Day 11: Industrial parks and manufacturing

Today we visited two different companies: Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) and II-IV, known as Two-Six. The first company, VSIP, was very interesting to learn about. It is a state-owned company, but the government actually does not have very much say in the running and management of the company. It is an industrial park development company, so they design communities with areas for major factories and manufacturing, as well as residential and commercial areas. VSIP designs industrial parks across Vietnam and Singapore, and it partners with a number of companies that they always accommodate in their communities for manufacturing. This company seemed reminiscent of Phu My Hung from earlier in the trip, except it seemed less urban and densely populated and more suburban and spread out. I wasn’t as impressed with the set up because I couldn’t help but consider the issues of urban sprawl.

After a short presentation and looking at a model of the community, we went to a mall and had Udon noodles, which was probably one of the best meals I’ve had in Vietnam. We walked around the mall for a while, and it was interesting to see the similarities and differences from American malls. It looked like a fancy American mall, but with many international stores (French, Korean, Japanese…).

Then, we went to II-VI and listened to a presentation by a representative of the Vietnam branch of the company. II-VI is an international technology manufacturer that is based out of Pennsylvania and has branches all over the world. It became a global company for a few reasons. Primarily, the cost of labor in countries like Vietnam is significantly lower than in America. In addition, they have a larger labor pool to choose from when hiring workers. It also give them a step above their competitors in foreign markets due to the close location.

We got a tour of the buildings manufacturing lasers and another technology. For the lasers, they had to take great care of the quality of every glass optic because any little scratch will make it useless. We saw them cutting glass, shaping glass, and polishing glass. I enjoyed learning about the process because it used the knowledge that I learned last semester in Physics 2, about light, refraction, and diffraction. II-VI is the only company in the world that produces some of their products, so they control a large part of the industry.

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