Meta Platforms has reportedly launched plans to boost its metaverse technology investments in Vietnam.
VN Express International reported on Tuesday that Joel Kaplan, Vice President for US Public Policy, Meta, said his company had begun shifting production to the nation four years ago.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Meta shelved its plans to move forward with the initiative.
As the world continues to reopen after the crisis, the tech giant aims to push its Vietnam ambitions following a meeting at Meta’s headquarters with Pham Minh Chinh, Prime Minister of Vietnam.
The meeting took place after the latter visited the United States and met with executives at the Menlo Park-based office. PM Chinh said that leaders from both nations have pledged to uphold their partnerships across science, technology, and research and development (R&D).
He added that US firms in Vietnam, like Meta, had played a significant role in realising the potential of his government’s Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Further Partnership Details
Additionally, Kaplan noted further partnerships with Hanoi, including its National Innovation Center and Vietnam Government Portal.
The former aims to facilitate the Asian nation’s digital transformation, and the latter to transform the country’s Facebook page into the world’s biggest government page. Currently, it has 4.2 million followers, the report added.
Meta also has rolled out initiatives to back small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Vietnam. The metaverse tech giant will hopefully support Vietnam across specific verticals like artificial intelligence (AI), digital transformation, product innovation, and the digital economy, among many others, Chinh continued.
Finally, the Vietnamese Prime Minister also hoped Meta would provide national firms with technological solutions and support it financially to boost Vietnam’s digital transformation. He concluded that the partnership would also seek to back collaboration on cybersecurity, training, and tackling misinformation on social media.
Brief Analysis of Meta-Vietnam Deal
Demond Cureton, Senior Journalist, XR Today, analysing the Meta-Vietnam drive towards digital transformation with the Metaverse.
Meta’s initiative to boost the production of its metaverse hardware is expected to tap into new markets as the company pushes towards building the next iteration of the internet.
Recently, the company aimed to enter China via Tencent, one of the world’s largest tech firms. However, plans are still ongoing and have not been finalised. China banned Meta’s social media technologies across the mainland in 2009 due to reported security concerns in its Xinjiang province.
However, due to slower-than-expected adoption rates across North America and Europe and massive penalties across the European Union over transnational data flows and advert policy violations, Meta may seek markets that are more closely aligned with its ambitions elsewhere.
On the other hand, Meta’s deal with Vietnam could boost its production security ahead of the Connect 2023 event, which will reveal the company’s Meta Quest 3 in full detail. The flagship headset is expected to compete with Apple’s Vision Quest Pro, leading to renewed rivalry in the immersive space.
Conversely, Apple has been ramping up support for Luxshare, a Chinese augmented reality (AR) component supplier. With the new deal, Apple hopes to receive competitively priced supply chains for its upcoming smart glasses project, which it shelved in recent months due to last year’s tech market slowdown.
However, with the release of the Meta Quest 3 this month and the upcoming Apple Vision Pro, Apple may want to get ahead of the curve by sorting out its complex supply chains ahead of the device’s release.
This will allow the Cupertino, California-based firm to produce its products at scale and cheaper while securing future shares of the mixed reality (MR) market.
Apple also broke off from Taiwan’s Pegatron after the latter pulled out of Apple’s move to build smart glasses. Apple then picked up Luxshare to secure its supply chains for the Vision Pro and smart glasses.
What is the US-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategy Partnership?
For Washington and Vietnam, the Comprehensive Strategy Partnership (CSP) relies heavily on boosting specific sectors for cooperation. This covers security, defence, education, science and technology.
According to the document, both nations aim to do this in the tech sector to boost Vietnam’s training and development to build a “high-tech workforce.”
The document reads,
“Acknowledging Vietnam’s tremendous potential as a major player in the semiconductor industry, the two Leaders pledged to support the rapid development of Vietnam’s semiconductor ecosystem and to work together energetically to improve Vietnam’s position in the global semiconductor supply chain. Toward this end, the United States and Vietnam announced the launch of semiconductor workforce development initiatives – supported by initial seed funding of $2 million from the U.S. government, in conjunction with future Vietnamese government and private sector support”
These plans coincide with the US’s Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act, which will provide the US and its allies greater semiconductor supply chain security.
The XR Association, one of the premier organisations leading efforts in the United States and worldwide, hailed the CHIPS Act as a “watershed” moment for the global tech industry. The European Union has also created its complement to the United States in a bid to secure its semiconductor industry.
Furthermore, US and Vietnamese tech companies will back efforts to explore the “launch of an Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN training lab) in Vietnam, secure 5G, and adoption of emerging technologies to prove new digital upskilling opportunities to Vietnamese innovators, subject to congressional notification.”
Additional efforts to increase educational exchanges in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields will also take precedence for the two countries.
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