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Samsung ramps up investment in Vietnam

The electronics giant plans to open a new $3 billion factory in Vietnam, making Samsung the country's largest foreign investor.

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Samsung has applied for an investment license in order to set up a second smartphone factory in Vietnam.

According to a report published by Dau Tu, a newspaper overseen by Vietnam's Planning and Investment Ministry, the South Korean electronics giant was officially granted an investment certificate in order to build a factory in the Thai Nguyen province.

The investment, worth approximately $3 billion, joins a separate $2 billion smartphone factory in the region already operated by Samsung. If the new construction is granted final approval, this will bring up Samsung employee levels from 43,000 to 100,000 in total.

Dau Tu says that Samsung contributes roughly 20 percent to Vietnam's total export turnover, which is relying more heavily on technological exports rather than clothing or natural resources.

Reuters spoke to an unnamed government official who confirmed the plans, but said the application was in the early stages and there "are still a few things to fix."

A Samsung spokesman said the firm was in talks with the Vietnamese government over fresh investment, although how much has yet to be decided -- and there is no firm timeline in place.

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Vietnam is becoming an important manufacturing hub for Samsung, as the company needs to compete with low-cost, entry-level smartphones being produced in nearby China. By setting up factories in Vietnam, Samsung is able to lower production costs for its handsets and keep labor expenditure down.

As noted by Dau Tu, the new factory would bring Samsung's total investment in Vietnam to roughly $11 billion, which makes the firm one of the country's largest foreign investors.

A recent report by market research firm Canalys suggests that Apple and Samsung's dominance in the mobility market is beginning to slide. The electronics giants accounted for 38 percent of worldwide shipments, which is ten percent less than the 48 percent share they enjoyed a year ago. Increased competition and new entries into the market by budget manufacturers such as China's Xiaomi are chipping away at this marketshare, and so companies such as Samsung must find ways to cut costs as well as drive sales.

Read on: In the enterprise