Tata Group Up Against Seasoned Foreign Firms In Bid For $1B Govt Chip Lab Revamp

The government has reportedly received nine bids, including from companies like the Tata Group, Tower Semiconductor and Texas Instruments, for the $1 billion revamp of its Semiconductor Laboratory (SCL) in Mohali.

What Happened: The modernization of SCL is strategically significant, and the government is keen on involving a local firm for this national work, Economic Times reported, citing a senior government official.

The state-owned plant is the sole chip-manufacturing unit in India that produces semiconductors for strategic and defense purposes, including applications in space exploration such as the Chandrayaan mission.

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The Tata Group has been gearing up to enter the chip manufacturing segment in India, with Chairman N Chandrasekaran announcing plans to set up a chip manufacturing unit in Dholera. Israel’s Tower Semiconductor has collaborated closely with SCL in the past, helping plan the 180-nanometer chip plant. The company is reportedly eager to enter the commercial chip manufacturing segment in India.

US-based Texas Instruments also has substantial chip research and development operations in the country.

Once the government decides on the exact nodes for manufacturing, financial bids will be invited from these companies, the government source told the business daily. The chosen firm may need to partner with a technology firm possessing licensing-grade semiconductor technology.

The government-run Mohali facility currently produces chips of 180 nanometre node size, and the goal is to bring the technology of the facility in line with industry standards of legacy nodes of 65 nanometre and 40 nanometre. The $1 billion earmarked for modernisation is part of the government’s $10 billion semiconductor incentive package to establish a semiconductor chip fabrication ecosystem in the country.

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