December 23, 2003 – Intel Corp’s development center in Bangalore is developing a 32-bit processor for the enterprise market (scheduled release date: 2006) that will be a successor to the company’s current Xeon processor. The center in Bangalore is doing end-to-end development of the chip, from product concept through architecture, and testing of the first silicon, according to Ketan Sampat, president of Intel India.
The project echoes the Indian government’s efforts to expand its well-known reputation as a chip design hub, by pushing foreign semiconductor companies to invest in domestic manufacturing facilities as well. According to the Indian Express Online Media, India is trying to woo big-name chipmakers with the idea of a one-stop design-and-build shop within its borders. Instead of sending designs to Taiwan or Malaysia for production, “a fab in the same region as the design center will help companies save time and costs,” said K.S. Chari, senior director of the ministry of information technology. While admitting that current domestic facilities are geared toward 1.0-0.8-micron CMOS — about three generations behind current industry standards — Chari said this should be sufficient for producing ASICs used in niche applications.
In addition to the investment by Intel, Texas Instruments also is reportedly interested in expanding its domestic chip operations to include manufacturing. Both companies earlier this year publicly dismissed the idea of broadening their domestic chip operations in this way. — John Ribeiro, Indian correspondent