India wafer fab decision expected by end of 2012

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Details of the proposed semiconductor wafer fab to be set up in India are set to be announced by the end of the year at the latest, with talks between the federal government and interested companies getting down to brass tacks, according to a EE Times report.

“The last time the government announced its scheme to have a wafer fabrication plant in India, well, it did not happen,” said Sachin Pilot, minister of state for communications and information technology.

Pilot said India’s government is more flexible than it had been a few years ago, when a government backed scheme to locate a chip fab in India failed. “We are far more willing to meet a potential investor halfway down the line,” Pilot said. Pilot said the government is currently discussing what technology node an Indian wafer fab would be capable of and how long that technology is likely to remain relevant.

Speaking at the India Semiconductor Association’s (ISA) annual summit, Pilot said a decision will likely be made in the next few months, and at the latest, by the year-end.

India’s government has said it plans to locate a wafer fab in the country and that the fab would be the beginning of a chip manufacturing ecosystem in India.

“The government will answer this problem by investing in and do whatever else is needed for a fab,” said R. Chandrashekhar, secretary of India’s Department of Information Technology. “Significant progress has been made in our talks with potential contenders.”

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