According to a report in The Korean Herald, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked Lee Jae-yong, Vice Chairman and the de facto chief of Samsung Electronics, to consider building a chip manufacturing facility in the Southeast Asian country. The request reportedly came at a private meeting between the two in Seoul yesterday.
The Vietnamese head of the state offered many incentives to persuade Samsung to make the move, but Lee did make any commitment, says the report. Instead, Lee apparently promised to hire around 3,000 Vietnamese engineers for the Samsung R&D center that is currently under construction in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi.
Vietnam is already a huge manufacturing base for Samsung, where the Korean tech giant makes smartphones, TVs, displays, batteries, etc. and exports them to various markets around the world. Almost 58% of all the Samsung smartphones sold worldwide are manufactured in Vietnam. The Korean company has invested nearly $17 billion and employed 130,000 workers at its manufacturing facilities there since 1995.
Despite Samsung’s strong presence in Vietnam, the chances of it building a chip manufacturing facility there appear slim, according to the industry experts quoted in the report. Many of them believe Vietnam currently neither has the top-notch engineering talent required for high-tech chip manufacturing facility nor is the market as big as China. Samsung currently has an SoC manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, and a memory plant in Xian, China.