AMD commits $400 mln to India semicon vision, announces largest global centre in Bengaluru

The investment is expected to create the chip maker's largest global design centre, adding 3,000 engineering roles in Bengaluru

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Jul 31, 2023 01:13:46 PM IST
Updated: Jul 31, 2023 01:23:26 PM IST

AMD commits 0 mln to India semicon vision, announces largest global centre in BengaluruMark Papermaster, Executive vice president, and chief technology officer of AMD
 
AMD, which is attempting to challenge artificial intelligence (AI) chip leader Nvidia, plans to invest approximately $400 million over the next five years in India, adding fillip to the government’s efforts to make the country a major global semiconductor industry hub.

The investment will include the establishment of a new cutting-edge campus in Bengaluru, serving as the company's largest design center worldwide, AMD, known especially for its gaming and professional graphics GPUs, said in a press release, coinciding with India’s Semicon event that concluded last week.

The three-day event saw strong interest and participation of delegates from around the world, ranging from semiconductor giants to venture capital investors looking to get a sense of the ecosystem’s prospects in India.

Mark Papermaster, executive vice president, and chief technology officer of AMD, noted that the company has been in India since its first site was established in New Delhi in 2001.

“From a handful of employees in 2001 to more than 6,500 employees today, AMD has grown its India footprint based on the strong foundation established by our local leadership and the highly skilled talent pool," Papermaster said, in the press release.

He added that AMD's broad product portfolio, fueled by advancements in artificial intelligence, networking, and 6G communications, will benefit from the expanded presence in India.

The upcoming AMD campus, slated to open before the end of 2023, will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, extensive lab space, and collaborative tools designed to foster teamwork and innovation.

The investment will also result in the creation of approximately 3,000 new engineering roles by the end of 2028, adding to AMD's existing employee base in India, according to the release.

“We welcome the AMD plan to expand its leading-edge R&D engineering operations in India,” Ashwini Vaishnaw, union cabinet minister for railways, telecommunications, electronics, and information technology, said in the release.

The sentiment was echoed by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and IT, skill development, and entrepreneurship, who emphasised the role this expansion will play in India's aspiration to become a global talent hub for semiconductor design and innovation.

Also watch: Explained: The unbelievably complex process of making semiconductor chips

 If one looks at various aspects of the semiconductor ecosystem, foundries, which India is inviting global companies to establish in India, are one important component. Then there are fabs (fabrication facilities, assembly, testing and packaging that go hand in hand with the fabs.

 Providers of electronic design automation (EDA) tools, which is software, and fab-less companies are another segment.
 
In addition to AMD, Nvidia and Intel also have large software, design and testing centres in India. EDA companies such as Cadence and Synopsys, are present too. Foundries and large fabs are missing, however.

The ending of a joint venture recently between India’s Vedanta group and Foxconn, a global electronics contract manufacturer, which was meant to establish a $20 billion fab in India, was widely seen as at least a temporary setback to India’s semiconductor ambitions.

On the other hand, “We all tend to forget that it's a marathon … this is going to take us, you know, 10 to 20 years,” Sateesh Andra, a managing director at Endiya Partners, a venture capital firm focused on deep tech investments in India, told Forbes India in an interview on July 31, having just participated in the Semicon event.

“I believe the time has come, especially post pandemic, and supply chains have reconfigured, and then the geopolitical issues have precipitated,” Andra said. “The need to build local capabilities for many regions, it's just not India alone.”

 As major economies push towards greater self-sufficiency, “I'm pretty sure semiconductor is one of the top agenda items, not just for us.”

Also read: Inside Vedanta's gigantic semiconductor ambitions

 Therefore, India can’t let up on its efforts to deepen and widen the talent base of not just computer science or electronics and electrical engineers, but also chemical engineers, process engineers, mechanical engineers and other skilled personnel – all needed by the semiconductor sector, he said.

 What India offers already in terms of world-class talent, many multinational companies with their capability global centres in the country, favourable government policy and a growing local market augurs well for the country’s prospects in this sector, he said.

 “So, my belief is it'll evolve to the next level for sure, but we need to be patient and continue to believe and make investments and celebrate the victories along the way,” he said.

 At AMD, the new investment announced last week will not only strengthen its presence but also serve to enhance India's semiconductor ecosystem, the company said in its press release. With the new Bengaluru campus, AMD will increase its office footprint to a total of 10 locations, including Delhi, Gurugram, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.

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