Looks like Sridhar Vembu, co-founder and CEO of the Chennai/US based Zoho, is all set to enter the chip making business, with an investment plan of around $700 million (as quoted by Reuters). The company declined to comment on the development, but, an official said it could be a cue from what Vembu had mentioned in Marchx, about his interests in semiconductors.

A report by Reuters said, that Zoho has approached the Central Government, for incentives and also identified a potential partner for the venture.

The timing of the venture comes at a time when the Centre’s ambitious plan, of making India a major hub for semiconductors. The Tata Group has already taken the lead, while, others including the Vedanta group, are in the queue, to foray in to the semiconductor industry.

Zoho offers software and related services on subscription (on software as a service model) to businesses in nearly 150 countries. It competes with global giants like Microsoft and Salesforce.

In March, Vembu said, that he wants to set up a semiconductor design project in rural Tenkasi, in southern Tamil Nadu. He hinted at this in a post on X (Twitter), while reacting to a post by Ananthan Ayyasamy, a former employee of Intel, resident of Tenkasi and president of Tamil Nadu BJP’s start-up cell.

“I will work wholeheartedly, to ensure the success of our alliance in Tenkasi. I will also continue to work hard to bring technology-driven prosperity to our region,” Ananthan said in his social media post.

Reacting to the post, Vembu said, “We have been planning a semiconductor design project in Tenkasi. Ananthan’s expertise in this field is unrivalled and we will work together to create advanced chip design knowhow in this rural region,” Vembu said.

Ananthan Ayyasamy, also known as Tenkasi Ananthan, is a semiconductor expert turned rural advocate, who left a successful career at Intel in the US, to revitalise Tenkasi. Through ‘Start-up Tenkasi’ and infrastructural dreams, he aims for economic growth and tech innovation. He holds degrees from NIT Trichy and Arizona State University (ASU), with patents in semiconductor design.