A subsidiary of Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup said on Monday it had developed a new smartphone, which is the Southeast Asian country’s first 5G-operable device—the latest in a series of locally designed handsets to take on more recognized brands from overseas.
VinSmart Research & Manufacturer, part of Vingroup, said in a statement it had finished its Vsmart Aris 5G smartphone. “This makes VinSmart become the first Vietnamese company to successfully manufacture a terminal supporting 5G technology,” the company said. “Furthermore, the event affirms the design and manufacture capacity of domestic enterprises and opens up opportunities for early access to world-class technology products for Vietnamese people.”
The Hanoi-based conglomerate with 2019 revenue of about $5.5 billion is chaired by Vietnam’s richest person, Pham Nhat Vuong, who has an estimated net worth of $5.7 billion. Other units of Vingroup operate malls, resorts, real estate, automotive production and a university, among others.
VinSmart and other Vietnamese companies have come out with smartphones over the past half-decade but with little traction compared to foreign brands. Vietnamese consumers recognize foreign brands because they have been on the market for longer and sell for similar prices charged by domestic vendors. Vsmart phones have a 16.7% domestic market share, in third place after Samsung and Oppo.
To compete on price, the Vingroup subsidiary was selling last year a handset for about $100 per unit. The Vietnamese developer calls its latest phone “near high end” and indicates that it’s aimed at least initially at Vietnamese consumers. Vietnam’s 97 million people have grown wealthier over the past eight years as a boom in export manufacturing creates jobs.
VinSmart’s phone with 128 GB of memory and a Qualcomm 765 processor will help foster what the company calls a made-in-Vietnam “5G ecosystem,” the statement says. “We hope Vietnamese users will soon get accessed to and use the most modern and advanced technology in the world.”
The company had worked since June last year on a “partnership” to produce the 5G smartphones, a VinSmart representative said Monday.