Demand for electronic goods is rising fast in India and driving up semiconductor consumption in the country. This is seen by industry observers as a positive trend that could set the stage for India to one day emerge as a major manufacturing center for integrated circuits, much as it has become a center for software development.
This hope was expressed in presentations at the India Semiconductor Association's annual Vision Summit held last month in Bangalore. The theme of the two-day event, organized by the ISA along with India's Department of Information Technology and UK Trade & Investment, was "Electronic Systems Innovation: India's opportunity to drive global markets."
The summit identified numerous market opportunities for development in the semiconductor industry in India, and while participants stressed the availability of skilled personnel to help move the market forward, they also addressed the various challenges facing manufacturers in the sector. These include how best to identify and raise the resources to lift the local industry up to the standards manufacturers enjoy in developed economies.
I believe that with the growing globalization of the high-tech product-development community in India, the nation will continue to provide a huge base for innovation and talent, adding to the international structure of the electronics community. The Indian semiconductor industry has grown into a prominent player in the past couple of decades and has been a vital contributor to the nation’s economic growth.
"The Indian semiconductor industry, following the global trend, is set for tremendous growth, with sales expected to hit $8 billion by the end of 2011," notes Frost & Sullivan
in a research report.
Since India has the world's second largest population and increasing domestic demand for electronics equipment, the potential for higher semiconductor consumption and sales is huge. There are also vast, untapped opportunities for locally made products for the non-urban market, especially in verticals such as telecom and wireless applications.
The growth of the mobile handset, consumer electronics, and telecommunications markets, for instance, has boosted revenue in the electronics industry, and this will in turn create opportunities in the country for local semiconductor production.
Among the challenges local players can help resolve is the issue of inadequate power supply. India continues to face power shortages, and this has influenced customers who often prefer battery-powered, portable electronics devices. Since these are sophisticated devices, however, the power requirement is typically higher.
That's why the ISA Summit focused on power-related issues and how to meet this challenge. Semiconductor companies are trying to develop low-power chips, yielding longer battery life, and India can help in this area by offering local applications in the telecom, automotive, industrial electronics, and consumer electronics markets.
This year the India Semiconductor Association is planning to focus on microcontrollers that have power-saving features as part of its plan to create a niche market for manufacturers in the country.