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Developing a microchip industry is within reach: experts

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 “If Malaysians can manufacture semiconductor integrated circuits, Vietnamese will also be able to do this. Vietnamese may lag behind Japanese, for many reasons, but they must not be behind Malaysian,” said Nguyen Xuan Thuy from MTEX Vietnam. 

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Vietnam wants to develop IC industry


MTEX is a Japanese company which manufactures semiconductor IC devices. In 1999, MTEX established a subsidiary in Vietnam, locating its factory in the Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in district 7, HCMC.

In 1999-2000, Vietnamese workers at electronics factories assembled only PBCs (printed circuit boards). Thuy then persuaded the holding company in Japan to assign the subsidiary in Vietnam to manufacture semiconductor ICs. 

Thuy said that if Malaysians can make the product (the factory is invested by Hitachi Group), Vietnamese also can.

About 30 Vietnamese engineers, most of them graduates from prestigious polytechnic schools, were sent to Japan for short-term training courses. The engineers have since helped develop a qualified workforce for the factory.

Thuy, who has been working for 20 years in the semiconductor IC industry, said that two out of three IC production phases, design and assembling, can be undertaken by Vietnamese workers.

If Vietnam wants to have a qualified workforce for the IC industry, it needs to reform training. It would be better if universities joined forces with businesses to produce  engineers who are not only good at theoretical, but practical, knowledge as well. 

An enterprise in Tan Thuan EPZ, invested in Vietnam in 2004 when Vietnamese universities did not have a microchip designing faculty.

However, thanks to cooperation programs between the company and universities, the company has enlarged its staff. Now 850 IC engineers work for MTEX, while the company has set up an R&D center.

“I think now is the time for Vietnam to develop wafer production, the most important phase in IC manufacturing,” Thuy said, adding that enterprises will determine their manufacturing scale and which products to make.

He emphasized that Vietnam should start production now and train workers during production, rather than training workers first before kicking off production.

In order to step up human resources development for the IC industry, HCMC National University and HCMC People’s Committee have signed an MOU with eight important missions, including training.

According to Huynh Thanh Dat, Rector of the HCMC National University, many research teams in the IC field have been set up. 

Most recently, a research team at the school worked with a Japanese partner to develop sensors to be used in water environmental monitoring. The product is designed to serve industrial production in Mekong Delta provinces.


Source: VNS

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