Posts Tagged ‘India Semiconductor Association’

ISA, UK-TI MoU to develop semicon industry

August 28, 2009 Comments off

PC-HKRecently, the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) signed an MoU with East of England International (EOEI) to promote and develop the semiconductor industries in their respective domains.

On August 31st, which is early next week, the ISA and the UK-TI will be signing an MoU to extend this relationship further.

My colleague, Usha Prasad and I met up with Chandrika Anil, Manager – Membership Services, ISA,  to hear more about the MoU.

Elaborating on how the MoU between the ISA and UK Trade & Investment (UK-TI) is going to help in encouragement and development of Global Value Chain Partnerships, Chandrika said that the ISA and the UK-TI share a mutual interest to promote and develop the sector semiconductor industries in their respective domains. The MoU between ISA and UK-TI entails promotion of the concept of Global Value Chain Partnerships.

As part of the MoU, the two organisations have agreed that:

  • Global Value Chain Partnerships are of mutual benefit in the ongoing development of the Indian and UK semiconductor industries and the relationship between them.
  • ISA and UK-TI will co-operate with each other in the following activities to encourage and develop Global Value Chain. Partnerships between Indian and UK semiconductor firms. This allows for:
  1. Promoting the concept of Global Value Chain Partnerships amongst the Indian and UK semiconductor industries in the most appropriate manner
    • This may include website, newsletters, conferences and direct discussion with firms.
  2. Identifying, through ongoing research and discussion, areas of potential business opportunity which could be addressed by Indian and UK firms working together
    • These areas could form a set of themes around which ISA and UK-TI may wish to focus on seminars and other activities to raise awareness, understanding and interest.
  3. Encouraging firms in the two industries to register (free of charge) their interest in exploring relevant partnerships and business opportunities in the identified areas
    • This would involve inviting firms to provide information about their interests and capabilities, periodically reviewing identified opportunities which may be relevant
  4. Facilitating meetings between firms and groups of firms to take forward discussions with a view to formation of Global Value Chain Partnerships

The MOU will create a synergy between India and the UK in the areas of design, device and applications.

You can read more on ISA’s website. Thanks for the interaction, Chandrika, and well done, Usha!

Global semi to dip by 28pc in 2009; Indian semi to grow at 13.4pc by 2010! Don’t get carried away!!

January 28, 2009 Comments off

Contrasting numbers, isn’t it!

Let’s start! Yesterday, Malcolm Penn, CEO and founder of Future Horizons, said at the International Forecast Seminar (IFS) in London that the global semiconductor market will fall by 28 percent in value and by 26 percent in unit shipments in 2009 after the unprecedented collapse of Q4 2008.

Penn has added that Q2 2009 will be the bottom of the dip, with a 15 percent increase forecast for 2010 and 28 percent in 2011.

This afternoon, the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) released the ISA-Frost & Sullivan report update 2008-10″, the third report on the subject and the second update, which stated that the total revenues of the Indian semiconductor market are likely to grow from $5.9 billion in 2008 to $7.59 billion in 2010 at a CAGR of 13.4 percent. The total available market (TAM) revenues are anticipated to climb from $2.53 billion in 2008 to $3.24 billion in 2010 with a CAGR of 13.1 percent.

Be aware that these numbers do not include India’s strength in embedded and design services. This will be covered in a separate report. Nor do these numbers include any potential growth for India in the solar photovoltaics space, which also has its separate report.

Now, these ISA numbers should make anybody wonder: the Indian semiconductor industry is in for a boom time! Far from it!! India’s contribution to the global semiconductor industry is still quite small for it to really make an impact.

Some other points to note!

First, according to the ISA-F&S update, the decline in CAGR, from 26.7 percent, in the earlier report of 2007, to 13.4 percent, in the current report, is on account of revised investment and manufacturing scenario seen in the second half of 2008.

Also, as Ms Poornima Shenoy, president, ISA, indicated: “India is a story of growth and this is important in such times though growth may be below past projections. The current slowdown will impact manufacturing investment prospects. A low manufacturing index for electronic products leads to higher imports and thus lowers the local potential for semiconductors, their key component.”

Next, India’s electronics industry manufacturing index of just 0.39 forecast for 2010 will result in an opportunity loss of $4.35 billion for semiconductor sales in India.

I haven’t seen many new start-ups and Indian product companies. While IT/office automation (IT/OA), wireless handsets and communications segments are going to define the semiconductor market growth, it remains to be seen how much of these come out from Indian, home grown companies. Perhaps, Indian entrepreneurs are averse to risk taking in semiconductors. We also have India’s wafer IC fab story, which didn’t really take off as expected.

It would be advised not to overlook these points and rejoice in the numbers for the Indian semiconductor industry. We still have many, many miles to go!

I would personally be much more pleased, and am sure, most of you will agree, if all of these numbers for the Indian semiconductor industry came more from the Indian based companies, rather than the Indian arms of multinationals. Besides, I am still waiting to see what sort of steps are being taken to incubate such companies.

I will be writing more about the global and Indian scenarios in depth, especially, the Indian scenario, in separate posts.

Seeking jobs in embedded! Can anyone help?

Ever since I have blogged about embedded companies in India, I’ve received a few messages, regarding jobs in the embedded segment in India. Some others have dropped hints about companies who haven’t made my list!

It seems the companies are not hiring, or they’ve put hiring on freeze. Does it mean that not many projects are going on currently? Or, is there a way for freshers to make a start somewhere? For starters, those who want their companies listed in any top 10 list, are they even trying to help freshers or those looking for better jobs in the embedded space? What is their policy for hiring?

Or, are they too dependent on design services, so much that they do not have enough products to work on or develop! Or, maybe, they don’t have many ongoing projects? I have had so many people tell me “India should do product development in semiconductors!” So, is that really happening? Or, is it merely a statement?

I did come across this web site called Dev Seeker, which is said to list jobs in embedded. DevSeeker also has a page that lists some of the embedded companies in India.

I also came across a blog on Monster, which lists several posts from some freshers, as well as some others who have actually asked folks to send in their resumes.

There is another web site from KBS Consultants, which has listed some jobs in the embedded segment. Another site, called GotAChance, also has links to jobs in the embedded space. Another search led me to a site called ITJobs.

By the way, I’ve no way of knowing whether any of the sites are updated, or, if they are, how frequently are those getting updated with the latest information. Sincerely hope that all of these sites are getting updated frequently!

Whenever I speak with semiconductor professionals, they don’t stop raving about India’s might in embedded. If that’s the case, why are so many talented people not being able to find jobs? Or even worse, how do freshers get to make a start? I am not sure if companies offer freelance work for embedded software engineers. However, it is an option that could be considered.

There are several companies in China and Japan who are seeking fresh and good talent in the embedded space. A Japanese delegation visited India last August for the India-Fukuoka (Japan) IT, Embedded Software and Semiconductor Business Workshop 2008. Some of companies are:

* Daichi Institution Industry Co. Ltd
* DISCO (Dai Ichi Seitosho Co. Ltd) Corp.
* Inoueki Co. Ltd
* JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization)
* Kyushu Economic Research Center
* CLAIR (The Japan Council of Local Authorities for International Relations), Singapore

Prior to that, last May, the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and the UK Trade & Investment and Science & Innovation Network launched a study titled “Scope for collaboration between India and the UK in semiconductor driven industry 2008.

I am also aware that China and Taiwan require lot of talent in embedded software and systems. They can surely make use of the talent available in India.

I am sure that all of these folks would be able to help out at least some of those looking to make a career in embedded systems and software. Otherwise, what’s the end result of making such trips to India and talking about India’s talent in embedded! Freshers need to make a start somewhere, so please help as many as possible.

To all of those freshers starting out to make a career, try and get the relevant experience, and the money will follow. Do not pursue it the other way round.

This is a request to the global embedded systems and software fraternity — there are quite a lot of talented and fresh engineers in India in the embedded systems and software segment, who are also seeking jobs. Give them, or at least, some of them, a chance! Can you kindly help them?

Why solar/PV is good for India? An ISA perspective!

December 25, 2008 1 comment

Recently, the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) held an educative briefing session on the potential of the solar PV market in India, which was conducted by Rajiv Jain, Director, Government Relations, ISA.

This meeting was held well before iSuppli issued a warning that there could be global solar sunburn in 2009! I am sincerely hoping that most of the points mentioned by ISA’s Jain still hold good in the coming year, and that India really does well and takes off in solar photovoltaics.

The ISA’s vision: To help make India an attractive global destination for PV manufacturing and a world leader in solar energy.

Starting with the basics of photovoltaics, he said that it is a package of solar cells used to convert energy from sun to electricity. In simpler words, photons from sunlight knock electrons into higher state of energy, thus creating electricity. The electricity can be used to power equipment or recharge a battery. A typical PV system mainly consists of a PV module, battery, inverter, controller and junction box.

Focusing on the technological landscape, he touched upon the two key technologies for solar: crystalline and thin film.

Crystalline silicon is said to be the most mature Si wafer technology, with the largest market share. Though, high on cost, it has a typical efficieny of 14-18 percent. Crystalline silicon is said to suitable for rooftop applications.

Thin film is nothing but thin layers of photosensitive materials on glass. It is currently on high growth due to silicon shortage, and very low on cost due to low material consumption. The efficiency is about 6.5-8 percent.

A third technology, nanotechnology, is the future technology for cost reduction. It is more in the R&D space as of now.

Present scenario for solar
So what’s the present scenario? In 2007, of $71 billion invested in new renewable energy (RE) capacity globally, 30 percent was in solar PV. It is the fastest growing area in the energy sector, with a CAGR of 47 percent over the last five years.

Grid-connected solar PV has been high growth market segment in 2007 (50 percent increase). Also, 86 percent of the PV installations are largely in four countries, with Germany at 47 percent being the outright leader.

Market drivers are said to be attractive feed-in tariffs, national PV market development and acceptance, RE obligations through solar PV, access to cheaper mode of finance, manufacturing incentives as well as strong R&D.

Why solar for India
I have addressed this in an earlier blog post. Here’s what Jain had to say, and it is mostly in line with the earlier discussions.

First, India has among the highest solar irradiance globally. It also has the best quality reserves of silica in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. India has also established itself low cost producer and assembler of solar PV cells and modules.

The major challenges include attaining scale and integration for cost reduction, and, R&D for development of the industry.

Solar insolation in India
To start with, the daily average solar energy incident varies from 4-7kWh per m2. Next, we have multiple sites with solar irradiation >2000 hours per year. In contrast, Germany has 900-1,200 hours per year. Further, most parts of India have 300-300 sunny days in a year translating into a potential of 600GW. Also, potential in some states like Rajasthan is 35-40 MW per m2.

It is well known that the Indian semiconductor policy of 2007 has triggered off the now well publicized efforts in solar initiatives. The government of India has received 16 applications with investments envisaged at app Rs. 1,55,000 crores.

The investments in solar PV manufacturing exceed Rs 1,25,000 crores. Generation based incentives (GBI) are going to be key.

Potential market segments in India
There are quite a few, actually. In rural electrification, the government of India’s target is to achieve ‘Electricity for all by 2012’. About 18,000 remote villages will likely be electrified through RE. About ~25 percent of the remote villages, i.e., 4,500 villages, form a very viable market.

Next comes telecom back-up power! PV is a cost effective alternative to diesel generators (DG) for back up power for shorter duration, as DG based systems suffer from several disadvantages.

Another key market could be grid connected solar PV based generation. Current tariffs do not provide attractive IRR to developers. Decreasing system prices are however, likely to improve the economics.

Finally, roof based BIPV is said to be an alternative to reduce the cost of power procured by commercial buildings.

ISA’s recommendations
The ISA has also made salient recommendations via its report on the industry. These include areas such as manufacturing: with an aim to encourage companies investing in ‘Scale and integration’, provision of capital subsidy to larger number of units, availability of funds at a cheaper rate, and an emphasis on R&D.

Also, the ISA has recommended that GBI be given for a tenure of 20 years, with the present period being 10 years. Further, it has suggested an accelerated depreciation along with the GBI scheme, and the availability of GBI for an unlimited capacity for a period of five years. The ISA has recommended an enactment of the RE Law requiring utilities to progressively increase power purchase from RE.

On its part, the ISA has been working with the government of India and various state governments as well. It has a sound rapport with concerned ministries – MNRE, DIT and NMCC.

The ISA has also assisted in the technical evaluation of solar PV proposals received in Fab City, Hyderabad. It has also drafted a semiconductor policy for the government of Karnataka, which should be out early next year, hopefully. The ISA is also working with several other state governments to promote the industry in their states.

The second ISA Solar PV Conclave is scheduled for November 2009 at Hyderabad.

Very good intentions, all of these! Now, for the Indian industry and the government to deliver, and walk hand in hand!!

Solar/PV is just right for India

November 4, 2008 Comments off

There have been significant investments in the solar/photovoltaic space in India in the recent past, and that does not look like ending any time soon.

Given the ongoing global financial crisis, and the state of the global semiconductor industry, it appears that India has bet quite successfully on the solar/PV segment. In fact, it seems that solar/PV is just right for India! In fact, it may just kick off the kind manufacturing activity India really needs.

Poornima Shenoy, president, India Semiconductor Association (ISA), says that solar/PV is right for India for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, India has among the highest solar irradiance, globally. Secondly, it is established as a low-cost producer and assembler of solar PV cells and modules. And thirdly, India has among the best quality reserves of silica in the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

She adds: “At present, solar PV may not seem to be an attractive option, primarily due to high generation costs. However, in the coming years, with increases in fossil fuel prices, rising environmental concerns, and a reduction in the cost of solar PV technology, it is likely to become a major source of energy.”

The ISA expects 2015 to be an important year for the solar/PV industry. Around this time, the product cost of the Indian solar PV industry is likely to match the semi grid parity (peak power) globally, and also to match the grid parity within India.

The four major segments offering maximum potential in the coming years for solar PV in India are: rural electrification — decentralized distributed generation (DDG); grid interactive solar PV power plants; backup power for telecom (base transceiver stations); and roof-based solar PV systems.

ISA-NMCC report on solar/PV
The ISA recently released a report on the solar PV market in New Delhi with NMCC (National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council).

According to the ISA-NMCC study, of the US$71 billion invested in new, renewable energy capacity globally in 2007, 30 percent of was in solar PV. Solar PV is the fastest growing area in the energy sector, with a CAGR of 47 percent over the last five years. The grid-connected solar PV segment saw 50 percent growth in 2007.

As per the report, the solar PV industry is likely to grow four-fold by 2011. However, there are various uncertainties in the short- to medium-term on both the supply and the demand side.

On the supply side, the main constraint is the lack of available polysilicon. The demand side is limited by the quantum of incentives for solar PV.

Gradually, there will likely be improvements in technology. The decreasing cost of manufacturing could drive the preferential tariffs lower, and ongoing demand for PV products could also attract significant investment.

As for the global solar PV supply chain. Thin-film production is one of the fastest growing segments in solar. The lack of available polysilicon is limiting growth, and this has led to the emergence of thin-film technology. This technology has enjoyed substantial growth since 2005: 80 percent in 2006 and over 100 percent in 2007.

BV Naidu quits SemIndia; what now of Indian fab story?

September 26, 2008 1 comment

There’s this report on DNA Money about BV Naidu, managing director of SemIndia Systems Pvt Ltd and SemIndia Fab Pvt Ltd having quit his job! This immediately begs the question: What now of the Indian fab story? Or, has it sunk without a trace?

There have been several questions raised in the past, as well as in the recent past, such as:

1. Is India’s fab story going astray?
2. Why have fabs in India in the first place?
3. Can an Indian based fab take on the might of established global fabs? How will it be profitable in this climate?
4. What can an Indian fab produce unique, that other fabs cannot?
5. What has the Indian semicon policy achieved, when the Indian semicon industry was doing well, prior to the announcement of the policy?
6. What does India bring to the semicon world?
7. Why move to solar, when there’s been no action of note for wafer IC fabs?
8. Why convert the Fabcity in Hyderabad, to Solarcity?
9. Solar/PV isn’t exactly semiconductors, so why this hype about solar fabs? Is this being done to hide the lack of any success in semiconductor fabs?

Right! I am not here to provide the answers to such questions, nor am I qualified enough to address these! These are questions, if they are justifiable questions, to be answered by the industry! Rather, I will try and analyze what India has done and can do in semiconductors!

May I add here that according to the India Semiconductor Association, BV Naidu remains an active member of the Executive Council. BV Naidu himself informed me that he will be continuing at the board level at SemIndia, moving away from executive responsibilities. And, he will be continuing at the ISA. So that’s good news!

Now back to the discussion!

First, yes, before and post the Indian semiconductor policy, India continues to do very well in semiconductors. Nearly every single MNC has its presence here; and no one that I know, has said that it has no plans to expand in India! Two, we have been traditionally very strong in design services and continue to remain so! Three, India is the emerging (or already emerged) embedded superstar!

Having a wafer IC fab isn’t such a big deal, is it? So many folks have already moved on to fab-lite anyway! Yes, having one wafer IC fab would surely prop up India’s image in the global semicon market, but well, not having one, won’t sully India’s image either!

If we do not get a fab, then let’s just all accept that India was not ready for one, and let’s move on! Life in semiconductors is much more than wafer fabs, as India’s brilliant design services companies keep proving day in and day out!

I’ve said before in one of my blogs that doing product development is probably not India’s strength! Design services surely is! Let’s focus on our strength!

Will the moving out of BV Naidu from SemIndia effect the Indian industry? Why should it? Actually, far from it! Some companies in IP and other embedded areas are doing very well anyway. Let’s give such companies their due credit! They’ve been present, much before the India Semiconductor Association was formed, or way long before the Indian semicon policy was born!

I interact regularly with the length and breadth of the Indian semiconductor industry. I’ve been covering this industry much before the India Semiconductor Association was even formed! If I remember correctly, I was among the three journalists present on the day the ISA was actually launched! Coming back to my point, I’ve yet to come across one person from the industry who does not understand the dynamics of this industry!

If a fab does not happen or someone leaves a company, that does not mean that there’s been a failure. Maybe, it was a wrong choice to start off with! Perhaps, it just coincided with the turbulent global semiconductor industry. Or, simply, semiconductor was mistaken to be a commodity, which it is not!

India has had several investments in solar. Two days from now, there’ll be a major solar/PV conference in New Delhi. Solar is within the ecosystem units of the Indian semicon policy, and it has attracted major investments. Yes, solar has to do with energy security, and in that regard, India could well be on the right path. However, that’s just one small part of the complete story of the semicon policy!

As to whether India should focus on semicon OR solar, I am not the right person to comment or judge! Nor am I qualified enough to comment on ‘why convert Fabcity to Solarcity’. Maybe, solar is being hyped in India right now. If yes, like any other industry, once it matures, the solar bubble will burst and consolidation will happen.

There are several other ecosystem unit definitions in the semicon policy. Some may and will happen. For those who are not aware, the “ecosystem units” have been 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 products.

The Indian semiconductor industry, as I see it, remains strong as before, fabs or no fabs! I don’t equate solar with semiconductors, and maybe I am wrong here, but I do believe the two should be treated separately. Not a single solar company will probably feature in India’s top 10 semiconductor companies! At least, not in my list! And, if a top executive leaves a company, why should it hamper the overall industry?

Frankly, it is the Ittiams, the MindTrees, the Cosmic Circuits’, the eInfochips, and the SoftJins who continue to remain India’s pride, even though they may be quite small in comparison to the global giants! At least, they have done India proud in their own way! Doesn’t matter if these companies do not make great media copy! These are among the Indian semiconductor companies that continue to matter!

The India semiconductor story is something like this: Lots of high-end designs are being done here. In fact, lot of key decisions are now being made out of India. The talent pool is very much intact and growing! We are leaders in design services and embedded, make no mistake.

Now, does all of this indicate a recession or depression in the Indian semiconductor industry? Or, is it an indication of India’s growing success — fabs or no fabs? You decide!

Bangalore not cowed down by serial blasts, ISA Excite a success

July 25, 2008 Comments off

Friends, I am really pained to report that Bangalore has been rocked by eight-nine serial blasts of low intensity today! As per the TV channels, there have been two deaths and several people injured. This is extremely unfortunate!

Countrymen and women, please join me in condemning this dastardly act of the serial blasts in Bangalore today.

I would also like to add a message sent to me by a good friend, Xavier, which says: Bangalore, don’t be cowed down!

This is a small gesture that goes out to send the right signal to those who are keen to take away our freedom, our right to live peacefully for whatever their ideology is!

“Let our thoughts and prayers be with the near and dear ones of those killed and injured in these blasts.”

Those who indulge in such activities are cowards. While such acts are meant to create panic, Bangalore has stood firm! Yes, people across the city, in various offices and other establishments, left home early, more so as a precautionary measure, telephone lines were jammed for some time, and there were the usual traffic jams — largely due to the rains. However, there has been little panic. Yes, there may have been panic in the affected areas for some hours post the blasts.

In fact, I wasn’t even aware of the blasts as I was attending a wonderful event on semiconductors — the ISA Excite — with a colleague, Ravinder, at Leela Palace. We only learned of the blasts on reaching office! Interestingly, there were little signs of panic on the roads as we were driving back to the office! Well, I’ve had quite a few phone calls and messages, thereafter! Am sure, it’s been the same for nearly everyone in the city.

The country has gone on high alert since the blasts, as these can actually happen anywhere! However, India is a strong country, made up of very strong-minded people. Such acts of cowardice will not stop the normal pace of life. At best, normal life could be disrupted for a few hours.

Of course, a lot needs to be done to secure the IT capital of India, and possibly the world. It is hoped that the security agencies in India would do everything within their capability to ensure that such acts are not repeated. The damage could have been far greater, and some even wonder, whether there is some sort of a hidden message behind today’s serial blasts.

Going back to the ISA Excite event, organized by the India Semiconductor Association, it was really heartening to learn that the Karnataka state will soon have its own semiconductor policy. I will be blogging more on this later tonight or tomorrow.

I’d also like to mention that the ISA Excite event was a very strong indication that the Indian semiconductor industry is very healthy and doing well, although, we may not yet have a wafer IC fab, and there are infrastructure challenges to mount.

Nearly everyone from the Indian semiconductor fraternity was present at the show. I am sure, several people heard about the blasts, and expressed their disgust at the happenings. However, the show went on! When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It was a message from the Indian semiconductor industry that even in tough times, it will move forward.

The show must always go on! And successfully!

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