Qualcomm Set to Double India Investments: Exec – ET Auto

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“Qualcomm spends what AMD is going to spend in the next four or five years in four months. We spend in eight months what Micron is going to do over the decade,” Soin said.

New Delhi: US semiconductor major Qualcomm is doubling down on its investments in India and will surpass rivals AMD and Micron by huge margins in a bid to leverage the “massive” India opportunity, a top executive said.

The company also plans to partner a few chip manufacturers as part of the government’s incentive scheme for semiconductors, Savi Soin, president at Qualcomm India, told ET.

“Our investments in India have grown in double digits year over year in the last five years,” Soin said.
The company is likely to spend over USD 1 billion in India this year, though it did not share specific details.

“Qualcomm spends what AMD is going to spend in the next four or five years in four months. We spend in eight months what Micron is going to do over the decade,” Soin said. “The scale of Qualcomm’s commitment into India is massive.”

Last year, AMD had said it would invest USD 400 million in India over the next five years while Micron has committed to invest USD 825 million in phases in a new chip assembly and test facility in Gujarat. Micron has already been approved for getting the incentives from the government, which will take the total investment to the facility to USD 2.75 billion, of which 50% will come from the Centre and 20% from the state government. The first phase of the facility will be operational later this year while the second phase is expected to start towards the second half of the decade.

Qualcomm is itself in talks with a few chip manufacturers, which plan to make chipsets under the government’s incentive scheme. The Tata Group and HCL, among others, have been planning to enter the fabrication of chipsets.
“We have been working confidentially with a bunch of players,” Soin said, without divulging the names of potential partners.

“Given our deep technical expertise to bring up processes elsewhere, we have that expertise to help whichever new fab cap comes and it has to be price competitive. We will bring our business and volume. We have been working with all the merchant proposals that are going on right now,” he said.

The government is also taking ideas from Qualcomm and giving suggestions, so that a semiconductor ecosystem can be developed in the country.

The optimism about the India market for Qualcomm can be gauged from the fact that the US major now has the maximum number of engineers working out of the country. Of the around 40,000 global workforce of the company, nearly 17,000 are in India.

“We are going to be hiring aggressively because we believe India is a market that’s ready. We have a lot of traction with customers across automotive, 5G etc,” he said.

As there has been flat growth across the smartphone segment, the company has been diversifying across sectors like automotive, PCs, next-gen tech, including AI, etc.

“We are refocusing efforts for the next five years at Qualcomm. We are going big on the PC. We are going big on hybrid AI, on-device AI, we are going big on IoT. We believe the whole Metaverse and XR are going to be big for us,” Soin said.

The company is looking at a shift and investment for the next five years, and will go massive on these segments. “Mobile is an area where we have seen flat growth. But when it comes to on-device AI, we are doubling down to bring use cases on mobile. So, it’s not like the company is not investing in mobile, it’s investing in more hybrid AI on mobile,” he added.

  • Published On Feb 26, 2024 at 08:22 AM IST

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