Even though the Indian government has yet to announce the final list eligible for the US$10 billion incentive scheme for the semiconductor and display fabs, applicants have started looking for customers.
According to The Economic Times, Akarsh Hebbar, global managing director of the panel and semiconductor businesses of Vedanta, said the company has been looking for customers and developing MoUs for its upcoming made-in-India chips across segments such as smartphones, and notebooks, adding that Oppo and Vivo were showing strong interest.
Hebbar said the talks were in preliminary stages. Vedanta plans to provide 22-28nm nodes to customers and is hopeful that once the plant is announced and related work commences, there will be more interest from the chip consumer ecosystem.
India announced the US$10 billion Semicon India Program in December 2021 and revealed the applicants' list for the program in February. During the Semicon India 2022 conference, the Indian government said that companies that qualified for the subsidy are expected to be announced within six to eight months. The Economic Times, citing an unnamed Indian official, reported that having customers helps improve Vedanta's chances of qualifying for the Semicon India Program.
Hebbar said Vedanta had made technical assessments of the offers made by states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Telangana, while ISMC, a joint venture between Tower Semiconductor and Next Orbit Ventures, has decided to invest US$3 billion to set up a 65nm fab in Karnataka. Still, considering Intel's acquisition proposal, Tower Semiconductor may only be a technology provider in ISMC's Karnataka fab.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out that India's goal of building a semiconductor manufacturing hub requires some patience. On the one hand, the US, Germany, Japan and China are attracting investments from semiconductor manufacturers, and subsidies provided by the US and Europe are much higher than those India offers. Still, India has a chance to partly meet its own domestic demand in the next 10 years.
India is looking build its own semiconductor fabs.