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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.

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!

ST focuses on four key growth areas

February 11, 2011 Comments off

Carlo Bozotti, president and CEO, STMicroelectronics.

Carlo Bozotti, president and CEO, STMicroelectronics.

According to Carlo Bozotti, president and CEO of STMicroelectronics, there are four key growth areas for the company:
* Smart meters and energy saving.
* Smart consumer devices.
* Trust and data security.
* Healthcare and well being.

Bozotti was speaking at the STMicroelectronics’ media roundtable held this evening at the Greater Noida, India office.

Year 2010 goes down in ST’s history as a year of records. Both ACCI and IMS surpassed the $1 billion mark in quarterly revenue. Year 2010 was also a year of recovery — with ST achieving $1,3 billion revenue and a net operational cashflow of $961 million. ST also improved its net financial position to $1.7 billion.

In 2011, ST promises to expand and continue to grow its customer base. This year, ST predicts that the global semicon industry will grow 5-8 percent.

ST forsees its second major block of growth in manufacturing. It has aggressive ramp-up planned in application areas, such as:
* MEMS.
* Smart power automotive field.
* New platforms and solutions in smartphones and tablets.

Even ST-Ericsson, which was in restructuring mode, is now secure. This year, said Bozotti, it will be a year of transition from old, legacy products to new.

The last priority is to achieve 3D SoCs, complex MCUs and twin MEMS. Bozotti noted that the company plans to combine accelerometer and gyroscope in a single application. It will also add innovative solutions to smartphones and tablets.

As for R&D, Bozotti claimed that the company will remain committed. “We strongly commit to R&D in both good and bad times,” he noted. Read more…

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!

Synopsys’ Dr. Aart de Geus at SNUG 2010 India!

June 23, 2010 Comments off

Dr. Aart de Geus - CEO & Chairman of the Board, Synopsys Inc. at SNUG 2010 India.

Dr. Aart de Geus - CEO & Chairman of the Board, Synopsys Inc. at SNUG 2010 India.

“Moore’s Law is absolutely alive and well,” stated Dr. Aart de Geus – CEO & Chairman of the Board, Synopsys Inc., while delivering the keynote ’20/20 Vision for 2010′ at the Synopsys Users Group (SNUG) 2010 event in Bangalore today. He added that systemic collaboration is getting more and more important. “We need to have a joint vision of where our field is going.”

To make the ‘machine’ called SoC work, one needs to look simultaneously at economics and technology, and hence the word, techonomic.

Commenting on the global economy, he said, the industry had just come out of a very severe recession. Last year, Dr. Geus had introduced the recession compiler.

Today, there’s a clear sense of turn, and a huge shift in the global economy during the recession. According to him, China will pass Japan and become the second largest economy. China has continued to evolve quite a bit, and so has India. Dr. Geus also introduced the recovery compiler six months ago.

He added that people on one side are looking at how to minimize costs and risks. How does this impact semicon? Most semicon companies are now reporting good results. Today, there has been about 5.8-6 percent of growth, indicating a steady state. Semicon is in the center to drive growth.

In the foundry world, there has been some consolidation, and you now find some really large ones. So far, semicon has rebounded somewhat much faster. The memory folks are also feeling pretty good. It must be noted that during the last three years, they invested really nothing in capex, and some players also disappeared.

If one were to look at cool killer applications today, there’s certainly a theme around video more and more on mobile apps, HD, 3D, etc. All of this is leading to the fact that bandwidth and storgae will grow even more. Smart grids are also clearly becoming more important In future. The word ‘smart’ will be critical. “Eveything around us will commmunicate in some form or another, in future,” Dr. Geus added. Read more…

Indian EDA thought leaders can exploit opportunities from tech disruption!

December 5, 2009 2 comments

Wesley Ryder, Worldwide Technical Director, Mentor Graphics.

Wesley Ryder, Worldwide Technical Director, Mentor Graphics.

Early April, I had met Wesley Ryder, Worldwide Technical Director, Mentor Graphics, along with Hanns Windele, VP Europe and India, Mentor, during an event organized by the India Semiconductor Association (ISA). Both were back in India recently– for Mentor’s User2User conference, where Ryder delivered the keynote: Carpe diem – Golden opportunities for India to shine!

According to Ryder, India has all the ingredients to exploit opportunities from technology disruption. Inda, according to him, has a young, open-minded workforce – not blinkered by old methods. Also, this workforce has the ability to see opportunities and take measured risks. Besides being high quality, skilled individuals, they are also (EDA) thought leaders.

Implications for EDA and India
Given this scenario, what are the implications for EDA? Ryder said these are:
* Introduce and support leading-edge design tools in India.
* EDA startups focus more initial sales efforts in San Jose and India.
* Purchasing decisions increasingly incorporate India design teams to drive flows and decisions.
* India emerges as the test bed for new design ideas.

And what are the implications for India? Ryder advises Indian designers to:
* Exercise your influence—demand best in class design tools and capabilities.
* Always remain open to new design approaches,
— Beware of becoming risk adverse as you become more experienced.
— Stay abreast of emerging innovations by maintaining close contact with EDA companies, including start-ups.
* Make your EDA suppliers aware of your issues and challenges.

Giving an overview regarding the adoption of disruptive new technologies and the evolution of EDA, Ryder said many electronic engineers do not consider themselves “risk takers.” Most electronic engineers don’t seem to like to change tools either, unless there is a major advantage in price or performance. As a result, many will not even consider “hot” new tools.

However, it has been observed that inexperienced engineers and recent university graduates eagerly adopt new technology. It provides them a way to distinguish themselves, besides the productivity advantage. Also, they are less invested in existing methodologies.

Among designers with five to 15 years of experience, it was observed  that some were reluctant, but afraid to be left behind. Some others were intimidated by new college graduates. However, the smartest, most aggressive designers made the change relatively quickly. Many delayed transition, waiting for mature tools.

India a fertile environment for new tech adoption
So what makes a fertile environment for new technology adoption? A young, open-minded workforce, which can see opportunities and take measured risks, and those who are highly skilled and thought leaders!

Ryder said that the the age of electronic engineers in India is lower than all other major design locations. It is 46 years in the USA, 45 in Japan, 41 in Europe, 35 in Korea, 34 in Taiwan, 31 in China and 30 in India! Hence, the tenure is lower and designers are not blinkered or bothered by old methods. He added that India’s engineers place a high priority on staying current, learning and continuing education.

He cited a quote of Rich Templeton, president and CEO, Texas Instruments, who said about India: “The reason we are here is very simple — and that is to get access to really great people.” He added: “TI India is an integral part of our worldwide development strategy in bringing about, stateof-the-art products and technologies for our customers globally. Over the years, India has come to play an increasingly important role in the long-term success of TI.”

Ryder contended that electronic designers in India, on average, are as smart as those from United States, Europe and Japan.

Disruption creates opportunity and there is an increasing influence of India design centers. For instance, Indian designers were early adopters of C-based design. Also, place and route was increasingly being carried out in India (and DFT + verification). In functional verification, India also has deep expertise in modeling.

With such EDA thought leaders in place, India possesses all of the necessary ingredients to exploit opportunities from technology disruption.

State of the global EDA industry: Dr. Pradip Dutta, Synopsys


A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with Dr. Pradip Dutta Corporate Vice President and Managing Director, and Treasurer, regarding the state of the global EDA industry and in India. What followed was a very interesting conversation, some of which is reproduced here!

Any sign of improvements in EDA?
To start with, the state of the global EDA industry is well known, and it has also seen revenue drops Q-on-Q in the past. Are there any signs of improvement?

According to Dr. Dutta, the last several quarters in the semiconductor industry have been extremely challenging as consumer demand for electronic products has declined with the heavy stress on the global economy.

“While we are starting to see signs of the semiconductor industry rebounding off the bottom with inventory replenishment and an uptick in end demand for key consumer items such as PCs and mobile phones, the environment is expected to remain difficult at least well into next year.

“During this time, the challenge for the semiconductor industry and its suppliers will be to find the next level of efficiency. The good news is that across a broad field of applications, semiconductors are a key enabler to future prosperity. Green solutions, low-cost netbooks, advances in connectivity and evolving products like the Kindle are just a few examples of areas that could help drive future development.

“The long-term ramifications of this scenario on the EDA industry are starting to become visible. More than ever, customers want to get their products out on time, and get it right with high quality.

“In addition to some immediate cost-cutting to respond to the crisis, most semiconductor and design businesses are re-focusing their market strategies, streamlining their operations, de-risking their supplier and partner relationships, and in some cases actively pursuing consolidation opportunities to drive economic efficiency.

“This situation presents as an opportunity for EDA companies to focus on important product developments that can enable leading semiconductor design and manufacturing companies to not only create more advanced devices, but to simultaneously lower risks and cut costs. In today’s economy, companies need to find ways to manage expenses while still investing in the future so they don’t just survive the recession, they emerge from it stronger.”

State of the Indian EDA industry
Obviously, it would be interesting to see how is the Indian EDA industry holding up in these times.

Dr. Dutta said that the Indian EDA industry is a combination of catering to global semiconductor players and addressing the needs of a domestic market that is slowly developing. The global players that operate out of India are rapidly moving up the value chain in terms of owning and architecting the next generation chips. This leads to an enormous opportunity for EDA companies to get associated at the front end of tool decisions.

“As you are aware, the level of technology that is being witnessed in the chips that are getting designed here is absolutely bleeding edge. The EDA companies are therefore paying concomitant attention to robust application support and in-house R&D effort. It has to be a full package here and now to address these kinds of customer requirements.

“Beyond the global players, India is seeing a few, but committed fabless design companies coming up in recent times. In addition to that, the Indian government is showing a lot of interest in country-specific programs, primarily in defense areas that require EDA support.

“We have also recently seen media reports about an “India Chip” being conceived at the central government level for domestic security applications. The ISA is working toward a blueprint for targeting semiconductors into a national agenda and hopefully, many ideas for systems and corresponding chips that will emanate from it to keep EDA companies interested,” he added.

Read more…

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