The global economic downturn has not dented the confidence of foreign investors doing business in Vietnam with a long-term perspective.
Beverage producer PepsiCo Vietnam put a US$30 million factory with an annual output of 40-50 million liters into operation in southern Binh Duong Province early this year. The company plans to open another in the Mekong Delta's Can Tho City.
"After having assessed Vietnam's economy, PepsiCo Corp. decided that it will invest thousands of billions of dong in Vietnam over the next three years," said Pham Phu Ngoc Trai, PepsiCo Indochina company general director.
Express service courier company DHL has announced it will invest $10 million in a joint-venture in Vietnam. The firm also plans to open a center providing logistics consultation for textile companies at the end of the year.
DHL is very confident about Vietnam's economic growth rate, said Sam Ang, managing director of DHL's Asia Pacific region.
Vietnam's exports reached a record high growth rate last decade, and despite the current challenging time, exports have remained robust, especially of textiles, he added.
German wholesaler Metro Cash & Carry last week opened its ninth outlet in the southern province of Dong Nai. The $27.7 million wholesale center has a total sales area of about 7,000 square meters and 95 percent of its goods are procured in Vietnam, the company said.
Randy Guttery, managing director of Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam, told Thanh Nien Daily that the company is committed to expanding its business in Vietnam.
The company has invested nearly $150 million in its chain in Vietnam since 2002 and "will continue to invest more given the economy is estimated to grow from 5-6 percent in 2009," said Heinrich O.E. Birr, vice president of International Affairs of Metro Group, said.
Insurer Prudential Group also contributed to the rise in foreign direct investment (FDI) early this month, with its subsidiary Vietnam Prudential Finance Co. raising its registered capital to VND615 billion ($34.6 million) from VND370 billion.
The rise proves our long-term commitment to Vietnam, particularly during the global financial crisis, said General Director Kalidas Ghose, who added the additional capital will help consolidate the company's position in the rapidly growing domestic retail loan market.
Despite the global economic turmoil, the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation, or
HSBC, early this month opened a new branch in Binh Duong, raising its total to 10 nationwide. It has the largest number of branches of any foreign-owned lender in the country.
The bank believes in the country's steady economic growth in the long-term, HSBC Vietnam's head of commercial banking Huynh Buu Quang told Thanh Nien.
Figures from the Foreign Investment Agency showed $4.1 billion was poured into 68 operational projects in the first six months, up 13.8 percent year-on-year. These included projects on technology, food, construction, agro-forestry and seafood sectors. Investors registering to raise their investment in Vietnam were mainly from South Korea, Japan and Singapore, according to the department.
"Foreign investors obviously believe that Vietnam's economy has very attractive prospects," said Dr. Nguyen Quang A, director of the Institute of Development Studies.
Nakanishi Hirota, FDI consultant for the Japan External Trade Organization in Ho Chi Minh City said investments from abroad will increase in the coming time.
Many Japanese companies came to his office last month to look for investment opportunities in Vietnam, he told Thanh Nien. They are very interested in one of Vietnam's WTO (World Trade Organization) commitments that allows foreign investors to set up their sale and distribution network, he said.
Hirota also said now's the time for Japanese investors to pour their money heavily into Vietnam as the stronger yen would make their investment larger.
He expects Vietnam will remain one of the most attractive destinations for FDI until the end of this year and even 2010.
Hirota recommended the Vietnamese government should improve supporting industries, infrastructure and the domestic market's competitiveness to attract more FDI.
Foreigners are confident about the country, which has plenty of young human resources, political stability and investment encouragement policies, he said.
Foreign investment flows into Vietnam fell 18 percent to $4 billion in the first half of 2009 from the same period last year but were on track to hit the full-year target, the government said last month.
The government said in a statement it expected $8 billion in FDI to be disbursed this year. This figure was considered appropriate with the recently adjusted GDP growth rate of 5 percent.
Long-term growth fundamentals for the economy are sound, say several businesses