IC Insights recently released the 1H-11 top 20 semicon sales leaders. No surprises here, with Intel, Samsung, TSMC, TI and Toshiba as the top five leaders in that order. In all, 10 of the top 20 suppliers outperformed the total global semiconductor industry 1H11/1H10 growth rate of 4 percent.
The fabless companies — notably, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and so on, have registered positive growths. However, if you really look carefully, a lot of the companies thereafter have registered negative growth for the period 1H-11 over 1H-10.
What’s surprising to notice is the fact that at least seven companies — Renesas, Hynix, Micron, AMD, Infineon, Elpida and NXP have registered negative growth! This, during a period when the semiconductor industry was said to be on the rebound? Whatever the reasons, they are all in the red!
Now, we are not spent from discussing an industry turnaround, which is perhaps there! Also, the forecast for 2H-11 isn’t something to go overboard. IC Insights expects the 2H11/1H11 semiconductor market to grow only 6 percent, that is, a full-year 2011 semiconductor industry growth rate of 5 percent.
Closer to home, as usual, there are no Indian firms in the global top 20 list. As things stand, they may not even make it to the list, at least, for quite a while. One hopes that this situation somehow changes. Wonder, how did the India Semiconductor Association (ISA)-Frost & Sullivan study come up with a figure of 28.3 percent growth in 2010! Perhaps, I am mistaken in my calculations somewhere!!
It has been a pretty disappointing year for me, so far, owing to one or another family related problems. I’ve only flattered, to deceive, as one would put it! Not that I’m out of my troubles, but am sure I can ‘play my game as usual’, hopefully, without any further disruptions.
First, I have been closely following the global semiconductor industry, despite my troubles, and there’s really nothing new worth reporting, at least, so far! Hope the next month and the rest of the year are better! But first, my take on the Indian semiconductor industry, which has now started to disappoint! At least, yours truly!
Last July, I had done a post, where, Len Jelinek, director and chief analyst for semiconductor manufacturing at iSuppli, (now IHS iSuppli) had said to a question on the need for a foundry for the Indian semiconductor industry that: “If there is a foundry built in India, it will have to start at mature technology, which they will have to underprice just to get business. Financially, this makes no sense for any investor, except for the government, which can protect the foundry (their investment) through tariffs.”
It is going to be a year since the remark was made!
This February, at the ISA Vision Summit, one heard a well known personality voice concern that the manufacturing sector suffers from a confidence deficit. A part of the software successes have been due to a brand developed. He said: “We have the advantage of a great brand, and need to make use of it in the electronics manufacturing sector. The government recognizes the need to convert Indian into a global destination.”
Where is the recognition to help create Indian into a global destination happening? Does it really take so long to develop a semicon policy in the first place? It is strange that perhaps, six and a half years since it was set up (Oct. 30, 2004), the ISA has still not found any takers for a fab in India!
Elsewhere, I mentioned that the latest ISA-Frost report on the status of the Indian semiconductor industry does not sound accurate! I don’t have anything personal against the Indian arms of MNCs, but why are they made even part of the report? I don’t recall seeing a similar report from China or Japan or Taiwan, that does a similar thing!
Where are the Indian semiconductor companies in the first place? One of India’s major semicon firms, the Srini Rajam-led Ittiam Systems, recorded a growth of Rs. 52 crore in 2010, while another significant ODM player, SFO Technologies from Kochi, Kerala, was said to be achieving Rs. 750-800 crore in 2010. What about the other Indian companies? To be accurate: what’s even happening with the Karnataka Semicon Policy? And, don’t some of the other Indian states deserve similar policies?
There are certain things that the Indian semicon industry needs to do, unless it wants to be written out of reckoning in the global context.
1) Focus on the needs of the Indian semicon companies only!
2) Prepare industry reports that highlight the capabilities of Indian semicon firms only; it does not matter how small those firms are! At least, we will have correct reports presenting the right picture.
3) I mentioned 10 points the Indian semicon industry needs to focus on in a post “Long wait for Indian semicon industry?” Perhaps, some, if not all, need to be paid attention to!
I am also told that the ISA president, Ms Poornima Shenoy is leaving, to start a new business. My best wishes to her for a successful career!
At the ISA CXO Conclave, Matt Grob, SVP, corporate R&D, Qualcomm, said that the company is a world leader in next-generation mobile technologies. It is celebrating 25 years of driving the evolution of wireless communications. It is making wireless more personal, affordable and accessible to people everywhere. Qualcomm is also the world’s largest fabless semiconductor company, #1 in wireless, and #9 in semiconductors.
Qualcomm’s unique business model is to be a technology enabler for the entire mobile value chain. It has continued strategic R&D investments, totalling more than $15.4 billion in 2010.
The 2G to 3G migration is currently taking place, with over 3.1 billion 3G subscriptions likely in 2015. As for the emerging region growth, China leads with 640 percent, followed by Latin America at 465 percent and India at 168 percent, respectively.
Qualcomm is also said to be enabling the mobile broadband in India with 3G and LTE. Besides growing the LTE TDD ecosystem in region, it is building partnerships for long-term strategy and establishing 3G/LTE as best technology path for operators. Qualcomm is also driving the device evolution and growing the market by creating more choices for operators and consumers. It is developing low-cost 3G handsets for emerging markets using 1+ GHz mobile processors and supporting multiple popular OS.
The smartphone industry momentum has ensured that the ecosystem is benefitting from and driving growth. There has been as much as >25 percent YoY data revenue growth from leading operators. OEMs have launched 100+ new smartphones in the first half of CY 2010. The total mobile apps downloads from developers is likely to move up from 7 billion in 2009 to 50 billion by 2012.
Interesting! I am a bit surprised to read the news item that India is planning to build its own commercial semiconductor fabs, worth Rs. 25,000 crores or $5 billion.
One of the lines in the release by the PIB, Government of India, states that the electronics hardware sector is capital intensive and facing several disabilities and barriers Therefore, the proposal will have significant impact in resolving these issues and help Indian electronics hardware industry to develop localized content/value addition.
Hasn’t this line been repeated time and again? And, what has been the result? Let’s hope that India does not forget the mistakes committed during the initial semicon policy or SIPS.
Coming back to the PIB release, it is stated that the Empowered Committee shall submit its recommendations to the Government by 31.7.2011. Why does the Committee need so much time? Hasn’t pages and pages been written about India’s semicon policy? I wonder whether folks have even looked into all of this properly!
Next, the timing itself! In a post last April, I had mentioned that the Indian semiconductor policy, which was announced back in 2007, had supposedly expired on March 31, 2010! What have the so-called industry caretakers been doing up until now? One does not plan to release a revised policy more than a year post its expiry! It should be immediate!!
It was also proposed to extend the deadline of India’s semicon policy up to March 2015! Whatever happened to that?
Where will the proposed semiconductor fab or fabs be set up? At FabCity in Hyderabad? I don’t think so!
One good thing to come out of all this — there is still some hope for having a fab in India. I am using the word ‘hope’ as there are many, including myself, who feel that all of this is perhaps, a wee bit late call!
As of now, India could possibly look globally for any fab or fabs to buy out! It simply does not have the time to build one! By the time this Committee comes out with its responses by end July 2011, it will be too late. Here’s why!
Let’s say that some folks could actually invest money to build a fab. This will be followed by trying to find a land, and then, possible investors. By the time all of this happens, it will be a good 12-18 months, or possibly, 2013. Next, what’s going to be the nature of the fab that India builds? Is it 200nm, or 300nm, or 28nm? How much would a state-of-the-art fab actually cost? Has any study been done of where the global industry would be by the time a semicon fab start in India?
These, and many more such questions need to answered.
I have known Dr Pradip Dutta, corporate VP of Synopsys Inc. and MD of Synopsys (India), as well as vice chairman, India Semiconductor Association (ISA), and now, chairman designate for 2011, ISA, for close to a decade now. We recently got into an interesting discussion on the Indian semiconductor industry.
Growth of semicon and electronics in India
First, I asked what should be done about the growth of semiconductors and electronics in the Indian eco-system?
Dr. Dutta said: “My view on this subject has been the same for many years now; high-tech electronics has to be a national mission. The defense and the government labs played a major role in promoting this sector in the US; e.g. Sandia National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA etc. DARPA, which is part of US Department of Defense has sponsored phenomenal amount of research in semiconductors and electronics.
“If we now look at countries closer to our part of the world, in Asia, we will see a similar focused effort from the governments. The STARC initiative in Japan, the National SOC program in Taiwan, the 839 program in Korea, the 863 program of Ministry of Science and Technology in China, all catered to a flourishing investment in R&D and innovation in high tech. Our country is poised for it too. We need to encourage start-ups in fabless design, explore manufacturing, foster innovation, create favorable policies for the industry and most certainly develop the talent pool.”
Need for domestic manufacturing
There is a need for domestic manufacturing in high tech electronics. Where are the Indian companies going? According to him, domestic manufacturing in high tech electronics has been flagged as a critical area in the ESDM (Electronic Design and Manufacturing) report that was submitted to the government by the industry in 2010. There is a need for initial funding, both in R&D as well as manufacturing. Duty structures need to be rationalized between import of CBU, SKD, CKD and components.
He added: “We have seen that manufacturing prospers in cluster environment and hence there is a recommendation to promote manufacturing clusters for specific product categories. However, it is safe to say that we have long ways to go in this area.”
Co-operation with international trade bodies
Now, what is the required policy framework and co-operation with international trade bodies? As per Dr. Dutta, the ISA has been active in forging close working relationships with multiple trade bodies from various parts of the world. “We have signed several MoUs with entities such as HTIA (Israel), ASTSA (Japan), DSP Valley (Belgium), TSIA (Taiwan), Semi (USA), GSA (USA) and UKTI (UK).
“Of course, we need to have a focus and these relationships should be driven by strategy. We have carried several delegations to these countries and hosted bi-lateral visits as well. These visits provide an opportunity for our member companies to have direct B2B opportunities.
“We learn valuable best practices from other entities and try and implement in our environment. For example, Israel does a great job in taking innovative ideas from entrepreneurs to incubation, many times inside of universities, and then spinning them into companies which later become part of the global value chain. In the process, this small country has created at least 150 NASDAQ listed high tech firms. Innovation to incubation to wealth creation – a formula that works very well there. We could certainly learn a lot from that model.”
Future of Indian semicon industry
So, how does Dr. Pradip Dutta see the Indian semicon industry, going forward? He said: “The Indian semiconductor industry is now poised at a very interesting juncture. While the MNCs are designing chips at the bleeding edge, we see a lot of high quality work being done by the design service companies and also local start-ups. Incidentally, the start-up scenario is quite active in the system space. This ties in with the ESDM focus of our industry. Read more…