Vedanta Foxconn Semiconductors Ltd, a joint venture between Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta and Taiwan’s Foxconn, says the setting up of the chip plant is progressing as per schedule and that Foxconn has already recruited 200-400 engineers for the project.

The company has also entered into agreements with two other firms to conduct research on 28- and 40-nanometer chips, David Reed, CEO of the JV, told businessline.

“One of the companies is Imec, an R&D group in Belgium and the Netherlands, for research on 28-nm chips, which requires work to make it high volume (production). The second one is for 40-nm, full-fledged manufacturing of high-volume (chips used in both) automotive and non-automotive (industries),” Reed said, adding that he didn’t want to name the other company owing to a non-disclosure agreement.

In full swing

Refuting any setback to the ongoing process of setting up the plant in Dholera, Gujarat, Reed said, “We’re not stopping, regardless of what is happening; in fact, my entire week was spent hiring people. We are constantly in touch with the government and the authorities. We have sent out a request for quotes for the work in Dholera.”

The objective is to hire across levels, “and for my staff, we have hired six out of the 14 people and plan to have all 14 on board by this December,” he said, adding that the soil is being levelled and packed right now at the site, to set up the wafer fab.

Heavy machinery work being carried out at the Dholera site

Heavy machinery work being carried out at the Dholera site

Bloomberg had on Tuesday, citing sources, reported that the company’s application for funding could get rejected resulting in a setback to its plan in setting up what is being touted as India’s own Silicon Valley. “Right now, the company is having discussions with the government in Delhi (Centre) to get more clarification. However, there will not be a reapplication; instead, we will just finetune the existing one. We’ll know more in the next couple of days,” said Reed.

More to grow

The finetuning will, according to Reed, open up opportunities for more customers, applications and higher penetration in the market.

On the promoter group’s ability to invest, Reed said, “Investments in this JV have never come as a roadblock; till date, I haven’t been like — where’s the money?”

The country needs to focus on improving its supplier infrastructure, faster and smoother onboarding of expats and social infrastructure, he added.

According to the CEO, the global semiconductor industry — currently at $600 billion — is going to double between now and 2030, to $1.3 trillion. “This is the opportunity, and the question is, where’s it going? Is it going to the United States, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, or is it going to come to India?”