“At the group, we have already set up a business to seize the promise of high-tech manufacturing of electronics, precision manufacturing, assembly and testing, and semiconductors in the medium term,” Chandrasekaran is reported to have said while speaking at the annual general meeting of the Indian Merchants Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Tata owns Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). JLR said that last month that the shortage of automotive chips is worsening and that sales in the July-September quarter were likely to be almost half of what it had previously forecast. Elsewhere chip companies have said the shortage of chips could last into 2022.
Indian politicians have tried to stimulate the creation of wafer fabs over the last couple of decades without success (see VC wants to reboot Indian wafer fab plans). But now the faltering globalized semiconductor supply chain may provide the stimulus needed.
Tata Group had an annual revenue of US$106 billion in 2020 and has recently announced its entry into 5G cellular communications equipment manufacturing and a series of acquisitions to create Tata Digital business.
The work is likely to take place at a Tata Electronics facility in Hosur in central southern India near Bengaluru, according to local reports.
Initially the Hosur facility will focus on electronics manufacturing with a move into semiconductors in a second phase, a report quoted a Tata spokesperson saying. The Hosur facility is looking to hire 18,000 employees with about 90 percent likely to be women, the report also said.
It seems likely that such large numbers of workers would be used for equipment assembly as wafer fabs tend to be highly automated, requiring far fewer people.
Chandrasekaran did not indicate what type of chips Tata intended to make, or how soon, but power semiconductors to support Tata Motors and Tata Power would make sense. However, even power components are turning to sophisticated materials such as silicon-carbide and gallium-nitride, raising the bar for entry into the business.
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