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How India is working to become the semiconductor hub globally in the next 10 years?

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By Sanjeev Kumar, Co-Founder & Mentor of Logic Fruit Technologies

Semiconductor technology has become one of the most eminent parts of all business sectors in India. It has become a crucial industry in enabling the robust growth of global chip companies. Owing to the pandemic, many companies have already recognized the potential of semiconductor technology, which is continuing to evolve at an unprecedented pace.

IT minister Ashwini Vaishnav recently went on a three-day visit to USA, where he met Google CEO Sundar Pichai and other key players and leaders of chip companies including Intel, Micron, Global Foundries, among others to woo them to invest in India. The government of India had approved $10 billion (Rs 76,000 Crore) incentive to build semiconductor ecosystem in India back in December 2021. The first round of applications was closed in February 2022, under which the government had received three applications for chip manufacturing and two for display manufacturing. The ministry planning to reopen the application process for the $10 billion in incentives and assistance to setup chip manufacturing in India.

The semiconductor technology boasts a vast product base, out of which, FPGA (Field Programming Gate Arrays) is gaining huge popularity among technical industries. FPGAs are a unique category of silicon chips with highly adaptive and advanced features. These chips hold the potential of training large amounts of data and with the growing adoption of AI and ML technologies, make FPGA technology gain more traction.

Understanding FPGA and its Uses
FPGA is constructed from a grid of configurable logic blocks (CLBs). It is set apart from (ASICs), Application Specific Integrated Circuits as it can be reprogrammed to meet specific functionality and application. The CLB matrix can be programmed and reprogrammed to build custom circuits. These semiconductor devices are designed to carry out particular tasks or applications. Their capacity to build complicated digital circuits in hardware makes them potentially more seamless for various applications in data centers, automobiles, telecommunications, aerospace, and defense industries.

FPGAs are further recognized for their high-speed parallel processing which has gained huge momentum in recent years in AI and ML. Against this backdrop, FPGAs offer substantial benefits over traditional CPUs and GPUs. As FPGAs hold the capacity to process enormous data in real time, these devices are becoming more considerable in the era of big data and new-age technologies.

In the present digitally evolving world, FPGA has emerged as a robust solution for a variety of applications and fulfilling their goals. A myriad of factors from better performance, and cost-effectiveness to re-programmability contribute to the adoption of FGPA technology.

The adaptability of FPGA design boasts benefits to deploy it as per the target application requirements. The wide array of programmable blocks empowers developers to use and enhance the technology for their specific uses and goals.

Equipped with silicon features, FPGAs are more scalable and can be reconfigured due to extensive libraries and IPs under the ecosystem. Additionally, this technology can be embedded for specified tasks that further drive next-gen semiconductor devices.

Semiconductor Market Growth
Today, the global FPGA market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 12% between 2022 and 2028. The exponential growth is attributed to the accelerated use of AI and ML technologies in new-age data centers deployed for edge computing applications. Further, the adoption of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) is also likely to propel the FPGA market growth in the coming years.

As the world is progressing towards automation and digitization, the adoption of FPGA technology is continuing to make strides in the global markets. The need for FPGA is anticipated to soar, spur innovation and boost global market growth.

The recent FPGA market growth trends highlight Asia Pacific region is the leading region in the global FPGA market. North America and Europe have also emerged as notable regions among the others while the Middle East and African region remain behind the race for FPGA deployment.

On the contrary, India is gearing up to become a global hub of Semiconductor manufacturing in line with the Make in India initiative. Since the demand is continuing to aggravate, India has the potential to augment its talent and capitalize on their capabilities to mitigate market challenges and meet global demands.

Government’s Intervention in Semiconductor Space
Acknowledging the exponential growth of the industry, the government of India has also started showing interest in the form of policy interventions. In 2014, the government prioritized India to be self-reliant with its ‘Make in India’ initiative to foster manufacturing activities in India and make the country a global manufacturing hub. Similarly, it has launched several initiatives in the semiconductor space to back its manufacturing in the country.

Apart from this, Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the electronic sector proved to be a pathbreaking initiative. The scheme included a $1.7 billion incentive package for companies to set up semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the country. In addition, the Design Linked Incentive (DLI) and various other schemes like Chips to Startups (C2S) and Scheme for Promotion of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) are also brought into the market as key enablers of domestic manufacturing facilities.

Bottomline
Though the government and the market players are taking several progressive steps to become a semiconductor manufacturing hub, still there exists the need for the country to develop a stronger ecosystem, focused on supply chain management along with design and manufacturing. The market is expanding rapidly and thus, it indicates India has a promising future of building a groundbreaking manufacturing hub.

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