Since the beginning of 2014, 41 countries and territories have invested great projects in Vietnam. South Korea is one of leading investors in Vietnam with a total investment capital of newly registered and additional US$ 1.55 billion, accounting for 22.6% of total investment in Vietnam. Hong Kong ranks the second with a total investment capital of newly registered and additional US$1 billion, accounting for 14.7% of total investment. Meanwhile, Japan ranks the third with a US$806 million newly registered and additional investment capital, accounting for 11.7% of total investment, followed by Singapore with US$732.1 million, accounting for 10.69% of total investment in Vietnam. In this period, foreign investors have invested in 43 provinces and cities in the country. Ho Chi Minh City is the leading city of foreign investment with US$886.3 million newly registered and additional capital, increasing 12.9% in total capital investment. Binh Duong Province is the city ranking the second with US$876.05 million, accounting for 12.8%. Dong Nai Province ranks the third with US$688.37 million, accounting for 10%; followed by Quang Ninh, Hai Duong, Tay Ninh, with capitals of US$573.5 million, US$382.1 million and US$349.9 million respectively.
Annually, there are hundreds of foreign direct investments in Vietnam conducted, which proves the position of Vietnam in the region and in the world. According to the Foreign Investment Department (under Ministry of Planning and Investment), in 2013, Vietnam attracted nearly US$22 billion of foreign direct investment. This fund reached its highest level since 2008. The investment quality is gradually improved, reducing the difficulties in Vietnam economy. Typically, a number of large-scale investment projects such as Nghi Son Refinery in Thanh Hoa of Japanese investor; Samsung Electronics Vietnam in Thai Nguyen; BOT Coal-fired power plant in Vinh Tan of Chinese investor; LG Electronics Vietnam of Korean investor in Hai Phong. The areas in which foreign investors are interested in are industrial processing and manufacturing with more than 600 projects, followed by sectors of manufacturing; distributing electricity, gas, water, air; and real estate, etc.
Currently, Unilever is one of the most successful foreign investors in Vietnam. Unilever started its business in Vietnam since 1995. It is one of the top leading consumer goods manufacturers specializing in food, home and personal care products in the world. The corporation has been operating in over 150 countries, with a modern manufacturing zone in Cu Chi (Ho Chi Minh City). Through an extensive local network of 150 distributors and 200.000 retailers, Unilever Vietnam directly recruits more than 1.500 employees and creates nearly 10,000 indirect jobs who work in its third parties, suppliers and distributors. Today, many brands of Unilever such as OMO, P/S, Clear, Pond’s, Knorr, Lifebuoy, Sunsilk, VIM, Lipton, Sunlight, VISO, Rexona, etc. have become popular in all households in Vietnam. In Vietnam, the success of Unilever’s business, high responsibilities to the community and environment will play their part as the solid foundation for the company to deliver its strong commitments. Making every Vietnamese life better is their target. With average double-digit annual growth over a decade, Unilever Vietnam has actually become one of the most successful foreign investors in Vietnam. Many prestigious awards have been presented to Unilever Vietnam by the Government for its great contribution to society, community development and environment in Vietnam.
Recently, Vietnam becomes the “stronghold” of tycoons from Africa and Middle East. According to report of Foreign Investment Department in June 2014, there are seven African countries directly investing in Vietnam, with 77 projects having total capital of US$306 million. The African enterprises invest in Vietnam in sectors of processing, manufacturing, services of residence and consultant, activities of science and technology, and wholesale and retails, etc. Meanwhile, the Middle East investors are active in Vietnam foreign investment in areas such as oil refineries, steel processing, real estate, cattle and dairy processing. In particular, reputable groups in the Middle East are showing their interest in real estate projects in Vietnam with billion-dollar scales. In the context of the real estate market Vietnam still looks for resources to recover, a series of investors from the Middle East countries continuously seeks investment opportunities as a significant positive signal.
Foreign investment in Vietnam is a force to bring innovations in structure, creating the impetus to get businesses, technological resources, high technology, friendly environment, high productivity, good management skills and creating competitive market not only in Vietnam but also in the international market. Attracting foreign investment will create incentives for restructuring Vietnam economy and creating a competitive environment for Vietnamese businesses to make great accomplishment. According to economic experts, to develop clear strategies and orientation to be more effective in appealing foreign direct investment, Vietnam policies should be prioritized in sectors of high technology, industrial production and supporting industries, infrastructure development and financial market.