Arizona-based First Solar said on Jan. 26 that it will build a $300 million factory in Vietnam, boosting the country's efforts to reinvent itself as a hub for high-tech manufacturing. First Solar said Vietnamese authorities had approved the investment in Ho Chi Minh City's Cu Chi district, in the south of the country. The facility will employ around 600 people and production is expected to begin in the second half of next year, a company spokeswoman said.
Vietnam is still a rural-based society that has relied on natural resources and unskilled labor to achieve growth. But the country's leaders now speak of moving to a more technologically advanced system of production.
"You're seeing more and more high-tech firms come into Vietnam," outgoing United States ambassador Michael Michalak said at his farewell press conference this month. He cited First Solar's plans as an example.
In October the Intel opened a billion-dollar plant in Ho Chi Minh City.