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Business News/ Companies / News/  Semicon is the new oil, India should give more sops for fab units: Qualcomm
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Semicon is the new oil, India should give more sops for fab units: Qualcomm

India is competing against developed nations like the US, Europe, Japan, and China, who are offering incentives worth tens of billions of dollars, Qualcomm's Rahul Patel said

Rahul Patel, Qualcomm Technologies’ group general manager for connectivity, broadband and networking. Premium
Rahul Patel, Qualcomm Technologies’ group general manager for connectivity, broadband and networking.

BARCELONA : India should beef up the quantum of its $10 billion financial incentive scheme to attract semiconductor fabrication majors, said Rahul Patel, Qualcomm Technologies’ group general manager for connectivity, broadband and networking. 

Patel believes India is competing against developed nations like the US, Europe, Japan, and China, who are offering incentives worth tens of billions of dollars.

“India is competing against developed nations. Companies (fabs) are very capitalistic minded, they’re going to look for the best financial outcome, the size and longevity of the incentives and how competitive they are versus the US, China, Europe, Japan, South Korea," he said.

“A $10 billion incentive is not the same as $40-50 billion. I'm sure it's not an issue of India not being capable, but it is going to be an issue where the priorities are spent."

He noted that India did have a geo-political advantage globally as companies were trying to diversify away from China, even as the South Asian nation has a similar policy to other countries on owning semiconductor manufacturing capability. Assembly, testing, marking and packaging or ATMP units were good starting points but getting the semiconductor fabs was critical, Patel said. 

“Semiconductors are the new oil," he said.

Qualcomm, as a fabless chip design firm, has been increasing investments in India on an annual basis and has the second-largest research and development centre in the world in the country. The senior executive said that Qualcomm was participating in enabling the electronics and manufacturing ecosystem of India as it was a ‘very strategic’ market for the company.

“Qualcomm is building the latest Wi Fi elements out of Chennai, modem products out of Bangalore and Hyderabad, designing processing engines, building products that go into IoT markets from India, irrespective of incentives. This size of talent pool is not available outside of India," he added.

Patel added that Qualcomm had started discussions with Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea for bringing Wi-Fi 7, the latest standard on wifi technology, even as Wi-Fi 6 based devices and equipment was just beginning to roll out for deployment into networks. “I will not be surprised in 2025, you will see Wi-Fi 7 in India," he said.

He added that the company was partnering with local manufacturers like VVDN, HFCL and DIxon Technologies for enhancing manufacturing capabilities.

The company which competes with Mediatek as a supplier to smartphone makers in the Indian market, is looking to become the first mover in bringing AI-enabled features to the chipsets on devices. 

With AI capability already present in the cloud, the hybrid AI processing will lead to high-end experiences for consumers. “The Qualcomm AI hub has over 80 open source models which can be used by developers to build an edge AI experience," he added.

He added AI on the edge, for instance within the smartphone, can offer use cases of huge consumer value, such as live translation on call, available in Samsung Galaxy S24. 

Within electronics of home use, such as CCTV cameras, AI can enable post-processing and flag only when, for instance, an intruder comes in front of the camera in any premises, or when the AI hears a voice that has not been heard within the premises in the past. “These are essential services that can be use cases right away," he said.

The reporter is in Barcelona to cover the Mobile World Congress at the invitation of Xiaomi.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gulveen Aulakh
Gulveen covers both corporate and economy, and policy sections of Mint. She also covers telecom, IT from the corporate side and disinvestment, finance ministry from the economy side. Gulveen finds the rare mix of sectors she covers to be incredibly interesting.
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Published: 28 Feb 2024, 08:32 PM IST
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