South Korean investors share social support in central Viet Nam

Friday, Jun 09, 2023 12:35

A Korean student joins an exchange with Vietnamese school students in a Korean business-funded Corporate Society Responsibility programme in central Viet Nam. — Photo courtesy of Doosan Vina

Although accounting for a 10 per cent share of total South Korean investment capital in Viet Nam, the Korean business community has been positively promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes to contribute to socio-economic development in central Viet Nam over the past decades.

The Consul General of South Korea in Da Nang, Kang Boo Sung, spoke at the CSR Forum among South Korean businesses operating in the central region, emphasising the satisfaction among 250 enterprises working in the region over the past years. More new Korean investors are turning their attention to this destination.

"South Korea is seen as the largest investor in Viet Nam with an accumulated US$81 billion since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1992, and an amount of $4.88 billion in newly granted investment capital has been recorded," said Kang Boo Sung.

"The two-way trade turnover between the two countries reached $81.1 billion in 2022 – 160 times the amount 30 years ago, while about 8,000 enterprises are operating in Viet Nam," he said.

The Korean business community contributes to Viet Nam’s economic growth, but also fosters joint development between businesses and the local community through CSR programmes. These initiatives aim to improve infrastructure projects for living conditions, healthcare, and provide financial assistance to underprivileged people, he said.

He also expressed gratitude to local authorities in central Viet Nam for their considerable support to South Korean businesses in dealing with difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Han Chul Joon, General Director of Panko Tam Thang, said the 14-member Korean Company Association Tam Thang in Quang Nam Province has sponsored 3,200 scholarships worth VND2.1 billion ($84,000) for local students, including underprivileged children, in 2020-21.

The Panko Tam Thang company alone provided a total of VND1.6 billion ($64,000) in sponsorships to 2,286 students from 2017-22, while contributing $1 million to the COVID-19 Prevention Fund of the Vietnamese government, he shared.

It donated VND1.2 billion ($48,000) to the provincial COVID-19 Prevention Fund, and an additional VND100 million ($4,000) to aid storm-hit local victims in 2020-21.

Han Chul Joon said the company currently employs 7,000 local workers, and has hosted 500 university students for practical job courses from 2018-22. It has also offered training courses for 1,300 garment trainees in rural and mountainous areas.

He added that the company donates money and gifts to a centre for children with disabilities every month.

A Korean engineer checks the fresh water supply system in An Binh Islet, off the coast of Quang Ngai Province. A seawater desalination plant was built with funds from Doosan Vina in Quang Ngai Province in 2012. — Photo courtesy of Doosan Vina

The Chairman of the Quang Nam Provincial People's Committee, Le Tri Thanh, said the Korean business community had implemented CSR programmes worth VND5.8 billion ($232,000).

Korean investors also invested $860 million in the province, fostering local sustainable development and growth for decades.

Doosan Enerbility Viet Nam (Doosan Vina), viewed as the most successful investor in heavy industry manufacturing and processing in central Viet Nam, has continuously implemented its community responsibilities with a series of social charity programmes. These primarily focus on three areas: health, education, and housing since 2006, said General Director Kim Hyo Tae.

In collaboration with Chung Ang University Hospital Korea, Doosan Vina has been organising free health examinations, providing free medicine, and arranging operations for congenital heart defects, cleft palates, cataracts, and obstetrics and gynaecology issues. These services have benefitted 25,618 local residents in Quang Ngai Province, costing a total of $1.2 million since 2009.

The Dung Quat economic zone-based company donated 83 medical equipment packages worth nearly $423,000 to the Quang Ngai provincial healthcare system, he said.

Sponsorships totalling $335,000 have been awarded to 1,200 students in Ha Noi, HCM City, Quang Ngai, Quang Nam, and Da Nang, he shared.

The heavy industries manufacturer created 1,600 jobs for locals and neighbouring provinces, generating a revenue of $424 million.

It also funded the construction and maintenance of a desalination system on An Binh Islet, 30km off the coast of Quang Ngai, supplying 100 cubic metres of fresh water to 500 islanders since 2012, Kim added.

LG Electronics Development Viet Nam (LGEDV) and Shinhan Bank with Da Nang branches have initiated CSR programmes such as scholarships, coaching and mentoring, supporting poor students and local residents affected by storms and floods.

Lee Jong Wook, Director of the LGEDV Da Nang branch, said 32 scholarships have been provided to local university students, while more than 1,000 other students have participated in job-oriented seminars and training for freshers.

Korean businesses mainly operate their projects in Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, and Quang Ngai.

The South Korean Consulate General was opened in Da Nang in 2020 to boost investment, trade, tourism, and cultural exchanges.

Tourism promotions between Viet Nam's central region and cities of Korea have also been organised by the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) in Viet Nam. These initiatives aim to build tour links between Jeju Island, Incheon, Seoul, and UNESCO-recognised world heritage sites such as Phong Nha-Ke Bang, Hue Monuments Complex, Hoi An ancient town, and My Son Sanctuary in central Viet Nam. — VNS

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