Vietnam a ‘favorite investment destination’: Singapore investors

Singapore companies consider Vietnam a rising star and a favorite investment destination in Southeast Asia thanks to the country’s development and policy reforms.

At the Vietnam-Singapore Business Forum on Friday, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said he was impressed that the conference hall was filled with representatives of 500 companies, showing a special interest by local businesses in the business and investment environment in Vietnam.

Singapore Manpower Minister and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said that the economic cooperation, investment and trade relations between the two countries are vibrant, and that the establishment of a digital and green economy partnership between Vietnam and Singapore will bring bilateral relations to a new height, especially in the fields of energy, infrastructure, and innovation.

The Singapore Business Federation said that Vietnam, with its stable policies and dynamic economy, is an important investment partner and a favorite investment destination for Singaporean companies in the region.

Since 2019, Singapore has implemented the “Global Connect” program to provide information and support businesses to invest in Vietnam.

After more than four years, this program has supported 500 businesses and more than 400 projects and promoted the expansion of product categories and investment fields.

Singapore ranks second in the world in terms of investment in Vietnam, with 3,095 projects worth a total of $70.8 billion, accounting for 22.9% of Vietnam’s total registered foreign direct investment capital.

Chinh said that the impressive development of Singapore inspired Vietnam.

“By looking at what you have done we have learned to take small steps on the path of becoming a developed country and to make Vietnam thrive.”

He added that the Vietnam–Singapore relationship is setting a new milestone after 50 years of diplomatic relations and 10 years of strategic partnership.

In the past 50 years, the two countries’ diplomatic relations “went from small to large, simple to complex, from nothing to something,” and importantly, the two sides “understand and trust each other more to do business and cooperate long-term, Chinh added.

This good relationship is the foundation and basis for investors to continue to cooperate with harmonized benefits and shared risks, he said.

Minister Tan See Leng said he expected businesses of the two countries to cooperate closely in potential fields such as energy, innovation, digital economy and green economy.

These are important fields and pillars to bring the two countries’ relations to a new height in the fields of economy, investment and trade, he added.

Having invested in Vietnam for more than 20 years, Tow Heng Tan, vice chairman of the Board of Directors of Sembcorp Group – the developer of the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs) – said he was impressed with the change and development of the country.

He said that the needs of enterprises in the industrial sector are changing very quickly with higher requirements.

Sembcorp will soon redirect the development of the VSIP industrial park from developing isolated industrial parks to hubs of industry and service.

Technology is playing an important role in speeding up digital transformation, Tan said, adding that Vietnam should map out steps to adapt to new investment trends and the preferences of investors.

“Change is something that always happens, so it is necessary to build trust in the authorities, partners and customers,” he said. He expressed his desire to work closely with Vietnam in the fields of renewable energy and smart industrial parks.

Prime Minister Chinh said Vietnam is a developing country and that there will be difficulties, but he added that “the more difficult it is, the more united we will be, the stronger reforms will be, and the more favorable conditions will be promoted” for investors in Vietnam.

“Nothing is easy,” he said. “We need to accept, identify and untangle difficulties together.”

In 2021, trade turnover between Vietnam and Singapore reached $8.3 billion and increased to about $9 billion in 2022.

Chinh and his wife Le Thi Bich Tran began their official visit to Singapore on Wednesday at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The Vietnamese prime minister will leave the country on Friday afternoon for an official visit to Brunei, which will end on Saturday.