Samsung's mega-plants are driving the country's smartphone industry.
Smartphones accounted for 27.1 percent of Vietnam’s total exports in 2016 with a value of $34.32 billion, customs data showed.
Phone exports are expected to rise 13.6 percent to reach $39 billion this year, the Saigon Times cited experts as saying.
Vietnam’s economic growth is being fueled by steady inflows of foreign direct investment into export-oriented sectors, especially smartphones and tablet computers, and many of them are made by Samsung Electronics.
Samsung has invested a total of $15 billion to produce phones in Vietnam, according to the Association of Foreign-Invested Enterprises, equivalent to 10 percent of the country’s total foreign investments over the past three decades.
About 130,000 workers at Samsung’s two manufacturing facilities in the southern provinces of Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen are involved in assembling 35 percent of all Samsung's smartphones globally, including its flagship Galaxy Note 7.
Despite Samsung’s parent company scrapping the Galaxy Note 7 following a series of unresolved battery fires last year, Samsung Vietnam’s smartphone shipments in 2016 rose 8 percent from $32.7 billion in 2015, accounting for nearly a fifth of the country’s total export revenue.
The company is targeting a 7-10 percent increase in exports from Vietnam this year, said Deputy Director Bang Huyn Woo.
The General Statistics Office said exports in 2016 rose 9 percent to $176.6 billion, while imports increased 5.2 percent to $174.11 billion. Vietnam’s trade surplus was estimated at about $2.52 billion, it said.
Vietnam’s top 10 foreign exchange earners, including mobile phones, textiles, electronic and computer components, footwear and seafood products, accounted for 71.8 percent of total exports in 2016.
The government has set an economic growth rate target of 6.7 percent this year, which would be the fastest pace since 2007.