Top executives from Foxconn and semiconductor firms Micron and AMD will this week attend a conference in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, as the government tries to lure investments into India's nascent chip industry.
India wants to establish itself as a semiconductor manufacturing hub, rivaling the likes of Taiwan, and the high demand for chips means the local market will be worth $80 billion (roughly Rs. 6,600 crore) by 2028, almost four times its $23 billion (nearly Rs. 1,88,614 crore) size now.
But PM Modi's plan has so far floundered. In 2021, his government announced a $10 billion (nearly Rs. 82,000 crore) scheme for domestic chip manufacturing, attracting interest from companies including Foxconn and local conglomerate Vedanta Ltd, but none of these proposals have materialised.
PM Modi will inaugurate the annual SemiconIndia conference in Gandhinagar, in western state of Gujarat, on Friday. Speakers at the three-day event include Foxconn Chairman Young Liu, Micron Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Mehrotra, and Advanced Micro Devices Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster.
The event comes just weeks after Foxconn backed out of a $19.5 billion (nearly Rs. 1,59,935 crore) chips joint venture with Vedanta, saying "the project was not moving fast enough". Foxconn has since decided to go solo.
Two other consortiums, including one that involved Israel's Tower Semiconductor, had announced plans to invest $3 billion each, but the proposals have since stalled.
The government recently issued another invitation for companies to apply for chip incentives.
US-based Micron in June announced it will invest $825 million (nearly Rs. 6,800 crore) to build its first factory in Gujarat for testing and packaging chips, but not manufacturing.
At its crowded booth at the conference venue, Micron displayed samples of chips, as well as QR codes linking to its job openings for technicians and wafer dicing process engineers in Gujarat.
Delegates from 23 countries will attend SemiconIndia, but India's credentials as a semiconductor manufacturer have yet to be established, with investors facing slow approvals from various levels of government and lack of a reliable supply chain for raw materials.
"India is still not a proven ground. Which explains the skepticism of global chip giants to come here and set shop," said Arun Mampazhy, a former India manager of US-based chipmaker GlobalFoundries.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
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