The U.S. is racing to source chips from Vietnam — but engineers are scant

  • The U.S. and Vietnam have leveled up their diplomatic relationship, including with an agreement that would put CHIPS Act funding towards growing the semiconductor industry in Vietnam.
  • But for the deal to successfully “friendshore” U.S. chipmaking activity, Vietnam needs many times more chip specialists. Currently there are about 5,000 — a quarter of the expected demand in the next five years.

The story goes that in 2004, a Vietnamese-American entrepreneur opened a microchip design company in Hanoi — to be close to his Vietnamese wife, among other reasons. He hired electrical engineering and telecommunications student Nguyen Thanh Yen, despite Yen lacking any knowledge about chips. Yen spent his first three months on the job devouring textbooks on chip design.

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