‘Will buy made-in-India chips if makers shift here’

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NEW DELHI: In a big support to the country’s $10-billion incentive plans for semiconductor manufacturing, global chip design major Qualcomm on Tuesday said it is ready to assure chip purchases in India if companies such as Global Foundries, Samsung, TSMC, or other top suppliers start making them here.
Cristiano R Amon, global president and CEO of Qualcomm Inc, said that India is likely to lead the charge in the area of 5G, and the push will be across consumer and enterprise segments, heightening the need for semiconductors and chips.
Qualcomm currently procures its semiconductor needs from a mix of companies that include Global Foundries, Samsung, and TSMC, though none of them are currently making in India. Asked whether it will nudge the companies to shift a part of their manufacturing, or future expansion, to India by assuring them purchases, he told TOI, “… I think the answer to your question is (that) if our suppliers are motivated to build, and they have the right incentives to build in India, we-’re going to use their fab. ”
The statement by the Qualcomm boss should come as a major comforting factor to chipmakers that are currently being wooed by countries across the world, but are skeptical on greenfield expansion without support from customers who buy from them.
Amon said that Qualcomm is betting heavily on the engineering talent in the country for carrying out cutting-edge work in the area of 5G advancements. This would see the American company have more than half of its engineering talent based out of India.
“India is one of the fastest growing areas for Qualcomm, (and) we probably were among the pioneers to do advanced semiconductor designs here. When you lookat our presence in India, we have close to 18,000 employees. The majority of IT engineers do advance R&D in hardware and software for our global product portfolio. So, I’ll be bold to say that soon about probably half of our Qualcomm employees are going to be based in Qualcomm India. ”Amon added India will play an “incredible role” in fuelling the future growth of Qualcomm. “… we are inseparable from India. ” On 5G, he said that India has the ability to bring scale when it comes to mobile devices, computers and fixed wireless access for broadband. “When we look at the opportunities with 5G development in India, I see multiple and very important opportunities. They can all happen at the same time. ”
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