RoK surges into the lead among foreign investors

10:17 | 28/04/2014 Economy

(VEN) - The Republic of Korea (RoK) took first place from Japan in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam in the first quarter of this year. Many predicted that the RoK would remain the largest foreign direct investor in Vietnam by the end of the year.

Lotte intended to expand its investment in Vietnam

Statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Department showed that Vietnam attracted US$3.334 billion in FDI from 34 countries and territories in the first quarter of this year. Of these, the RoK led with US$765.6 million accounting for 22.9 percent of total FDI capital in the country. Japan dropped to second place with US$414.3 million accounting for 12.4 percent of total FDI in Vietnam.

Japan was the largest foreign direct investor in Vietnam from 2012-2013. Vietnam attracted US$16.3 billion in FDI from 59 countries and territories in 2012, including US$5.59 billion from Japan accounting for 34.2 percent of total FDI capital. The country attracted US$22.35 billion worth of FDI from 57 countries and territories in 2013 including US$5.875 billion from Japan accounting for 26.3 percent of total FDI capital.

However, the RoK surged into the lead among FDI countries and territories in the first three months of this year, and would likely hold its position until the end of the year. RoK officials continuously gave optimistic evaluations on the investment environment in Vietnam. In addition, a number of RoK giant groups which are investing in Vietnam intend to expand their operations.

For years now, the strategic partnership between Vietnam and the RoK has strongly and deeply developed. RoK Ambassador to Vietnam Jun Dae Joo said that the investment environment in Vietnam was very attractive to RoK businesses largely due to Vietnam’s socioeconomic achievements in recent years. Take last year for example. Despite the global financial crisis in 2008 which put many countries in a difficult situation, Vietnam recorded important economic achievements including economic growth at over five percent and inflation curbed in 2013.

Jun Dae Joo said that RoK businesses strongly invested in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in previous years. However, due to high operational costs and difficult employment in these cities, RoK businesses would in the near future look for other locations in Vietnam such as Nghe An, Thanh Hoa and Thai Nguyen which offer low operational costs and better employment opportunities.

For one more example, the RoK’s Samsung Group has invested almost US$6 billion in mobile phone production in Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen provinces and currently has a plan to expand its investment to other areas in Vietnam. Samsung Vina Company Deputy General Director Nguyen Van Dao said that Samsung intended to invest in hydropower, airports, oil refinery and shipbuilding in Vietnam.

The RoK’s Lotte Mart Group has established 60 Lotteria fast food shops throughout Vietnam and has a plan to open 60 more shops between now and 2020.

Lotte Hanoi Center General Director Lee Jong Kook said at a recent meeting with Ha Nam Province’s leaders that Lotte expected to develop Lotte Vietnam into one of the group’s leading branches abroad.

Along with these business expansion plans for RoK groups in Vietnam, it is predicted that the RoK would become the number-one investor in Vietnam this year./.

By Nguyen Hoa