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US, Vietnam firms hold business summit during Biden visit; AI deals unveiled

Executives at top U.S. and Vietnamese firms in the semiconductor, tech and aviation sectors are meeting on Monday as part of U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Hanoi, seeking to forge business partnerships with new deals in AI unveiled.

Senior executives from Google, Intel, Amkor, Marvell, GlobalFoundries and Boeing are attending the Vietnam-U.S. Innovation & Investment Summit, according to a draft agenda that confirms a Reuters report.

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From Vietnam, there are executives from half a dozen companies, including Nasdaq-listed electric car maker VinFast , flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, tech company FPT, MoMo, the country’s biggest e-wallet by users, as well as internet firm VNG, which filed in August for a U.S. IPO.

The meeting, which follows a historic upgrade of diplomatic relations agreed on Sunday, underscores U.S. desire to boost Vietnam’s global role. This is particularly so in chipmaking with Washington seeking to reduce the sector’s exposure to China-linked risks, including trade friction and tensions over Taiwan.

U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken and Vietnam’s investment minister Nguyen Chi Dzung are chairing the meeting, which will be followed by discussions with Biden and Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, according to the agenda.

Newly unveiled deals by the White House include plans by Microsoft to make a “generative AI-based solution tailored for Vietnam and emerging markets.”

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Nvidia will also partner with Vietnam’s FPT, Viettel and Vingroup, VinFast’s parent company, on AI in the country, it said. The White House also highlighted the number of chip-related investments by U.S. firms in Vietnam, including plans by Marvell and Synopsys to build chip design centres in the country.

A new $1.6 billion Amkor factory near Hanoi that will assemble, package and test chips is due to start operations in October, it added.

The investment value is on par with Intel’s $1.5 billion chip assembling plant in the south of the country – the company’s biggest worldwide. Sources said earlier this year that it may be expanded.

Vietnam Airlines will also purchase 50 Boeing 737 Max jets, the White House said, in an agreement that a source told Reuters was valued at about $7.5 billion.

U.S. conglomerate Honeywell will cooperate with a Vietnamese partner to launch a pilot project to develop Vietnam’s first battery energy storage system, the White House also said.

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