Here’s How India's Display Fab Applicants Vedanta And ELEST Are Planning To Get The Technology Know-How

by Swarajya Staff - May 19, 2022 11:51 AM +05:30 IST
Here’s How India's Display Fab Applicants Vedanta And ELEST Are Planning To Get The Technology Know-HowSemiconductor manufacturing. (Representative image)
  • The government's $10 billion incentive policy aims at attracting display fabs and boost semiconductor ecosystem in the country.

As part of its push to increase self-sufficiency and reduce imports, the Union government in December 2021 announced an incentive policy with an initial overlay of nearly $10 billion. This aimed at attracting display fabs and semiconductor fabs (Silicon CMOS and other kinds) to "Fab in India" as well as measures to boost semiconductor ecosystem in the country.

The day after the names of the applicants for the first round were made public by the government, Swarajya had published a summary of the available information. In particular, for display fabs the two applicants are Vedanta and ELEST. However, information about their technology partners is not immediately known.

In an exclusive interview to Swarajya on 23 February, Communications and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had mentioned Innolux as a technology provider for one of the applicants (around 15 minutes mark in this video). Innolux is a subsidiary of Foxconn group and must be the technology partner for Vedanta's application to build display fab in India.

The session "Fireside Chat on Emerging Display Technologies" during the Semicon India Conference (starting around 5 hours 35 minutes mark in this video) was done jointly by Pranav Komerwar of Vedanta Limited and TAI Kang Wu of Innolux Corporation with the former mostly asking questions and the latter giving technical answers.

As per Nikkei Asia, "Innolux is Taiwan's leading display panel manufacturer, with assets totalling over $15 billion. It is the world's third-largest flat-panel maker after South Korea's Samsung and LG" and the company had revenues of $12.5 billion in 2021.

The two major types of full-colour display technologies in mass production currently, namely, LCDs and OLEDs are made (fabricated) on large glass substrates (also known as mother glass). In 2017, Vedanta announced acquisition of a controlling stake in glass substrate maker Avanstrate, which however was estimated to have only a 2.4 per cent market share. It is not clear if Avanstrate will be the glass provider for Innolux products for all customers including Samsung, Sony, LG, Dell etc, if the Vedanta display fab takes off.

As for ELEST which is founded by the directors of Rajesh Exports (Indian multinational gold retailer headquartered in Bengaluru), there is no easily available public information on who is providing the technology knowhow. Based on various pointers available in media, it is likely that a company called Grantwood Technologies could be guiding them.

In May 2021, in media reports like this which gave hints of the upcoming incentive scheme for display fabs (which was eventually announced in December 2021), there is a mention of a study by the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) and Grantwood Technologies. Director and chief executive officer of Grantwood Technologies G Rajeswaran (also a Professor of Practice at IIT Madras as per his LinkedIn profile), was quoted in some of the media reports as a display expert and has played a key role in the study published by ICEA.

The nearly 50-page study titled "Flat Panel Displays — Creation of a Display Industry in India" is available on ICEA website, and gives an overview of flat display technologies and market in general and opportunities for India in particular.

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