René Penning de Vries
Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
1. What part does India play in the overall technology
strategy and marketing strategy of NXP Semiconductors?
NXP semiconductors, formerly Philips semiconductors, has a
long history in India. Back in 1980s, We were one of the first
few semiconductor companies in India to start our sales
operations, selling discrete components. During the 1990s, we
set up R&D teams in Bangalore and our India team continues to
build competences every year since then – For example, we
started R&D with software coding and moved up the ladder to IP
hardware development, followed by “SoC subsystem design” and
now in 2010 we did product development (e.g. Solar IC design
MPT612). In 2011 and beyond, we have various projects running
in India with product development responsibility.
With the formation of the new business line “Emerging Business
HPMS” at NXP, there has been a paradigm shift, moving up from
low cost engineering in the past to value added product
creation in the present. This has led NXP to capitalise on
emerging opportunities in countries like India. For “Emerging
Business HPMS” business line, India happens to be the largest
R&D site within NXP. This explains our belief in “India” as an
There are challenges of cost pressure and the need for very
lean applications that lead to the need for local solutions
vs. the global nature of platform developments. Therefore, we
see India as a potentially high market and have plans to
establish “product creation centres” which will benefit from
“frugal engineering” or “Jugaad” mindset. We are committed to
developing local ecosystem for creating semiconductor
solutions that fit the need of Indian customers.
2. India is viewed as a gateway to other economies. How
does your company plan to leverage the unique needs of India
in the various market verticals?
Next to the Europe home base (NL, France, Germany), we view
India as an R&D powerhouse; we are further strengthening the
expertise we have here in the areas of mixed signal design, as
well as high voltage design.
We consider India to be key for us, not just for R&D but also
as a gateway to understand emerging economies and their
product requirements. Our customers have design teams in India
and many semi companies including NXP are creating products
from local design centres. Hence, NXP India has a major role
to play in influencing “design wins”. Most of the NXP Business
Lines have their R&D teams in Bangalore, resulting in about
10% of our total R&D based in India. Our focus for India
product development is “High Performance Mixed Signal”.
The design team here in Bangalore conceptualized our first
Solar IC (MPT612) which is now on NXP catalogue and doing well
in the marketplace. We consider this product to be a strong
contender for IESA Technovation Award 2011. The excellent
workforce pool and links to local universities will allow us
to continue to build a world class organization. We are open
to considering local opportunities for the Indian market,
which later on could serve other markets.
3. How do you see the Indian engineering education
scenario? What do you think are its strengths?
India is a hub of talent with strong education infrastructure
producing large number of young skilled graduates every year.
These students have basic knowledge in 8085 and electronics
during the under-grad courses. At NXP, we have many engineers
from reputed top engineering institutions and we plan to tap
this talent more aggressively going forward. We will do so
through university programs and common application labs.
Back in 1995, we co-founded the Masters programs in VDTT
(VLSI, Design, Technology, Tools) at IIT Delhi. We also
sponsor “NXP chair professor” at IIT Delhi. Moving forward, we
plan to build 20 NXP labs across India at various educational
institutes. NXP is training professors and providing
tools/kits to establish “NXP labs”. You will soon hear about
the “NXP Labs” program kick-off.
NXP is focussed on High Performance Mixed Signal, and we
observe that the basic design skills for high end analog (be
it RF, AMS or High Voltage) are still to be developed to its
best potential in India. Having said that, the fundamental
strength of the Indian workforce is their understanding of the
needs of Indian industry and environment, which should (and
will) allow to design optimized solutions for the India
Author of the article is René Penning de Vries
Profile : René is responsible for overseeing the
product creation processes at NXP, focusing on the key areas
of Innovation, Technology and Research. In this role, he is
member of the NXP Management Team (MT), headed by Richard L.
René previously held the position of Senior Vice President and
Chief Technology Officer at Philips Semiconductors prior to
the formation of NXP in 2006. He started working for Philips
Research in 1984 before moving to Philips Semiconductors in
1987 and brings to his position at NXP a deep understanding of
the design and technology needs of the semiconductor industry.
His career evolved from various technical and managerial roles
in CMOS development, into management of platform and design
technology as well IP creation. Later, system technology and
research have been added to his portfolio.
During his career, René worked and lived in the US, in Crolles,
France and in Singapore, where he was Vice President of
Technology in SSMC, a joint venture between Philips, TSMC and
EDBi Singapore. Rene has been intimately involved in the
Crolles1 and Crolles2 projects. René holds an MSc in physics
from the University of Nijmegen and a Ph.D. in Device Physics
from the Technical University of Twente, the Netherlands.