European chipmaker STMicroelectronics will help India jump-start its chip manufacturing journey by providing technology support to one of the consortiums setting up a semiconductor wafer units in the country.
The Union Cabinet in February approved setting up of two semiconductor wafer fabrication manufacturing facilities, and STMicroelectronics is part of a consortium led by Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (HSMC) that is setting up a plant at Prantij in Gujarat at a cost of Rs 29,000 crore.
Didier Lombard, Chairman of the supervisory board of STMicroelectronics, feels it is the right time for India to get into chip manufacturing considering the explosion of electronic devices and the country's huge consumption potential. Lombard was a speaker at the India Today Conclave and spoke to Business Today on the sidelines.
"The growth of the electronics industry will be extremely high in the future and for a very large country like India where you have millions of customers, if you import products, you will have a deficit. So you need to produce them locally," he said, echoing the government's thinking.
The government is hoping the fab units will boost the flow of capital and technology, create jobs, and help in higher value addition in electronic products made in India while reducing dependence on imports.
STMicro's support, Lombard added, will help India enter the race at the appropriate level. "We are supporting the project by our technology in order to allow the Indian project to jump the step at the appropriate level. In this race, if you are not at the top level, you have a big difficulty," he said. "So you need help. It is exactly what we are offering to the consortium."