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Samsung to shut down last smartphone plant in China

South Korean tech behemoth squeezed by mainland rivals

Outside Samsung Electronics' smartphone plant in Vietnam's Bac Ninh Province. (Photo by Kotaro Hosokawa)

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics will shut down its last remaining mobile phone factory in China at the end of the month, the technology group said on Oct. 2, marking its exit from the increasingly competitive Chinese market.

The South Korean manufacturer had already announced cutbacks in production at its facility in Huizhou, a city in the south. That followed the closure of another plant in the port city of Tianjin at the end of last year.

The company remains the world's leading producer of smartphones, shipping about 290 million units per year. It once captured 15% of China's smartphone market -- the biggest on the planet -- but its share has since dwindled to 1%, with Samsung losing ground to mainland rivals such as Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi.

As labor costs in China climbed, Samsung started moving capacity to Vietnam starting in the late 2000s. The Southeast Asian country has become a global smartphone production hub for Samsung, which employs about 200,000 people in Vietnam. The country also serves as a safe haven from the U.S.-China trade war.

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