Chipmaker Qualcomm announced plans to establish a multifaceted 5G component research and development center/factory in Vietnam last week. The San Diego-based company will produce fifth-generation radio frequency chips and image sensors in the Hanoi plant.
Qualcomm’s New Vietnamese Factory
BGR reports Qualcomm is expanding its production capacity to meet increased demands prompted by global 5G deployments. A leading provider of communications chips, the firm counts regional market leaders like Apple and Xiaomi among its clientele. The company’s new Southeast Asia plant will allow it to maintain and possibly expand its current partnerships.
Qualcomm’s new Vietnam facility will also allow it to design as well as manufacture next-generation mobile device parts.
The Hanoi factory will host a 5G radio chip research and development facility. It will also house a center that evaluates the power usage and performance benchmarks of its fifth-generation components. Perhaps most exciting, the complex will include a microelectronics unit dedicated to making cutting-edge handset imaging technology.
The manufacturer has two reasons for expanding its production footprint in Vietnam. First, the company has maintained a presence in the country since 2003, which will aid in the building of a new factory. Second, the firm wants to protect its supply chain from mounting international trade tensions.
Qualcomm’s Renewed Interest in 4G
In addition to establishing a new 5G plant, Qualcomm is also looking to increase its presence in the 4G market.
According to DigiTimes, the chipmaker has increased its 7nm wafer orders with the Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to produce more fourth-generation mobile system-on-chips. Though it is renowned for being a forward-thinking brand, the firm has a few good reasons to ramp 4G chip fabrication.
One likely motivator is 4G radio frequency parts being less expensive to produce than their 5G equivalents. Since the coronavirus pandemic has prompted worldwide economic contraction, consumers could prioritize affordability over novelty when buying mobile devices in the medium term. As such, smartphone makers would want to buy fourth-generation chips to fabricate new moderately priced smartphones.
It is also worth noting that the pandemic has slowed 5G network deployments in many key markets. Business Insider estimates delays in establishing widespread fifth-generation coverage will reduce worldwide 5G enabled handset shipments by 30 percent.
With its recent moves, Qualcomm has positioned itself to serve the current and future priorities of the wireless marketplace.