What has helped Millennium Semiconductors become what it is today? What is the company doing “especially” in India? Haresh Abichandani, MD, Millennium Semiconductors, gives some very interesting answers!
Q. What’s the secret sauce behind the success of Millennium Semiconductors in India?
A. The cornerstone of Millennium Semiconductors’ success is our customer-centric approach. We are currently serving over 5,000 clients and striving to be a leading player in the industry. Our focus is exclusively on addressing our customers’ pain points, thereby improving their performance. Our business model is a one-stop solution, providing all necessary services under one roof, eliminating the need for our customers to engage multiple suppliers.
Q. Please help us understand ‘customer focus’ more.
A. Absolutely. Our demand creation team plays a pivotal role in this area. We engage with our clients right from the initial stages of their product or solution development. Our collaboration covers the complete development cycle, right from initial selection of the necessary parts and components for their design, all the way to production stages and beyond. Our team offers comprehensive support and guidance throughout this process, and there’s also a proactive approach.
Q. Can you elaborate on ‘proactive’ approach?
A. We actively conduct tech shows at our clients’ premises, showcasing the latest innovations, products, and solutions, particularly those based on emerging and trending technologies. These shows are designed to inform our clients about market trends and potential new opportunities. However, the decision to develop new products based on this information ultimately rests with our clients.
Q. Can you elaborate this via an example?
A. Take an example of wireless communications – Bluetooth over years has introduced newer technologies and got adopted significantly across use cases in Automotive, Industrial and IoT segments, Our teams have regularly introduced newer ways to use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology thereby accelerating its adoption in India last 2 years through various use cases like Asset tracking, Telemetry, In-car communications, Smart Meters, Data loggers, Gaming Controllers, Smart Inhaler, Smart wrist bands & wearables, and many more.
Q. Are you happy with the way the electronics manufacturing ecosystem is shaping up in India?
A. The electronics manufacturing ecosystem in India is growing rapidly, though the pace could be accelerated. The electronic import bill is nearing that of oil, potentially becoming the largest import expense. While the government has initiated several beneficial policies, the industry also needs to contribute actively. The stability brought by the current government, through initiatives like PLI, Make In India, and the India Semiconductor Mission, has been a catalyst for growth.
Q. What are your views on the OSAT/ATMP environment being built in India?
A. I believe the establishment of OSATs in India is long overdue and crucial for the country. The inception of semiconductors lasted two decades through its design capabilities, an area where India has been actively involved for a significant time, though perhaps not as recognized as it should be. A vibrant OSAT/ATMP environment is similarly a vital step for India’s all-round growth in the semiconductor sector. Supported through schemes like DLI, OSAT/ATMP can enable many fabless companies to explore domestic collaborations for production and further market expansion.
Q. How can the industry contribute more?
A. While OSATs and ATMPs are excellent steps forward, the industry should also focus on attracting more EMS companies, ODMs, and IDHs. This will foster a more comprehensive domestic electronics manufacturing ecosystem. The separation of assembly, testing, and packaging from fabrication is essential and presents a great opportunity for India. Demand for enabling availability of electronics and system level skillset and associated services locally will further accelerate innovation and create a spiral for new products getting designed, manufactured, and exported.
Q. You mentioned imports, but do you see increased opportunities for India in terms of exporting electronics?
A. With the Indian government’s unwavering support and key initiatives, the country has been successful in promoting domestic manufacturing and boosting exports. India is poised to become a global manufacturing hub for electronics. Our skilled labour force positions us to significantly increase our share in electronic exports. There is a strong global interest in products made in India, presenting an opportunity to be a viable alternative to the China+1 strategy.
Q. Where should we begin? Can you help identify some low-hanging fruits?
A. Production in areas like mobile phones, consumer electronics, home appliances, and wearables are already underway and present immediate opportunities. IT and office electronics, along with LED TVs, are also sectors ripe for growth. The automotive electronics segment has already established a robust ecosystem and serves as a model for other industries.
Q. Have these segments grown for you as well?
A. We have seen substantial growth in automotive electronics, which was one of our initial focus areas. Other segments like consumer electronics and EVs under the automobile wing are also showing promising growth. In terms of revenue, automotive leads, followed by industrial, and then consumer and lighting sectors.
Q. What’s so special about the automotive segment?
A. The automotive sector is globally one of the most stable segments. The robustness of the automotive ecosystem in India holds great export potential to various regions worldwide. The cost-effective solutions developed by Indian automotive suppliers are particularly advantageous.
Q. AI and ML are being talked about a lot. Where do you see the confluence of these with the world of electronics?
A. AI and ML represent a paradigm shift in electronics. We are at a nascent stage in utilizing these technologies as tools. The rapid evolution of AI necessitates continuous hardware upgrades. Higher performance and compute to support advancing AI better power efficiency by enabling AI at the edge, so complex workloads, even LLMs, can take place on devices and not just in the cloud.
The IoT market is already seeing significant AI innovation at the edge. AI evolution is also set to take place in cars, which are essentially becoming computers on wheels. Today’s chips in cars enable fundamental AI features, like obstacle detection and 3D views, but the future will see AI capabilities advance in the vehicle and across sensors in cities and roads as autonomous driving goes mass-market.
Q. What’s next for Millennium Semiconductors?
A. Our next steps include expanding globally, starting with Far East Asia, and setting up a third warehouse in South India. Strengthening our R&D and Demand Creation teams is also a priority. Furthermore, we are focused on improving the happiness index of our internal team, building upon our reputation as a great place to work.