Chinese investors eye VN factories

Major Chinese investors have shown growing interest in Vietnam's manufacturing sector because of the country's low labour costs and its proximity to China, according to a white paper published by the real estate consultancy firm Cushman & Wakefield.

The report, China's Outbound Boom: The Rise of Chinese Investment in Global Real Estate, notes that China has emerged as a major global exporter of capital in recent years, with Chinese outbound real estate investment growing rapidly.

Chinese investors prefer developed and mature markets in Asia, North America and Europe.

Data indicates that Chinese outbound investment in commercial property reached a total of about US$33.7 billion from 2008 to June 2014, growing more than 200-fold during that time.

Recent huge and highly publicised real estate deals around the world highlight the growing presence of Chinese investors in overseas property markets.

Timothy Horton, general manager of Cushman & Wakefield Vietnam, said the Chinese were resuming interest in Vietnam across most sectors after the slowdown earlier this year caused by the Chinese oil-rig illigally placed in Vietnam's waters in the East Sea.

In other asset classes, large-scale developers who have experience in residential projects still see Vietnam and its coastline as relatively untouched and a relatively more affordable option for them in comparison to China and other parts of the region.

"As investment in infrastructure improves throughout Vietnam, it will continue to attract investors across all sectors and we will see the market sustainably correct into the medium-term future," the report said.

"Chinese investors face an array of challenges in going global," Horton said. "These take the form of government controls on capital flows; talent shortages; differences in corporate and management cultures; and unfamiliarity with foreign legal and regulatory environments, including sometimes-daunting tax laws."