BOE Technology Group, one of China’s biggest display makers, plans to invest a large sum to build two factories in Vietnam, sources say.
BOE, which is a supplier for both Apple and Samsung Electronics, could invest up to $400 million on the plants, one of two people familiar with the matter said.
The plan underscores efforts by technology firms led by Foxconn, the Taiwanese device assembler which makes iPhones for Apple, to lower supply chain exposure to China amid trade and geopolitical tension between Beijing and Washington.
BOE is in talks to rent dozens of hectares of land in north Vietnam to add to its relatively small plant in the south that supplies mostly television screens to South Korea’s Samsung and LG Electronics, the people said.
The sources declined to be identified as negotiations were confidential, while BOE also declined to comment.
Chinese firms move south
Northern Vietnam has attracted significant investment from electronics giants in recent years, becoming a major hub for the production of smartphones, computers and cameras, including flagship goods from Apple and Samsung.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn) and China’s Luxshare Precision Industry also make or plan to assemble a number of Apple products in the area such as laptop and tablet computers.
BOE plans to rent up to 100 hectares and use 20% for a plant making remote control systems at a cost of $150 million, one of the people said.
The rest would be for displays, with BOE spending $250 million to build a plant on 50 hectares while suppliers would use the remaining 30 hectares, all by 2025, the person said.
BOE plans to make the more sophisticated organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) screens at the site rather than liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), the person said.
OLED screens for iPhones
Apple, which included BOE in its 2021 list of manufacturing partners, uses OLED screens for its latest iPhone smartphones.
China’s biggest display maker by output is set to become the largest supplier of displays for new iPhones by 2024, analyst Kuo Ming-chi at TF International Securities forecast last week.
However, the US tech giant plans to start making mobile screens in-house by next year, a separate report said on Wednesday.
Apple declined to comment on that.
BOE’s Vietnam plan is not specifically aimed at supplying Apple, the person said.
Customer Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, produces half of its handsets in Vietnam while LG has a large operation in the country and is planning new investment.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard