BPhones are packaged at a Bkav factory in Hanoi. Photos: Anh Vu
Hanoi-based company Bkav has allowed members of the media to visit its two factories where its first smartphone BPhone is made, after claiming that the phone is on par with popular products from Apple and Samsung.
The move came three months after the launch of the controversial phone, which many said fell short of what they had been led to expect.
According to Bkav, it took the company "tens of millions of dollars" and five years to produce BPhone.
Besides a design center located at its headquarters, Bkav runs two factories in Hanoi to make the phone's parts and assemble them.
The combined area of the factories is about 3,500 square meters, with a total of 160 workers.
While some reporters said the factories were modern and better than they had thought, others said they were disappointed because of the small scale.
A employee shows the design of BPhone. The company said 70 percent of the phone's parts are produced in Vietnam.
BPhone's smaller factory covers an area of 1,500 square meters. It hosts five production lines with about 100 employees.
At the larger factory, which covers about 2,000 square meters, workers assemble the parts and package complete products.
Bkav said with their combined capacity, the factories can produce about 24,000 units a month.
Bach Thanh Le, vice chairman of Bkav, said the company will expand their factories when BPhone's sales increase, adding that his company has been assigned 2.3 hectares of land at Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park, about 30 kilometers from Hanoi.
Le said it shipped 12,000 units of the smartphone during its first sales round from June 2 to July 27. The company will accept new orders this week.
Since Bkav started selling the phone online on June 2, the company have missed delivery deadlines at least four times, citing software updates. At one time, it recalled about 600 units allegedly due to technical issues.
BPhone has three versions. The cheapest costs VND9.9 million (US$457) while the gold-plated version is priced at VND20.19 million ($924).
Smartphone sales in Vietnam were estimated to surpass 3 million units in the first quarter alone.
That means Bkav, by moving only 12,000 handsets in two months, might have failed to make a big entry into the market.