Japanese firms are increasingly interested in business expansion to Vietnam, where the economy is growing at an annual rate of around 8%. Seminars for those interested in doing business in Vietnam have recently attracted many participants, says an official of the Asean-Japan Centre, a Tokyo-based business promotion body.
One recent seminar at the Vietnamese embassy in Tokyo was attended by about 150 business people. Among them, a representative of a midsize parts manufacturer explained that one of the firm’s major clients had newly begun business in Vietnam.
Japanese investment in the Southeast Asian country has recovered from the steep fall that resulted from the Asian currency crisis in the late 1990s. In 2005, fresh Japanese investment reached a record high of 3.3 billion dollars, with a record 810 investment projects launched during the year.
In February this year, US chip giant Intel Corp decided to build a new manufacturing base in Vietnam. In a bid to make investment activities by foreigners more flexible, the country plans to carry out new laws in July.
One of the reasons Vietnam is attracting attention from foreign firms is the diligence and the dexterity of Vietnamese people, experts say.
“Vietnam has an abundance of science-and technology-oriented human resources,” says Tomikazu Nishiki, president of Ichi Corp Vietnam, a unit of a Japanese consulting group.
Many Vietnamese people have the potential to be highly skilled workers if properly trained, Nishiki says.
But Teruyoshi Kubota, head of the Tokyo-based Vietnam Economic Research Institute, cites concerns about the recent increase in labour disputes and strikes, including illegal ones.
“There were 193 labour disputes in January-March alone,” Kubota says, adding that the Vietnamese government should take stern action against those that break the law.