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Intel has no plans to build semiconductor fab; is bullish on AI: Intel India MD

Computer chip maker Intel, has no plans to set up a semiconductor plant or any type of manufacturing unit in the country at present, said the company’s India business head, Santhosh Viswanathan on Friday.

Viswanathan, Vice President and Managing Director of Intel, India Region, said that the company continues to engage in India’s electronic manufacturing sector, as the country has the potential to create a balanced supply-chain that the world needs.


“At this point in time, we don’t have any plans to go back and do a fab or go back, building any manufacturing capacity in India. It doesn’t mean that the engagement will stop.What matters is, how we can rebuild the infrastructure and set it up for years ahead,” he told reporters in an online interaction.

Viswanathan said that Intel has had its design centre in India, for more than three decades and has invested over $9 billion in the facility.

“The world needs a balanced supply-chain. You cannot have 80 per cent of servers being made in one place and 90 per cent of laptops made in another. I think that’s where India can step up and help build a balanced electronics supply,” he said.

When asked about the artificial intelligence momentum and the company’s engagement in the India market for the next generation technology, Viswanathan said, it is a very exciting moment and Intel is bullish on the company’s Xeon processors and Gaudi AI chips.

“AI is not one size that fits all. We are working with local ISV (independent software vendors) and local developers. All companies will launch AI PCs in India. You will see that coming across the market,” he said.

At present, the demand for graphics processing unit (GPU) chips is booming and Intel’s competitor Nvidia, leads the segment, with around 88 per cent of market share.

Intel is also setting up capacities to catch up in the AI chipset domain.

“AI does not just require big GPUs to solve the problem. There are a lot of different models that can run on Xeon. Innovation at scale can happen with Xeon. We are working with several large customers. Gaudi 2 (Intel’s AI chip) is available, Gaudi3 comes in the second half. You will see some of those products coming into India through these customers (OEMs that use Intel processors) as well,” Viswanathan said.

He said that Intel, is offering solutions like Xeon to implement large language models at a lower cost.

“Intel is offeringto make LLMs at a lower TCO (total cost of ownership). Xeon is all around. We are making Xeon even better by optimising it for AI workload, 10-20 billion parameters on Xeon itself, not just the training part but also inferencing that would happen at a lower latency,” Viswanathan said.

He said that India has about 20 per cent of the world’s data sets that can be used for AI models training.

“We are very frugal. 16 or 20 per cent of the world’s AI talent, is in India. We kind of lead the world but have not pushed through in this domain. That’s another piece whichmakes me bullish about India. There is no country which has a digital infrastructure like ours.. India’s stack is a game changer,” Viswanathan said.

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