Vietnam could be the next IC design hub

Jay Liu, Taipei; Julie Chang, DIGITIMES Asia 0

New development in Ho Chi Minh City. Image Credit: Tron Le on Unsplash

Boasting favorable government policies, lower overall labor costs, burgeoning local semiconductor actors such as Viettel, Vingroup, and FPT, Vietnam is garnering more than mere attention from international firms.

Last year saw the US-based electronic design automation (EDA) company Synopsys expanding its investments in Vietnam and pronouncing its commitment to training local IC designers.

Recently, Marvell Technology also announced its plan to turn its office in Ho Chi Minh City into a chip research and development center in order to attract Southeast Asia's growing pool of IC design professionals. The news came shortly after the California-based company laid off its whole R&D team in China in response to risks due to the US-China technology competition.

Other companies such as Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and NXP have also started to set up local offices in Southeast Asia for better product promotion, technical support, and logistics control, as firms in South Korea and Japan are picking up the pace to move their supply chain into the same area.

Southeast Asia still mainly covers the backend testing and packaging industry, yet it also has enough IC designers to offer the industry stricken by labor shortage. Analysts are watching closely where the local and international semiconductor synergy will lead the area, as geopolitical developments move western companies out of China and upstream IP block and EDA foundries set foot in the region.

Most Taiwan-based semiconductor firms will likely still base themselves in Taiwan and China, with MediaTek being the most likely to expand to other areas. Legal hurdles and cultural differences are among the reasons for why IC design companies in Taiwan are falling behind in attracting overseas professional workers.