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Vietnam's booming manufacturing sector (pictures)

Road Trip 2015: CNET checks out facilities for Samsung, LG and Jabil in Vietnam.

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Shara Tibken
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1 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Bridging Vietnam and Korea

LG opened a new factory in Haiphong, in the northeast part of Vietnam, in March. The company puts together mobile devices, TVs and home appliances in the facility.

See also the accompanying Road Trip 2015 story, "Schooling Vietnam: How tech companies are training the next wave of workers."

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2 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Years of training

Along with manufacturing, LG also does some R&D in Vietnam for auto infotainment and software. But it takes a long time to train employees to perform tasks more complex than assembly. On average, LG has to train R&D-centric employees for three years before they can work on their own projects.

About 30 percent of the white-collar staff members overseeing factory line workers and handling tasks like quality and assurance testing can work independently after four months. The rest need close supervision for a year. About 90 percent of line workers, the people actually putting together TVs and phones, work alone after a month.

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3 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Wide-open spaces

LG is hiring a lot of workers for its new factory in Haiphong. It plans to double its workforce to about 2,000 within the next year as the factory ramps up production.

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4 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

America in Vietnam

Jabil, a US manufacturer, operates a factory in Ho Chi Minh City's Saigon Hi-Tech Park. The company plans to expand the facility over the next couple years and more than double its workforce.

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5 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

See you at the checkout counter

Jabil builds most of its customers' point-of-sale terminals in its Vietnam factory. It saw a big jump in demand last year as companies got ready for new standards rolling out in late 2015. All sales terminals will have to work with NFC (near field communication) chips, which are what enable contactless mobile payments.

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6 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Muddy ditches

The road outside Jabil's Ho Chi Minh Factory was dirt until May. Ditches around the facility still were full of mud when CNET visited in early July.

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7 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Vroom vroom

Most of Jabil's 2,600 employees commute to its factory by motorbike -- the most common mode of transport for the Vietnamese. There were about 39 million motorbikes registered in all of Vietnam as of early 2014. Ho Chi Minh City is currently building its first subway line.

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8 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Building boom

Over the past six years, Samsung has earmarked about $9 billion to construct factories in Vietnam. That includes a new consumer electronics facility in the Saigon Hi-Tech Park, just down the road from Jabil and Intel.

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9 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Samsung will build TVs and home appliances in its new Ho Chi Minh City factory when it opens in the first half of 2016. The company will invest up to $1.4 billion in the facility.

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10 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Movin' right along

Construction workers help build Samsung's new factory in Ho Chi Minh City. The company will employ about 5,000 workers at the facility when it opens in 2016.

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11 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Jobs jobs jobs

Samsung is one of the biggest tech companies in not only the world but also in Vietnam. It has 110,000 employees in the country, surpassing the number of worker in Korea and China. Most of the employees assemble mobile devices, with Samsung making about 30 percent of its smartphones in Vietnam last year.

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12 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Tallest building in Saigon

Along with operating several factories in Vietnam, Samsung also houses sales and marketing operations in the Bitexco Financial Tower in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. The building, the tallest skyscraper in the city, includes a helipad, the Saigon Skydeck lookout on the 49th floor, a bar on the 52nd floor, a cinema and other retail stores and dining options.

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13 of 13 Shara Tibken/CNET

Room with a view

Samsung occupies three floors in the Bitexco Financial Tower. The offices overlook the Saigon River and other buildings in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

For more, see the accompanying Road Trip 2015 story, "Schooling Vietnam: How tech companies are training the next wave of workers."

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