India's quest for role in future of semiconductors

Other News Materials 31 December 2021 20:35 (UTC +04:00)
India's quest for role in future of semiconductors

The announcement of a new semiconductor policy on December 15th is welcome news, and the concerned ministers need to be complimented on putting it out there, Trend reports citing rediff.com.

There is a caveat though: It is too little, too late; this should have been done 25 years ago. And the amounts being committed by India ($10 billion) pale in comparison to what other countries are rumored to have earmarked: $50 billion by the US, $100 billion by South Korea, and $450 billion by China, according to the Indian Express

This is a big boys' game. IC Insights says chipmakers will spend $152 billion this year on new fabs and production equipment this year, up from $113 billion last year. They expect investment to continue to rise at that clip of over 30% a year.

The reason is simple. If abundant oil and gas drove the 20th century economy, it is data that will drive the 21st century.

To be precise, it is the ability to collect and manipulate data. And at a very practical level, it means the ability to create the semiconductors, that is chips, that power up most of the data-manipulating devices such as phones, computers and IoT devices.

So whoever owns the best chip industry will be the Saudi Arabia of the era of data.

There is one statistic that remains with me from the time I was running an incubator for electronic hardware companies, funded by the Government of India: That India's import bill for electronics would exceed India's import bill for oil sometime in the next year or two.

And this was even before the production-linked incentives made India a big maker of things like mobile phones.