Dr Jonathan Choi, Chairman of the Hong Kong-based Sunwah Group, has expressed his optimism about Vietnam’s future, saying the country has recovered “very quickly” after the COVID-19 pandemic was controlled and is one of the best performers in the ASEAN in this regard.
In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) in Hanoi on August 5, Choi said Vietnam has made a good decision on the pandemic as the country opened doors right after the situation got better.
Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth was one of the best in the region, and many investors from Hong Kong (China) and all over the world would like to come to the Southeast Asian nation.
Expressing his belief that the Vietnamese market will grow very fast in the time ahead, Choi emphasised the country’s potential in a range of areas, from finance to smart city development, innovation, property and agricultural products, in which Vietnam and Hong Kong can cooperate.
Notably, Hong Kong is interested in investing in property and many Hong Kong developers want to invest in the Southeast Asian country, he continued.
Choi said Sunwah wants to help Vietnam promote its agricultural products to China, a market with 1.4 billion people who love Vietnamese agricultural products like fruits and seafood.
He also mentioned a new business method – setting up a Vietnamese pavilion on the top of different e-commerce platforms to enable Chinese consumers to buy Vietnamese products directly.
For innovation, the Group marked a milestone in the field in 2020 with the establishment of Sunwah Innovations and the opening of various innovation centres in Vietnam, mainland China, and Cambodia, together with the launching of the Sunwah International Innovation Platform (SWIIP).
Sunwah Innovation Centre Ho Chi Minh City is launched in December 2020 as the flagship of Sunwah Innovation Centres’ network. The centre is aimed at becoming a key player of the local startup ecosystem, actively promoting Vietnam’s innovation and entrepreneurship development in its rise into a regional and global startup hub.
Meanwhile, Sunwah Innovation Centre Hanoi was established in 2022 with a primary focus on students' innovation and entrepreneurship. It also acts as a bridge between various ministries, departments, and agencies, as well as the group's partners, who are experts and start-up support groups from both within and outside the country, with the goal of strengthening the country's startup and innovation ecosystem.
Choi said the two centres are operating fruitfully and Vietnamese startups are very successful, taking the Sunwah-sponsored international competition for startups in Hong Hong as an example, where Vietnam entered the top 10 among 100 participating countries.
In this regard, Jesse Choi, the third generation to inherit and lead the group, said Vietnam’s startup ecosystem is one of the most vibrant in Southeast Asia, along with Indonesia and Singapore.
Apart from the innovation centres in Hanoi and HCM City, he cited a women entrepreneurship programme launched by Sunwah and its partners to help female entrepreneurs enhance their skills and lead their startups.
He said starting business in Vietnam with seafood processing, his father has expanded the business to eight sectors, which has created a firm foundation and a lot of opportunities for him to run the group in Southeast Asia.
Jesse Choi noted that he will work more on innovation and continue to seek opportunities to expand the group’s operations in Vietnam.
Jonathan Choi has been on a working trip to Vietnam after three years of hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jonathan Choi, who is also Chairman of the Guangdong – Hong Kong – Macao Bay Area (GBA) Entrepreneurs Union, said he wants to use this opportunity to promote the new “energetic” region whose population reached over 86 million and its GDP was US$1,668.8 billion in 2020.
GBA is a good place for investment and a big market for Vietnamese products, he said.