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Dutch high tech firm VDL to build factory in Vietnam

AMSTERDAM, March 20 (Reuters) - Dutch high tech firm VDL will build a new factory to make semiconductor manufacturing components in Vietnam, it said on Wednesday, as the Asian country grows in importance as an assembly and packaging hub in the chipmaking industry.

Vietnam is home to Intel's INTC.O largest chip packaging and testing plant, and is attracting interest from other chipmakers as they seek to diversify their Asian operations to minimize the impact of U.S.-China trade tensions over semiconductors.

VDL, which has other facilities in China and in Singapore, said its move was not made with geopolitical considerations in mind. However, many of its customers are following a "China Plus One" strategy of diversifying their manufacturing base to include locations outside China.

"VDL's global customers are asking for even better global coverage, with local production for the local market," the company said.

A spokesperson for the company said he could not specify the size of the investment in northeast Vietnam, but that it would involve "millions" of euros and the site will employ 60 workers.

Eindhoven, Netherlands-based VDL is a key supplier to Europe's largest tech company ASML ASML.AS, making its wafer handling systems, though the Vietnam factory will not supply ASML.

The investment decision follows several visits by Dutch companies to the region, including a scouting mission by ASML suppliers a year ago, and a visit by Prime Minister Mark Rutte in November that led to an investment by Dutch chip packaging equipment maker BE Semiconductor Industries BESI.AS.

VDL's investment was announced on Wednesday as the Dutch Infrastructure Minister Mark Harbers is visiting Hanoi.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling and Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Jan Harvey)

((toby.sterling@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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