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Indian wafer fabs stuck in limbo

Posted: 08 Jul 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Cricket  analogue  wafer fab 

Two much-hyped wafer fabs that are supposedly to be constructed in India are now in a state of uncertainty, and one cannot help but wonder if the curiously named Cricket Semiconductor will take the same route.

You may remember that Tower Semi is in one consortium and STMicroelectronics in another, both apparently selected to build wafer fabs on the sub-continent. The plans are years old except that nothing seems to be moving as Indian governmental committees form and reform, policy documents are produced, and zoning and tax-exemption decisions are made.

And then along came Cricket, formed by a couple of former Texas Instruments executives with a plan for an analogue/power fab that seemed to make sense and a realistic price tag of just $1 billion. And a name for the company that demonstrates cultural alignment with a country whose population is fanatical about the game.

However, a similar stasis seems to have overtaken that project with a recent report throwing up uncertainty over where the fab will be located (see Cricket Semiconductor plans to build analogue fab in India). According to reports, Cricket has been in talks with state government of Telangana to build and operate an analogue and power semiconductor wafer fab, quoting the state's minister of IT and communications KT Rama Rao.

It may be a report that only represents wishful thinking on behalf of the state of Telangana, but it still seems to typify a lack of commitment that potentially springs from one unanswered question that applies to all three fab projects: "Where is the money going to come from?"

It appears that in India fab building is a waiting game, and the wait will likely last until the Indian authorities at both state and national level acquire the political will to compete with China and stump up cash rather than rebates.

- Peter Clarke
  EE Times Europe

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