Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Korea top investor in Vietnam with over $4 Billion

RoK continues to top investors list in Vietnam

The Republic of Korea (RoK) topped the list of 82 foreign investors in Vietnam in 2007 for the second consecutive year with 403 projects capitalised at a record of nearly Ú $4.2 billion.

This is the highest yearly figure since RoK investors marked their presence in Vietnam in 1988.

Aside from new investment, RoK enterprises poured an additional US $467 million into their existing projects in the country, according to the Foreign Investment Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The RoK’s investment structure has changed with remarkable increases in both the number of projects and investment capital in real estate and other key industries such as energy, chemicals, petrochemical and steel production instead of the traditional focus on garment and footwear.

The East Asian country has also attracted attention for its large-scale projects. Charmvit Group recently began work on a US $500 million project to build the 27-storey Hanoi Plaza Twin Towers which will house a five-star hotel and a high-end office building while Keangnam Group invested US $1 billion in building an office and hotel complex near the new International Convention Centre in Hanoi.

According to Hong Ki Hwa, President of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra), Vietnam has become an attractive destination for foreign investors thanks to many advantages, including low-cost labour, an improved investment environment, rapid economic growth and an ideal geographical position at the centre of the ASEAN bloc.

A recent survey by the Korea Trade Association showed that in the future, Vietnam will be the second most attractive destination for RoK enterprises, after China. At the moment, many large groups from the RoK such as Posco, Samsung, Lotte and Kumho Asiana are present in Vietnam.

However, RoK investors are worried about poor infrastructure and high land price in Vietnam in addition to the lack of information and language barrier.

To address those concerns, the Government has focused on upgrading and developing infrastructure, including electricity and water supply systems as well as traffic works and ports, to facilitate investment activities, said Nguyen Thi Bich Van, Deputy Director of the Foreign Investment Department.

Human resource training is also high on the list of the government’s priorities in the coming time, she added.

As well as cutting down import taxes on goods in line with the country’s commitments to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Vietnam will continue implementing its roadmap to open the service market, including telecommunications, transport, banking, insurance and securities services. (VNA)