Friday, 07 October 2016 01:14

Will your next Android smartphone be ‘Made in India’?


Chipmaker MediaTek has debuted a new smartphone design training programme to foster and develop talent for India's fast-growing handset industry.

MediaTek has collaborated with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), India, the Indian Cellular Association (ICA), the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), Taiwan, and "ecosystem partners" to build talent for India's smartphone design industry.

We are told that the training programme will propel the "Make in India" initiative, and that MediaTek will "share its smartphone design expertise, and leverage its well-established global ecosystem to support the programme".

The two-and-a-half-month programme, scheduled to start later this year, provides "hands-on training to managers and senior engineers from India on efficient planning and execution of handset design projects. The guidance and education offered will give engineers expertise to advance handset design in India".

With its strong support for the 'Make in India' initiative, MediaTek says that it "once again demonstrates its long-term commitment to this important market".

The 'Make in India' initiative was "launched by the Indian government in 2014 as part of a wider set of nation-building initiatives devised to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub".

Ming-Kai Tsai, chairman and chief executive of MediaTek, said: “We appreciate the effort the Indian government is making towards building a global manufacturing base for the electronics sector in the country. MediaTek, as a key partner of the country's growth story, is taking its commitment a step further to support domestic innovation and production. We are happy to offer our expertise in the design domain to help set the framework of this skill development programme."

Aruna Sundararajan, secretary, MeitY, said: “We have observed that hardware design in the handset industry, especially integration of key components, is lacking in India so the idea of this programme is to pick professionals working in the hardware domain and further train them in handset specific design to narrow the current gap in the local industry.

"We appreciate MediaTek's support in achieving this target. This programme is also expected to substantially accelerate the government's 'Make in India ' and 'Digital India' initiatives."

Shen Jong-Chin, deputy minister of MOEA, Taiwan, said: "India is the world's fourth largest smartphone market. Taiwan is a world leader when it comes to electronics manufacturing and offers a comprehensive range of capabilities to support each stage of the production chain, from product design and innovation to manufacturing of key components to supply chain management.

“This training programme will help bring Taiwanese expertise in mobile phone system integration to India, creating a win-win situation for both markets and leveraging the strengths and synergies that exist within the industry in India. Taiwan is pleased to support this initiative."

MediaTek also states that "about 50 professionals, with at least five years of experience in Research and Development (R&D) in electronics, will be selected from key handset makers across the country to take part in the training programme".

It says it will train engineers in R&D competence and design project management.

The company also notes it will "co-ordinate with key component companies to be part of the training module with hands-on instruction. This will be a one-time opportunity for the participants where all key component makers and industry stakeholders will together impart knowledge about their specialised segments".

MediaTek reminds us all that it first opened its India office in Noida in 2004. In 2014, the company invested US$350 million to expand its business and establish an R&D facility in Bengaluru.

MediaTek employs 500 people in India now, and is expected to triple the number in three years. The company also actively invests in India's innovation ecosystem. To date, MediaTek has provided US$100 million to fund companies in the fields of semiconductors, IoT, FinTech, e-commerce and network applications.

More about MediaTek

Since 1997, MediaTek says it has "been a pioneering fabless semiconductor company and a market leader in cutting-edge systems-on-chip (SoC) for mobile devices, wireless networking, HDTV, DVD and Blu-ray".

The company notes its "tightly-integrated, innovative chip designs help manufacturers optimise supply chains, reduce the development time of new products, and extend a competitive edge in crowded markets".

Through MediaTek Labs, the company says it is "also building a developer hub that will support device creation, application development, and services for the Internet of Things era. By building technologies that help connect individuals to the world around them, MediaTek says it is ‘enabling people to expand their horizons and more easily achieve their goals".

MediaTek has more information here.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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