Private business conglomerate Vingroup, one of the largest private manufacturing companies in Vietnam, is to start producing oxygen ventilators to support coronavirus patients across the country.

Various sources report that Vingroup has signed an agreement with US medical device company Medtronic, with VN Express International, one of Vietnam’s leading local publications, noting that the company will be able to produce up to 55,000 units per month at its automobile and smartphone factories.

That figure comprises 45,000 non-invasive ventilators and 10,000 invasive ventilators.

Vietnam is understood to have proven a model in containing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, despite its limited resources, but reports suggest it is on the verge of lockdown as confirmed cases continue to rise.

Despite sharing a border with China, where the pandemic originated back in December 2019, Vietnam has so far recorded just 249 cases and no fatalities, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

Until now, the country had been largely helping efforts to fight Covid-19 in other parts of the world, donating significant quantities of face masks to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, as well as to China, Cambodia and Laos.

Vietnam is home to arguably one of the most promising emerging industrial gas markets in Southeast Asia, a market valued at around $206m in 2018 (gasworld Business Intelligence). This was up from around $90m a decade prior (2008), indicating an average annual growth rate of 8.7% for the period.

The industrial gases business in Vietnam is fragmented and features a large number of different players that affect the marketplace – some state-owned, some private Vietnamese enterprises and some others that are local subsidiaries of major international companies, all of whom would surely be expected to meet any escalation in oxygen demand should the country see an acceleration in confirmed coronavirus cases.

Oxygen is the biggest gas by revenues in the region, accounting for just over 30% of industrial gas revenues in Vietnam in 2018.