Bangalore: In spite of a global slump in the semiconductor industry, the Indian market is set to grow. US-based Texas Instruments Inc. (TI), the world’s second largest semiconductor company, says it has used the current tough times to invest in innovation, filing 87 patents from India in 2008 alone.
TI was one of the first multinational companies to identify India’s potential and set up a office in Bangalore way back in 1985. Since then, the firm’s Indian operations have grown significantly. Today it employs 1,400 people, most of them in research and development for the global market.
On the brighter side: Mitra says the present economic environment actually presents companies with an opportunity to innovate. Hemant Mishra / Mint
TI established a marketing arm for the local market in 2006 and says it has over the past one year stepped up its focus on this fast growing market. It has increased sales and marketing offices in the country from eight to 14, mainly in smaller cities such as Chandigarh, Gurgaon and Nashik. Its market in India continues to grow, particularly in sectors that include automobiles, industrial and medical electronics, and renewable energy sector. TI India has also been focusing on the analogue power market, where it is a major player in the micro-controllers market.
Biswadip Mitra, president and managing director of Texas Instruments (India) Pvt. Ltd, who is also the vice-chairman of industry body India Semiconductor Association (ISA), spoke about the market and his company’s plans. Edited excerpts:
Texas Instruments has said it expects better than previously forecast revenues this quarter, which buoyed the entire sector. Is the semiconductor market slump over globally? What is happening in India?
Since we are in a quiet period leading up to our results, I cannot comment specifically about any (guidance) issue to the market. However, specific to the Indian context, it is one of the few markets which will actually do well. This is primarily due to growth in areas like industrial electronics, renewable energy and analogue power devices. The association (ISA) has put out a forecast for the Indian market and I think the growth will be in line with that.
India has emerged as a design powerhouse in the semiconductor space. What can Indian companies do in the current economic environment?
India’s potential as a global design centre has been recognized. The present environment actually presents companies with an opportunity to innovate. Texas Instruments in India, for instance, has increased the number of patents it has filed in 2008 to 87 compared with 70 in the previous year. India can innovate in healthcare and education sectors by leveraging technology. Semiconductor companies can play a very vital role in enabling this.
What about growth in the analogue power market?
According to the report (by ISA and research and consulting firm Frost and Sullivan), the analogue power market in India, which was at $189.9 million (about Rs909 crore today) in 2008, will grow to $257.9 million in 2010.
TI has been major player in the Indian power market with its range of micro-controllers which are used in everything from lights, fans to automobiles. But the flip side is that these devices consume a lot of energy. We have been innovating in coming up with low power consumption but high performance devices. Our endeavour is to minimize carbon footprint of each device.
In a digital era, why this continued relevance of analogue products?
That is because human beings relate best to that (analogue devices).
What about manufacturing and setting up of a semiconductor fabrication plant?
It is true that India produces only a small percentage of the semiconductor products it consumes, and thus, there is a huge opportunity. But there have to be sufficient incentives and duty rationalizations from the government for such things (as fabrication factories that manufacture chips) to happen. ISA has submitted its wish list to the government.