A 500,000 ft2 (~47,000 m2) state-of-the-art cleanroom facility still towers as the largest U.S. high-technology investment in Vietnam 10 years after starting operations in Saigon High Tech Park in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City. The structure built by Intel Products Vietnam (IPV) on the back of a $1 billion investment is the largest assembly and test manufacturing facility (ATM) in the Intel assembly and test network.
IPV turns out products that are helping power cutting-edge applications along with the next wave of semiconductor industry growth as it homes in on 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), desktop and mobile. And it has been a boon to the local economy, generating more than 5,000 high-skill jobs across a number of assembly and test disciplines since launching operations in 2010. It has also contributed to over US$37 billion in exports from 2010 to 2019, accounting for over 60% of Saigon High-Tech Park’s annual export values in 2019. With its vision “to create the future of Intel and Vietnam,” Intel continues to be a strong long-term partner in Vietnam.
I recently spoke with Kim Huat (KH) Ooi, vice president of Manufacturing and Operations and General Manager at Intel Products Vietnam (IPV), about the facility’s vital role in Intel’s overall manufacturing operations, its support for the E&E ecosystem in Ho Chi Minh City, and measures it has implemented to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the facility and protect employees.
Ooi leads and manages the site to support Intel’s business in Vietnam. His responsibilities include overseeing factory operations and employee relations; enriching the Intel image and brand; building strategic relationships with communities, media, governments, and local authorities; and working with the industry ecosystem and government.
IPV employees celebrate Intel’s 50th anniversary in 2018.
Ng: How does IPV campus complement the rest of Intel manufacturing sites and be nearer your customers and supplier base?
Ooi: Intel Vietnam is an important part of Intel’s manufacturing presence worldwide. IPV has been operating for nearly 14 years in Vietnam and has celebrated multiple milestones along the way. As a site, we have matured and grown over the years. In March this year, we celebrated a proud milestone – the rollout our 2 billionth unit – that reflects the value of IPV to Intel Corporation as these Made in Vietnam products support its customers worldwide.
One of our philosophies is to work with and grow local ecosystems in countries where we operate. In Vietnam, Intel has been offering technical and managerial expertise to many local suppliers in Vietnam to help them expand their business and services to other foreign direct investment (FDI) customers in the industry. Over the past 10 years, Intel’s supplier list has grown 10-fold from 20 in 2010 to about 180 suppliers in 2020.
In today’s world of fast-changing consumer preferences and expectations, we need to help drive development of the latest products and technologies to support strong customer demand and new product portfolios such as 5G. To support evolving customer requirements, our workforce frequently upgrades its skills to work on new products and technologies.
Intel as a company is also evolving as it transforms from a PC-centric to a data-centric organization, a shift behind the more than US$70 billion in record revenue Intel posted in 2019. Intel’s data-centric business accounted for more than half of that revenue. IPV plays a key role in Intel’s expansion into new market segments.
Ng: What are the key differentiating elements (talent, tax, technology, trade, EHS) in Vietnam that have been instrumental in supporting the E&E ecosystem in Ho Chi Minh City?
Ooi: Vietnam’s stable political environment and increasingly liberalized trade and investment policies are great for businesses. The region’s young, talented workforce is also one of many competitive advantages that enables it to attract foreign investment.
Intel’s announcement to invest in Vietnam in 2006 has played a large part in helping put Vietnam on the map of the global IT and semiconductor industry. The news helped attract industry suppliers and service providers, bolstering Vietnam’s economy and creating jobs. The Vietnam government also figured prominently in sparking the boon by establishing the right policies and incentives to attract foreign investment. Since starting operations, we have seen significant improvements in infrastructure such as roads, ports, airports, broadband and power supply.
Vietnam’s standing in the global business community is even stronger today after the government successfully combatted the COVID-19 pandemic early on and introduced policies to help businesses restart operations.
We expect all these factors to continue to make Vietnam an attractive relocation target for companies around the world.
Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Vice Chairman Mr. Duong Anh Duc (center) visited Intel Vietnam to tour the state-of-the-art facility.
Ng: What measures have you implemented to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and protect employees?
Ooi: COVID-19 has taken the world by storm and changed the way we work and live in many ways. It has unquestionably pushed the world to build stronger partnerships among individuals, organizations, businesses and communities.
Intel’s manufacturing operations have continued to run at full capacity. Since the outbreak emerged, we have strictly followed required Intel safety measures as well as the Vietnam’s health guidelines. We have also implemented a number of other safety initiatives and protocols to ensure our business runs smoothly. We’re doing everything possible to ensure the well-being of our employees and help them better respond to the pandemic.
In coordination with our strategic partners, we have been donating thousands of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Fatherland Front and Department of Health (DoH) since early March. Recently, in partnership with AmCham Vietnam, Intel donated an imported ambulance with built-in essential equipment to the Ho Chi Minh City 115 Emergency Center. Intel has also teamed with Saigon Hi-Tech Park management to donate two ventilators and N95 masks to DoH.
Our employees are also helping out by donating to Vietnam’s Coronavirus Donation Matching campaign. We collected US$13,000 from Intel employees and included matching funds from Intel Foundation to support three non-profit organizations (NPOs) – Saigon Children’s Charity, Kidspire Vietnam and Teach for Vietnam. All told, Intel Products Vietnam has donated US$200,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts, demonstrating our long-term commitment to communities where we operate.
Intel Products Vietnam teamed with AmCham Vietnam to donate a fully equipped ambulance to Ho Chi Minh City’s 115 Emergency Center, demonstrating IPV’s long-term corporate social responsibility commitment.
In early May, Intel unveiled our 2030 Corporate Strategy and goals to accelerate progress against the world’s critical challenges and help drive positive global outcomes. Part of our 2030 goals, our RISE (Responsible, Inclusive, Sustainable, Enabling) strategy focuses on the company’s commitment to its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to create a more responsible, inclusive, safe and sustainable world through technology and collective action.
IPV has also committed to implementing the RISE strategy in Vietnam with local community initiatives and technology interventions.
Bee Bee Ng is president of SEMI Southeast Asia.