Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp.\'s $32 million washing machine plant in Vietnam has begun operations, officials said Thursday. The plant, operated by Panasonic Appliances Viet Nam Co. Ltd., is in the Thang Long Industrial Park in Yen My District in Hung Yen province in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam, Vietnam News reported. The plant also has a research-and-development facility. The plant, fully funded by Panasonic Corp., will make about 300,000 washing machines this year, the report said. Production is expected to double next year. The plant will have about 300 local employees by next year. The report said the plant will focus on developing high-performance machines that will incorporate Panasonic\'s advanced eco-friendly and smart technologies. Panasonic also has plans to build refrigerators and resin boards used in smartphones in Vietnam.