in mind) says it will provide free government land and reimbursement for the cost of building the shell of the manufacturing unit. It also promises power supply from two separate power grids as well as water for a price fixed for 10 years.

4. Undoubtedly there is a local demand for electronic goods but no one is really sure if the "Made in India" chips can compete on costs with those imported from other Asian countries. India consumes close to $7 billion worth of semiconductors every year and this is expected to expand to $55 billion by 2020. The Indian electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) market will grow from $76 billion in 2013 to $94 billion in 2015, according to IESA.

Too many "buts"

But the numbers were looking good way back even in 2006 when SemIndia, a company formed in the United States by Non Resident Indians (NRIs), attempted a fab in Hyderabad at an estimated $3 billion investment.

But SemIndia's project never materialised because the incentives offered by the government were too little. It died after three years.

Almost two years ago, the news of the other two fabs came up. But until now there is no concrete evidence that they are going to be set up and rumours abound about lack of funds.

Then along comes this analogue fab. But again, the billion-dollar question is still: Where the actual money is going to come from?

- Sufia Tippu
  EE Times

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