Indian delegation harnesses Taiwanese expertise for semiconductor ecosystem development

Jerry Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: ITA

The Government of Gujarat, India, has dispatched a delegation to Taiwan for the India-Taiwan Semiconductor Summit, while also seizing the opportunity to glean knowledge from Taiwanese partners at Hsinchu Science Park.

Backed by the substantial US$50 billion incentives from the India Semiconductor Mission (ISM), significant semiconductor ventures by PSMC, Tata, and Micron are primed for launch, aligning with India's ambition to become a global semiconductor manufacturing hub. Ajit Manocha, President and CEO of Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), hailed these projects as pivotal catalysts for India's Semiconductor Mission (ISM) during the summit on May 30.

Leading the delegation is Mona Khandhar, the Principal Secretary to the Government of Gujarat and the Department of Science & Technology. With over 25 years of experience in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Khandhar has played a crucial role in shaping policies to propel Gujarat's technology sector forward, particularly in IT, semiconductors, electronics, and biotechnology.

In an interview with DIGITIMES Asia, Khandhar expressed her intent to deepen India-Taiwan semiconductor cooperation and leverage insights from Taiwan's ecosystem to drive Gujarat's development.

Packed schedule

Khandhar says she and her team visited Hsinchu Science Park, ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute), and various Taiwanese companies during their trip. The delegation also engaged with several government officials, ministers, and academics.

Khandhar states that their eco-system building strategy focuses on three main areas: fiscal support, industrial infrastructure development, and human resource development which they shared with Taiwanese government officials and supply chain firms during the summit.

Progress and partnerships in semiconductor development

Khandhar also gave an update on the progress of the PSMC and Tata joint venture on the 300mm (12-inch) wafer fab in Dholera set to produce chips with 28nm processing technology by the end of 2026. She says they are currently having weekly coordination meetings with the companies with the setup of the social infrastructure of the fab underway.

The technical parameters for power, water purity, and effluent are being provided by the PSMC while the facility setup and schedules are being worked out by Tata. Khandhar's team is also facilitating support of many verticals from chemicals, metal, metallurgy, and gas from the local Indian companies for the semiconductor projects.

She also mentioned while many approvals of further investment proposals are at a standstill during election time, more projects can be expected to be announced in September during the upcoming Semicon India.

Learning from Hsinchu's infrastructure model

One key aspect of the visit to Hsinchu Science Park was to learn how the park operators ensure reliable power and water quality for semiconductor production. She noted how Hsinchu Science Park recycles 90% of the water was of particular interest to them.

When asked how they planned to ensure electrical and water redundancy for their projects, Khandhar singled out their policy that each supply chain firm in Gujarat would be provided with a captive green energy power plant. She says Tata Power would be setting up green grids to help supply the chip-making projects of Tata.

In terms of water supply, she says they have ensured at least 90 MLD million liters per day could be supplied to the semiconductor city in Dholera through a dedicated channel. The team also visited the advanced fabs of their partners Micron and PSMC in Taiwan, gaining insights into their automation and operational efficiencies.

They also met with Foxconn, Wistron, Acer, and Innolux to gain a comprehensive understanding of their expansion plans and perspectives on India and Gujarat. Khandhar said, "It's very important that from the very beginning, we have the input from the right companies, so that if there is any course correction required or any such thing that we can do from the very beginning."

"This is a new sector we are entering into; we will be able to bridge those gaps with the learnings of Hsinchu's experience from this trip," she says. The visit also fostered discussions on potential collaborations, including training Indian engineers in Taiwan and undertaking joint research initiatives.

Noting the similarities between Hsinchu and the upcoming hub projects in Dholera, she mentioned they are going to establish a center for the training of silicon talents, like the efforts of the two universities in Hsinchu. She expects the training center dubbed "the Centre of Excellence" would provide approximately 1,000 semiconductor-specific talents to these semiconductor projects in the first year once it is established.

The requirement for talent in the second year onwards will climb to about 5,000. Then 10,000 in the third year when they expect the fabs to be completed. She expects the range of around 5,000 to 6,000 talents to be cultivated per year once the center is fully operational. In addition, a network of incubators of companies would be provided for their ecosystem partners like their Taiwanese counterparts.

Regional support and new policies

In addition to the ISM constructional incentives, Khandhar says the state government additionally provides operational expenditure and capital assistance for the semiconductor companies. Up to 75 percent of the land procurement cost could be covered by the Gujarat government.

For human resources, the regional government could cover up to RUB 60,000 for the first salary of the semiconductor talents companies employ. Looking ahead, Khandhar says new policies regarding deep tech, space tech, and component manufacturing could be expected from the regional government.