SEMICONDUCTOR DREAM OR A WAR?
If somebody told you that dream and war are one and same thing, you would be completely taken aback. But it is the harsh reality of the modern-day complex tech business world, it has little do about money, it is the strategy and model that creates an enduring business and in the process brings windfall profits to the promoters. It can transform countries and economies. Beyond that it brings immense power by way of controlling a product in a near monopoly manner and same applies to IT services too. Whether is TSMC or Google, it is the same story. Monopolies have slowly become the name of the game. To realise a tech dream, the route is a war, more so if there tech monopolies are already ruling the roost.
In this war, countries and provinces in those countries also line up in in attendance to offer the best to these tech giants. It is non-tech war to attract the right tech, company and product. One such creation could just revolutionise the city or the province. Which country or state would not like to a leader in tech; in whichever technology or product it could manage to lead. It comes the very hard way; whether it is cyber security for Israel or semiconductor for Taiwan. When daggers are drawn in the world of tech and business, it is hidden from the world, the result comes out in the open, the war remains unseen. It is a real and fierce on. The same was is seen between states in this country.
The disruption of the semiconductor supply chain during Covid-19 has been the trigger, which lead to varied reactions. It generated a reaction as if a second disaster was on the cards. The fear it created was one of its kind, otherwise, we would have waited for normalcy in product delivery courtesy Taiwan, S Korea, and China. Desperation knows no bounds. Laws were made to facilitate the war, the national exchequers was opened in one of its kind manners, inclusive of R&D. The Acts passed by US and EU have a fascinating mixture of dream, war and desperation as its cause. This the queer nature of the semiconductor story. Whosoever wins the semiconductor war and has other technologies to support, is bound to the winner. This is the kernel of change and life. Every aspect of economic activity would be chipified differently. This is the war cry.
For a change India also threw its hat in the ring. The decades of the sluggish and directionless effort in semiconductors had not yielded anything for India. We would remain at the mercy of other nations, if were to keep moving in the same direction. Govt of India committed a fund of Rs.76,000 crores for semiconductor design, fabrication, packaging and testing. Desperation was all around. Money cannot buy a fab, so multipronged efforts were on. The first result of this diehard effort was seen in a MOU between Govt. of Karnataka and ISMC, for a Rs.22,900 crores project, the state set aside 150 acres, near Mysore for a fab. Close on its heels, now we have the Vedanta – Foxconn deal to put India securely on the world chipmaking map. The proposed investment is to the tune of $20 billion and is likely to break even in five years. The war between Maharashtra and Gujarat in the backdrop to woo this fab is an indicator of the direction in which tech dreams and wars would further proceed.
SEMICONDUCTOR FAB IN REALITY IS A FAB OF A NEW ECONOMY.