Still, the question remains: Can Vietnam become a hub in IC assembly? ''Vietnam is laying down foundation for its semiconductor industry. The recent government policies, tax incentives, infrastructural development has made the country capable of producing chips and computers, and is steering toward a bright future,''
according to Frost & Sullivan.
Others say it will take time. Perhaps a long time at that.
Vietnam has many industrial parks, but only two that are government sponsored. Intel is in the Saigon High Tech Park outside of Ho Chi Minh City.
As reported, Intel has pushed out the production schedule for its IC-packaging and test plant in Vietnam by three or so quarters. The Ho Chi Minh City facility, announced in 2006, was supposed to begin production by the end of 2009. Now, the $1 billion Vietnam factory ''will begin production in Q3 2010,'' according to a spokesman for Intel in Vietnam.
For now, Intel still has enough backend capacity. But Intel's Vietnam facility is a critical piece of the company's manufacturing puzzle, especially as it consolidates its backend plants. When completed, the Vietnam plant will supposedly be the largest single factory within the Intel assembly and test network.
''We expect construction to be done by end '09 and production in '10. We've not wavered in our commitment to get the facility online,'' according to another spokesman for Intel in Asia-Pacific.
''The reason for the differential (in the time schedule) is relatively prosaic -- as with any greenfield site, there are teething issues,'' the spokesman said. ''In Vietnam we fell foul of the monsoon first year out; then had a contractor not match up to our expectations. We've worked through all these and continue to push to get construction done.''
Another firm is also delayed. Last year, V-Caps obtained its ''investment certificate'' from the Vietnamese government recognizing the company as a 100 percent foreign-owned venture. The ''investment certificate'' allowed V-Caps to move forward with plans to set up a 35,000-square-meter IC-assembly and test facility at the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park (HHTP) in Vietnam. This park is approximately 30 kilometers outside of Hanoi in Ha Tay province.
V-Caps anticipated being operational before the end of 2009. The company hoped to offer various packages, such as QFN and FBGA.
Now, that project is delayed. ''The current status of the company is that we have secured our land (20 hectares in the Hoa Lac High Tech Park, Hanoi) as well as our investment certificate and business license,'' according to a V-Caps spokesman. ''We're actively in the process of raising our next round of funding; however, the process has been slowed by the present investment environment. We remain confident that the project will proceed based on the attractiveness of Vietnam as a location for subcontract assembly/test services but do not anticipate initiating construction within this year.''