A delegation of Dutch semiconductor companies and suppliers is considering investment opportunities in Vietnam as part of efforts to diversify their manufacturing base and reduce reliance on China amidst growing trade tensions between China and Western countries. The delegation, led by outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a business mission to Hanoi, included representatives from nearly a dozen chip companies and semiconductor suppliers.
One of the notable announcements during the visit was made by BE Semiconductor Industries (Besi), a Dutch semiconductor equipment manufacturer. Besi revealed that it had received approval for an initial investment of $5 million to lease a factory in the southern region of Vietnam. The company's Vice President for Global Operations, Henk Jan Poerink, indicated that this investment is expected to expand significantly, with plans to establish its own semiconductor factory in Vietnam within the next four years.
Prime Minister Rutte expressed confidence that more Dutch semiconductor companies and suppliers would follow suit, given the substantial size of the business delegation accompanying him. Rutte stated that the move signified a strategic shift to reduce dependence on China as a primary export hub for advanced chips, which had faced restrictions due to trade tensions.
Besi's decision to invest in Vietnam aligns with a broader trend among Dutch companies to establish a semiconductor "ecosystem" in the country. While Poerink did not disclose the names of other firms in the delegation planning to invest, he mentioned that VDL Enabling Technologies Group, although not part of the mission, had also committed to investing in Vietnam.
Vietnam's appeal as an investment destination lies in its proximity to Besi's clients, which include prominent players in the electronics and semiconductor industries. The move also reflects a strategy to reduce dependence on China and cater to the growing Chinese market by shifting some operations to Vietnam, a move consistent with the approach taken by Besi's clients.
Vietnam already hosts Intel's largest chip assembly facility and serves as a significant manufacturing hub for South Korean giants Samsung and LG. With trade restrictions on the rise and limitations on selling advanced machines to Beijing, Dutch companies are increasingly looking to Vietnam as an attractive alternative for semiconductor production and supply chain diversification.