Singaporean investment in Vietnam expected to thrive

Following several cooperation agreements and commitments reached, Singaporean and regional investment in Vietnam is expected to thrive in the months to come.

Visiting Vietnam last week to attend the Singapore Regional Business Forum (SRBF) on July 7, Ashleigh Toh, Strategy and Innovation manager at tech service provider NCS said it felt different to her previous visits, and this time she expected to seek partners and business opportunities.

“It’s great to see a bit more focus on building up capabilities within the country and the use of technology, and I was very excited,” she said. “We want to continue to expand within APEC, with Vietnam being one of the markets.”

NCS, which is a member company of Singtel Group, has a huge presence in Singapore. It also has a small team in Hanoi, serving various clients.

BIPO Service Singapore was also at the forum and has had an office in Hanoi for six years. “We seek to collaborate with Vietnamese companies to go out into the wider global market to go beyond Vietnam,” Albert Liew, managing director for Singapore and Indochina, told VIR.

“We hope we can serve as a catalyst to help drive this because we provide a piece of software that can be applied across multiple geographic domains.”

Technology and digital transformation are among the new growth areas Vietnam and Singapore are targeting to boost ties. The others are clean energy, sustainable development, and smart cities. This trend is being enforced by Singapore and Vietnam’s Green Digital Economic Partnership MoU signed in February this year, and a number of MoUs and commitments made at the SRBF.

Twelve MoUs in sustainability, digitalization, financial services, and human capital development were signed at the event between public and private sector organizations from Singapore and Vietnam, including between trade associations and business chambers, as well as higher education institutions and financial institutions. They will deepen collaboration opportunities between Singapore and Vietnam.

Singaporean interest in Vietnam flourishes
Singaporean interest in Vietnam flourishes.

In the banking field, during the forum, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and UOB launched a joint corporate social responsibility initiative to nurture young talent in finance, technology, and innovation.

Kok Ping Soon, SBF CEO said, “The region is ripe for an acceleration of regional collaboration and growth. The agreements signed today are reflective of the keen interest in deeper collaboration to seize regional opportunities and build stronger businesses and economies. SBF will support our companies to be part of the region’s growth.”

As part of the event, 24 Singapore businesses in services, manufacturing, and lifestyle/consumer industries took a tour of key economic sites in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh to learn about potential business opportunities there. They also learned about the emerging business landscape and investment opportunities in Haiphong, Hung Yen, and Nghe An.

Separately, the Singapore Furniture Industries Council also led a delegation of 20 business leaders from 15 member companies to explore potential collaborations with Vietnamese companies.

Singapore is the second-biggest foreign investor in Vietnam with a total number of 3,200 projects and accumulative registered capital of 73.4 billion USD, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment. Singaporean businesses have joined almost all of Vietnam’s business sectors.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese investors have poured money into about 150 projects in Singapore with a total registered capital of 700 million USD, mostly focusing on professional activities and sci-tech.

Singapore is also a leading trade partner of Vietnam in the region, with total two-way trade turnover reaching 9.2 billion USD in 2022, up 11.6 per cent from 2021.

According to the Ministry for Manpower and Ministry for Trade and Industry in Singapore, the digital economy and green economy are two emerging areas presenting vast opportunities for Southeast Asia. The ministries have proposed three areas where Singapore and Vietnam can work hand-in-hand to seize the opportunities of the next decade and deepen bilateral cooperation: innovation, energy connectivity, and sustainability.

There is significant growth potential for green economic growth in Southeast Asia. An estimated 1 trillion USD of green economic opportunities is expected to be generated by 2030, and governments within the region have demonstrated increasing commitment to addressing climate change.

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said, “Vietnam is promoting green growth and action towards achieving the net-zero commitment by 2050. And the country welcomes businesses who have strong expertise, and a powerful finance capacity to join the effort.”

Similarly, Southeast Asia’s digital economy is projected to reach 1 trillion USD by 2030. Southeast Asian countries are strengthening digital economy cooperation through regional agreements such as the ASEAN E-Commerce Agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the proposed ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement, in which negotiations will be launched later this year.

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Bich Thuy
(Source: VIR)