Japanese business giants eye expansion in Vietnam

By Thanh Thanh Lan   November 23, 2021 | 08:34 pm PT
Japanese business giants eye expansion in Vietnam
Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) meets a representative of Fast Retailing, the owner of the fashion brand Uniqlo, in Tokyo, Japan, November 23, 2021. Photo by Nhat Bac
Japanese companies, including retailer Aeon and energy firm Enos, have told Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh that they want to expand their investments in Vietnam.

The country’s business environment is improving and Japanese companies have confidence in their Vietnamese operations, the heads of major companies told Chinh in Tokyo Tuesday. The Prime Minister is on a four-day official visit to Japan.

Aeon, with six malls in the Southeast nation, has invested $1.18 billion in the country so far, and its chairman, Motoya Okada, said it wants to double the number of malls.

It also wants to list on the Vietnamese stock market and begin exports of fisheries and garment products to Japan, he added.

Chinh said the company’s plan is opportune since Vietnam now offers great advantages due to its 17 free trade agreements.

Aeon could expand its business and source products from several localities like Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, An Giang, and Kien Giang, he said.

Eneos, one of the biggest energy firms in Japan and with annual revenues of $70 billion in Vietnam, wants to expand its investment.

Chairman Tsutomu Sugimori expressed interest in Vietnam’s energy development plan and helping reduce its carbon emissions.

Chinh welcomed this, saying his country is drafting its Power Development Plan VIII with a focus on diversifying power sources and developing clean and renewable energy.

Fast Retailing, which owns fashion brand Uniqlo, wants to invest further in Vietnam. Chinh said the company should to help local employees reach global standards.

Japan’s leading pharmaceutical firm Shionogi wants to establish its first Covid-19 research and manufacturing facility in Southeast Asia in Vietnam. Conglomerate Hitachi wants to contribute to Vietnam’s railway development.

Masayoshi Fujimoto, chairman of conglomerate Sojitz Corporation, said his company is also interested in reducing carbon emissions in Vietnam.

It has 17 ventures in Vietnam in equipment manufacturing, energy, chemicals, electricity, and others.

Chinh said Sojitz should grow timber in his country and export it to major markets.

Another conglomerate, Marubeni Corporation, is interested in power projects in Vietnam and wants to develop infrastructure for the Quang Yen economic zone in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

Chinh said it should focus on Vietnam’s transition to energy sources that are modern and environment-friendly.

He told the executives they could contact his ministers to resolve any challenges they might face while seeking to invest. "If that does not work, send me a letter directly".

Japan was the third biggest foreign direct investor in Vietnam in the first 10 months, behind Singapore and South Korea, with a registered capital of nearly $3.4 billion, accounting for 14.3 percent of total, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

In the first 10 months, bilateral trade rose 6.4 percent year-on-year to $34.4 billion, according to Vietnam Customs.

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