CAD/CAM developer Gerber Technology has set up a new subsidiary in Vietnam to help strengthen its offer to customers in this fast-growing Asian market.

With headquarters in Hanoi, Gerber is also planning a branch office in HoChiMinh City that will include an Advanced Technology Centre and a service location in Da Nang.

The Advanced Technology Centre will house Gerber's automated spreading systems and multi-ply cutting systems and showcase the company's computer-aided design (CAD) systems with plotters.

The facility will serve as a centre for product demonstration, system testing, and hardware and applications training for customers, engineers and industry students - and will also serve the needs of apparel and related industrial companies in the neighbouring countries of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

"With Vietnam's membership in the WTO in December 2006, textile and apparel industry exports are expected to increase from US$5.8bn in 2006 to US$10bn in 2010," said James S. Arthurs, president, Asia-Pacific, Gerber Scientific Inc.

"There is a tremendous opportunity for companies in Vietnam to improve quality and expand their production capabilities by investing more in automation."

The management and staff at Gerber's former distributor, Schmidt Vietnam Co Ltd, will join the new unit.