EU firms call Vietnam’s central region home

Central Vietnam is developing as a leading investment destination for European businesses. Gellert Horvath, co-chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, discussed with VIR the region’s promising business outlook ahead of the EuroCham Central Vietnam Business Forum on November 24.

eu firms call vietnam’s central region home hinh 0
Gellert Horvath, co-chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam
Many more EuroCham member companies are operating in Central Vietnam than have been before. How have they performed over the past year? What are the new investment opportunities for them in this region?

Outside of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Danang and with it Central Vietnam is a leading trade and investment destination for European business. What we hear from our approximately 50 members doing business in the region is that they are very satisfied with their growth and are here to stay. 

Examples include the German web application development company Mgm Technology, which started at the end of 2015 and is now expanding their business, opening a second facility in Danang.

Sioux, a tech company, helped Danang’s public transportation by launching its DANABUS app last year. Gameloft, a global gaming and software company, has been present and growing in Danang for 13 years and is a popular employer for talented IT graduates.

These are but a few successful stories from the ICT sector that add to the many European tourism and hospitality ventures here in Danang, as well as many longstanding branches in other sectors of well-known brands like Audi, Bosch, and Red Apron.

EuroCham realised this promising outlook and the potential of Danang when we became the first large foreign chamber of commerce to open a representative office in Danang in November 2016. We are certain that areas such as ICT, tourism and hospitality, infrastructure green technology (renewable energy and sustainable building in particular), and education will remain strong here in the coming years.

Central cities and provinces are calling on investment in a number of sectors, including transport, IT, and wastewater industrial parks.

What are the targeted projects among EuroCham’s member companies?

The ECV Business Forum is a good example of how companies with an interest in such projects can ask questions directly to the investment authorities in cities and provinces, while also being able to establish contacts for future partnerships. 

EuroCham members come from a multitude of industries, and any of the areas mentioned above are within their expertise, and particularly that of EuroCham members already in Vietnam.

Our business community wants to do more, but more clarity needs to be given on how to participate in these projects, how investment is protected, and what return-on-investment is ensured with transparency, accountability, and a true spirit of co-operation.

As stated in our 2017 Whitebook – the ninth edition, detailing trade and investment issues and recommendations – improving the public-private partnership framework, tendering transparency, investment protection rules, and tax incentive clarity could go a long way to create confidence among our members.

Many have done business in Vietnam, many are aware of possible hurdles, and many have succeeded in creating fruitful projects with Vietnamese local governments. The fact that success is possible is well known – the recently-launched EuroCham Greenbook and website shows many of these cases – but communication is key in order to attract more investors to important projects in cities and provinces in Vietnam.

The ECV Business Forum 2017 will be held in Danang this week. What are the highlights of the event?

The ECV Business Forum is the most comprehensive event on central Vietnam’s business potential and updates. By covering the business landscape in Danang, Thua Thien-Hue, and Quang Nam, the forum is a unique occasion to look into Vietnam’s central region from a holistic perspective, highlighting the comparative advantages for business offered by these three provinces.

It will gather the investment promotion authorities of Central Vietnam, putting them face-to-face with current and prospective businesses. The agenda goes over crucial topics for trade and investment, where the local governments will inform incoming businesses and investors on what they can expect in Central Vietnam in terms of plans for new tax incentives, industrial zones and parks, and new infrastructure projects.

Beyond a macro-economic and tax outlook, experts will also cover matters related to real estate, education and training, sustainable building, and smart cities, among other topics.

As part of the event, EuroCham will launch the EuroCham Greenbook in Central Vietnam. The Greenbook is a publication and a website that show Vietnam’s green business landscape, including how it looks currently concerning investment potential and the regulatory landscape.

In addition, it also offers policy recommendations and comparative examples from Europe on how the business environment could be improved, looking towards a greener future for the country with the participation of citizens, government, and the private sector.

The Greenbook focuses particularly on renewable energy, waste and water management, smart cities, and green building. It also features a company directory of experienced enterprises with proven delivery in Vietnam, which stand ready to provide the necessary expertise and knowledge to overcome Vietnam’s development challenges.

European companies will enjoy facilitated market access to Vietnam under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (scheduled to come into force in 2018), and now is the time to foster a lasting partnership where both parties can benefit from what each has to offer.


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