India Semiconductor Ambitions Are a Heavy Lift

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is famous for always keeping his head down and working silently for the goal. The fanfare and passionate speeches mean more about the brand. The latest case has been raised: his speech at the Semicon India 2022 conference in late April, presenting India as a potential semiconductor manufacturing hub.

However, this goal may require humility and patience, especially as leading economies such as the US, Germany and Japan have attracted large investments from leading chipmakers. . And unlike manufacturing powerhouse China, which is also vying to become a serious global chipmaker, India lacks a strong domestic market for chips.

According to the Indian government, the Indian semiconductor market is estimated to reach $15 billion by 2020 and could reach $63 billion by 2026. Small-scale global standards: Several industry executives The global market is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2030. Currently, India depends on foreign manufacturers for most of its semiconductor requirements despite some efforts. previous failure of the government to develop domestic industry.

When a severe chip shortage hit last year, India decided to jump into the fray again by announcing a $10 billion incentive scheme to attract display and semiconductor makers. . But such a package does not guarantee interest from top players globally — especially with both the US and Europe willing to spend multiple multiples of that amount.

So far, the country has received proposals worth $20.5 billion from five companies. These include India’s major oil and gas group Vedanta, a joint venture with Foxconn,

Singapore-based IGSS Ventures Pte and ISMC — a joint venture between Abu Dhabi-based Next Orbit Ventures and Israel’s Tower Semiconductor.

Notably, many of the world’s leading chip manufacturers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing are absent Co.

and Samsung — although Intel is in the process of acquiring Tower Semiconductor.

India has proven itself in the smartphone assembly sector and is now the second largest smartphone assembler after China. It is understandable that they want to move up the value chain – but cheap labor is not nearly enough. Chipmaking is a technology- and capital-intensive industry that requires minimal, reliable access to electricity and water, which Indian governments have often struggled to provide. past.

Modi’s greatness aside, being on the map for the next 10 years and serving part of India’s own domestic needs seems a reasonable goal to aim for — aside from focusing on chip design and assembly, testing and packaging aspects of the chain value. No wonder the Indian government wants to seize the moment. But here, the adage about walking before running seems to be very relevant.

Write letter for Megha Mandavia at

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