Workers at Uchyama Việt Nam Co in the southern province of Bình Dương. — VNA/ Photo Chí Tưởng
HÀ NỘI — With its advantages and thorough preparation in terms of infrastructure, transport and human resources, after the COVID-19 pandemic is put under control, the key southern economic region remains the leading destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) flows.
Localities in the region have also organised investment promotion workshops to promote Việt Nam’s investment environment and its advantages and potential.
In mid-May, Pandora, a Danish jewelry manufacturer, announced that it will invest US$100 million to build a new facility in the Việt Nam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) in the southern province of Bình Dương under a memorandum of understanding signed between two sides.
Jeerasage Puranasamriddhi, chief supply officer of Pandora group, said they have chosen Bình Dương Province for the availability of skilled workforce, its infrastructure and proximity to international airports, adding that the enthusiasm, support and strong commitment the group receives from the local administration was also a reason.
According to the provincial People’s Committee, in the first four months of this year, Bình Duong attracted a total of $2.35 billion in 16 new projects, nine existing ones, and from the contribution of capital of 53 businesses.
Meanwhile, since the beginning of this year to April 20, $1.28 billion had been poured into HCM City, up 12.2 per cent year-on-year.
Long An and Đồng Nai also attracted $341 million and $210 million in foreign investment, respectively, during January-April.
Notably, Coca Cola’s over $136 million project – the largest FDI one in Long An in Q1 – received the investment licence just a day after its dossier was submitted.
Nguyễn Văn Danh, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Bình Dương which attracted the largest amount of FDI in the first four months, said that in the future, the locality will continue holding online investment promotion conferences with other countries, actively expanding international cooperation, and establishing bilateral cooperation with provinces and cities of other countries.
It will focus resources on completing transport infrastructure and that of industrial zones, training human resources, and stepping up administrative reform.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the People’s Committee of HCM City Phan Văn Mãi and Chairman of the People’s Committee of Bình Phước Province stated that the localities will maintain the organisation of regular meetings with foreign investors to better meet their aspirations and help them deal with difficulties.
The key southern economic region comprises of HCM City, Bình Phước, Tây Ninh, Bình Dương, Đồng Nai, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Long An and Tiền Giang provinces. —
Samsung workers in Vietnam bear brunt of slowdown in global demand for electronics
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has scaled back production at its massive smartphone plant in Vietnam, employees say, as retailers and warehouses grapple with rising inventory amid a global fall in consumer spending.
America’s largest warehouse market is full and major U.S. retailers such as Best Buy and Target Corp warn of slowing sales as shoppers tighten their belts after early COVID-era spending binges.
The effect is acutely felt in Vietnam’s northern province of Thai Nguyen, one of Samsung’s two mobile manufacturing bases in the country where the world’s largest smartphone vendor churns out half of its phone output, according to the Vietnam government.
Samsung, which shipped around 270 million smartphones in 2021, says the campus has the capacity to make around 100 million devices a year, according to its website.
“We are going to work just three days per week, some lines are adjusting to a four-day workweek instead of six before, and of course no overtime is needed,” Pham Thi Thuong, a 28-year-old worker at the plant told Reuters.
“Business activities were even more robust during this time last year when the COVID-19 outbreak was at its peak. It’s so tepid now.”
Reuters could not immediately establish whether Samsung is shifting production to other manufacturing bases to make up for reduced output from the Vietnamese factory. The company also makes phones in South Korea and India.
Samsung told Reuters it has not discussed reducing its annual production target in Vietnam.
The South Korean tech giant is relatively optimistic about smartphone demand in the second half, saying on its earnings call last week that supply disruptions had mostly been resolved and that demand would either stay flat or even see single-digit growth.
It is aiming for foldable phone sales to surpass that of its past flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note, in the second half. It is expected to unveil its latest foldables on Aug. 10.
But a dozen workers interviewed by Reuters outside the factory almost all said business is not good.
Thuong and her friends who have been working for Samsung for around five years said they had never seen deeper production cuts.
“Of course there is a low season every year, often around June-July, but low means no OT (overtime), not workday cuts like this,” Thuong said.
She said managers had told workers inventories were high and there were not many new orders.
Research firm Gartner expects global smartphone shipments to decline by 6% this year due to consumer spending cuts and a sharp sales drop in China.
Samsung is Vietnam’s biggest foreign investor and exporter, with six factories across the country, from northern industrial hubs Thai Nguyen and Bac Ninh where most phones and parts are manufactured, to Ho Chi Minh City’s plant making fridges and washing machines.
The South Korean company has poured $18 billion into Vietnam, powering the country’s economic growth. Samsung alone contributes one fifth of Vietnam’s total exports.
Its arrival nearly a decade ago in Thai Nguyen, about 65 km (40 miles) from the capital Hanoi, transformed the area from a sleepy farming district into a sprawling industrial hub that now also manufactures phones for Chinese brands including Xiaomi Corp.
Generous benefits including subsidised or free meals and accommodation have lured tens of thousands of young workers to the region, but reduced workhours have now left many feeling the pinch.
“My salary was cut by half last month because I just worked four days and spent the remaining week doing nothing,” said worker Nguyen Thi Tuoi.
Job cuts are on some workers’ minds but so far none have been announced.
“I don’t think there will be job cuts, just some working hour cuts to suit the current global situation,” said one worker, declining to be named because she did not want to risk her team leader role.
“I do hope that the current cut will not last long and we will soon be back to normal pace.”
Government debt drops by VND57 trillion when exchange rate fluctuates
According to the Ministry of Finance, based on the selling rate of the State Bank, from the beginning of the year until August 1, 2022, one USD equals VND23,400 an increase of 1.1% compared to the beginning of 2022 estimated to increase the Government debt balance in USD in VND by about VND 5 trillion (compared to the end of 2021).
One EUR equals 24,385 VND, down 9.5% compared to the beginning of 2022. It is estimated to reduce the outstanding government debt in EUR in VND by about VND17 trillion ($727 million) compared to the end of 2021.
JPY is equal to 180 VND, down 13% compared to the beginning of 2022. It is estimated that the government debt balance in JPY in VND is about VND45 trillion ($1.9 billion) compared to the end of 2021.
According to the Ministry of Finance, only taking into account the exchange rate fluctuations of 3 main currencies USD, JPY, and EUR, the government debt balance by the end of 2022 is estimated to decrease by about VND57 trillion ($2.4 billion) down 2% compared to the last outstanding balance 2021.
Currently, the volume of domestic loans from the Government accounts for 90% and foreign debts only account for about 10% of the total annual value.
As reported by the Ministry of Finance, from the beginning of the year to July 31, 2022, repayment of government debt is about VND192,122 billion ($8.2 billion) (57.2% of the plan), of which domestic debt repayment is VND148,717 billion ($6.3 billion), foreign debt payment VND43,406 billion ($1.8 billion); direct government debt repayment is about VND 175,835 billion ($7.5 billion) (58.6% of the plan), on-lending is about VND16,287 billion ($696 million) (45.3% of the plan). The Government’s direct loan repayment obligation compared with state budget revenue in the first 7 months is about 16.1%.
Vietnam’s THACO and philosophy of no surrender
Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO), a typical successful firm in Vietnam’s automobile sector, has been investing heavily in mechanics and the manufacturing of accessories.
THACO leaders shared the firm’s journey to resolve the issue: increasing the localization rate or surrendering to auto imports flooding the local market.
They also shared the one-stop model to help other Vietnamese enterprises cooperate to develop, thereby improving the internal power of Vietnam’s industry.
THACO chairman Tran Ba Duong said at a meeting with mechanical enterprises that “you have technology and machinery. We will build factories and lease them at low prices.”
“If we fail to demonstrate our commitment, you can take your machinery away.
“We will not go back on our words. Only actual acts and thoughts will create values.”
Refreshing itself by enhancing investment
Returning to Chu Lai Industrial Park in central Quang Nam Province nearly three years after Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper held the forum ‘Last chance for Vietnam’s automobile industry,’ a series of factories mushroomed, and container trucks have been nose to tail.
The industrial park is home to not only THACO automobile assembly factories measuring thousands of hectares in area but also newly-built factories manufacturing accessories and mechanical products.
Enthusiastically sharing a project to develop THACO Chu Lai into a hub manufacturing mechanical products, accessories, and devices for industries in the central region, Do Minh Tam, general director of Truong Hai Supporting Industries and Mechanics Limited Liability Company (THACO Industries), an arm of THACO, expected the project to boost the development of Vietnam’s industry.
“At first, everyone seemed dubious. They only thought of automobiles whenever mentioning THACO. However, we separated mechanics from the automobile segment in November 2021,” Tam said.
From 17 factories producing automobile parts, THACO Industries has developed a complex of 19 factories whose strategy is to concurrently increase the localization rate and supply accessories and mechanical products to the domestic and foreign markets.
It is a must to develop the factories on a large scale and in a methodical manner as in 2019, THACO and many other automobile manufacturing and assembly enterprises faced a selection: increasing the localization rate or letting car imports flood the local market due to their competitive advantage given import tariff cuts.
Fruitful results and development ambitions
Nevertheless, it is not easy to develop an empire.
In 2021, a meeting on the restructuring of the firm was held by key leaders to choose a new business model, restructure a board responsible for the company’s products because of its more diversified product portfolio, develop a research and development (R&D) center, and boost digitalization, Tam remembered.
However, the results surprised many people. With revenue from mechanics amounting to VND5.7 trillion (US$244.2 million) in 2021, THACO Industries set a target to generate revenue of $1 billion by 2025 and invest in 15 more factories, operating in the mechanics, automobile, agricultural mechanics, construction, household appliance, and product design sectors.
“Mechanical accessories, electric wires, car seats, specialty chemicals, and bodywork will be localized first,” Tam said.
“Once our staff are experienced and we can research and develop as well as design products, we will expand to industrial equipment.”
According to Tam, together with changes in supply chains, purchasers have had a higher demand for the one-stop model, which is like a food market with multiple dishes.
With THACO Industries’ advantages in a closed manufacturing chain with lower logistics costs, THACO has repeatedly secured orders of foreign direct investment enterprises, including those ordering a combo of molds, plastic injection equipment, paint and packaging services, instead of sourcing them from four to five separate suppliers.
THACO has a plan to develop industrial parks in the north and the south of the country, thus establishing new-generation specialized industrial parks to suspend the transport of huge volumes of products from Chu Lai to other provinces.
“The close connection and support in the three regions will contribute to optimizing the effectiveness of our value chain, reducing logistics costs, improving the competitiveness, and opening up new business opportunities,” Tam noted.
He added that THACO had also sought to develop a mechanical engineering outsourcing center in association with R&D to support small and medium enterprises in southern Binh Duong Province. The center will be developed under the one-stop model.
This will not be a normal mechanic engineering outsourcing center. R&D services and core technology will be invested in heavily.
|Employees monitor a spring production system at THACO Chu Lai Industrial Park in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Huu Hanh / Tuoi Tre|
The center is expected to attract enterprises with the same sense of purpose of getting involved in global production chains and forming a sustainable mechanical engineering ecosystem.
No rivals, only partners
In the past, THACO manufactured and assembled automobile models for KIA and Mazda and it could be considered a rival of Hyundai and Ford.
However, with the policy of making friends with partners, THACO is currently manufacturing plastic bumpers for Hyundai Vietnam and Toyota at a lower price than those offered by Thai manufacturers.
It is also a supplier of springs for Isuzu Vietnam, and will be a partner of Ford Ranger in the near future.
THACO has launched four cooperation models: partners manufacturing and outsourcing products for THACO; THACO manufacturing and outsourcing the entire or part of products for R&D enterprises; THACO offering R&D services and manufacturing, outsourcing and providing products for enterprises having their own markets; and THACO and partners joining hands to manufacture products.
These models are expected to enhance the cooperation and competitiveness of enterprises, creating a strong industrial ecosystem and manufacturing society to pave the way for the breakthrough of the mechanical engineering sector and supporting industries.
Methodical support needed
Tam said state agencies’ support should be more methodical and specific.
Amid the shift of foreign investment to Vietnam, if institutes and state agencies conduct macro-scale and specialized research, or assess the advantages and competitiveness of Vietnam’s mechanical engineering sector, enterprises will have more information to grasp opportunities.
It will be too late to make investments after securing orders.
In addition, the mechanical engineering sector requires large capital while the rate of return is low. Therefore, to secure orders, the state should issue appropriate preferential interest policies for each sector.
Moreover, it is advised to focus on labor training on the basis of support packages for schools and students in engineering majors to help them approach advanced technology and techniques.
Incentives in taxes, land, and site clearance are also needed for companies to scale up their investment.
Notably, the development of industrial parks should involve plans to connect them with value chains, associated with expanding markets and seeking new customers.
Indonesian bikers exchange with Vietnamese partners
Police probe suspected child abuse case in Vietnam’s Ha Tinh Province
Discovering the wind farm in Bạc Liêu
Cồn Đen eco-tourism area, a wild beauty
Mexican artist finds new inspirations in Việt Nam
Ca Mau developing community-based tourism
Video clips encourage discovery of Quang Nam beyond Hoi An
Masan gets nod to build $150mln food processing plant in Hau Giang province
NASA to showcase Webb space telescope’s first full-color images
Ho Chi Minh City officials on week-long business trip to US
First Vietnamese representative at a Winter Olympic
Da Nang museums attracting domestic visitors with free entry policy
Nom, nom, Việt Nam – Episode 76: Fried cheese sticks
In Sa Pa, ethnic children forced to peddle on streets in bitterly cold night
Nom, nom, Việt Nam – Episode 74: Huế beef noodle soup
International2 weeks ago
China approves Genuine Biotech’s HIV drug for COVID patients
Your Vietnam2 weeks ago
Sheltering fish at bottom of the ocean in Vietnam
Business2 weeks ago
Vietnam remains destination of many foreign firms’ shift of investment
Business1 week ago
Vietnam says AES Corp intends to develop $13-billion wind farm
Travel5 days ago
Ninh Binh among 12 “coolest movie filming locations” in Asia: US magazine
Your Vietnam2 weeks ago
Breathing new life into old photos of fallen soldiers
Travel2 weeks ago
National flag carrier promotes Vietnam’s tourism in Thailand
Life2 weeks ago
Ho Chi Minh City introduces monthly lion dance performance as new tourism product