Japanese swell of investment

November 01, 2019 | 08:00
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New investments worth billions of US dollars from Japan are expected to be poured into Vietnam in the time to come, creating a new Japanese investment surge in the Southeast Asian nation.
japanese swell of investment
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) attended the coronation ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito

Last week, within the framework of his visit to Japan to attend the coronation ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito in Tokyo, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met with Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank, Japan’s largest financial services group.

Son said SoftBank wants to expand investment in Vietnam, where it sees an increasingly improved business environment and rapid economic growth. Over the past few years, the firm has reaped good profits from its investments in the country, especially via investments and technological companies that yielded high added value. SoftBank has invested $3 billion into Grab, making it a leading transportation service provider in Southeast Asia, notably in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

A Grab representative said that thanks to SoftBank’s investment capital, Grab poured over $200 million and generated more than 220,000 jobs in Vietnam. In the next five years, it will invest an additional $500 million to develop fintech, new mobile technologies, and logistics.

SoftBank’s commitment to increase investment in Vietnam was made amid Japanese investors actively considering Vietnam a hot investment spot in Southeast Asia.

According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, as of June 20, Japan had about 4,200 valid investment projects in Vietnam, registered at $57.5 billion. However, as of September 20 the number rose by almost 100, with total capital of $60.36 billion.

Earlier this month, Japan’s Oji Group inaugurated its $35 million plant in the northern province of Ha Nam to manufacture assorted corrugated paper and cartons. The Ojitex Ha Nam project, which is the fifth plant for Oji in Vietnam, is part of the group’s plan to cover the hard paper market in Southeast Asia.

Ha Nam, which currently boasts more than 90 Japanese projects, last month also saw the inauguration of a $5 million plant by Japan’s Fuji Electric Vietnam, which produces many types of electrical equipment. The products will be locally marketed and exported to Japan and other regional nations. In May, Japan’s Teijin group was also granted by Ha Nam’s government an investment certificate to construct a $12 million factory to churn out carbon fibres and high-end plastic products which will be supplied to automobile manufacturers in the US, Japan, and Europe.

In July, during PM Phuc’s official visit to Japan, 32 co-operation deals worth $8 billion were inked between businesses from both countries, focusing on the sectors of manufacturing, energy, IT, the environment, and agriculture, illustrating the attractiveness of the Vietnamese market to Japanese investors. The prime minister met with many Japanese firms, such as All Nippon Airways, AEON, UFJ, MUFG, Japan Tobacco, Mitsui, and Mitsubishi, who have all expressed wishes to expand investment in Vietnam.

Many other Japanese businesses are also seeking investment opportunities in the environmental sector, such as Hitachi, System Eng Service, Murata Keisokuki Service, Yokogawa, Horiba, DKK-TOA, Hitachi Zosen, Ichikawa Kankyo Engineering, Dowa Eco System, and Kubota Corporation.

A Japan External Trade Organization survey last year indicated that almost 70 per cent of Japanese businesses investing in Vietnam said they have plans to expand business operations in the Southeast Asian country over the next one or two years.

Japan is one of the top economic partners of Vietnam. Total trade turnover hit $29.6 billion in the first nine months of 2019, up 5.6 per cent on-year, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.

By Nguyen Dat

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