Slow India may lose Cricket wafer fab

January 31, 2017 //By Peter Clarke
Slow India may lose Cricket wafer fab
Cricket Semiconductor, an analog and power pure-play foundry project that was being prepared for touch down in India, is running late and could end up being constructed in a different country.

The plan, announced in 2015, was for Cricket to break ground for an analog and power circuit wafer fab in 2016 – with Indore in Madhya Pradesh as the likely location – and that it would begin producing chips in 2018.

"The project has taken longer than we had anticipated, and it may continue to move at a pace that is slower than our preference," Lou Hutter, a former Texas Instruments executive working on the project, said in email correspondence with eeNews Europe.

Lou Hutter of Lou Hutter Consulting.

Hutter said he and others had put tens of thousands of hours into the project, but it remains challenged by concerns over Indian infrastructure, a perception that there is a lack of indigenous semiconductor manufacturing expertise, and the high level of capital expenditure required to start a semiconductor wafer fab business.

"Progress in India can be very slow, and that is what we have seen. We have spent over three years, putting in tens of thousands of hours of time and energy, as well as resources, on this project. And we did this because we want to help India establish its first world-class production fab, and we are confident that an analog/power wafer fab is the most cost-effective and defensible way to do this," Hutter said in email.

Hutter said his team had found a receptive audience with strategic investors including multinational semiconductor companies. "They vetted our business and financial assumptions, ratifying the basic tenets of our world-class analog/power foundry strategy. It must be noted, however, that there is skepticism among these established semiconductor players regarding a wafer fab in India, for exactly the factors mentioned above, particularly the infrastructure issues."

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