Vietnam’s Vingroup eyes export of VSmart-branded 5G devices next year

VinSmart's first 5G-enabled phone, VSmart Aris.

Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup said on Thursday it aimed to sell its VSmart-branded 5G devices to North American markets next year.

The Hanoi-based company, the first in Vietnam to produce 5G smartphones, said it will export about 1.5-2 million devices to the US under outsourcing contracts starting this year, before exporting its own brand’s 5G equipments to this market in 2021.

VinSmart, the technology arm of the $14 billion Vietnamese diversified company Vingroup, will focus on 5G product exports to North America within the next five years, according to its vice chairwoman Le Thi Thu Thuy.

“Once the 5G network reaches a wide coverage in Vietnam, we would already have the capacity to well serve the local market,” she said.

“5G is an opportunity for a new player like VinSmart to be on par with the world’s manufacturers,” Thuy added.

Thuy revealed that Vingroup has invested tens of million US dollars in developing R&D labs, building the production line and hiring talents for VinSmart, as well as acquiring licence to use Qualcomm’s technology.

The Vietnamese firm partnered with Qualcomm to launch its first 5G-enabled smartphones, the VSmart Aris series in July 2020.

“We had certain challenges as a new brand in the market, in addition to the difficulty in developing new partnerships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the support from our strategic partner, Qualcomm, will help us overcome,” Thuy said.

“One of Qualcomm’s most important goals is to help bringing ‘Make in Vietnam’ products to the world. We are also working with VinSmart to expand [this 5G technology] beyond the mobile industry to areas such as distance learning, healthcare and smart manufacturing,” added Nam Thieu, country director for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia at Qualcomm.

In Vietnam, military-owned telecom operator Viettel was the first to complete a 5G trial in 2019. The telco, along with two other majors, VNPT Vinaphone and Mobiphone, expect to commercialise the latest mobile network technology in 2021.

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.