As India has set an ambitious mission of becoming a major hub for semiconductor, Zoho’s co-founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu 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; a 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, 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.

Vembu, a patron of the Voice of Tenkasi Foundation, in November 2019, decided to shift his base from the concrete jungle of San Francisco to the lush green Mathalamparai village of Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu at the foothills of the picturesque Western Ghats.

Design centre

Zoho opened its first rural office in Mathalamparai in 2011 with six employees and now has over 500 employees. It also has a division of Zoho Schools of Learning, a programme through which students who have completed class 12 or a diploma course are trained and hired as employees.

Design centre is an important component in the entire semiconductor ecosystem. Qualcomm Inc, the US-based company that develops wireless technologies, recently opened its design centre in Chennai with an investment of ₹177.27 crore.

The design centre will specialise in wireless connectivity solutions, focusing on innovations that complement wi-fi technologies. Additionally, it will actively contribute to Qualcomm’s global research and development endeavours in 5G cellular technology, reinforcing its commitment to staying at the forefront of the wireless communications industry.