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Three things in Indian semicon: Vinay Shenoy


Vinay Shenoy

Vinay Shenoy

There have been a variety of announcements made by the Government of India in the last one year or so. In the pre-90s period, the country showed just 1 percent GDP growth rate. It was adverse to FDI and had a regulated market. All of this led to deregulation under the late PM, PV Narasimha Rao.

The Indian government was averse to foreign investment, which was opened up around 1994. Since then, we have seen 6-8 percent growth, said Vinay Shenoy, MD, Infineon Technologies (India). He was delivering the keynote at the UVM 1.2 day, being held in Bangalore, India.

Around 1997, India signed the ITA-1 with the WTO. Lot of electronic items had their import duty reduced to zero. It effectively destroyed the electronics manufacturing industry in India. We were now reduced to being a user of screwdriver technology. In 1985, the National Computer Policy, and in 1986, the National Software Policy, were drafted. The government of India believed that there existed some opportunities. The STPI was also created, as well as 100 percent EoUs. So far, we have been very successful in services, but have a huge deficit on manufacturing.

We made an attempt to kick off semicon manufacturing in 2007, but that didn’t take off for several reasons. It was later revived in 2011-12. Under the latest national policy of electronics, there have been a couple announcements – one, setting up of two semicon fabs in India. The capital grant – nearly 25-27 percent — is being given by the government. It has provided a financial incentive – of about $2 billion.

Two, electronics manufacturing per se, unless it is completely an EoU, the semicon industry will find it difficult to survive. There is the M-SIPS package that offers 25 percent capital grant to a wide range of industries.

Three, we have granted some incentives for manufacturing. But, how are you going to sell? The government has also proposed ‘Made in India’, where, 30 percent of the products will be used within India. These will largely be in the government procurements, so that the BoM should be at least 30 percent from India. The preferential market policy applies to all segments, except defense.

Skill development is also key. The government has clearly stated that there should be innovation-led manufacturing. The government also wants to develop PhDs in selected domains. It intends to provide better lab facilities, better professors, etc. Also, young professors seeking to expand, can seek funding from the government.

TSMC promotes small IP companies. Similarly, it should be done in India. For semicon, these two fabs in India will likely come up in two-three years time. “Look at how you can partner with these fabs. Your interest in the semicon industry will be highly critical. The concern of the industry has been the stability of the tax regime. The government of India has assured 10 years of stable tax regime. The returns will come in 10-15 years,” added Shenoy.

The government has set up electronics manufacturing clusters (EMC). These will make it easy for helping companies to set up within the EMC. The NSDC is tying up with universities in bringing skill-sets. The industry is also defining what skills will be required. The government is funding PhDs, to pursue specialization.

India’s evolving importance to future of fabless: Dr. Wally Rhines

February 3, 2014 2 comments

Dr. Wally RhinesIf I correctly remember, sometime in Oct. 2008, S. Janakiraman, then chairman of the India Semiconductor Association, had proclaimed that despite not having fabs, the ‘fabless India” had been shining brightly! Later, in August 2011, I had written an article on whether India was keen on going the fabless way! Today, at the IESA Vision Summit in Bangalore, Dr, Wally Rhines repeated nearly the same lines!

While the number of new fabless startups has declined substantially in the West during the past decade, they are growing in India, said Dr. Walden C. Rhines, chairman and CEO, during his presentation “Next Steps for the Indian Semiconductor Industry” at the ongoing IESA Vision Summit 2014.

India has key capabilities to stimulate growth of semiconductor companies, which include design services companies, design engineering expertise and innovation, returning entrepreneurs, and educational system. Direct interaction with equipment/systems companies will complete the product development process.

Off the top 50 semicon companies in 2012, 13 are fabless and four are foundries. The global fabless IC market is likely to grow 29 percent in 2013. The fabless IC revenue also continues to grow, reaching about $78.1 billion in 2013.  The fabless revenue is highly concentrated with the top 10 companies likely to account for 64 percent revenue in 2013. As of 2012, the GSA estimates that there aere 1,011 fabless companies.

The semiconductor IP (SIP) market has also been growing and is likely to reach $4,774 million by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 10 percent. The top 10 SIP companies account for 87 percent of the global revenue. Tape-outs at advanced nodes have been growing. However, there are still large large opportunities in older technologies.

IoT will transform industry
It is expected that the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform the semiconductor industry. It is said that in the next 10 years, as many as 100 billion objects could be tied together to form a “central nervous system” for the planet and support highly intelligent web-based systems. As of 2013, 1 trillion devices are connected to the network.

Product differentiation alone makes switching analog/mixed-signal suppliers difficult. Change in strategy toward differentiation gradually raises GPM percentage.

India’s evolving importance to future of fabless
Now, India ranks among the top five semiconductor design locations worldwide. US leads with 507, China with 472, Taiwan with 256, Israel with 150, and India with 120. Some prominent Indian companies are Ineda, Saankhya Labs, Orca Systems and Signal Chip (all fabless) and DXCorr and SilabTech (all SIP).

India is already a leading source of SIP, accounting for 5.3 percent, globally, after USA 43 percent and China 17.3 percent, respectively. It now seems that India has been evolving from design services to fabless powerhouse. India has built a foundation for a fabless future. It now has worldwide leadership with the most influential design teams in the world.

Presently, there are 1,031 MNC R&D centers in India. Next, 18 of the top 20 US semiconductor companies have design centers in India. And, 20 European corporations set up engineering R&D centers in India last year. India also has the richest pool of creative engineering resources and educational institutions in the world. The experience level of Indian engineers has been increasing, but it is still a young and creative workforce. There is also a growing pool of angel investors in India, and also in the West, with strong connections to India.

So, what are the key ingredients to generate a thriving infrastructure? It is involvement and expertise with end equipment. Superb product definition requires the elimination of functional barriers. He gave some examples of foreign “flagged” Indian companies that produced early successes. When users and tool developers work in close proximity, “out-of-the-Box” architectural innovations revolutionize design verification.

Indian electronics scenario still dull: Leaptech


Suresh Nair

Suresh Nair

Leaptech Corp. was established to help the electronics and semiconductor manufacturing companies in India achieve global standards by adopting the latest technologies available worldwide. It represents the world’s leading companies offering automation equipment for PCB assembly, semiconductor, automotive and final assembly automation.

Suresh Nair, director, said that Leaptech is helping the electronics, semiconductor and automotive manufacturing companies in India by bringing in world class technologies from across the globe in assembly automation, the technologies, which are state-of-the-art.

“We provide both pre-sales and post-sales support to all the systems and solutions that we offer, complete post-sales support includes installation, commissioning, training, production support and process support through our factory trained engineers strategically located in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.”

Leaptech provides audit and reconditioning services to enable customers improve productivity and uptime on their existing automated through hole and SMT assembly machines. Nair added: “We do provide audit and reconditioning services to customers where the machines were sold/supported by us. We may not be able to handle machines sold by other suppliers since that will be a breach of contract with out own principals.”

As for the training on operational and maintenance aspects of through hole insertion and SMT machines, Leaptech also provide complete training on machines for operation, periodical maintenance, trouble shooting as well as preventive maintenance.

Leaptech offers consultancy services for new electronics setup as well as for new projects in the existing facility, which includes all detailing as well as knowhow on the process of assembly/production. our expert team is upto date with all latest trends in this industry.

Connected mobile devices
It will be interesting to get Leaptech opinon regarding connected mobile devices. Nair said that connected mobile devices would grow for sure in the immediate future. Growth in the long term may depend on the contents of this segment and how interesting it is to the users.

With regard to automotive electronics driving energy efficiency, he added that Leaptech mostly sells automation equipment and the scope for these equipment toward energy efficiency for automotive sector is limited.

Indian electronics scenario in 2014 and beyond
According to Nair, the Indian electronics scenario is still dull and this may continue in the next year as well. Things could improve once the new manufacturing policy announced by the government starts seeing some investments.

To boost electronics manufacturing in India, it requires a simple action plan: make all finished electronics products imports more expensive and give incentives to local manufacturing.

However, he felt that nanotech will not emerge as a disruption in India, at least, not in the near future. It may make some impact in the long run.

Yet another electronics policy for India?

October 26, 2012 6 comments

India has once again announced an Electronics Policy, and frankly, I’ve lost count, how many times! Nevertheless, one hopes that this policy somehow takes off, and helps India get off the ground!  There are certain points in the policy that are worth a relook.

One, the setting up of electronic manufacturing clusters. This has been time and again stressed and re-stressed. Will it come around, this time? Let’s wait and watch, if it happens this time!

Two, as per the policy, there is a proposal for setting up two semiconductor wafer manufacturing fabrication facilities. Where? As far as one knows, there is hardly any infrastructure around to support even one semicon fab! Some people may say, Bangalore, but well, they are welcome to say that! As for people buying more of ‘domestically manufactured electronic goods’, it remains to be seen!

Three, back in 2007, when the SIPS program was announced, there were great expectations! If you recall some time ago, I mentioned that the Indian semiconductor policy, announced back in 2007, had supposedly expired on March 31, 2010! Then, the Indian industry came up with recommendations that included extending the Indian semicon policy up to March 2015! So, what happens to that? Or, is it dead and buried?

Four, back in 2007, the ‘ecosystem units’ were clearly defined as units, other than a fab unit, for manufacture of semiconductors, displays including LCDs, OLEDs, PDPs, any other emerging displays; storage devices; solar cells; photovoltaics; other advanced micro and nanotechnology products; and assembly and test of all the above products. What’s happening now?

Five, does all of this mean that the role of India-based semiconductor companies as a percentage of the semiconductor market globally, will improve? Or, do we take India as a system/gadget maker and thus, as a percentage of that market??

Six, fabrication is increasingly expensive, much involved and the actual global fabrication players are declining and will be about three to four companies. There is talk of 450mm fabs across the world! Have we even heard a word from India?

Okay, so let’s say, India will have two fabs? By when? What process technology? If it is a 450mm fab, India can very well kiss goodbye to this decade, at least. And, India continues to slip back in having a ((proper) fab!
Read more…

IT in smaller companies need help too!


According to Steve Bailey from CommVault, IT managers are said to be walking on a tightrope between resources and data growth! Conversely, the resources for CIOs are much lesser, compared to the data growth, which is explosive!! Find all of this hard to believe? Well, ask around!

IT storage professionals are actually considered to be somewhat of ‘tightrope walkers’, given the fact that they have to perform tremendous balancing acts while driving projects — all along with the budget allocated to them.

As per a survey conducted by CommVault, the IT organizations are prioritizing managing data growth (i.e., data reduction) first, followed by network and equipment, disaster recovery, applications/software, data backup and recovery and backup of virtual server environments. Managing data growth remains a major budgetary priority for the IT managers. Besides, all of the data has to be managed by organizations without the benefit of adding IT staff!

There’s hardly anything that anyone, let alone the IT staff, can do to curtail the data growth. And now, the advent of mobile devices, virtual servers and the increasing use of social media have added to the creation of even newer and massive data!

By the way, have you visited media houses, small IT shops or companies, small retail stores, and so on? IT protection is, most of the times, way of the mark. Why, there are even media houses that have poor IT infrastructure! In fact, some of the offices even had their web site spammed quite often in the past. I have little idea right now, but I do hope they have improved their IT defence. Some commentators have even expressed the need for next-generation firewalls as the need of the hour!

Apparently, managing the IT side of things or the IT infrastructure is considered not so important by many of the small organizations. Don’t you think that it is necessary that they too protect their organizations? Forget about the absence of IT storage professionals in such organizations!

If one may add, vendors either seem to charge these companies exorbitantly, or, they are least bothered if such companies get into ‘IT trouble’. The fact is: such companies are small in nature, and do not have that much money to spend on IT. Or, at least, that’s not their main game! It takes a great deal of convincing on part of vendors, I am sure, to get such companies to protect their IT infrastructures.

So, how do the CIOs and the IT managers manage all of this exploding data (and devices, of course)? Certainly, this calls for a seamless process — from backup to recovery to archiving data. There is a need to develop and have a single platform to manage and protect data. This needs to be done across heterogenous applications, hypervisors. operating systems and infrastructure — from a single console.

Well, how do you help the smaller companies, especially those located in smaller and sometimes, remote areas and cities? The answer is simple: vendors really need to take upon themselves the trouble of going down to such places, meet companies, and at least, sound them out on the IT solutions on offer. That will be a start!

Sachin boldly goes where no man has gone before! Hail, King Sachin!!


Sachin Tendulkar, India.

Sachin Tendulkar, India. Courtesy: ESPNCricinfo.

When I was giving up playing the game of cricket in 1989, my focus was drawn toward a snap on the cover of Sportsweek (now closed), which had the faces of two newcomers to the Indian team that was chosen to tour Pakistan. One was Salil Ankola and  the other – Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar!

Today, in the league match vs. Bangladesh, Sachin Tendulkar reached his 100th international century!! Sachin has boldly gone on to where no man has ever gone before! Hail, King Sachin!! I could not locate the photograph that I spoke about earlier. Here’s one from Ben Radford / © AllSport UK Ltd, from ESPNCricinfo.

Wow! What a feat!!  Don’t think that this stupendous world record of 100 international centuries will ever be broken!!!

The nearest international cricket player to Sachin Tendulkar on the list of players with the most international tons in a career is Ricky Ponting of Australia with 71 hundreds! South African Jacques Kallis, is further down at 59 tons!! Off the other batsmen with over 40 international hundreds in cricket, only two – Sri Lankans Mahela Jayawardene with 45 tons and Kumar Sangakkara with 41 tons, respectively, make the list.

I remember Sachin came close to his maiden test hundred vs. New Zealand at Napier in Feb. 1990, and the excitement surrounding that! I first saw Sachin Tendulkar play for West Zone at a Duleep Trophy game in New Delhi’s Ferozshah Kotla ground in the early 1990s.  Since then, I too have followed his career very closely. It has been a real pleasure following you all of these years, King Sachin!!

NASSCOM announces top 10 start-ups to watch!


On the eve of the NASSCOM Product Conclave 2011, to be held in Bangalore, on Nov. 9-10, 2011,  NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) announced the list of the top 10 start-ups to watch. These top 10 start-ups are:

1. Pawaa Software — Pawaa
2. QuickoLabs — SearchEnabler
3. Persistent Systems Ltd — eMee
4. Imaginate — Imaginate
5. Srijan Technologies Pvt Ltd — DROWPS
6. Conwerge Web Services Pvt Ltd – Grupur.com
7. Semgel Technologies Pvt Ltd — Semgel
8. Openweb Labs Pvt Ltd – HirePlug, Getlive.me
9. Ozonetel Systems Pvt Ltd — KooKoo
10.  NRich Software Pvt Ltd — DiaSof.

Indian semicon market update shows 28.3 percent growth in 2010!


I am a bit amused to read the latest key findings on the Indian semiconductor market from ISA-Frost & Sullivan. Never mind!

Source: ISA-Frost

Source: ISA-Frost

The report concludes that products demonstrating potential for explosive growth include –mobile devices, telecom base stations, LCD TV, STB, EMS, CFL, LED lights and smart cards and products with low MI – notebooks, tablets, STBs routers, digital cameras, etc. need to be given preferential treatment for indigenous manufacturing.

India is becoming the hub for small car manufacturing. Incentives and encouragement need to be provided for enhancing automotive component manufacturing in the country to keep pace with automobile industry growth.

Products enabling energy efficiency need to be incentivized through tax breaks for R&D and product development thereby promoting indigenous manufacturing. Electronics and semiconductor MI stagnate at 50 percent;  the TAM growth is unlikely to match the TM growth in the near future! Continuing status quo — the electronics import bill to surpass crude import bill by 2020-21.

The need of the hour is a focused mission for local electronics manufacturing promotion. A National Electronics Development Plan is also required. As is required an electronics policy for ecosystem development; subsidies for manufacturing; funds for R&D; extended tax breaks; hardware development parks.

Otherwise, the report suggests that India’s semiconductor market grew by a phenomenal 28.3 percent in 2010.

Indian semiconductor market: Source: ISA-Frost

Indian semicon market: Source: ISA-Frost

The global semiconductor market’s cyclical trends has minimal impact on India. Mobile devices, telecom and IT/ OA contributed 82 percent to semiconductor TM in 2010.

Local manufacturing of telecom equipment by OEMs and EMS companies to propel related semiconductor consumption by a massive 50 percent during 2010 to 2012. Influenced by regulatory norms and sharpening competition, automotive segment to account for the highest growth in semiconductor demand at 31 percent from 2010 to 2012.

Sustained gulf between the semiconductor TM and TAM from 2010-2012 highlight the urgency to promote local manufacturing to drive higher growth in TAM.

The Total Semiconductor Market (TM) revenues are poised to grow from $6.55 billion in 2010to $9.86 billion in 2012. The market is expected to witness a CAGR of 22.7 percent.

During the corresponding period, the Total Semiconductor Available Market (TAM) revenues are expected to grow at a CAGR of 22.3 percent reaching revenues of $4.71 billion in 2012from $3.14 billion in 2010. Mobile devices and telecom are the key contributors to TAM while mobile devices and IT/ OA are the key contributors to TM.

Being an indispensable component in a wide range of products, the memory market leads the contribution to semiconductor revenues with 23.4 percent and 20.1 percent of TM and TAM, respectively.

One hopes that all of this is indeed correct, and the Indian semiconductor industry continues to grow in future!

Citrix roundtable on balanced globalization


Citrix held a roundtable titled: Balanced Globalization, in Bangalore. The participants were:

Martin Duursma, VP, Citrix Labs and CTO Office Chair, Citrix Labs. He has been with Citrix for over a decade.

Gordon Payne, senior VP and GM, Desktop Division Desktop Division. He has been with Citrix since 2004 and and helped ramp Citrix to a number one position in Secure Remote Access. Since then he has held a number of senior general management roles across multiple Citrix products and business units.

Klaus Oestermannm, VP and GM, Networking & Cloud. Oestermann has been with Citrix for seven years and held various other positions within the company, including sales director for the Nordic Region of Europe, senior director of worldwide channel strategies and development, and senior director of enterprise and ISV partners. Oestermann has more than 20 years’ experience in the IT industry.

Study on semiconductor design, embedded software and services industry in India


The India Semiconductor Association (ISA) has released a study on semiconductor design, embedded software and services industry, along with Ernst & Young.

According to the report, the key challenges constraining the growth of the semiconductor design industry are summarized under five major issues:
i) Quality, availability and maturity of talent.
ii) Absence of a startup and SME ecosystem.
iii) Lack of a semiconductor ecosystem.
iv) Lack of adequate infrastructure, policies and implementable incentives.
v) External issues such as competition from Asian countries and protectionist policies by some countries.

The report then goes on to tackle each one of these issues in detail under elaborate recommendations.

These recommendations require the concerted and co-ordinated efforts by the government, industry and academia to aid India reach the next level of growth and achieve the specific goals envisaged for the industry. The goals are:

Goal 1:
Maintain leadership in semiconductor design by incubating 50 fabless semiconductor companies, each with the potential to grow to $200 million in annual revenues by 2020.

Goal 2: Build on India’s favorable intellectual property protection image and make it among the top 5 destinations for intellectual property creation in the semiconductor design industry.

Goal 3: Capitalize on indigenous demand in strategic sectors to provide impetus to the Indian fabless semiconductor industry.

Goal 4: Sustain and nurture high-class semiconductor design manpower at a growth rate of 20 percent year-on-year to double its current output levels to reach a workforce size of 400,000 in the next five years.

The very first goal itself is a bit far fetched, but not that it can’t be achieved. To reach anywhere close to this goal, a concerted all round effort would be required from all in the industry. The fourth goal would have been better as the first goal, but never mind.

The second goal looks fine, but it is the third goal that seems a bit far off. This is April 2011, and still, there are talks about capitalizing on the indigenous demand in strategic sectors in order to provide impetus to the Indian fabless semiconductor industry?

I recall a discussion in mid-2005 where an industry expert mentioned that fabless was the way forward for the Indian industry! Between then and now, fabs were supposed to come up, but they failed. Nevertheless, one must not give up hope! Read more…

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