Recently I was invited to NXP Semiconductor's design center in Bangalore to meet Neeraj Paliwal, Managing Director, NXP Semiconductor India. He shared few of his thoughts to me on India's electronics opportunities and NXP's role. Here are the excerpts.
What India can do in electronics in the next 5 to 10 years?
Neeraj Paliwal: India is poised to become design win powerhouse, that's my philosophy. In Manufacturing -- my view is that -- I think China has advantage over India, but India can also play a fare game, we have proven that in automotive, Chennai has become mini-Detroit. So even in Semiconductor -- we can do that, but if we look at where is our strength? Our strength is -- for every semiconductor company -- India is going to become with in next 3 to 5 years -- the decision maker on design level and technical level -- for design-wins and revenues. 10 years ago 80 to 90% of decision on --which product you use --which IC you use was done in western world. As of today after the initial contact is made, 60% of that decision is influenced (locally), because the product manager of that company says -- I can't finish the design of the product -- because of the type of support I get locally, so there is no deal, so we loose market revenue.
On Solar mission:
Neeraj Paliwal: From planning point of view we are doing well, from execution point of view, I think there is a lot that needs to be done. The number one thing I would say in Solar is, Technology in solar panels is expensive in west because installation cost is too high, that is one area, that's my personal read, where India can take advantage, just like the penetration of wireless. Leapfrog has happened in mobile wireless; I would say same thing will happen in solar. The wastage in electricity in India is tremendous, let's say if a big power house like Tata or somebody comes and starts a solar plant in every village in half acre of land, how many are ready to buy pre paid power like the mobile phone? First thing we got to figure out the financial model.
Example he gave was that of Grameen bank in the Bangladesh and its model on microeconomic scale.
On the question of solar reaching grid parity by 2013:
Neeraj Paliwal: I don't think it will reach grid parity by 2013. That's my opinion. By 2015 it's possible, 2013 is too early. So I think we need to be bit realistic, 2015 is more realistic -- and also when solar becomes more usable. First is financial model and 2nd is ease of use. 20 years from now solar film can become a paintable and foldable (flexible solar sheets instead of present rigid panels). On our side we are very keen to work with a solar company in India and the government in a very small area where the model will develop.
He suggests to learn from the failure of cow dung based gas plants installed 20 -30 years back. NXP is already closely working with Tata BP Solar and a lighting company called Avni in AP.
On security and identification market:
Neeraj Paliwal: Identification is one of the most important domains for us in India. We feel strongly that our technology is superior then our competition because our market share is more. Our technology is far superior. NXP has 100% share in UK e-passport. In U.S. we have more than 50% market share. Our focus on India on identification market, I can say with the proud feeling, we are the only company in semiconductor that has level 5+ security in India. India (NXP's team in India) is fully certified to do secure chip development out of Bangalore. We are very open to partnership to any company including public sector. Our value add is three things. Our technology is superior in terms of security, number 2- our volumes are one of the highest and, Number 3 - we are the only semiconductor company who have secure IC development out of India for ID.
Neeraj suggests biometrics for robust security.
On NXP's diverse portfolio:
Neeraj Paliwal: Our portfolio is one of the diverse; our focus is on everything except complex SoC. It starts from Discrete Semiconductor device and all the way up to complex chips such as car infotainment chips.
He shared me NXP's discrete semiconductor product catalog, which is really vast in the range of discrete devices listed in the catalog.
Neeraj is very interesting techie/manager. Though his name is not tagged with MBA but has high business acumen in smart management and technology leveraging. He has started programs like 'My NXP' 'My Pride', and 'NXP Parichay' to enhance team work. He says "India has lot of talents from engineers to scientists. But the output per person is less. NXP focus is teamwork and soft skills. In good companies innovation thrives in chaos"