|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
India takes lead in chip design
Aravind Gowda | November 28, 2006
As many as 18 out of the top 25 chip companies are setting up chip design centres in India, making the country - which missed the semiconductor manufacturing bus - a clearly emerging worldwide leader in Very Large Scale Integration design.
Indian chip designers provide design services or work at the subsidiaries of global chip companies, especially US and European firms. Industry leaders believe India is becoming a 'VLSI design store' with a strong presence in Intellectual Property development, integration and embedded software services.
The VLSI Society of India estimates the IC design population in India to be around 11,000 while those working on the embedded software number to touch 60,000.
Four regions are driving the growth of VLSI design in India. Bangalore is at the top followed by Hyderabad, Delhi / Noida region and Chennai. India Semiconductor Association President Poornima Shenoy says India is seen as a destination for quality and IP work, not just an option for lowered cost.
"Design companies are keen on India since design automation companies are here. As both the design engineers and people, who develop tools are here, that's seen as a big plus. Practically every chip company has set up a design centre in India. The total design revenues of the sector stands at $3.5 billion in 2005 and is expected to grow almost 15 times by 2015," she added.
She notes that VLSI design industry in India is anticipated for another large round of investments in 2007. According to the ISA-Frost & Sullivan report, the total number of design starts in the Indian VLSI design market was estimated at 320 in 2005.
"The increase in number of designs can be is attributed to the establishment of captive offshore design centres in India and the increase in outsourced work to the non-captive companies," she adds.
Synopsys India president and managing director Pradip K Dutta notes India is at the forefront of VLSI design owing to the leading cutting edge chip design activities taking place in the multinational design companies that have large scale engineering operations here.
"We have been tracking the speed, gate count and technology nodes of the various designs taking place from India for the past several years. Consistently, we have seen that designs done out of India are qualitatively as advanced as those done out of the Silicon Valley in US," he said.
Freescale India country sales manager Sanjeev Keskar is of the opinion that entry of companies into assembly and test and semiconductor core architecture development is an encouraging sign.
Besides, the Indian electronics products market is emerging as a major consumer of semiconductors. "In 2003, the consumption was 2.5 per cent of the global electronic equipment production. It is expected to be 11 per cent in 2015. Similarly, the local semiconductor market was 1.2 per cent of the global market in 2005. It is expected to touch 6.5 per cent in 2015. Clearly, there is an advantage," he notes.
The local electronics industry, which consumes the semiconductors, is developing in a big way. There are original equipment manufacturers like Nokia, Alcatel and Videocon.
Companies specialising in hardware services and board manufacturing, system integrators, software IP firms and industrial design firms have already established their presence.
VLSI is the current level of computer microchip miniaturisation and refers to microchips containing hundreds of thousands of transistors.
Transistors (regulate current or voltage flow and act as a switch or gate for electronic signals) are the basic elements in integrated circuits (ICs), which consist of very large numbers of transistors interconnected with circuitry and baked into a single silicon microchip or 'chip'.VLSI microchips are a part of any chip for application in the telecommunications, automotive, entertainment and digital equipment sectors.