Home > Cadence, design services in India, Dr. C.P. Ravikumar, EDA, Indian electronics industry, Indian semiconductor industry, VDAT 2010, VLSI Society of India > VDAT 2010: Real, but ‘different’ opportunity in emerging markets — Jaswinder Ahuja, Cadence

VDAT 2010: Real, but ‘different’ opportunity in emerging markets — Jaswinder Ahuja, Cadence

July 12, 2010

Guests lighting the lamp at VDAT 2010, Chitkara University, Himachal Pradesh.

Guests lighting the lamp at VDAT 2010, Chitkara University, Himachal Pradesh.

The VLSI Design and Test Symposium 2010 (VDAT 2010) was held last week  (July 7-9) at the picturesque Chitkara University Campus, Himachal Pradesh, located 32 kms from Chandigarh.

VDAT is an annual activity of the VLSI Society of India, and was initiated to provide a discussion forum for Indian academicians and industry professionals working in the areas related to VLSI.

Delivering the keynote, Jaswinder Ahuja, corporate vice president and managing director, Cadence Design Systems India, said: “There is a “real” but “different” opportunity in the emerging markets. One would have to immerse himself/herself to understand the market better. India is also a great proxy for the emerging markets. It has the design expertise as well to address this market.

“The next 10-15 years present a unique window of opportunity to India entrepreneurs to play a leadership role in the global economic growth.”

Elaborating on the “real” but “different” opportunity in emerging markets, he added: “The base of the pyramid opportunity is very real. As per World Resources Institute, there are four billion people in the developing world representing a $5 trillion market opportunity who have real needs and aspirations but are under served.

“At least 700 million of these people are in India and represent a real business opportunity as well as an opportunity to “do good” and help include them into the formal economy and enable India to achieve its aspiration of 9-10 percent “inclusive” GDP growth. This requires business innovation and a different mind-set presenting a transformative opportunity to marry low cost, good quality, sustainability and profitability at the same time.”

India a great proxy for emerging markets!
India is also said to be a great proxy for the emerging markets. Ahuja explained: “India is many markets — urban, semi-urban and rural) in one and presents a broad spectrum of challenges that need to be overcome to be able to reach the 700 million people market opportunity.”

“If we can make something (product or service) work in India, we can make it work pretty much anywhere else in the developing world – whether it is financing, distribution, logistics, operating environment or anything else.”

Opportunity for Indian entrepreneurs to play leadership role
The next 10-15 years present a unique window of opportunity to India entrepreneurs to play a leadership role in the global economic growth.

According to Ahuja: “The markets of the future are in our backyard and we have among the best design talent in the world. If we can immerse ourselves in the market to understand the real needs and opportunities and then leverage our design expertise to build products for this market we will be best positioned to serve the next 4 billion consumers of the world.

“Indian entrepreneurs have an opportunity to play a leadership role in the global economic growth across sectors, but especially in electronics. No other country in the world has this unique convergence of circumstances. This opportunity is once in a lifetime and ours to lose if we do not create the right environment and framework to leverage it.”

Growth drivers
Ahuja also outlined the R&D opportunities that the VLSI community in India can seize. India has come a long way in the area of VLSI design and has established itself as a hub of design activity.

According to him, some of the growth drivers could be 4G phones, smart grid power, medical electronics as well as emerging markets.

The various application opportunities for India and ‘like markets’ include connecting millions who lack wired communications, efficient management of energy usage, adopting distance learing to educate remote population and making use of medical electronics to improve health.

R&D opportunities for India
Ahuja focused on R&D opportunities that have been thrown open to Indian electronic designers and manufacturers as India stands at the threshold of unprecedented economic growth.

He said: “India has transformed into an electronic design hub. Now is the time to innovate and seize the opportunities in domains such as smart phones, smart grid, medical, and the emerging India-specific markets. Indian products are cost and power-sensitive. They must be more robust to work for Indian conditions. These requirements open up design challenges for Indian electronic industry.

“For the Indian market, the equation is not Price = Cost + Profit. We have to rewrite the equation as Profit = Price – Cost. The Tata Nano fixed the price at Rs 1 lakh and worked backwards to reduce the cost. We have to draw a lesson from the Tata Nano when we design electronic products for the Indian market.”

Ahuja illustrated a number of examples where Indians have come up with innovative solutions. “Let us take a lesson from the Shampoo industry who came up with the innovation of the sachet to reach a much larger market at the bottom of the pyramid,” he said.

EDA opportunites and electronics design
Hasmukh Ranjan delivered a keynote talk on “Cloud Computing – Opportunities for EDA.” He explained the importance of cloud computing for VLSI design companies. Companies can get access to unlimited amount of computing resources through cloud computing without making a significant capital expense.

A number of EDA companies are making available software as well as IP to design companies through the cloud. There are many R&D challenges to be conquered in the area of cloud computing, such as security and multi-vendor flows.

Prof. Anshul Kumar gave a keynote talk on the topic of ‘Harnessing the power of multicores.”

A panel discussion was held on the topic “Electronic design for the Indian market – Challenges and Opportunities,” which was moderated by Dr. C.P. Ravikumar. The panelists included Prof. M. Balakrishnan of IIT Delhi, Saugat Sen of Cadence Design Systems, and Aninda Roy of Intel.

The panelists presented their views on what they feel is a killer product for the Indian market and what differentiates product design for the Indian market from product design for the American and European markets.

Finally, thanks a lot to Dr. C.P. Ravikumar, secretary, VLSI Society of India, and technical director, University Relations, Texas Instruments India, for his valuable inputs, and for always keeping me in the loop regarding VLSI related activities in India, as well as to the VSI Secretariat for its inputs regarding VDAT 2010.

  1. Hillol Sarkar
    July 12, 2010 at 8:50 am

    VLSI design and manufacturing is a commodity today. Numbers are important as consumer. Serious consolidation is underway. I do not know how Cadence can see VLSI designs are growing. The number of design starts per year is reducing. It cost $50M to design an SoC today. Where is the VC risk funding in India? All EDA companies are in red. It is too late for India to be in the VLSI business. China is way ahead.

    Writing Verlog code is not considered system design innovation. In 4G and 5G, Europe is doing research for last the 25 years. Indian companies can be operators. It is impossible to compete with Alcatel Lucent in the communication segment.

  2. July 12, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Hillol sir, thanks for your comments. I don’t think it is mentioned anywhere that VLSI designs are growing! 🙂 However, there do exist unique opportunities in India. One hopes that some local entrepreneurs can try and exploit those.

  3. Dr. MP Divakar
    July 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Hello again Pradeep… I read the comments of my esteemed professional acquaintance Mr. Hillol Sarkar above and felt like jumping into the discussion! I agree on some of his points but differ on others. Yes, the number of VLSI design starts are dismally low and only few companies can afford them (this in light of number of wafer starts at an all time high in the fabs). I agree also that writing Verilog / HDL codes is not innovation! By the way, EDA companies are turning the corner in profitability in the latest quarter ending (Mentor & Magma swung back into black at Q4 2009).

    Cadence can be more profitable if they cut upfront costs to the fabless startups particularly in developing economies. They should not stop there, they should work on providing a ecosystem for low cost development in collaboration with fabs and assembly-test houses. Until an end-to-end affordable ecosystem matures, most ASIC starts in developing countries will be non-starts, dying at the conception stage. May be this is what they meant by their EDA360? Because, after having attended DAC2010 and listened to Cadence’s pitch on EDA360, I still don’t know what that means! I was cracking up laughing reading Daniel Nenni’s blog on that topic!!

    I don’t believe it is too late for India to start in the VLSI business. But the key strategy is to pick the right battles to win. And that is in integration, for example, of CMOS with MEMS. This is one area where even with older (& cheaper) technologies, one can add tremendous value through innovation. I have argued this before and I will continue to do so in the future. None of the Asian tigers like Japan, S.Korea, Taiwan and China started with state-of-the art technologies. They did with what US & Europe allowed for export (possibly with the exception of Japan). It is unrealistic for India to expect to be in the forefront without having some expertise in yesterday’s technology and/or the financial backup. What is past often becomes prologue. So I say this again, India should invest in older and cheaper technologies to develop homegrown talents in new products and expertise at the same time. Doing so, also establishes a platform of ecosystem for future technologies.

    BTW, the MEMS forecast from iSuppli seems very believable:


    Another area where India can compete would be the emerging 3D chip design & test (an area where I focus currently in my role at Concurrent Analysis Corp). This is a system integration area of multi dice and different technology nodes. I believe there are tremendous challenges and opportunities both in EDA, packaging & assembly, test, and supply chain management. The EDA’s big three are still spinning their old 2D tools to address 3D designs. Incidentally I made a comment on this at Dr. Phil Garou’s blog:


    I was fortunate enough to attend Semicon West 2010 earlier this week and happened to swing by Yole’s booth and chatted for a few minutes with CEO Mr. Eloy (they incidentally hired Dr. Garou couple of days ago!). He is very optimistic on the MEMS opportunity and believes low-cost integration into 3D multifunction stacks is the key for its success. He brought up similar ideas I have professed, start with the universities and fab co-ops (like Mosis) immediately to make the product development affordable and within reach to students and startups. Investments will soon follow.

    I have thrown two ideas above in this discussion. I would plead with Mr.Sarkar & other professionals with a passion for my homeland (I am an Indian citizen!) to come up with more ideas. Instead of finding a hundred ways to say why it can not be done, please find one way to say how it can be done!

    Lastly, I wonder how much coverage was paid to the “test” aspect at VDAT… Pradeep, perhaps you can write another blog on that? Cheers!

    Dr. MP Divakar

    • July 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm

      Sure sir! I will try and write a separate post. Am also speaking at RV-VLSI this coming Monday on the subject of local manufacturing efforts.

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