Fast-growing Binh Duong appeals to local, foreign investors

Monday, Nov 25, 2019 07:41

Binh Duong New City, where the 2019 Horasis Asia Meeting takes place from November 24 to 26, is a 45-minute drive from HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat airport. — Photo courtesy of Becamex IDC Corp

As one of the fastest-growing provinces in the southern key economic zone and among Viet Nam’s hottest investment destinations, Binh Duong is opening its doors to investors in a diverse range of fields.

Tran Thanh Liem, chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, said: “Binh Duong Province has all the conditions needed to become one of Asia’s most attractive investment destinations. With its modern infrastructure, it has become one of the leading localities in attracting FDI (foreign direct investment) in Viet Nam.”

As Viet Nam’s emerging gateway for technology, trade and services, the province is well positioned to serve as a commercial hub for Southeast Asian economies, he added.

The province is the most vibrant business region in the country, with a growth rate 1.5 times faster than the country as a whole, according to Liem.

Investment in a wide range of fields, including industry, trade and services, education, and human resources, is now being sought.

Just two decades ago, Binh Duong was an agricultural area with modest infrastructure, but now is the third largest FDI destination in the country, behind only HCM City and Ha Noi.

More than 3,700 FDI projects from 64 countries and territories operate in the province.

“Investment priorities are in the high-tech industry, supporting industry, IT, precision engineering, trade, and services,” Liem said.

“Binh Duong is proud to host the Horasis again this year as the country aims to become an export economy that is growing rapidly and providing more high-paying jobs,” he said.

Binh Duong New City, where the event opens today, is a 45-minute drive from HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat international airport.

Many CEOs and investors from Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, India and other parts of the world have been invited to Binh Duong to look at the huge FDI opportunities there.

Horasis Chairman and Founder Frank-Jürgen Richter said that Binh Duong had sufficient “hard” infrastructure but now would need “soft infrastructure” such as more high quality human resources, and would need to continue to catch up with more developed countries in Asia and other regions.

Nguyen Van Hung, chairman of Becamex IDC, noted that Horasis was one of the most important events which Binh Duong was proud to host and would be vital to the smart-city plan of Binh Duong.

According to Don Lam, CEO of VinaCapital, besides good infrastructure development, competitive labour costs, and good training facilities, Binh Duong is known for its proactive and pro-business authorities.

Binh Duong jumped from 14th in 2017 to sixth nationwide in 2018 in the 2018 Provincial Competitiveness Index from the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In the southeast region, Binh Duong has surpassed HCM City and is now in first place, with a score of 66.09 points on a scale of 100 in 2018.

“The time is ripe for us to talk about Binh Duong’s potential to attract investors and investment,” Lam said.

Smart city scheme

Binh Duong Smart City is part of the Binh Duong Smart Zone project that includes fast-growing localities such as Thu Dau Mot City, Di An Town, Thuan An Town, Tan Uyen Town, and Ben Cat Town.

Launched in 2016, the smart city scheme is a major part of the province’s “breakthrough” development programmes. Its core mission is to build interaction between the state, scientists and entrepreneurs.

To execute the project, the province has coordinated with Eindhoven City in the Netherlands, as well as the South Korean city of Daejon and the World Technopolis Association.

Under the smart city scheme, Binh Duong aims to strengthen workers’ skills and education; expand R&D activities and build a start-up eco-system; attract more FDI in high-tech manufacturing; and improve transport, the ICT infrastructure, the business climate and people’s living conditions.

Binh Duong New City will be the centre of the smart province and house the most important urban areas, and research and educational institutions, as well as industrial zones.

Binh Duong Smart City is home to a growing number of Techlabs and Fablabs located in schools, universities and vocational colleges around the province. The labs collaborate closely with industrial partners and the province’s Department of Science and Technology.

Techlabs offer practical education in the latest technology, including equipment provided by industry partners. They also provide a space for joint research projects between universities and local employers.

Binh Duong’s Techlabs include a lighting lab at Eastern International University, a mechanical electrical lab at Viet Nam-Singapore Vocational College and an ICT lab at Thu Dau Mot University, with a robotics and intelligent systems lab, a power electronics system lab, and a data analysis and artificial intelligence lab in the works.

Binh Duong also aims to join the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) before 2021, which will allow it to link up with a network of 160 smart provinces and cities around the world.

Local agencies have been told to prioritise projects related to semiconductors and LED lighting projects, and e-government. Provincial agencies will seek more partnerships with neighbouring cities and provinces, as well as businesses and local and international experts, to help with the project.

Binh Duong was the only area in Viet Nam named as one of the world’s Smart21 communities of 2018 by the New York-based Intelligent Community Forum, a non-profit policy research organisation focused on job creation and economic development in the broadband economy.

Last year the province hosted the World Technopolis Association Summit 2018, attracting around 100 members from the World Technopolis Association from nearly 50 countries and territories. — VNS

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