ST linked to Indian fab project as former NXP exec appointed

ST linked to Indian fab project as former NXP exec appointed

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

STMicroelectronics could become a partner in a Vedanta-Foxconn joint venture created to build a wafer fab in Gujurat, India, according to reports.

At the same time Indian metals-to-mining conglomerate Vedanta has announced the appointment of former NXP executive vice president David Reed as the CEO of its semiconductor business, according to local reports.

Both moves would add credibility to the Foxconn-Vedanta joint venture, which has been criticized for lacking know-how in setting up and running a wafer fab. The JV is likely to operate well behind the leading-edge of semiconductor technology making power devices or sensors, possibly in support of Foxconn’s electric vehicle aspirations.

The venture is one a several that are applying to receive large subsidies, up to 50 percent of costs, from federal and state authorities in India. This is under a $10-billion package of measures announced by the Indian government in December 2021 to promote domestic semiconductor manufacturing (see Report: India plans $10 billion semiconductor subsidy).

“Partnering with a licence-grade semiconductor technology maker with necessary experience in chip manufacturing is prerequisite for project approval and grant of incentives,” the report said, referencing unnamed sources. This may refer to gaining legal protection from a semiconductor company that can grant licenses to a large number of patents that are fundamental to making integrated circuits. Established chip companies have become cross-licensed for many of these non-differentiating patents but a new entrant would need to obtain its own licenses.

Final project approvals are likely to come in by mid-March, the report said referencing the sources.

Experienced Reed

Vedanta’s appointment of Reed signals a commitment to the project as it desires to break into the semiconductor industry as part of its and India’s long-term future.

Reed has nearly 40 years’ experience of chip manufacturing accrued at Texas Instruments, Globalfoundries, Freescale Semiconductor and NXP. Prior to working for NXP Reed was a senior vice president at Freescale Semiconductors. Reed spent the first 26 years of his career rising up through the ranks of Texas Instruments.

“He has played a pivotal role in shaping the entire global semiconductor industry. His expertise and experience will be an asset as we embark upon this critical journey with Foxconn to help create a sustainable domestic electronic manufacturing ecosystem in India,” Anil Agarwal, chair of Vedanta, was reported saying.

Reed was quoted saying: “This venture is a watershed development for the global semiconductor industry, and I am excited to be part of it. I look forward to leading a diverse team of highly talented and committed professionals and will work alongside them to bring this historic project to fruition.”

In September 2022, Vedanta signed an MoU with Gujarat government to set up India’s first semiconductor fab unit, a display fab unit, and a semiconductor assembling and testing unit in the state (see Foxconn Indian fab venture selects Gujurat for location).

When first announced it was reported that Foxconn and Vedanta envisioned a total investment of about US$20 billion creating up to 100,000 jobs. It was said that Vedanta would own 60 percent of the joint venture and Foxconn 40 percent.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

Micron close to Indian manufacturing deal, says report

Report: India plans $10 billion semiconductor subsidy

Foxconn Indian fab venture selects Gujurat for location

Foxconn heads to India for JV wafer fab

Tower JV signs agreement to build Indian wafer fab

India details wafer fab subsidy scheme favoring 28nm

Tata plans to make semiconductors in India

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