Vietnam’s lure for Japanese firms

10:49 | 14/02/2017 Investment

(VEN) - Vietnam has become a magnet for Japanese trade and investment companies in recent years. According to a survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), more than 60 percent of Japanese firms plan to expand trade with Vietnam, which they also see as an important investment destination. The January visit to Vietnam by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was further proof of this.

The growth of this relationship was reflected in the Japan Branding Consumer Product Outlet Fair, held for the first time in Vietnam on January 5. JETRO Chief Representative Atsusuke Kawada noted that Vietnam’s potential for Japanese companies stems from its growing development. Average per capita income currently stands at US$2,200 a year – reaching US$5,000 a year in Ho Chi Minh City and US$3,300 a year in Hanoi. Moreover, Vietnamese rate Japanese products highly for their quality, reliability and durability.

“According to an annual survey, Vietnam has a stable investment environment. In addition, the Vietnamese government and localities have also paid special attention to investment climate improvement and administrative procedure simplification,” Atsusuke Kawada said.

More and more Japanese companies are looking for growth opportunities in the Vietnamese market. For example, Aeon – Japan’s largest retailer - operates four malls and 54 supermarkets in Vietnam. The number of supermarkets is more than double the grocery stores the company operates in China and comprises one-third of supermarkets it has opened outside of Japan. Japan’s Takashimaya have also invested around JPY5 billion (US$47 million) in Vietnam.

Le An Hai, the deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Asia-Pacific Market Department, said that economic relations between Vietnam and Japan are on a continuous upward curve. Japan is Vietnam’s fourth largest trade partner after the US, China and the EU, and among top foreign investors in Vietnam with high-quality projects, bringing added value and creating jobs for local workers.

Japanese brands such as Honda, Sony, Hitachi, Sharp, Tiger and Toyota have made a strong impression on Vietnamese people, buttressing the reputation of Japanese products, he said.

“The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade will continue to support and cooperate with Japan’s counterpart agencies, the Japanese Embassy in Hanoi and associations to promote trade between the two sides,” Le An Hai said.

To promote trade between the two business communities, Atsusuke Kawada said that JETRO will strengthen the organization of events in order to enhance the relationship between the two countries. In addition, JETRO will also organize meetings and exchanges with Vietnamese businesses and hire special consultants to inform Japanese firms about Vietnam and the opportunities it offers.

According to statistics, more than 2,000 Japanese companies operate in Vietnam. By 2016, Japan had 3,280 investment

projects in Vietnam, with a total value of up to US$42.058 billion. In addition, bilateral trade between the two countries also

reached nearly US$30 billion. Vietnam sees Japan as a leading trade and investment partner.

Quynh Nga & Hoa Quynh