DEEP C Industrial Zones strive to make all customers feel at home

Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 09:03

Koen Soenens, General Sales and Marketing Director of DEEP C

More than 20 years after the success of the first project, Dinh Vu Industrial Zone, now DEEP C Industrial Zones, with continuous development and expansion of land fund as well as pioneering in building a sustainable IZ, has become one of the most successful IZs in Viet Nam. It has made positive contribution to the socio-economic development of the economic triangle of Ha Noi – Hai Phong – Quang Ninh.

Viet Nam News reporter Vu Hoa speaks with Koen Soenens, General Sales and Marketing Director of DEEP C about its business plans amid the COVID-19.

What are impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on attracting investment into Viet Nam?

In the short term, I think the impact of the pandemic is undoubtedly negative to us. I mean we have not seen many foreign visitors coming to our office and we are unable to attend overseas events. Basically, we were unable to do our job in a proper way.

However, in the long run, we all hold a strong belief that Viet Nam can be one of the winners from the pandemic for several reasons.

First of all, Viet Nam has received a lot of international recognition for being one of the most successful countries to deal with COVID-19. Amid difficult times like this pandemic, a good governance and stability whereby the Government takes strong measures to protect both the community and businesses are what investors are looking for.

Second, though the pandemic is bad news, at the end of the day, businesses will continue to invest. People will rethink of the supply chain management and the investments which were planned in the pipeline would probably occur in 2021 instead of 2020. When the big decision makers are looking through the list of options where they can spend their capital, I am sure that Viet Nam will always be on the top of that list. And once that happens, we as a private company and the local government in Viet Nam will make sure that we assist the overseas investors in making the right decisions.

Furthermore, regarding business relocation as a result of COVID-19 and other issues, I think that not only companies currently in China but companies that are located in territories under the influence of China such as Taiwan in Hong Kong will also make the move. The relocation may be delayed but it will surely not stop.

Sometimes, I make a joke to my people that when this is all over, we look out our window and may see a long queue of customers waiting in front of our office. There are many reasons for us to believe that the future situation will be different.

There is a wave of industrial real estate investors like you coming from the South to the North. How does it put pressure on your business?

Instead of pressure, I would say excitement. No matter what industries you are in, you need competition because without it, there is no motivation and drive for growth. So basically, with every new IZ coming to the North of Viet Nam, it brings the same message as DEEP C has been trying to bring: Northern Viet Nam is currently the place to be. The more people are convinced of this, the more successful the industry will be. The pie is big enough and there is plenty of food for everyone.

Viet Nam has seen a boom of IZs next to seaports like DEEP C? Do you think we have too many port-connected IZs?

I don’t think so. From a personal perspective, there are still many companies who settled down inland are facing the same problem as it is still challenging and costly to get logistics organised throughout Viet Nam.

Although Viet Nam has been heavily investing in road infrastructure with excellent projects such as Ha Noi – Hai Phong Expressway, unfortunately, there have not yet been many expressways of same quality. Therefore, I do believe port-connected IZs are the key to dealing with logistics issue related to materials import and product export.

What is the biggest challenge you are facing now in Viet Nam?

At the moment, our biggest challenge is that a number of employees got stranded overseas. Many of our tenants in DEEP C who rely on their foreign experts to run essential parts of their businesses face the same problem.

It is also challenging when COVID-19 prevents us from conducting face-to-face communications with clients and providing them with on-site visits, which is essential for closing a deal in this material-oriented industry.

Experts recommend that IZ should be developed into clusters and attracting investments in a certain industry. However, there are different business lines at DEEP C. Do you have any plan to develop into a cluster?

I agreed with that. We are currently targeting seven to eight different kinds of industries that are all situated at a higher segment of the value chain. This is also a part of Vietnamese Government’s strategic master plan on developing specific industries in the next five to ten years.

Of course, you always need a change driver. In Hai Phong, VinFast is one of the major drivers for the development of automotive industry. If we manage to have giant Vinfast-like manufacturers in DEEP C, the rest of the picture will be much clearer since they will bring their supply chain with them.

What are DEEP C’s competitive advantages in attracting investment into your IZs?

One of our main advantages is that we are not a traditional Vietnamese IZ developer. Originating from Belgium, DEEP C is the only European IZ developer in Viet Nam. Over that last 20 years, we have brought European standards to our IZs in terms of operation and sustainability in many different ways.

We are pioneering in developing the eco-industrial park concept over the last couple of years through sourcing power from renewable energy, building the first recycled plastic road in Viet Nam, ensuring water use efficiency, for instance.

We acknowledged the fact that we take something from the environment in the journey of contribution to the development of Quang Ninh and Hai Phong. Hence, we believe that it is our responsibility to minimise our environmental footprint and make positive impacts to the community we live in by investing in sustainable measures as well as applying safety standards. This approach is where we make a difference in the industry.

The renting rate of industrial property is said to spike amid the shifting trend of companies to Viet Nam. What will you say about DEEP C’s price compared to market price?

DEEP C is an economy-driven business. When the demand is higher, the price goes up. To make it clear, it is not up to us to determine the price. We follow the market trend. When I look at the prices in the southern part of Viet Nam, they are much higher than what we are offering here.

Investors are willing to pay us for a reason. First, our premium location is one of the most important selection criteria that a company takes into account in making the investment decision. Second, we are creating added value to our products and services. To be specific, we consider ourselves to be so much more than a land-selling company. We guide and assist companies to invest in Viet Nam and operate their businesses without headache.

Investors come to Viet Nam with a business plan and money, but in many cases, they are new to this country. Hence, we are here to make sure that every dollar they spend is worth it. Selling land is easy. What we sell is a total package for a period of 30 to 40 years during which we strive to make sure our clients feel at home with us. — VNS

DEEP C has invested in two industrial zones in Quang Yen Economic Zone, Quang Ninh Province with a total scale of 1,680ha. In its investment plan, a 180,000sq.m factory area at DEEP C Quang Ninh is being built and will be put into operation in 2021. It is expected that by the end of this year, DEEP C Quang Ninh will also sign the first infrastructure leasing contract. The project is scheduled to be implemented in early 2021. — VNS


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