Apple to invest in Vietnam for the first time: media hinh anh 1Customers line up at Apple store in Hong Kong in September 2015. (Photo: AFP)

Hanoi (VNA) – The world's leading mobile phone manufacturer Apple Inc. plans to invest up to 1 billion USD to build an Asia-focused database center in Vietnam, according to local media.

The new facility is scheduled to operate as a Research & Development (R&D) centre of the firm. This will be the first project Apple has ever initiated in Vietnam.

The project is currently still in the planning stage. Apple is considering locations for the facility, possibly in Hanoi, according to

The US technology giant hinted at its increasing interest in the Vietnamese market when it established its wholly-owned subsidiary, Apple Vietnam LLC, in HCM City last October. The firm is headed by Gene Daniel Levoff, Apple Inc.'s vice president of corporate law and corporate governance, who is also in charge of Apple's international operations.

Apple recently announced vacancies for both an iPhone distribution director and iOS retail director in Vietnam, fanning hopes that the US multinational firm will soon open stores in the Southeast Asian country.

Apple products are distributed by its authorised sellers and mobile network operators, such as FPT Shop and MobiFone. About half of the existing Apple products currently in the country are carried into Vietnam via hand luggage.

Last year, Apple Inc. spent more than 8 billion USD for R&D activities worldwide. This amount is equivalent to 3 percent of Apple's 2015 revenue.

Currently, Apple has R&D centers in the US, the UK, China, Taiwan and Israel. Apple is also building a new R & D center in Japan and is expected to open another in India in June.

Before Apple, many major global electronics manufacturers built their R&D centers in Vietnam, including Samsung Electronics, Hewlett-Packard, Panasonic, and Nissan Techno.

At present, Samsung Electronics is Apple's biggest rival in the mobile phone market. Samsung is in the final stages of building an R&D center in Hanoi for 300 million USD. The new centre will replace Samsung's existing R&D centre in the PVI Tower in Hanoi.-VNA