HANOI (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics has started building a $ 220 million research and development center in Vietnam, the South Korean tech giant’s local unit announced on Monday.
FILE PHOTO: The Samsung Electronics logo is photographed at the company’s factory in Tijuana, Mexico on June 1, 2019. REUTERS / Jorge Duenes
But a groundbreaking ceremony, scheduled for last Saturday, was canceled due to a virus epidemic that has resulted in travel restrictions for South Koreans, Chamber Vice-President Hong Sun told Reuters from Korea to Vietnam.
A spokesperson for Samsung Electronics confirmed the cancellation, but provided no further details.
Construction of the center in Hanoi will be completed by the end of 2022, Samsung Vietnam said in a statement, adding that the center will employ between 2,200 and 3,000 people.
Samsung is the largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with investments totaling $ 17 billion, he said.
The center, as planned, would be the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and will improve the company’s research capacity in areas such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, big data and 5G, did he declare.
Earlier Monday, the Vietnamese government announced the start of construction of the R&D center.
Vietnamese exports of smartphones and parts, mainly produced by Samsung Electronics, rose 4.4% last year to $ 51.38 billion, according to government customs data.
Vietnam said Friday that it will suspend visa-free travel for South Koreans from Saturday, February 29, while the coronavirus is spreading.
Vietnam last week banned tourists from visiting areas affected by coronaviruses in South Korea. South Korea accounted for a quarter of the 18 million Vietnamese tourists last year, the second largest group after Chinese visitors.
Report by Khanh Vu; Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Tom Hogue