India needs to focus not only on the production of chips, but also on the development of intellectual property that goes into these chips, says Hemant Malapur, co-founder and EVP Engineering, Saankhya Labs.
Q1. How has the global shortage of semiconductors affected the industry?
Answer – Semiconductors are crucial for any market, ranging from consumer electronics, manufacturing, automotive, agriculture, healthcare, infrastructure, entertainment, telecommunications, transportation, energy management, military systems and space, to name a few.
The global shortage of chips has had a major impact on all of these industries. Because semiconductors are an important component of products, the shortage of chips has led to production delays. This has led to huge delays in the delivery of goods. For example, there are reports of a delay of 10-12 months for some car models. Companies like Apple also slowed down the production of their iPhones.
Q2. What are your expectations from the government, which is reportedly working on a package to stimulate semiconductor production in India?
Answer – The global chip shortage and the current geopolitical scenario have prompted the government to work on a package to promote semiconductor production. However, the creation of production units is very capital intensive with the requirement of billions of dollars for one plant. The return on investment will only happen if the ecosystem develops from end to end.
IN government should also seek to promote semiconductor manufacturers. We have a great range of talent as well as the presence of amazing TNCs in India. Fabless’s R&D and production will ultimately help generate a good return on semiconductor investment.
Q3. How important is it for India to have an ecosystem for semiconductor factory talk?
Answer – Fables semiconductor companies are an integral part of the semiconductor ecosystem. They design the chipsets and own the intellectual property of each specific chip. Pureplay fabs do not design, they only produce chips designed by their customers – the fabless companies. India needs to focus not only on the production of chips, but also on the development of the intellectual property that goes into those chips. This will allow the Indian ecosystem to capture a larger share of semiconductor value chain.
Q4. Why should the government give priority to PLI for Fables semiconductor design companies?
Answer – As discussed, non-verbal companies form a crucial part of the semiconductor ecosystem. India already has a large presence of semiconductor companies. Most of them are MNCs that have their own development teams in India and while the design takes place in India, IPR is owned by the parent company outside of India.
The Indian government should give priority to the PLI scheme for semiconductor companies, with a focus on local companies that develop IPs owned in India. India has a great array of talents in semiconductor design and a PLI circuit will help the chances of Indian start-ups to enter a global competitive market. The priority of the PLI scheme should be on internal R&D with a special focus on stimulating R&D investment. The growth of intellectual property in semiconductor design in India will be a boost for #AtmanirbharBharat for the semiconductor sector.
Q5. Are you negotiating with the government to design semiconductor chipsets?
Answer – We work with government agencies to share our contributions on policies to promote semiconductor development in India. As a private product company, we assess market opportunities and decide our business roadmap ourselves. So far, we have not had the opportunity to engage with the government in developing specific products. We have one of our chip development projects supported by an accelerator called SFAL (Semiconductor Fabless Accelerator Lab), which is funded by the Ministry of IT, Karnataka Government and managed under the auspices of the IESA Industry Association (Indian Electronics and Semiconductors Association). ).
Q6. Tell us about your partnership with ISRO.
Answer – We are the strategic MSS (Mobile Satellite Service) technology partner for ISRO. We have developed a number Satcom and Sat-IoT solutions related to ISRO. These include tracking terminals for locomotives installed in Indian railways, vessel tracking solutions for fishermen traveling in the deep sea, S-Band handheld satellite phones, hub equipment, satellite reception terminals only, etc. Our solutions work with ISRO satellites.
Q7. From space towers to household appliances, semiconductors are needed to make almost any electronic system. What is your opinion about the market potential?
Answer – Semiconductors is a mature industry worldwide with three decades of experience. The size and growth trends of the industry are well understood. Semiconductor consumption in India is now estimated at about $ 50 billion per year and is growing by 26% on an annual basis. The world market is $ 550 billion with a similar growth rate.
Newer markets are constantly emerging. As the demand for electronic devices increases, so does the demand for semiconductors. The pandemic brought the concept of work from home and online education, which led to an exponential increase in demand for devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets. This led to a big boost in the demand for semiconductors.
The introduction of newer technologies such as 5G Networks, clouds, artificial intelligence, smart cars and blockchain around the world will ensure that the semiconductor industry continues to grow at this rate.
8. What are your future plans in the semiconductor space?
Answer – Saankhya Labs is now an OEM for telecommunications and broadcasting equipment, in addition to being a Fabless semiconductor company. We continue to develop our semiconductor chipsets based on Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology. We are currently developing our next generation products for 5G Telecom infrastructure and they will be launched early next year.