“Indian customers pay the price for quality”

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One of the largest semiconductor manufacturers, ROHM group, consists of KIONIX Inc., the third largest MEMS manufacturer in the world, and Lapis Semiconductor. It is the ninth promoter of the EnOcean Alliance, an independent consortium of companies to further develop and promote solutions and systems based on EnOcean’s energy harvesting wireless technology. Using its position in power devices as a growth strategy, ROHM has been accelerating its growth in SiC (Silicon Carbide) devices, which has been highly-anticipated as the next generation of power devices. In March 2011, ROHM became the first company worldwide to fulfil the mass production of ‘full SiC’ power module, an integrated power semiconductor device fully-composed of SiC.

In an exclusive interview with EFY, Hidekazu Katsuno, president, ROHM Semiconductor Singapore Pte Ltd, talks about the company’s strategy to capture the Indian market and its five-year vision for India.

EB: How important is the Indian market for ROHM and what are your strategies for India?

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ROHM Semiconductor had started its India sales operations in 2011, and today India is an important market for us. Our strategy is to attract the India market with our strengths, which is our innovative technology in analogue ICs, sensors and power devices.

We will emphasise on the growing automotive market in India, and the infrastructure-related industrial equipment market. In the future, our plan is also to focus on the consumer market which is expected to be a big potential market. With LED drivers as the focus for the automotive market, our strategy for the market is high-quality and low-cost general-purpose ICs. In addition, for the anticipated EV car market, we will promote SiC devices which already have a track record with Japanese automotive makers. For the industrial equipment market, we will place emphasis on general-purpose ICs, and from Lapis Semiconductor, the low-power microcontroller and RF communication LSIs for smart energy meter manufacturers.

We will target high-efficiency inverters for industrial equipment with SiC power devices. We will be a pioneer in the industry with our world’s first mass production of ‘full-SiC’ power modules.

EB: Apart from automotive which top three segments you are targeting in India?

Apart from automotive, we are focusing on industrial electronics with more emphasis on metering market, UPS and power electronics and also LED lightning industry. Our brand AGLED concentrates on the B2C segment of LED and ROHM focuses on B2B market.

EB: Are your products customised for India? Also, India being a very cost- sensitive country, do your products meet the price limits in India?

Our understanding is that Indian market is a quality-conscious market and the customers pay the price for quality. ‘Quality first’ has been the corporate mission of ROHM since the beginning, and ROHM will continue to strengthen itself in the quality of its products in the future, too.

This mission has been the reason for our success for over 55 years in the business of semiconductors. Our finished goods in the LED segment offer a warranty of five years against just 2-3 years warranty offered by other companies in the market. Customers are willing to do business with us only because of our quality products.

EB: What is your five year vision for India?

Operation-wise we are focusing on the manufacturers that are manufacturing locally and the MNCs who are planning to have a manufacturing setup in India. Currently, we have marketing, sales and technical FAE operations in India. In future, we foresee to set up a design centre in India to design made-for-India products. To target and penetrate the market better, for India, we have started design solution business. We have a team of engineers in Japan dedicated to India. So, with the India market expanding, we will soon see the team working in India.

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

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