SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The display manufacturing unit of Samsung Electronics Co. says it has secured approval from Vietnam to build a $1 billion factory in the Southeast Asian country.

Samsung Display Co. said Thursday that the plant in northern Vietnam will supply small displays for Samsung smartphones and tablet computers starting sometime next year.

The move underlines the rise of Vietnam as a key handset production base for Samsung, the world’s largest maker of smartphone and handsets.

Production capacity at Samsung’s two handset factories in Vietnam reportedly tops 200 million units a year, about half of its worldwide handset production.

South Korea is a major foreign investor in Vietnam, second only to Japan. Manufacturers such as Samsung and LG are drawn by Vietnam’s low wages, plentiful numbers of young workers and tax benefits.

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