Intel opens Vietnamese chip shop

Intel on Friday announced the opening of a $1 billion, 45,000-square-metre chip packaging and testing facility in Vietnam, saying the would be its biggest such factory in the world.

The factory won't make chips. Rather it will test and package up silicon sent from Intel fabs elsewhere.

"Assembly and test is a critical final step in the end-to-end manufacturing of Intel’s silicon products," the company said. The most common products handled at the plant will be chipsets for laptops and mobile devices, it added

The chip maker also opened a $2.5 billion chip fab in China, this week, a plant that actually produces chips.

The Vietnamese factory is located in the Saigon Hi-tech Park, in Ho Chi Minh City

Intel said Vietnam has a skilled and vibrant workforce. It didn't mention the major factor in its favour - the fact its cheap. The average wage in the country is somewhere between $33 and $50 a month. According to the CIA World Fact Book some 12.3 per cent of the country last year lived below the poverty line - a line drawn somewhat lower than it might be in the US of Europe.

Intel said the new facility will eventually employ around 4,000 workers.

Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai welcomed the plant. "The Government of Viet Nam views this as an important project which contributes to the success of the National Strategy of Information Technology Development by 2020," he said.