Vietnam's southern industrial province reports record foreign investment despite riots

By Do Truong, Thanh Nien News

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An aerial photo of Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park in Binh Duong Province. Photo credit: Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon
The Binh Duong provincial government has announced that it attracted more than US$978 million in foreign investment between January and May despite the anti-China riots that sowed widespread worries about the economic toll.
Mai Hung Dung, director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, said the foreign investment capital that Binh Duong attracted in the first five months of this year is equivalent to 97.8 percent of the target it set for the whole year.
The funds also represented a 14.9 percent year-on-year jump in investment.
The impressive gains were reported in spite of May's nationalist riots, which stopped production at a number of foreign factories.
More than $370 million of the sum came from fresh foreign-invested projects; the remaining $608 million was poured into projects that are already underway.
If the current trend continues, Binh Duong may attract $1.4 billion in total by the end of the year, Dung was quoted by news website Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon (Saigon Times) as saying,
Binh Duong had aimed to attract $5 billion in foreign investment capital for the 2011-2015 period. By May of this year, that target was reached.
Last week, the provincial government granted investment licenses to 41 companies--most of which were foreign.
Among them were 10 foreign companies that registered to do business in Binh Duong after May 13, when peaceful anti-China protests erupted into violence and extremists torched up to Chinese-owned factories and other foreign businesses. 
Police arrested over 1,000 people for vandalism, rioting and looting.
Despite the riots, many foreign investors say they've kept their faith in Binh Duong due to its investment policies.
Le Thanh Cung, the provincial mayor, said Binh Duong will call for further investment in supporting industries in the near future.
It also promised to provide jobs for more than 9,000 workers who were left unemployed after their factories were vandalized in the riots.

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