India, Taiwan Team on Chip Development

Industry associations from India and Taiwan have signed an agreement to work more closely in the future on semiconductor technology, including building better business ties and finding further areas for collaboration.

The India Semiconductor Association and Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association pledged in a memorandum of understanding signed Monday, to host more meetings, organize more events, seek out business opportunities, help companies from each place find partners, create an information database and more as time goes on.

The agreement ties together one of the world's largest semiconductor producing economies, Taiwan, to one of the fastest growing markets in the world, India. India is also keen to build up its semiconductor prowess, officials said.

Taiwan is home to the world's two largest contract chip makers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), as well as the biggest chip packaging and testing company, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. The island also boasts the second biggest chip design industry by revenue, behind only the U.S., and recent investment in computer memory chips has also transformed Taiwan into a DRAM powerhouse. The island makes nearly a fifth of the world's DRAM, and companies are fast moving into NAND flash memory.

Some Taiwanese companies have already taken advantage of opportunities in India. MediaTek Inc., Taiwan's largest chip design firm and the biggest maker of chips for optical drives such as DVD players, has already set up a software development center in Noida, India. The center is key to one of MediaTek's top selling products, mobile phone chips. Not only does the Indian office create the user interface for MediaTek mobile phone products, but it is also a point from which the company can tap India's fast-growing mobile phone industry.

MediaTek is already one of the top mobile phone chip makers in the China market.

India boasts the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world, making it an important place for chip makers to set up shop. The nation added 8.06 million new subscribers in July, raising its total to 192.98 million, according to the according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). By comparison, the number of mobile phone subscribers in China rose to 508.56 million at the end of July, an addition of 6.9 million new users in the month, according to China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII).

A number of chip companies from around the world have established research centers in India. Qualcomm Inc., the largest chip design house by revenue and a major U.S. mobile chip company, has also opened a software and chip development lab in India. The company uses it as a base for research and development as well as a place from which to promote its CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology, according to its Web site.

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