According to the agency, which works under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, in 2015, Vietnam had a total investment of US$625 million in foreign countries from 102 new projects and 53 Vietnamese projects that were registered to increase their investment capital.
The local enterprises expanded their investment activities to new markets such as the United States, Russia, Singapore and Germany and also promoted investments in traditional markets that included Laos and Cambodia, it said.
They have focussed investment on some industries that are their strong points such as mining, farming, forestry and fishery. They have also expanded to other new industries including information, electric, property, financial, banking and insurance industries, the agency said.
Phan Huu Thang, director of the Foreign Investment Research Centre under Hanoi National Economics University, and also former head of FIA, said the promotion of local investment in foreign countries was necessary for Vietnam when the nation has joined many free trade agreements and put the Law on Investment amended in 2014, effective since July 1, 2015.
The amended law has created more favourable conditions for the enterprises in implementing investment activities.
Vietnamese firms have mainly invested in projects in Laos and Cambodia as strategic markets for local companies, Thang said, and added that now, they have entered Africa and the Americas with successful projects of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam). The group was permitted by Myanmar to exploit and explore oil and gas in the nation.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s military-run Telecommunications Group (Viettel) started to develop two new markets including Tanzania and Burundi in 2015, bringing its total foreign markets to 10 in the Asia, the America and the Africa with a total population of 260 million and a total of 75 million subscribers, the Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourers) newspaper reported.
The group expected to develop their business in 20 foreign countries by 2020 and it has studied new markets in the Eastern Europe, the Latin America, the Africa and the Asia.
Nguyen Mai, chairman of the Association of Foreign-invested Enterprises in Vietnam, said Viettel has developed its investment in niche market and markets that have great potential because local firms could not compete with foreign rivals in the financial sector.
However, Thang said only oil, gas and telecom project have had large investment capital while most projects of local firms have funds on a small scale. Projects in service and banking industries have mainly aimed at providing supports for Vietnamese export products at foreign countries.
Mại said the State should control capital resources in foreign currencies and encourage local firms to put investment to industries that strengthen enterprises. They could enter the American markets, including the US and Canada, via Cuban market due to lower spending.
Tran Huu Huynh, chairman of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC), said the important thing for local firms in developing investment activities in foreign countries includes creativity, ability in seeking markets, and suitable products for foreign markets.