Intel Capital, the investment arm of the world's largest chipmaker, has announced it is pouring US$17 million into companies in Vietnam and Singapore, marking its first-ever investment in this country.
The money will be split in undisclosed amounts between Vietnam Communications Corporation and Singapore's Reebonz.com, Intel said during the World Economic Forum in Bangkok on May 31.
The company called Southeast Asia one of the world's fastest-growing markets for advanced technology, driven by robust economic growth and a rising middle class.
"As a result, we're seeing strong demand for e-commerce and cloud-based services across the region, and these investments will help to accelerate that trend," said Gregory Bryant, vice president and general manager of Intel Asia-Pacific.
Its Hanoi-based partner, an internet infrastructure and services company, declined to give a dollar figure for the investment. But, "It's not a small sum," the corporation's deputy general director Nguyen The Tan said.
Vietnam Communications Corporation provides online content, e-commerce, social media, advertising networks, and mobile value-added services.
Tan said the new financing would help the company expand staff to 1,800 from 1,200 this year, open 10 to 15 new websites, and upgrade popular e-commerce websites like Muachung, Muare, and SohaPay. The company is recruiting.
Intel has lodged an application for a license to invest in the Vietnamese corporation. It said the investment would be used to drive technology adoption and high-speed broadband usage.
In Ho Chi Minh City's Saigon Hi-tech Park, Intel is already operating a $1 billion chip testing and assembly factory.
Intel entered the Southeast Asia market in 1999.
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