Indian R&Ds play crucial role in chip designing
Bangalore: Despite the drop in global demand for the semiconductor industry, the Indian R&D (Research and Development) centers of major chipmakers are playing a vital role in designing products for the global market. In the last few months, Indian centers have seen more of value-added semiconductor design being carried out, while in some cases, the captives have handled end-to-end product design, reports The Economic Times. Even though India lacks major fabs or manufacturing facilities, value-addition tops the country's growing reputation as a back-end support for global chip designing market. "The complexity of designs and platforms developed in captives have grown. Earlier, most of them were leveraged to provide point activities - a few parts of the workflow and not end-to-end delivery. Gradually, the value-chain has expanded from product specification and architecture to integration at customer site and pre- and post-sales support," said Pravin Desale, Managing Director and Vice-President of LSI Corporation India, a provider of silicon, systems and software technologies. According to industry analysts, while design centers have gained in expertise to move up the value-chain, a greater focus on local markets and emerging geographies is also fueling development of global-level products. Since at a future date, a ready locally-designed product can always expedite go-to-market strategy. "We are noticing a paradigm shift wherein the products designed in India are serving the global market. This is limited at the moment, but is likely to grow," said Sanjiv Keskar, Country Manager-Sales, FreeScale Semiconductor, a global chipmaker. FreeScale's MCF52xx microcontroller catering to rising demand for larger memory and more connectivity was one whose design was owned and executed fully from its India design center. "As part of our globalized strategy, the India R&D centre has been collaborating with other centers for latest cutting-edge products," said Jeff VerHeul, AMD's Corporate Vice-President of Central Engineering. The chipmaker started its hardware design center in Hyderabad in mid-2008 following an acquisition and it now accounts for almost 50-60 percent of the physical design work for the firm, including high-end graphic design. Texas Instruments (TI) has a research center in Bangalore since 1985, which has played a significant role in the company's chip developments. "The TI analog front-end semiconductor devices (AFE) is a chip family whose development was largely carried out by engineers in TI India. Today, there is hardly any TI chip that is not touched by engineers at TI India," said Biswadip Mitra, Managing Director of TI India.