Vietnam invests $15.5 billion abroad

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Ground being broken for a hydropower project by Song Da Corporation in Laos. Photo courtesy of Tien Phong

Vietnam has so far invested more than US$15.5 billion in 59 countries, a new report says.

The Ministry of Investment and Planning, calculating overseas investments since 1989, said companies have recently started many new projects in hospitality and communications in Myanmar, which opened its doors recently.

But Laos remains the top destination with more than $4.2 billion in 227 projects, followed by Cambodia with $2.7 billion, Russia, and Venezuela.

But only $3.8 billion has actually been disbursed yet, mostly in mining, rubber plantation, and hydropower projects.

A "significant part" of the amount was spent on buying materials from Vietnam.

Private property developer Hoang Anh Gia Lai and state-owned PetroVietnam, Song Da power corporation, Vietnam Rubber Corporation, Vietnam coal and mining group (Vinacomin), and military-run telco Viettel affirmed that most of their foreign investments went into buying Vietnamese materials and paying Vietnamese contractors.

Tien Phong newspaper quoted a 2011 ministry report as saying that overseas investments have not been profitable.

It said between 1989 and 2010 projects only made a 2 percent profit, while those by the state-owned companies, accounting for 70 percent of all the investment, barely broke even.

The ministry said Vietnamese projects abroad are much larger than inbound ones at $79 million compared to $14.6 million.

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