In a talk with a VNA reporter revolving around the withdrawal of several foreign banks from Vietnam, Hai said the country has many advantages that attract foreign investors, such as stable economic growth and socio-political situation and a young and dynamic population.
|Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Vietnam Pham Hong Hai
In particular, the country has an open government supportive of international economic integration, as seen through its signing of a series of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, with the latest being the CPTPP. Those agreements, with their standards and principles on trade, investment, intellectual property, the environment and labour, are expected to open up many business opportunities and promote Vietnam as an investment destination.
The bank chief further cited figures that demonstrated Vietnam’s potential, including a retail market worth US$158 billion in 2016 with an average growth of 20% (statistics of the Vietnam General Statistics Office), and a huge market with the third largest population in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with an expanding middle class expected to reach 35 million before 2020.
He also took note of the Government’s moves to improve the business and investment environment, which helped improve Vietnam’s ranking in the Getting Credit category of the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018 to the 29th place among 190 surveyed nations with 75 out of 100 points, up 5 points from 2017 and higher than the average 57 points in the East Asia-Pacific region.
The country is also catching up with the global trend of non-cash payment and fintech.
All those factors have helped Vietnam maintain its attractiveness towards foreign investors, Hai said.
Regarding recent moves of foreign banks in Vietnam, he called attention to the current trend among those banks when they shift focus on markets where they have advantages and those of large scale in order to achieve growth in line with the goals set by the parent banks.
According to Hai, many foreign banks are reviewing their long-term operation strategies in Vietnam with a view to making suitable adjustments and investment decisions. They are focusing efforts on self-driven development and their own internal strength, according to Hai. Meanwhile, foreign investment funds are likely to invest in domestic banks with potential for development and healthy business administration.
Therefore, it can be said that the change in forms of investment such as becoming strategic partners, re-purchasing or investing in self-driven development is normal in foreign banks’ operation, he said.
About HSBC Vietnam’s targets, the director general said it will push forwards with the goal to become the bank of choice of foreign investors who want to do business in Vietnam, and also of domestic firms which want to expand to the world market.
He added that retail financial services and corporate finance will continue to be the two key development priorities for his bank.
“Our goal is to become the best international bank in Vietnam,” Hai said.