Buoyant Vietnam leads Asean for investment 

An Asia-Pacific study says Vietnam remains a leading destination for foreign direct investment. 

More than 1,000 employers contributed to the PwC survey “Doing business across borders in Asia Pacific 2019-20”.

Nearly 50 per cent of Vietnamese firms said they were “very confident” of receiving ongoing investment, compared to an average rate of 34 per cent for employers in other Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) countries. 

It said 80 per cent of companies in Vietnam were planning to invest in automation and workforce skills in the belief that technological advancements might be successful. 

The Vietnamese technology sector is particularly buoyant. 

Vietnam’s fintech firms also secured US$410 million or 36 per cent of the global capital flowing into Asean between January and September.

Its share of regional venture capital funding devoted to fintech has risen from 0.4 per cent in 2018, according to a separate report by the United Overseas Bank (UOB), PwC and the Singapore Fintech Association.

Vietnam’s economic boom has come at an environmental cost. The country has seen the world’s biggest increase in use of the heavily polluting coal to generate power to meet rising demand with coal imports doubling and domestic coal production rising by 10 per cent in the year until October. 

To meet rising demand for electricity, Vietnam could consider backing Norwegian floating wind technology along its coastline. Norwegian energy giant Equinor has experimented with its first floating wind farm, called Hywind, off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea in late 2017 and has since started to develop similar projects off the Canary Islands in the Atlantic and in Norwegian and US waters. 

PwC’s chief in Vietnam Dinh Thi Quynh Van said: “Amid anticipated pressure from increased challenges to cross border activities, Vietnam is holding on to its momentum for continuous growth with business leaders’ confidence boosted with uplifted optimism, and the economy continues to attract investments not only from overseas but also from its expanding domestic force.”

Apec together accounts for half of the world’s trade and more than half of its gross domestic product.

Of those interviewed who were already involved in Vietnam, 44 per cent said they planned to increase investment in the Communist-run state in the next year. 

PwC’s chairman Bob Moritz said: “Business leaders don’t often call for more regulation, but companies are acutely aware of the risk that disconnected or ineffective policies in areas such as AI, cybersecurity and privacy protection can have on their plans for investment and the trust that consumers have in business.”


Picture credit: Wikimedia