Qualcomm open to buying made-in-India chips, says CEO

  • Cristiano Amon added that the company was partnering with many Indian companies – spanning the telecom, automobile, industrial electronics and semiconductor industries – to research evolving technologies.

N Madhavan
Published14 Mar 2024, 02:54 PM IST
Cristiano Amon, chief executive of Qualcomm Inc. Photo: Bloomberg
Cristiano Amon, chief executive of Qualcomm Inc. Photo: Bloomberg

Chennai: Wireless communications major Qualcomm Inc is open to buying semiconductor chips from India whenever they are available, the company’s president and CEO Cristiano Amon said. He was speaking after the inauguration of Qualcomm’s Chennai Design Centre, set up at a cost of 177.27 crore.

The company, a fabless manufacturer of semiconductor products for wireless communication, presently sources chips from companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung Semiconductor Inc.

The Indian government has approved four projects to make semiconductor chips with an investment of 1.6 trillion, including two involving US-based Micron Technology and Tata Electronics. The first ‘made-in-India’ chip from Micron’s plant, which is a packaging and testing unit, is expected in December 2024. The Tata Electronics unit, which will make chips from scratch, will start producing them by the end of 2026.

Qualcomm’s new design centre in Chennai will employ 1,600 engineers and specialise in wireless connectivity solutions, Amon said. It will also contribute to Qualcomm’s global research and development efforts on 5G cellular technology.

After the inauguration, union minister for and electronics & information technology Ashwini Vaishnaw said the facility will be the first in India to handle end-to-end semiconductor design. “It is one more milestone,” he said, adding that India now has the entire ecosystem needed for semiconductor manufacturing – design; fabrication; and assembly, testing and marking/packaging (ATMP) capabilities.

Semiconductors, he said, are a gateway to India becoming a developed nation as they find use in automobiles, industrial electronics, laptops, servers, mobile phones, televisions and more. “Every piece of the value chain is now set,” he added.

Vaishnaw also announced the launch of the Qualcomm 6G University Research India Program, which will allow 17 professors from Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Science to research 6G technologies with a grant of $1.02 million. “We will lead the world in 6G,” he added.

Amon said he was excited about India’s digital transformation and proud to partner with the Indian government across sectors. He also said the company was partnering with many Indian companies – spanning the telecom, automobiles, industrial electronics and semiconductor industries – to research evolving technologies. Earlier, India’s talent and R&D capabilities attracted Qualcomm, but now the country is also attractive as a market, he added. India, he said, was home to Qualcomm’s largest R&D centre outside San Diego.

Amon’s recent meeting with Adani group chairman Gautam Adani had created a lot of buzz. The Qualcomm CEO said they discussed industrial electronics, artificial intelligence, the evolution of 5G and broadband, and semiconductors. ”I am very bullish about a partnership (with Adani),” he added.

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First Published:14 Mar 2024, 02:54 PM IST
HomeCompaniesNewsQualcomm open to buying made-in-India chips, says CEO

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