India a major design hub for semi- conductors

A Technology company in Bangalore, India has created chips that power in flight entertainment. Free scale’s micro controllers are being used in the Bajaj Pulsar DTSi bikes launched last year in its electronic ignition unit, the digital cluster and the body electronics, which have been made for Indian roads. Samsung’s machines have been customized to suit the erratic power outages in India. The modified machine’s microcontrollers allows for the process to restart from where it left off when the power failure happened.

Not only is India emerging as one of the world’s design hubs for semiconductors, the country is also fast becoming one of the biggest consumers of semiconductors, given the phenomenal growth in domestic consumption of electronics products. According to India Semiconductor Association (ISA) ad Frost & Sullivan (ISA –F&S) report for 2007, the annual growth in the Indian semiconductor market is now nearly triple the rate at which the global semiconductor market is expanding. India spent about $2.8 billion on semi conductors in 2005, and that demand is estimated to exceed $36 billion by 2015, according to the report. The study finds that mobile handsets computers, GSM, base stations set top boxes and energy meters are the top five products that are expected to drive growth And the top four semiconductor products are expected to be microprocessors, analogue memory and discrete devices.

Mobile phone subscriptions in India are growing at the rate of 7-8 million per month. Telecom and mobility will contribute to 41% of overall consumption of semiconductors in Indian in the next few years.

The key drivers for the industry have been mobiles and flat panel TVs. People aspire for a 70-inch TV, and LCD TV. The boom in consumer electronics makes the effort to bring in better technology or improvements in the existing technology are drivers for the semiconductor industry. Analysts feel the emphasis should be on understanding the unique needs foe the local market and developing products tailor made to suit them. India should focus on connecting with consumers in areas such as wireless communications, energy management, education and healthcare. Electricity is a huge issue here, so it’s only in India that products like inverters or solar powered LED light bulbs are in great demand. Companies should look at producing such products. The emphasis should be on creating more IP and Made in India products.

Creating power efficient products will be one of the big growth drivers for India. The booming electronics and technology industries require more power to function efficiently. But we have a limited pool of power to draw from. So the challenge is to maximize the efficiently of the power at our disposal. This can be done using products that have been developed using innovative chip designs.

Another vertical with opportunities is healthcare. India has the second largest aging population (65 plus) in the World. Increased longevity combined with mobility pose new challenges in healthcare. So areas like geriatric telemedicine, biometric based options and digital home gateways to monitor the old while at home will slowly gain traction in the Indian market.

Technology can help people in far flung areas gain access to medical facilities. Tele-medicine will be a key area of growth. Another area is diagnostics such as CT scans and ECGs. Here technology can help develop low cost robust ad portable.

Experts also see enormous opportunities in areas like education, automotive, and digital entertainment. Globally the semi-conductors industry is seeing a period of maturation. India is at an interesting inflection point, where it can leverage its core skills and generates revenues,. But remember technology is going to keep evolving. And innovation alone can ensure that one remains ahead in the race.

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