Semiconductor Innovation Ecosystems: Learnings for India

Government of India has announced its new Expression of Interest for a Semiconductor Fab with a mixed response and a lot of media interest over the recent weeks.  Another subtle move has been the preparation of  a detailed project report (DPR) for a semiconductor fab by  a multi-stakeholder industry group led by IIT Bombay. I had the privilege to be on these working groups.

The core questions are : What has enabled successful semiconductor R&D labs globally? What are the learnings for India?

Last week, I presented a paper on this at “Reimagining Business Conference” at Sydney (virtually) organized by Indo-Gulf Marketing Association, Dubai.

The full paper explores the success story of IMEC Belgium, ITRI Taiwan, IBM Fishkill NY USA, IME Singapore…and attempts to extract the factors that triggered their resounding success.

Over the last few decades, semiconductor innovation ecosystem has evolved to deliver open innovation models that build on the core Corporate R&D centres by delivering industry wide collaborative programs that deliver higher efficient new product designs and IPs in a more optimized, cost-effective manner.

Classic examples of these models of public research innovation in semiconductor industry are: Fraunhofer, Germany; IMEC, Belgium; ITRI, Taiwan; IME, Singapore.

This literature review takes a deep dive into ITRI and IMEC models with a quick comparison with some of the other industry innovation models (IBM, Fishkill and IME A*Star, Singapore) to draw some learnings for reference and further exploration for India.

Given the well-established players, India’s aspiration will require to define a clear target positioning of its R&D program. While India is seeing some traction in Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) in recent years, its technology position in semiconductors is weak.

The paper explores competitive positions and proposes options for sustainable R&D services given that the global industry already has established R&D innovation centres. By defining select emerging sectors for semiconductors, and matching it with manageable technology options for India, sustainable innovation positions can be created.

What are the proposed R&D Services in the Indian semiconductor R&D center? How will it find its markets? Why it will be preferred over well established players? …are some of the questions that are explored in the paper. By developing estimates of end-demand and linking to potential competitive positions, the paper gives a logical foundation and recipe to Indian stakeholders and policy makers for building India’s semiconductor sector.

A copy of my presentation is shared here for reference.

Semiconductor Innovation Ecosystem-Learnings for India