Anand Parthasarathy

Indian Semiconductor Industry and leading Chinese silicon park explore tech links

Bangalore meeting may see cooperation in chip design and manufactureTwo Indian outsourced knowledge players outsourced some of their work to a Chinese company

BANGALORE: We are good at designing the silicon chips that the world needs. They are good at turning designs into millions of products, at a price few have been able to match. So why did it take so long for India and China to discover, that in the computer chip business at least, they are "made for each other"? On the sturdy principle of "better late than never," Indian Semiconductor Association, the nodal agency representing the computer memory and processor industry based in this country, arranged the first ever interaction last week, with the leading industrial park specialsing in semiconductor electronics in China.

It was a meeting of similar cultures in another literal sense. Held in Bangalore, India's so-called Garden City, it saw a seven-member delegation from the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), based in China's own garden capital (and home to over 100 small and large gardens dating back 2000 years), 80 kms from Shanghai, in the Yangtze river basin.

The Park is China's largest cooperative venture with Singapore and home to the integrated circuit development of some of the world's biggest silicon players, explained Daisy Gao, Deputy Director of the SIP Science and Technology Development Company. The main Park also houses an International Science and Technology Park, tailored to host global companies which look for a ready built infrastructure for setting up a local presence within days.

In an interesting twist of the way things are now done, two Indian outsourced knowledge players, had in turn outsourced some of their work to Suzsoft, a company that operated in the International Park, explained its business development manager, Sanjeev Joshi. Most of the software players operating in Suzhou had reached level 2 and 3 certification while the top Indian players were all level 1, he added.

However, the compelling attraction for Indian chip players was the access to the huge Chinese home market, explained ISA President , Poornima Shenoy, in a special briefing for The Hindu: Indian companies who were strong in developing the intellectual property (IP) that went into semiconductor devices, could profit from the Suzhou Park's one-stop-shop concept to quickly turn their designs into products for the Chinese speaking markets.

The Chinese strength in mass manufacturing silicon foundries would complement Indian IP, she felt.

Ms. Poornima and a small delegation from ISA visited the Suzhou facilities earlier this year and the Bangalore meeting was a quick follow-up by their Chinese counterparts.

Both agencies were hopeful that if competition could "morph" into cooperation in the semiconductor processor business, they could together "chip" away at a sizeable chunk of the global opportunity.