India approves its first full wafer fab – a 28nm affair from Tata and Powerchip

Everybody’s so happy they’re not mentioning start dates, subsidy levels, or other useful details

India's government has approved the construction of the nation's first semiconductor wafer fabrication plant, to be built by Taiwanese foundry-as-a-service outfit Powerchip (PSMC), together with Indian giant Tata's electronics business.

PSMC has stated it will "assist" Tata to build the plant. Tata's announcement predicts the plant's output will reach 50,000 12-inch wafers per month, and that the tie-up with PSMC means it can access "leading edge and mature nodes including 28nm, 40nm, 55nm, 90nm & 110nm and also collaboration for high volume manufacturing."

Target industries include automotive, computing and data storage, wireless communication and artificial intelligence. The government added power management chips for EVs, consumer electronics, displays, and power management chips to the list of kit the planet will produce.

Work on the fab will commence later this year – there's no word on when it will start producing wafers.

Indeed, Tata's announcement offers more info about the expected number of jobs the plant will create – 20,000 – than the facility's expected output. The giant conglomerate has also offered lots of patriotic puff about the plant representing India's debut as a semiconductor player, and vindication of its government's attempts to have chipmakers diversity their supply chains to include the subcontinent.

India's government welcomed the Tata/PSMC tie-up, but didn't reveal if it flowed from its subsidy program – or, if so, how much it's kicked in to make the deal happen. Those details were also absent in the announcement that Tata will establish a semiconductor test unit, and that Japanese chipmaker Renesas, Thailand’s Stars Microelectronics, and Indian conglomerate CG Power will together "manufacture chips for consumer, industrial, automotive and power applications."

That effort is also expected to produce 20,000 jobs.

Both that plant and the PSMC/Tata facility will ultimately be built in the town of Sanand – a satellite of Gujarat state's largest city, Ahmedabad. The town's terrain appears to be flat, possibly sparing Sanand comparisons to Silicon Valley. ®

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