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Indian semicon needs concrete plans

June 10, 2008

The Indian semiconductor market is still in a nascent stage. In the Indian context, while we are very good in design services, we have yet to achieve the required capability to build products.

In this context, Subhash Bal, Country Director, Synopsys (India) EDA Software Pvt. Ltd says: “One has to first understand the dynamics of the semiconductor market. The key is: if you grow a market here, it will also grow somewhere else. That’s where the trick lies!”

The Indian semiconductor industry really needs to figure out what will work! “It would be better to think about solving a particular problem, which will go on to solve a bigger problem for India. There is also a need to build incentives to go along with al of this,” adds Bal.

He states: “We should produce a plan to take semiconductors forward in India. We need to be realistic about what we can do with the semiconductor industry. India should better be up there, at the top, in terms of technology as well. For example, RFID can be used in a whole range of applications.”

Way forward
What can be the way forward for the Indian semiconductor industry? First, there is a need to create a plan for Indians residing in the USA to return home and start something. They should be offered a lot of incentives as well. Next, there is a need to allow developing schemes where Indian applications become the focus, especially for high-volume government applications, such as traffic light controls, ID cards, toll tax applications, etc.

“Such things will only trigger demand. It will also see the rise of Indian product companies, and later, those will grow into semiconductor companies,” advises Bal.

Indian fab story disappearing?
Is the Indian fab story disappearing from sight? Not exactly! There will be a lot of solar fabs coming up, while it is still early days for wafer IC fabs. Fabs for PV cells are relatively easy to set up. Undoubtedly, PV has a huge market potential.

On the subject of fabs, Bal says: “The technique of management of fab technology is crucial. There should be some government schemes for smaller fabs as well. It does not matter whether these are 150mm or 180mm fabs. Indigenous applications can source simple applications, such as autorickshaw meters, toll tax applications, etc.”

Bal, like many others, believes that the next decade clearly depends on the youth of India. Therefore, this plan for semiconductors has to be long term — for about 25-30 years — and action oriented. This has to start from an end solution, and thereafter, semiconductors should be able to take off!

“Apart from such a plan, it is also important that sufficient attention is given to developing the right infrastructure. Infrastructure needs to be fixed as well. Should these be addressed, the semiconductor industry in India will likely take off,” adds Bal.

Globally, Synopsys has been growing steadily. In fact, the Q1-08 revenue is likely to close at $325 million. Synopsys India has a current headcount of over 600 employees, located in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Noida. The activities of the Hyderabad center is global in nature.

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