Authorities have approved in principle a project by Garmex to build its fifth export garment factory in HCMC 's Hoc Mon District, the Saigon Times Daily reported yesterday.

Work on the factory is scheduled to start early next month to ensure that it can be completed by March next year, a company source said, adding that it will produce four million garments per annum to begin with.

"The operation of the new factory will enable us to raise exports to Chile and the US," the official said. Garmex Saigon, which is based in Ho Chi Minh City, has set a target of achieving VND50bn turnover this year.

He said that the company now exports 97 per cent of its output, with 65 per cent of this for Japan, 15 per cent for Europe and the remainder for Taiwan, Australia, Chile and Singapore.

An official at the HCMC Service of Planning and Investment said the factory would cover 1.5 hectares (16,000 sq m) in the Hoc Mon District and have an invested capital of VNMD33.4bn ($2.4m, £1.6m), VND26.7bn ($1.9m, £1.3m) of which is from the city economic stimulus programme.

Garmex already runs four factories and employs around 2,000 workers. Its customers include Nike, Umbro, Ellesse and CK Khakis and it is well established in the Japanese non-quota market.