Reliance & HCL in race to enter semiconductor chip manufacturing

The International Semiconductors Consortium (ISMC), one of the three parties that submitted an application to the Modi government’s incentive programme for the establishment of a chip fabrication plant, is expected to see two Indian companies, Reliance & HCL to acquire a combined stake ranging from 26 to 51%.

In May of this year, the Karnataka government signed an agreement for the establishment of a chip manufacturing plant on 150 acres of land in Mysuru’s Kochanahalli Industrial Area. The agreement was led by Next Orbit Ventures and included Israel’s Tower Semiconductor as a joint venture partner.

When operating at maximum efficiency, ISMC’s proposed fab can handle 40,000 Wafer Starts Per Month (WSPM) of 300mm (or 12 inches) in diameter wafers at 65nm process nodes.

Reliance Industries, a major Indian conglomerate, and HCL, a huge provider of software services, are reportedly planning to invest in the semiconductor consortium through their subsidiaries. Both companies are expected to contribute more than the estimated total investment of Rs 4,000 crore ($500-600 million). A recent report claims that the terms of both proposed agreements have been signed.

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