US-based tech giant Synaptics has said that it plans to bolster its presence in India and make it the company's second-largest design center by the end of 2024. Speaking to Digitimes Asia recently, the company revealed plans to expand office space and hire more people in the country.
"Our involvement in India really began in earnest around 2017 with the acquisition of Marvell, marking the genesis of Synaptics India," explained Venkat Kodavati, senior VP and GM of wireless products at Synaptics. "Over the past five to six years, we've made significant progress. India's rapid growth is due to its rich pool of talent, particularly in wireless and processor technology."
"We aim to leverage this talent to accelerate our growth in the next four to five years, similar to our growth trajectory over the last five years. By 2024, Synaptics India is expected to become our second-largest design center globally. India is poised to be a central hub for our global operations."
The company has intensified its recruitment efforts in India, focusing on a broad spectrum of technical fields that include radio design, chip development, software engineering, artificial intelligence, hardware design, and tooling. This approach reflects the strategic importance of the Indian talent market to Synaptics' expansion plans.
"Within the next five years, there's no reason India won't become the largest design base, aligning with our current strategic plans," Kodavati added. "Although it's not there yet, the trajectory is clear for significant growth."
Plans in India
The expansion of Synaptics in India is significantly influenced by the increasing number of emerging engineers in the country. The company engages in complete end-to-end product development within India. Their process encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, starting from algorithm and system design in the wireless division, and extending through ASIC and physical design verification, before going to the foundries for fabrication.
Post-fabrication, the products undergo rigorous testing in Indian laboratories, which includes both RF and software application testing, before they are dispatched to customers.
"Synaptics is committed to not just execution but also innovation and IP development within India, involving a significant portion of our team in these critical areas," Kodavati said. "This end-to-end system development capability enables us to understand use cases better and innovate further, distinguishing us from competitors who might focus more on implementation and execution."
Collaboration with the ecosystem
Synaptics' operations are well-integrated into the local ecosystem, a move necessitated by the challenges associated with rapid scaling. The company's strategy involves collaboration with local firms that assist in several technical domains, including verification, backend work, and device validation after manufacturing. These strategic partnerships are pivotal to Synaptics' expansion efforts.
"Furthermore, we collaborate with companies developing comprehensive products, like security cameras, which incorporate our processors, connectivity solutions, and software," Kodavati added. "These collaborations aim to support the creation of products for both the Indian and global markets. India offers a unique advantage for these endeavors, especially in manufacturing at the system level, as opposed to chip fabrication. We see India as a vital hub with significant potential for producing sophisticated technology products."
Vision for India
Synaptics envisions a comprehensive operation in India, covering all processes from software development, where India excels, to chip and analog design, plus backend implementation. Their current team, comprising 300 members, is evenly divided between software and hardware, with future adjustments possible.
India's proficiency in both software and hardware makes it a key location for Synaptics' varied product line, which includes wireless technology, processors, AI, and sensors. Kodavati believes that although India's strength has traditionally been in software, hardware is also coming up now.
"India is rich in engineering talent, but finding the right fit remains a challenge," Kodavati added. "What sets Synaptics apart and aids our recruitment efforts is the nature of the work we offer. Engineers are attracted to challenging projects that allow them to make significant contributions. The opportunity to work on meaningful designs and see their products deployed is highly motivating. While financial compensation matters, the chance to engage in impactful work is what truly excites them.
"Our success in attracting talent is increasingly due to referrals, highlighting Synaptics as a desirable workplace where engineers can thrive and innovate."
Credit: Venkat Kodavati, senior VP and GM of wireless products at Synaptics