Vietnam hosts Southeast Asian leaders this week as chair of their 10-nation bloc, shining a spotlight on the political and economic stability that prompted Intel Corp and Toyota Motor Corp. to increase investments, says Bloomberg.
|A corner of Ho CHi Minh City, a social and economic hub of Vietnam (Photo: Dan Thuy)|
Bloomberg.com, one of the most-trafficked financial sites on the Web, quoted Nick Jacobs, Intel’s regional spokesman, as saying that Santa Clara, California-based Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, is scheduled to open a 1 billion USD testing facility in Ho Chi Minh City this year that will employ about 4,000 people. Intel choose Vietnam because of its proximity to customers, reliable power, water supply and skilled workers.
“Vietnam is a country which is very committed to education, and that gives us confidence we will continue to attract the talent we need for long-term success,” he said.
Toyota produced 28,000 vehicles in Vietnam last year, up from 18,000 in 2007, spokesman Paul Nolasco said. The Toyota City, Japan-based company had 1,300 employees in Vietnam, more than double the number in 2005, he said.
Nolasco added, “Toyota recognises not only the potential growth of that market but the potential role the Vietnamese economy can make in broader Southeast Asia.”
According to Bloomberg, Vietnam drew 13.5 percent of the Association of Southeast Aisan Nations (ASEAN)’s foreign direct investment pool in 2008, up from 4.4 percent two years earlier.
And its allure may be rising, judging from a December survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai of China. Vietnam is a preferred destination for businesses looking to relocate from China, the report said.
“A lot of companies from a strategic standpoint are looking at how to set up a production facility within ASEAN,” said James Lockett, a Hanoi-based lawyer with Baker & McKenzie LLP and a board member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam. “ In a lot of product areas, Vietnam looks very, very attractive for people who are doing that.”
Bloomberg added, Vietnam’s economy expanded 5.2 percent last year, the most in ASEAN, which has signed free-trade accords with China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The deals give companies access to those countries and the ASEAN member states of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ASEAN is home to about 600 million people and its populations are among Asia’s youngest.