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Three things in Indian semicon: Vinay Shenoy

April 2, 2014 Comments off

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.

Union budget 2013-14: Is there some hope for semiconductors?

February 28, 2013 8 comments

Here are highlights of the Union budget 2013-14 presented by P. Chidambaram, union Finance minister, Government of India. Also, is there finally, some hope for the Indian semiconductor industry?

Highlights

* Doing business with India should be easy, friendly and helpful.
* Foreign investments must be encouraged.
* Accelerating growth is the main goal.
* Need to encourage FDI in consonance with economic priorities.
* To target $1 trillion in infrastructure in the 12th plan.
* There are incentives for semiconductor wafer fab manufacturing.
* There will be appropriate incentives for the semiconductors industry, including zero customs duty on plants and machineries.

* To increase allocation for science and atomic departments.
* Indian Institute of BioTechnology to be set up at Ranchi.
* Non-conventional wind energy sector needs help.
* Will encourage cities to take up waste-energy projects through PPPs.
* Plan being developed for Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor.
* Preparatory work started for Bengalooru-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
* To launch two new industrial cities in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
* Propose to continue with the Technology Upgradation funds scheme for the textile sector.
* India’s first women’s public sector bank to be set up.
* Woman’s bank license to be in place by October, 2013.
* All PSU banks branches to have ATMs by March, 2014.
* Zero customs duty for electrical plants and machinery proposed.
* Higher customs duty on set-top boxes.
* To provide more than Rs 4200 crore for medical studies.
* To allocate Rs 1106 crore for alternative medicine industry.
* To allocate 100 crores to AMU, BHU, TISS-Guwahati and INTACH.
* Government to set up National Institute of Sports Coaches in Patiala.
* To expand private FM radio to 294 cities.
* To auction 839 licenses for FM network to cover all India.
* Government to construct power transmission system from Srinagar to Leh at the cost of Rs 1,840 crore, Rs 226 crore provided in current budget.
* Mobile phones priced more than Rs. 2,000 will see duty raised by 6 percent.
* Extend tax benefit to electrical vehicles.
* A company investing Rs 100 crore or more in plant and machinery in April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015 will be allowed 15 percent investment deduction allowance apart from depreciation.
* SEBI to simplify KYC norms governing foreign investors.
* SEBI will simplify procedures for entry of foreign portfolio investors to invest in India.
* Higher outlay on waste management.
* Government to monitor cost of doing business in India.
* Zero customs duty proposed for electrical plants and machinery.
* Proposal to provide Rs. 800 crore for the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy for generation-based incentive for wind energy projects as the non-conventional wind energy sector deserves incentives.
* Government will provide low interest bearing funds from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) to IREDA to on-lend to viable renewable energy projects. The scheme will have a life span of five years.
* Proposal to set apart Rs. 2,000 crore and asked the National Innovation Council to formulate a scheme for the management and application of the fund.

Coming to semiconductors, the world today is discussing the viability of 450mm fabs. I am well aware that Malcolm Penn has been pushing for 450mm fabs across Europe. I believe that one such fab will cost in the excess of $25 billion, if not more. So, who will invest that kind of money in India? Do we have clean water and 24-hour electricity supply in any state that’s required for such a fab? What will this so-called 450mm fab manufacture? Does the fab have a blueprint in place? Well, have we even addressed any of these questions?

Semicon industry at inflection point of innovation: Rich Beyer


Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor, at the Freescale Technology Forum 2011, in Bangalore, India.

Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor.

Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor.

Prior to this year’s FTF, Freescale marked another milestone in our company’s history. We have returned to the public trading arena with our IPO on May 26.  We used the proceeds from the IPO to pay down a portion of our debt and reduce our interest expense. This will enable Freescale to continue to grow our investments in products, software, sales and customer support. We are confident, as a result, we will continue to offer you even better world class solutions.

Having publicly traded stock will also give us more flexibility than just available cash to fund potential acquisitions and future innovation investments that will reinforce our competitive differentiation moving forward. And, the IPO is a strong affirmation that Freescale is on a very successful trajectory in the eyes of the investment community! While we have changed to become a publicly traded company, we have not changed our vision or our strategic focus. Our vision remains the same: we are committed to being the leader in embedded processing solutions.

We will continue to build on our market leadership positions by focusing on our core strengths: embedded processors, applications processors, microcontrollers and DSPs; RF, analog and sensors; and the software that delivers a clear competitive advantage to our customers.

Era of connected intelligence
Over the past several years, we have entered the era of connected intelligence where embedded processing is driving the Internet of Things. In the PC era of the past, processing was centralized within a traditional computing environment. Users relied heavily on computing hardware and rigid software to perform desired tasks.

In today’s era of connected intelligence, data is ubiquitous, and we expect our electronic devices to conform to us. We want them to be social and mobile. They are aware of our surroundings, and they understand and adapt to the context in which we are using them. They are always on and they are always with us.

Semiconductor innovation
We are at an inflection point in what is driving semiconductor innovation. In the PC era, the focus was on the sheer performance of the processor. The power consumption implications were handled by a building bigger box, adding a cooling fan or using a larger battery.

In the era of Connected Intelligence, embedded processing performance needs to be balanced with power efficiency, and system capability is enabled by the intelligent integration of sensor, RF and analog interfaces and the usage of efficient, system sparing software.

The insatiable demand for connectivity will continue to push the industry for solutions that deliver more performance, improved efficiency and lower operating costs. Semiconductor innovation now is being driven by embedded processing solutions with a system-level view and developed with an application-level expertise that is critical to efficient and timely implementation. Read more…

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!

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

April 6, 2011 Comments off

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…

SFO – India’s leading ODM player!


Thanks to Soni Saran Singh, executive director, NMTronics India Pvt Ltd, I was able to attend a ‘Global Supplier Meet’ at The NeST Group, Kochi, who’s flagship company, SFO Technologies is India’s number 1 ODM player.

I first heard of the NeST group when I was last in Kochi, covering the Photonics event organized by Cochin University of Science & Technology. Today, I had a full introduction! The NeST group started operations in 1991. Now, it is a $220 million dollar company, and well, India’s premier ODM player!

More later 😉

What’s happening with Karnataka semicon policy?

January 31, 2011 2 comments

What’s happening with the Indian semiconductor industry? Rather, what’s happening with the Karnataka semicon policy? I was rather surprised to receive an invite to an event held last Friday at Bangalore’s The Lalit Ashok Hotel.

First, I did not make it to the event! However, one finds that the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) has organized an event, along with the Government of Karnataka, and that too in early 2011!

Excuse me, what is the Government of Karnataka doing in 2011 with a policy, which it is itself responsible for placing late! Okay, even if it is doing something, or well, trying to do something, why not in 2010 itself, especially when the Karnataka semicon policy was announced!

Now, the focus of the policy is:
a) Retain its edge in design by attracting fresh investments and expansion by existing companies within the state.
b) Attract manufacturing related investments by focusing on three key activities.
I. Promote Karnataka as a semiconductor design hub.
II. Attract investments in high-tech semiconductor manufacturing.
III. Promote generation and use of green energy, specifically, solar energy.
IV. Focus on manpower development.

All of this is fine! It is very well known and quite clear to the Indian semiconductor industry as to what’s required to be done in Karnataka.

Unless, the government of Karnataka found out that there have been no takers for the state semicon policy so far!

It seems to be the latter case!

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