Indian Electronics Manufacturing Developments : News, Updates and Discussions

randomradio

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Its not possible to "slap sanction" on a commodity items like commodity SoC. You can deny technology but trying to ban sale of commodity items is very very very hard to implement. There are many ways it will get circumvented. Supply chains in this are pretty long. You can ban sale of SoC chips, but can you ban the sale of PCB with SoC mounted? Or PCBs with SoC mounted together in a knocked down kit? At one point or the other you realize, its too difficult to enforce such a ban.

What is a chip ban btw?
Any chip having a core that is designed in America?
Any electronic PCB having such a chip?
Any SoC having such a core with other cores?

How and at what point will you ban it? And how will you enforce it? Who is going to check every single SoC or every single PCB? How will you prove that someone has violated the ban? Who will police it?

If you try to ban Indian companies from ordering their SoCs getting fabricated in Taiwan, here is what will happen. Indian companies will go to one those SoC consultant services in South korea or Japan. They have their own standard SoCs which they will sell it in bulk at the process you select. You configure it, make a PCB and make your products.

Best you can do is what US is doing with Huawei. Ban sale of IP cores and software tools and put policies to deny access to market. But those bans are also becoming meaning less. Those are policy and technology bans and not product or manufacturing access bans.

One cann't legislate the reality.

You can ban the sale of anything you want if you are the US or later China.

You haven't considered conditions where both can act against you for their own common goals. It's not difficult to do it when there's consensus. Even in an entirely unrelated event, sometimes even without being targeted specifically. Especially so during war. A 5-year war between US and China in the Pacific will mean disruption of business activities between Taiwan, Korea, Japan and India due to the loss of connectivity. Then the US becomes the only available market, which they can use as a leverage to gain a significant advantage over India simply because our citizens can't buy a phone.
 
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STEPHEN COHEN

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5-year war between US and China in the Pacific will mean disruption of business activities between Taiwan, Korea, Japan and India due to the loss of connectivity.

So the War between US and China will drag for FIVE years , and NUKES will still not be used

Whereas we know how soon Pentagon goes on DEFCON 1 , whenever war is about to start

 

randomradio

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So the War between US and China will drag for FIVE years , and NUKES will still not be used

Whereas we know how soon Pentagon goes on DEFCON 1 , whenever war is about to start


I just threw it in there. It could be anything. War can last months to years, with no end. Also a nuke is not a war-ending weapon. Rather using nukes can prolong war.

Honestly I think the US wants to wriggle out of their committment towards Taiwan, but that's a different subject. Anyway, even without war, we can talk about a PLAN blockade in East Asia, which can disrupt connectivity as well.

It's the same situation with oil and the Middle East. Even with alternate suppliers elsewhere, a major war or a blockade in the Middle East can cripple oil exports.

But all these are situations where the main players have lost control. When the main players are in control, it's mainly about economic sanctions and blackmail. GoI is not going to allow other countries, especially the US and China, to have leverage over India for the sake of a few hundred millions in losses by running a fab plant.
 

AbRaj

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Oh yes. That certainly makes sense!! Btw, we are talking about Indian government, right ? It certainly has 10s of billions of dollars to throw away.
No offense dude. But isn’t it better if we can take a step back and think a little about whether any idea or suggestion is pragmatic or not ? Anyway, good luck to your fab dream.
A thorough planning and a deep rethink is indeed necessary before committing to such a risky path.
BTW for a country like ours its kinda of necessary.
Its a good dream. ha ha
 

AbRaj

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Errr... ummm... In semiconductor manufacturing, IPs are not useful commercially unless you do actual manufacturing. Also, EDA software while prone to piracy are seldom used in pirated version in any major design and manufacturing houses. Its not worth to cheap out on IP cost while manufacturing millions or billions of chips.
So, any manufacturer worth its salt just licenses it. It keeps their life simple.


Errr nope. There are quite a few.

MIPS comes to mind and China has been manufacturing it for quite sometime. Loongson - Wikipedia . RMS famously used or uses a Lemote notebook based on these.

There is x86 microarchitecture available from VIA and its Taiwanese partners. Its used in a number of single board computers used in industrial applications.

UltraSPARC RTL code is available under GNU GPL if you want to make your own chips.

RISC-V are available in all types of targets like Supercomputer, embedded etc. Heck our own Shakti Processor from IIT-M is actually an implementation of RISC-V microarchitecture. RISC-V based dev boards are available in plenty. RISC-V is roughly looking same what Linux kernel was looking in 1996-7. Its a royalty free, Open ISA with possibly many many implementation (like opensource IIT-M Shakti processor).

PowerPC is ISA available as an open ISA under OpenPower Foundation initiative. Its members are not just US enterprises. And no, IBM cannot stop anyone from getting PowerPC chip manufactured if they take a vendor's microarchitecture. Its VIA all over again.
I think Apple M1 too is based on RISC V architecture
 

Saaho

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You can ban the sale of anything you want if you are the US or later China.
Sale in USA or China, thats all. You cann't ban say south korean semiconductor manufacturer from manufacturing chips for you. Or a Taiwanese manufacturer from fabricating chips for us. Or a Japanese Fab from fabricating chips for us.
You haven't considered conditions where both can act against you for their own common goals. It's not difficult to do it when there's consensus. Even in an entirely unrelated event, sometimes even without being targeted specifically. Especially so during war. A 5-year war between US and China in the Pacific will mean disruption of business activities between Taiwan, Korea, Japan and India due to the loss of connectivity. Then the US becomes the only available market, which they can use as a leverage to gain a significant advantage over India simply because our citizens can't buy a phone.
IF there is a disruption in market of this order ie Korea, Taiwan and Japan cann't supply semiconductors, then its not just your problem its everyone's problem. Then industry will have to "adjust" their supply chains. Move else where. May be even in India.

If there is a consensus about a blanket ban on entire Indian semicondutor market and industry, then its not just semicondutor thing. It will be a UN ban like that of North Korea or Iran. And then you have bigger things to worry about. Things like oil, gas, banking access, trade, medicine APIs. Bascially you have then become a global outcast.
 
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Saaho

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So the War between US and China will drag for FIVE years , and NUKES will still not be used

Whereas we know how soon Pentagon goes on DEFCON 1 , whenever war is about to start
Honestly, if there is a 5 year war between US and China then entire world will decouple from them, as far as business and manufacturing goes. They will seek places without conflict. Places like Europe or even India. Supply chains will be re-drawn. It will be a global reset in manufacturing. You cann't prepare much about it.
Oh, if there is a 5 year war between China and USA, I will be more worried about things like Crude supply etc.
 

Saaho

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But all these are situations where the main players have lost control. When the main players are in control, it's mainly about economic sanctions and blackmail. GoI is not going to allow other countries, especially the US and China, to have leverage over India for the sake of a few hundred millions in losses by running a fab plant.
Heh...

So imagine you have a tax-subsidized Fab. Its products are STILL not competitive with global suppliers like TSMC ie its yields suck making its products expensive, it does not have the current feature size etc.

So now what do you do?

Manufacture consumer products based on these sub-par chips? Who will buy it then?
Unless you BAN competitors from market or tax them?

Whats next? WTO sanctions for violating WTO norms?


Its protectionism 101 once again all over. We tried it back in 60s, 70s, 80s. Pakistan still does it in say automobile sector. Their Mehran sucks and is more expensive than a Maruti or Alto.
Having sub-standard products in your market at higher price never ends well.
 

jetray

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Mar 15, 2018
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It's a strategic industry and making a profit is a secondary consideration.

Exactly, (y)
It will soon become like oil industry of 1970's. Once the technology goes beyond our reach , economically we will be sitting ducks. It takes 5-10 years to learn, apply and master the technology. By then economy would have crumbled, just think how satellites improved our life and economy. But it took ages for us to build launch vehicles on our own. Sanctions virtually meant every thing had to be done internally. We should not wait for things to happen.
Heh...

So imagine you have a tax-subsidized Fab. Its products are STILL not competitive with global suppliers like TSMC ie its yields suck making its products expensive, it does not have the current feature size etc.

So now what do you do?

Manufacture consumer products based on these sub-par chips? Who will buy it then?
Unless you BAN competitors from market or tax them?

Whats next? WTO sanctions for violating WTO norms?


Its protectionism 101 once again all over. We tried it back in 60s, 70s, 80s. Pakistan still does it in say automobile sector. Their Mehran sucks and is more expensive than a Maruti or Alto.
Having sub-standard products in your market at higher price never ends well.
few billion of dollars are worth nothing worth compared to our economic security. Penny wise pound foolish. We will not only continue to bleed money to foreign companies(like our defence sector now) but also become economic slaves.
 
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jetray

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So the War between US and China will drag for FIVE years , and NUKES will still not be used

Whereas we know how soon Pentagon goes on DEFCON 1 , whenever war is about to start

Not all modern day wars will be fought with nukes , it will be like between US and Soviet more of a economic domination. Its only when occupation of territory comes into picture nukes come into play.
Sale in USA or China, thats all. You cann't ban say south korean semiconductor manufacturer from manufacturing chips for you. Or a Taiwanese manufacturer from fabricating chips for us. Or a Japanese Fab from fabricating chips for us.
dont talk silly they are all US protectorates they will do what US asks them to do.
 

Saaho

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dont talk silly they are all US protectorates they will do what US asks them to do.
Had that been the case then TSMC would not have been doing fabrication for Chinese semiconductor companies. Nor Korean companies selling OLED displays to Chinese phone makers.

Besides, what can US do against say Taiwan and Korea? If it sanctions them where will US tech companies get their own chips made?

The current China "Tech ban" or "Chip Ban" is merely denial of American IP to China. Huawei's Kirin processor carries ARM's IP core against which US has put its ban.
If Huawei moves away from ARM to say MIPS, there is nothing US will be able to do NOR it will be able to stop TSMC from fabricating the the chips for Huawei.
 

Saaho

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few billion of dollars are worth nothing worth compared to our economic security.
Except its not few billion of dollars. Its a constant drain on tax money. It will be another UpTron or Air India. Kept afloat by public money or subsidiaries.

To a top of the line silicon process be viable you need to amortize the fixed cost to many many customers and each 2 years a node needs upgrade, you need to do it all over again. Wont happen.

You can have an expansion of CSL in chandigarh or something but its not gonna replace silicon going into smartphones etc. Thats a pipe-dream. To consider consumer targeted electronics as a "Strategic initiative" is a mistake and a recipe corruption and loss.

A more strategic place is solar cells which do not need that kind of investment and are at times based on different type of process (GaN/GaAs). Not to mention, they are actually capital products where you are losing money by not having solar cells. If possible, thats where our public money should be going. Large scale solar cell production based on possibly GaN processes. Deploy those all over the country and reduce dependency on fossil fuels while possibly reducing net petroleum import bill as well. By products like communication platforms based on GaN electronics and defence products like RADARs are also good payoff.
 

randomradio

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Sale in USA or China, thats all. You cann't ban say south korean semiconductor manufacturer from manufacturing chips for you. Or a Taiwanese manufacturer from fabricating chips for us. Or a Japanese Fab from fabricating chips for us.

You are talking about something else. You are referring to the production of Indian IP. That's just one half. Not to mention, if the US bans India, so do Korea and Japan. They work in tandem. Did you forget Korea and Japan are no longer buying Iranian oil?

But what if iPhone sales are banned in India? What if Indian Android phone manufacturers cannot use Google Services anymore?


We need total end-to-end indigenisation, naturally the semiconductor industry is also part of the indigenisation effort. And we need alternatives to foreign companies in every segment. I'd recommend reading up on the effort taken to indigenise the National Supercomputing Mission.

Here's an example.

IF there is a disruption in market of this order ie Korea, Taiwan and Japan cann't supply semiconductors, then its not just your problem its everyone's problem. Then industry will have to "adjust" their supply chains. Move else where. May be even in India.

Yep. But we don't care about "everyone", right? We are going to be the victims of blackmail because of the poor stature of our economy. It wouldn't be as much of a problem if we were also like China today, maybe even half way there.

If there is a consensus about a blanket ban on entire Indian semicondutor market and industry, then its not just semicondutor thing. It will be a UN ban like that of North Korea or Iran. And then you have bigger things to worry about. Things like oil, gas, banking access, trade, medicine APIs. Bascially you have then become a global outcast.

Yep. That's our biggest economic threat. Which is why we are quite ahead in achieving self-sufficiency in most or all of those sectors you named, but we are still in our infancy when it comes to electronics design and production.
 
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jetray

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Had that been the case then TSMC would not have been doing fabrication for Chinese semiconductor companies. Nor Korean companies selling OLED displays to Chinese phone makers.

Besides, what can US do against say Taiwan and Korea? If it sanctions them where will US tech companies get their own chips made?

The current China "Tech ban" or "Chip Ban" is merely denial of American IP to China. Huawei's Kirin processor carries ARM's IP core against which US has put its ban.
If Huawei moves away from ARM to say MIPS, there is nothing US will be able to do NOR it will be able to stop TSMC from fabricating the the chips for Huawei.
enuf of BS, there is no point in discussing with you. Iran, NK are good examples of what US can do.
 

randomradio

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Nov 30, 2017
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Heh...

So imagine you have a tax-subsidized Fab. Its products are STILL not competitive with global suppliers like TSMC ie its yields suck making its products expensive, it does not have the current feature size etc.

So now what do you do?

Manufacture consumer products based on these sub-par chips? Who will buy it then?
Unless you BAN competitors from market or tax them?

Whats next? WTO sanctions for violating WTO norms?


Its protectionism 101 once again all over. We tried it back in 60s, 70s, 80s. Pakistan still does it in say automobile sector. Their Mehran sucks and is more expensive than a Maruti or Alto.
Having sub-standard products in your market at higher price never ends well.

You can expect India to develop design competency in this field over many years for obvious reasons. GoI approved CDAC to develop a replacement for the Xeon last year.

Also, what makes you think India is going to respect international copyright laws if the country is sanctioned? Although a total sanction is unlikely, a Huawei type ban is more likely and feasible.
 

randomradio

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A more strategic place is solar cells which do not need that kind of investment and are at times based on different type of process (GaN/GaAs). Not to mention, they are actually capital products where you are losing money by not having solar cells. If possible, thats where our public money should be going.

Actually that's where private money is going. Govt makes it convenient for companies where profits are viable, like solar cells. But they invest in loss-making companies due to strategic compulsions.

Air India is not strategic anymore, but BSNL is. So the govt will run it at a loss if it has to.

"BSNL is in strategic interest of the nation. Whenever there is flood, cyclones, BSNL is the first one to offer services for free. 75 per cent of their revenues goes into salary of employees while others manage it in 5-10 per cent. There are legacy issues which we are looking in to," Prasad said at India Economic Conclave.

The above reason is why...
At BSNL, 78,569 of the total 1,53,000 employees have opted to retire. Of the 18,000 employees working for MTNL, 14,400 have opted for VRS, reported The Indian Express. Most of the employees of BSNL who have opted for the VRS are learnt to be in the non-executive category and in the age group of 55-60 years. Any employee above 50 years of age was free to opt for the VRS pacakge.

The VRS plan, which will cost the government Rs 70,000 crore, will significantly bring down the cost of wage bills of these firms.


Effectively the same cost as the 6-year Rafale deal in just 1 year.

I hope this goes to show why strategic sectors are considered important. And why it will be feasible to run 2 fab plants even if they happen to make losses.

I'm pretty sure the fab plants won't make such a big loss on their own anyway...

The public sector telecom firm had recorded a loss of ₹14,904 crore in the previous financial year 2018-19.

“BSNL has informed that its total accumulated loss during the current financial year, that is, 2019-20 (up to December 31, 2019) is ₹39,089 crore,” Dhotre said in a written reply to a query in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.


...while being of much greater importance to our strategic needs than BSNL is.
 

Saaho

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You can expect India to develop design competency in this field over many years for obvious reasons.
Errr... That thing actually exists in India. Believe it or not, but India had been at forefront of design competency for quite sometime. Quite a few of the chipset ASIC in intel board were actually designed and taped out of Sarjapur Ring Road campus of Intel. There was actually a completely designed-in-India server processor called "Project Whitefield" back in 2000s before it got cancelled due to political reasons. Ask @Bali78, he might know more.

IIT-Delhi runs a program called VDTT (https://vdtt.iitd.ac.in/). And there is similar one at IIT-B. These are more than a decade old. This part is not as big of a problem. Problem is that India never matured from a design service to a product powerhouse AFAIK.

You can expect India to develop design competency in this field over many years for obvious reasons. GoI approved CDAC to develop a replacement for the Xeon last year.
Once more, design is not an issue. Not at all. Fabrication in India at scale is just not worth it.
 
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Saaho

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Yep. That's our biggest economic threat. Which is why we are quite ahead in achieving self-sufficiency in most or all of those sectors you named, but we are still in our infancy when it comes to electronics design and production.
You cann't replace Oil for quite sometime. In short to medium time, your pharma will be toast. You will be locked out of global banking system completely. Medicine prices will be sky high and you won't even be able to receive money from outside. That level of sanction means a absolute and total failure of our Diplomacy. At that point, semiconductor for phones, computer will be a far cry. I will worry if my bike or car will have petrol OR the trucks will be running to ship me food. Priorities..