Malaysian investor presence intensifies

August 27, 2020 | 09:37
Buoyed by Vietnam’s huge potential and visible growth, Malaysian investors are keen to beef up investment activities in Vietnam.
1506p16 malaysian investor presence intensifies
Bau Bang Industrial Zone (IZ), photo:

Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai, executive chairman of Top Glove Corporation Bhd, told VIR that the company is building its first glove factory in Vietnam at Bau Bang Industrial Zone (IZ) in the southern province of Binh Duong.

Estimated capital expenditure for phase 1 (which consists of blocks 1 and 2) is about $70 million, while the factory’s annual initial production capacity is approximately 4.8 billion gloves from its 20 production lines.

The gloves produced by the factory will be for both domestic and export markets. However, the majority are intended for export as the factory will be producing vinyl gloves, which are mainly sold to the US and European markets. According to Chai, Block 1 will be operational by next month and Block 2 will be operational by August 2021.

“The company has a big parcel of land to work with,” he said. “We very much appreciate the Vietnamese government’s support of our investment and look forward to investing further here.”

Like Top Glove, CIMB Bank (Vietnam) Ltd., under Malaysia’s CIMB Group, is also expanding operations. CIMB Bank recently teamed up with South Korean fintech unicorn Toss to launch a co-branded virtual card in Vietnam. “Toss Card powered by CIMB” is the country’s first-ever bank account that can be opened and maintained straight from the non-bank app.

Through the partnership, CIMB Bank and Toss will be able to access established customer segments loyal to financial institutions, and lean on the bank’s experience of working in a highly-regulated environment.

Thomson Fam Siew Kat, CEO of CIMB Bank Vietnam said, “We realised that fintech collaboration is even more essential for banks. We join forces with mature fintech like Toss to map, co-create products, and innovatively enhance our most critical comprehensive digital financial ecosystem.”

In February, CIMB Bank also formed a strategic partnership with Sendo JSC to promote fast digital loans on Sendo’s platform. This is the first collaboration between an international bank and a Vietnamese e-commerce platform to deliver digital experience to users.

Raphy Md Radzi, trade commissioner of MATRADE Ho Chi Minh City, said that in 2020 he can see a wave of movement and investment in Vietnam recording very positive figures. “In general, Vietnam is still the ideal destination for investors especially during the US-China trade war,” Radzi said. “We can also see some Malaysian companies making a presence in this market such as Techbond, that is building a $2.7 million factory for industrial adhesive manufacturer; and also Tan Chong Group adding an extra $50 million onto a new car factory in Hoa Khanh Industrial Zone in the central city of Danang.”

In general, Vietnam’s foreign direct investment (FDI) remains kind of positive despite the pandemic. In the first seven months of 2020, foreign-invested ventures disbursed $10.1 billion, equivalent to 95.9 per cent over the same period last year.

As of July 20, the accumulated investment capital of Malaysian investors in Vietnam recorded a figure of $12.76 billion, accounting for about 3.6 per cent of total FDI in Vietnam.

Radzi of MATRADE added that Malaysian investors are looking at potential sectors such as real estate, construction, renewable energy, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.

In the field of property development, Malaysian companies have been present in Vietnam for years like Berjaya, IJM Land, Guocoland, SP Setia, and Samling. Among them, Gamuda Land is also a popular brand in the market. The developer has thus far introduced two townships – Celadon City in Ho Chi Minh City and Gamuda City in Hanoi.

Meanwhile, Danang Industrial Zone in Danang’s Son Tra district has been developed and managed by MASSDA Land Co., Ltd. under Malaysian South-South Corporation Berhad (MASSCORP) since 1993. It is now fully occupied and MASSCORP is in the midst of developing residential and commercial projects in the surrounding area in stages.

In oil and gas, Petronas Carigali Vietnam Ltd. was the first foreign company to be awarded a production sharing contract in partnership with PetroVietnam in 1991 to operate blocks 01 and 02 in the Mekong Basin. Throughout its venture, the company operated several other oil and gas blocks along Vietnam’s north and south coastlines and has invested a total of $4.8 billion so far. In addition, Petronas Carigali Vietnam is also actively pursuing further investment in its downstream business in the country, particularly in lubricants and petrochemicals.

Another successful Malaysian company is Yinson Vietnam, specialising in construction and consulting and project management services. Yinson has diversified its businesses to venture into port and warehousing, commodity trading, and offshore support services, mostly serving oil and gas, as well as logistics in Vietnam.

By Olivia Bui

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