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Building Bphone: Inside BKAV's phone assembly factory (pictures)

As part of Road Trip 2015, CNET visited a Vietnamese company that recently introduced its first smartphone.

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Shara Tibken
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1 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Made in Vietnam

BKAV, a Vietnamese security software company, launched its first smartphone in June. It has used the “made-in-Vietnam” label as one of the Bphone's biggest selling points.

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2 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

100 versus 100,000

BKAV's phone assembly factory in Hanoi typically has 100 people working during the day. Another factory that builds parts of the phone -- like the metal unibody, SIM card holder, speaker box and bezel -- has 50 workers. Samsung, which builds nearly a third of its smartphones in Vietnam, employes 100,000 workers in two factories north of Hanoi.

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3 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Moving on up

BKAV plans to open a bigger factory in the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park in suburban Hanoi, about 30 kilometers from its current factories, “when we get good feedback from the market,” said Vu Thanh Thang, vice president and director of BKAV’s hardware division.

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4 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

$20 million, 200 engineers

BKAV poured about $20 million, 200 engineers and four years into developing its first smartphone. It designed everything from the motherboard housing the phone’s components -- including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor -- to the device’s exterior and the software overlaying Google's Android operating system.

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5 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Churn 'em out

The Bphone is put together with a typical assembly line setup -- each person is responsible for one step. Other manufacturers, like Samsung, have workers assemble every part of a phone on their own.

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6 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Six models

The Bphone, which comes in six variations and costs about $450 to $925, is reminiscent of an Apple iPhone 4 with a bigger screen.

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7 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

The next Apple?

BKAV wants to mimic what Xiaomi has done in China and even what Apple has done in the US -- gradually take over the mobile market by first catering to its home audience.

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8 of 8 Shara Tibken/CNET

Round one

In the first round of Bphone sales in June, BKAV sold 11,822 devices. By comparison, Xiaomi sold 2.1 million handsets during a 12-hour flash sale in April, and Apple sold 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units in the first weekend they were on the market in September.

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