Exploring the billion dollar Indian Semiconductor Market

Date:   Sunday , March 04, 2012

In a recent visit to India, Dave Bell, CEO, Intersil talks about expansion plans in India, setting up a focused India center and the plans to penetrate the Indian market.

Intersil Corporation (NASDAQ: ISIL), is a global technology company, specializing in the design and manufacture of high performance analog semiconductors. Based in Milpitas, California, Intersil has had a continued focus on leading in attractive high performance analog markets — while increasing profitability and cash flow; providing it a sustainable long-term model for success.

Intersil began its transformation into a high performance analog company in 2003, with the divestiture of its wireless business. Its products address three of the industry’s fastest growing markets — flat panel displays, optical storage (for CD and DVD recordable products), and power management. Its leadership products include amplifiers, analog front ends, communication interfaces, data converters, digital potentiometers, display solutions, DSL solutions, optical storage products, power management products, power sequencers, real time clocks, smart batteries, switches/MUX's, VoIP products, and ICs for military, space and rad-hard applications.

Innovating new business models

We are one of the leaders in high performance analog and mixed-signal ICs, and are present in 35 global locations, which include 17 design centers. At present the company is clocking revenue of $761 million (2011). We offer a broad range of analog and mixed-signal products for power management, analog and mixed-signal, and consumer products. In the past decade, the company has grown, both organically and inorganically, having made several acquisitions, and widening its product portfolio.

In the semi-con industry, one would either find a fables company or one with fabs. But we have come up with a unique model called the ‘asset-lite’ and its manufacturing benefits include, access to advanced technologies, specialized technologies that are retained in-house, flexible capacity, and reduced risk. We are focused on developing more integrated and intelligent products that simplify customers’ design process.

Key growth drivers to bet on

Semi-con industry is a very wide one, but we have narrowed our focus by identifying top 10 growth drivers, which are active cables, audio, automotive, dense power conversion, digital power management, digital power modules, PC power management, pico projectors, optical sensors, and security surveillance.

For high performance digital power management, we are adopting patented Zilker Labs digital-DC technology. It can be easily configured for a range of system requirements. There is a high level of integration and embedded intelligence, as well as PMBus interface. Intersil developed the world’s first encapsulated digital power modules. A complete power solution, it has the controller, MOSFETs, and all discrete components.

The company has a complete pico projector chipset solution as well that supports LED and laser-based systems. Native green lasers are now enabling scanned laser systems. The company has also witnessed a large growth in pico projectors. While three million units were shipped in 2011, 58 million units are forecasted to be shipped in 2015. Pico projectors will soon be embedded in notebooks, smartphones and tablets.

In automotive, the company is focusing on affordability, connectivity, efficiency, and safety. Trends include Li-ion multi-cell balancing and monitoring, start-stop system power, LCD display processors, ambient light sensors, and D2Audio premium sound. Among active cables, consumer products are demanding higher data rates. There are higher resolution displays, such as HD, WXGA, as well as faster I/O like PCIe and upgrade to USB. More power is required for faster charging.

In dense power conversion, we are creating extremely dense DC-DC converters, with controllers and power MOSFETs. High switching frequency with smaller external components is required, as is advanced packaging — with a stacked die to minimize package footprint. Optical sensors is another interest of area. The highest performance units are looking at devices that match human eye response, have best infrared rejection and lowest power consumption. A variety of sensor functions include ambient light, short-range proximity, and long-range proximity (up to two meters). User-presence detection and non-contact gesture recognition are opening new possibilities.
As for audio, Intersil has been providing amazing audio — such as sound bars, docking stations, home theater systems, and automotive infotainment. The DSP+ClassD amplifier is a single chip solution. In PC power management, we have 70 percent share in notebook Vcore power. It has optimized solution for all platforms — desktops, notebooks, tablets, and ultrabooks. Finally, in security surveillance, we have been ranked as the leaders in video decoders, for security surveillance. The new H.264 codecs simplify DVR design. Innovative new functions include security link over coax (SLOC) and Fisheye lens processor.

Focusing on the India Market

India will be the world’s fifth largest consumer market by 2015. The aggregate consumption is likely to grow four times over 20 years, with 54 percent of the Indians being under 25 years. India is also the second most favored destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world.
Intersil is targeting key segments in India — automotive – techwell, power management and EV/HEV, defense/mil/space – power modules and high speed, ADC solutions, rad tested devices, and international design houses — for direct application support and reference design support. The international design houses segment is likely to be worth $16.8 billion, growing at a CAGR of 17 percent by 2020. The main segments in India are the VLSI design, embedded software design, and board/hardware design, respectively.

The Intersil India center

Though we have just set up a strong management team now, Intersil has been in India since 2004, with office in Bangalore. Later we acquired Qualcore in Hyderabad in 2007. Currently, there are 40 employees with Ramanujam Thodur as the MD. Over the years, several key product developments have been done by the India team. The 40 member team has been designing state-of-the-art high performance analog VLSI chips, defining product development process, and collaborating with the FAE/sales teams, to serve the Indian market.

As of now, the focus is on creating a strong sales and partner channels, to increase the presence amongst the customers here.