Vietnam is making significant strides in becoming a major player in the global semiconductor industry, with support from the United States. During a recent visit by US President Joe Biden, a bilateral agreement was signed to expand Vietnam’s chip manufacturing capacity. As part of this agreement, the US government will provide $2 million in seed funding for workforce development initiatives in Vietnam, focusing on semiconductor assembly, testing, and packaging.
The move comes as the United States recognizes Vietnam’s potential to contribute to the building of resilient semiconductor supply chains. Vietnam is the second-largest holder of rare earth reserves, after China, which are crucial for modern electronics production. The memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries aims to enhance technical cooperation around rare earth resources.
Several US semiconductor firms, including Amkor, GlobalFoundries, Intel, and Marvell, have already established a presence in Vietnam. These companies have deepened their ties in the country through new investments, a strategy known as friendshoring. By moving part of their supply chain to Vietnam, these companies aim to secure their businesses amid geopolitical tensions between China and the US.
Amkor Technology, for example, is set to open a state-of-the-art factory in Bac Ninh Province next month, with a focus on advanced system in package assembly and test solutions. Intel has also invested heavily in Vietnam, with a chip assembling plant in Ho Chi Minh City worth $1.5 billion. The company is considering an additional investment of $1 billion in Vietnam, although Malaysia and Singapore are also competing for this opportunity.
Other semiconductor companies, such as Synopsys and Marvell, have ramped up their presence in Vietnam through partnerships and new design centers. Marvell’s CEO, Matt Murphy, has expressed a commitment to growing high-value semiconductor jobs in Vietnam, increasing the company’s workforce by 50% over the next three years and expanding internship and scholarship programs.
Vietnam’s semiconductor industry has helped the country stand out in the global economic downturn. It is becoming an important player in the redirection of worldwide supply chains away from China. The country’s advantageous geographical position, coupled with growing industrial areas like Deep C Two Industrial Estate, has attracted manufacturers looking to diversify beyond China’s reach.
However, a shortage of engineers poses a challenge to Vietnam’s semiconductor industry. The demand for trained hardware engineers exceeds the available talent pool, potentially hindering the country’s rise as a semiconductor powerhouse. To address this issue, training programs are often included in semiconductor deals to upskill local talent.
While Vietnam mainly focuses on the low-margin packaging and testing sector of the semiconductor industry, investments by companies like Synopsys and Marvell in chip design centers indicate a shift towards moving up the value chain. With time, Vietnam has the potential to become a semiconductor manufacturing hub.
In conclusion, Vietnam’s emerging chip manufacturing prowess, coupled with support from the United States, is propelling the country forward as a key player in the semiconductor industry. With strategic investments and initiatives to develop local talent, Vietnam is well-positioned to contribute to resilient semiconductor supply chains and become a semiconductor powerhouse in the future.