ISMC inks MoU to set up $3bn chip plant in Karnataka

India’s ambition to have a semiconductor fab has moved a little closer to fruition. International semiconductor consortium ISMC Analog Fab signed an MoU with the Karnataka government on Sunday to invest $3 billion (Rs.22,900 crore) on a 65nm analog semiconductor fabrication plant.

Two other companies have bid for incentives to set up semiconductor and display units in India, the Vedanta - Foxconn joint venture and Singapore-based IGSS. But these are yet to finalise locations. ISMC is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi-based NextOrbit Ventures and Tower Semiconductor. Tower is an Israeli semiconductor firm that Intel announced it plans to acquire.

The ISMC project is expected to generate more than 1,500 direct and 10,000 indirect employment opportunities. The company is looking to acquire 150 acres in Mysuru’s Kochanahalli industrial area to set up the plant. Ajay Jalan, director of ISMC,  said that the plant can be built in around four years after breaking ground, which will first require the government to approve the incentives it has promised under the India Semiconductor Mission, a $10 billion (Rs 76,000 crore) scheme for semiconductor companies.

Jalan said that access to water, power, talent, high quality of living and a customised incentive package were some of the reasons why the company chose Mysore as the final location.

According to the government, the Indian semiconductor market was worth $15 billion in 2020 and is estimated to reach $63 billion by 2026. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India will provide support for companies looking to invest in chip manufacturing.

The demand for semiconductor chips saw a steep increase after Covid forced the world to rely on digital products and services to keep the cogs of the global economy moving.

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