International corporations call for administrative reforms
Ha Chan Ho, strategic advisor for Samsung Electronics Vieät Nam
While improvements have been made in the local investment environment, more needs to be done to ensure transparency and cut out the red tape to attract overseas companies to Vieät Nam.
While improvements have been made in the local investment environment,
and foreign firms are showing increased confidence in the market, more
needs to be done to ensure transparency and cut out the red tape to attract
overseas companies to Vieät Nam. Thu Traø and Vuõ Hoa interview.
We are satisfied about Vieät Nam's investment climate. We began our investment in the country in 2007 and then the production started from 2009. At that time, our investments focused on manufacturing products such as fixed phones. But the market shifted very quickly to smartphones. We also changed our assembly line from producing fixed phones to smartphones. We came to know that the Vietnamese workers excel in assembling smartphones. That's why we increased our investment on a large scale. Right now, the total registered capital for Samsung Electronics is about US$2.5 billion for Baéc Ninh Province, $2 billion for Thaùi Nguyeân Province, $1 billion for Samsung Display and $1.5 billion for Samsung Electronics in HCM City. Hence, the total investment is $7 billion.
Every country cannot be free from complaints. To make Vieät Nam more competitive, the country needs to improve administrative procedures and build more infrastructure. The country should also increase transparency. The Vieät Nam Business Forum (VBF) meets twice a year with the participation of donors and investors. Before the meeting, we have to collect the views of all companies and then list the suggestions to improve the investment climate. So, Vieät Nam's Government should look at the suggestions and continue to make efforts to improve its business environment. I believe that the investment climate of Vieät Nam will improve if the Government acts on the suggestions.
At Samsung, we have also faced difficulties. For instance, we invested in the northern province of Baéc Ninh and wanted to build a dormitory for workers in the same area. However, we were unable to do this as the Vietnamese law doesn't allow a dormitory to be built in the same area as factories. We raised the issue many times and the Ministry of Planning and Investment changed the investment law, allowing us to build a dormitory in the same area.
In Baéc Ninh, we built a dormitory, while in Thaùi Nguyeân, we built a factory as well as a dormitory in the same area. Minister of Planning and Investment Buøi Quang Vinh visited Thaùi Nguyeân sometime ago and personally kept track of the construction.
We already have made the largest foreign direct investment in Vieät Nam. We will continue to operate according to the investment law in the country. Certainly, we would raise the investment if it is needed. We believe that our operations in Vieät Nam will be very satisfactory and successful in the coming years because of several factors that include skilled labour and a relatively good infrastructure.
Some companies have complained about the Vietnamese workforce. I believe that it depends on what kind of workers they want to hire. If they want to hire highly skilled workers, they need to train them on the assembly line. For example, when we hired workers in Vieät Nam, they did not have much experience with working on this kind of electronic assembly line. We brought trainers from South Korea and trained them in an organised manner. Then they worked on our assembly line.
Even the workers with higher skills need to be trained. We have a training centre in Haø Noäi. We trained them there and sent them to South Korea for further training for several months. Companies need to train continuously. Complaints from some companies mean that they did not give any training to the workers.
Lawrence Peh, general director/CEO of Malaysian firm ParkCity Hanoi
Vieät Nam's investment climate is directly impacted by its economic performance and status. With many key ingredients such as a sizeable young and hardworking population, high literacy rate, abundant natural resources and fertile agricultural land, the Vietnamese economy is definitely