Samsung has commenced construction of a $220 million R&D centre in Vietnam, providing further evidence of the country’s growing role in smartphone manufacturing and the global supply chain.
Vietnamese government statistics suggest the nation’s exports of smartphones and spare parts now value $51.38 billion, with Samsung a major contributor.
The Korean mobile giant claims to be the largest single foreign investor in Vietnam, with investments totalling $17 million, and the majority of the company’s production taking place there and in India.
The new R&D centre will focus on Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data and 5G technologies, according to Reuters, and will be the largest facility of its type in South East Asia.
Several manufacturers are started to shift production away from China to Vietnam amid concerns about rising labour costs and ongoing trade tensions between the US and China. Samsung has already closed plants in Shenzhen and Tianjin, while Sony shut down a facility in Beijing in 2019.
Apple, which has relied on a significant ecosystem in China, is also looking to moving at least some of its supply chain elsewhere in Asia.
The Coronavirus crisis is another major industry challenge and one that has raised its head on this occasion too. A ground-breaking ceremony for the centre had to be cancelled due to a travel ban on South Korean visitors to Vietnam, meaning several Samsung employees were unable to attend.
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