n the first two months of this year, only two regional provinces, Long An and Tien Giang, attracted three foreign-invested projects, with a total registered capital of only $1.63 million.

The region's unsatisfactory performance has been attributed to poor strategies to attract investment, which has resulted in competition among provinces and a lack of co-ordinated investment promotion, according to Tran Huu Hiep, head of the Southeastern Steering Committee's socio-economic department.

FDI has also been hindered by insufficient infrastructure and a shortage of skilled workers.

He called for tighter linkages among provinces to exploit the region's advantages, particularly in infrastructure and agriculture, and asked provincial authorities to take steps to enhance the number and quality of labourers.

In addition, he recommended creating a regional linkage mechanism, a trade-tourism-investment promotion plan until 2015, and a cooperative strategy between the region and national and international organisations.

Da Nang gets $26m in FDI

The central city of Danang has attracted five new projects worth $26.4 million in foreign investment so far this year.

They include a 2.5MW solar energy plant costing $9.1 million to be built by Methis Environmental Vietnam Ltd of Belgium, according to Le Canh Duong, deputy director of the Investment Promotion Centre.

Last week authorities allowed Korean company Daewon Engineering & Construction Co Ltd to increase its investment by $16 million in its Danang project.

The city now has 213 foreign-invested projects with a total capitalisation of over $3.1 billion, mostly in the tourism, services, property, and manufacturing industries.

Investments have come from British Virgin Island, the Republic of Korea, the US, Hong Kong, Japan and 25 other countries and territories.

The biggest are the $325 million Capital Square Complex (the US), $250 million Da Phuoc Urban Area (the Republic of Korea), $116 million Hyatt Regency Danang Resort & Spa (the US), and $60 million Blooming Tower (the Republic of Korea).

Foreign firms export a combined $400 million annually, with their products shipped mainly to the US, the EU and northeast Asia.

Van Huu Chien, chair of the city People's Committee, said the city has shifted its investment focus from tourism and property-which appear saturated-to hi-tech industries and high-quality services.

Japanese firms have invested $240 million in 51 projects in these sectors.

Danang is expected to attract more investment in the sectors from European and American firms.

The focus will be on encouraging the form of PPP (public-private partnership) investment in waste treatment and infrastructure development.

"We are enhancing our partnership with foreign investors with financial capacity and expertise such as ITG (the US), Vinacapital, Indochinacapital, Mabuchi, Metro, and Big C," Chien said.

The city has established external and economic relations with nearly 80 countries and territories around the world.

Radio Voice Of Vietnam - March 15, 2012

Speaking at a seminar on the Provincial Competitiveness Index held in Can Tho on Tuesday, Dau Anh Tuan of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the Mekong Delta had not fulfilled its potential as an attractive destination for local and foreign investors.

The amount of investment, which is mostly from domestic companies, is low compared to Da Nang and Binh Duong Province.

Only a few foreign-invested businesses have cSTCn to invest in the region, with only six foreign-invested projects in Long An Province and four in Can Tho City being launched last year.

Vietnam Investment Review - March 15, 2012