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India will play major role in chip supply: Qualcomm CEO

San Diego-based Qualcomm, the world’s leading innovator in wireless products, solutions and technologies, is actively advising its semiconductor suppliers to diversify and move to different locations, including India.

The company also views the recent launch of 5G services in the country as a catalytic event that will help scale up the technology and enable its proliferation in other developing economies across Latin America, Southeast Asia and West Asia, and in making available devices at all price points.

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Speaking to a group of journalists on Tuesday, Cristiano R Amon, president and CEO, Qualcomm, said, if the company’s suppliers set up bases in India, it would use their fabs. He also said the US, Europe, and India should work together on developing a geographically diversified and resilient semiconductor supply chain and see that there’s no duplication in creating a viable ecosystem.

“We have been very active in telling our suppliers about our desire to diversify and their ability to move to different locations. If our suppliers are motivated to build and they have the right incentives to build in India, we are going to use their fab,” he said. “I think, there have been positive discussions between the Indian government and other governments to think about how to participate in this new global semiconductor supply chain. India has an important role to play. And as India looks to find its role in leveraging its talent and knowledge, we will be more than happy to bring our scale to the country,” Cristiano added.

Also Read: Qualcomm to make virtual reality chips for Meta

The Qualcomm CEO’s comments come at a time when the Union government has come out with a Rs 76,000-crore incentive scheme for development of a semiconductor and display manufacturing ecosystem in the country, under which it is providing fiscal support of 50% of project cost across all technology nodes.

Thus far, the government has received proposals from five companies to set up electronic chip and display manufacturing plants.

Qualcomm does not manufacture chipsets, but gets them from facilities of wafer fabrication companies like Samsung, GlobalFoundries and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

On the launch of 5G services in India, Cristiano said it will help bring 5G devices across all different price points. “When we look at the opportunities with 5G development in India, I see multiple and very important opportunities. They can all happen at the same time. The first one is India scale will bring in 5G technology into every single device at all different price points,” he said. Qualcomm has a long presence in India and has close to 18,000 employees, mostly engineers currently. Of these, 3,000 were hired in the last one year. The company has incubated 100 startups and is currently in discussions with automobile firms for its technology solutions. The company is changing its focus from a communications company in the mobile industry to a connected processor firm, Cristiano said.

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