Invest India CEO foresees mutual gains and tripled investment in collaboration between Taiwan and India

Jerry Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: DIGITIMES Asia

India's US$10 billion semiconductor mission is surging forward with recent collaborations and investments. The partnership between Power Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (PSMC) and Tata, along with Micron's substantial investments, signal decisive strides in fortifying India's semiconductor industry.

At the helm of Invest India, the national investment facilitation agency of the Government of India is Managing Director and CEO Nivruti Rai, a seasoned tech leader with over three decades of experience. Rai's illustrious career includes pivotal roles at Intel, where she spearheaded operations as Country Head for India and led the global Automotive Foundry business for Intel Foundry Services.

During her four-day visit, Rai elaborated on the significance of Taiwan as a strategic collaborative partner, the imperative of supply chain diversification, and her estimated timeline for India's semiconductor mission.

Win-win Taiwan-India collaborations

With 60% of the world's semiconductor products originating from Taiwan, Rai sees the collaboration between Tata and PSMC as the beginning of a promising partnership. She envisions expanded cooperation in sectors such as Taiwan's Electronics System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) products, components, and cell and battery technologies to support India's green energy initiatives. Rai also highlights industries such as two-wheelers and AI as areas the agency eyes for future collaborations.

Furthermore, she believes that the trend of supply chain diversification stemming from rising geopolitical tensions benefits Taiwan-India trade relations. Rai argues that relying on a single market leaves companies vulnerable, especially in the face of natural disasters or political upheavals.

Highlighting the pivotal role of digitalization, computing, connectivity, and storage in the future global economy, Rai predicts a shift where data and information will surpass traditional metrics such as oil in determining a country's wealth. She emphasizes the complementary strengths of Taiwan in hardware and India in software, asserting that collaborative partnerships between the two sides can only yield a win-win outcome.

Invest India's ambition

Looking ahead, Rai envisions doubling or tripling the current investment influx from Taiwan to India, aiming to enhance bilateral trade and exports between the two nations. She stresses a mutual growth trajectory, where India and Taiwan benefit from increased trade and technological exchanges. Rai notes, "Technology is not rocket science, but India has proven rocket science also."

Regarding the timeline for India's Semiconductor Mission, Rai envisions a phased approach labeled as "crawl, walk, run," projecting a 10-year journey to achieve milestones such as shipping wafers with leading nodes within a decade and mature nodes within five years based on her previous experience.

She emphasizes the urgency of initiating work promptly, leveraging significant governmental incentives earmarked for Invest India to foster a semiconductor supplier ecosystem.

India's semiconductor future

Apple's recent announcement of relocating 25% of its manufacturing outside of China has catalyzed an influx of investments into India, particularly towards Tamil Nadu. Rai anticipates a ripple effect, with key players such as Foxconn and Pegatron establishing manufacturing clusters across sectors such as smartphones, semiconductors, and electric vehicles. She emphasized the symbiotic relationship between anchor companies and their suppliers, noting that the presence of major players often attracts a network of supporting industries, thereby fueling further investment and growth.

Regarding the challenges of building a semiconductor industry from scratch, Rai stresses the need for skilled labor, strategic demand planning, and robust post-sale support mechanisms. She emphasizes the importance of skilled labor and strategic partnerships in overcoming the industry's complexity.

Investors as brand ambassadors

In terms of how she supports foreign investors after the initial engagement, she outlined a three-pronged approach, which includes identifying opportunities for government incentives, addressing policy and regulatory barriers, and fostering technology partnerships and entrepreneurial engagements.

Rai emphasized the importance of tangible returns for investors, seeing investors more as authentic brand ambassadors whose success stories would resonate louder than any promotional campaign. Rai's trip to Taiwan, from May 6th to 9th, included participation in a close-door supply chain conference and banquet, fostering further bilateral ties.