Than Trong Phuc, Director of DFJ VinaCapital (DFJV), when talking about Viet Kieu’s investment in Vietnam, commented that the number of investment projects remains modest, while the quality is below the expectations.

Despite the considerable achievements in the retail, finance investment and real estate fields, Viet Kieu’s investment still does not have influences to the national economy and cannot serve as the motivating power for the economy to develop.

Viet Kieu are now the big shareholders of many famous conglomerates in different business fields, such as Techcombank, VP Bank, (banking), Vingroup (real estate), Masan (consumer goods), or Melinh Plaza (retail), Furama (resort) and Air Mekong (air carrier).

Vingroup is one of the most famous Viet Kieu invested groups, whose name is associated with its owner – Pham Nhat Vuong.

Vuong, who owns the well known Technocom brand in Ukraine, has been very successful with his real estate projects in Vietnam kicked off since 2000s, including Vincom tower in Hanoi and HCM City, Vinpearl in Nha Trang City, Villas-Vinpearl Luxury Da Nang, and the lately Vinmec hospital project in Hanoi.

In 2011, Vuong was recognized as the Vietnamese richest stock millionaire.

Dr Alan Phan, President of Viasa, a small investment fund with the capital of 80-90 million dollars, said he would continue plan to invest in Vietnam. In fact, he has invested 1.2 million dollars in a business in Vietnam, but he has not succeeded.

“I will continue making investment there, of course, when all the barriers are removed,” he said on Dau tu.

Viet Kieu has been not only bringing capital, but also intelligence to the homeland, as said Morita Nguyen, Business Director, Member of the Board of Directors of Lixil Inax Vietnam.

In 1997, when Japanese Inax Group (now Lixil Group) was granted the license to set up a sanitary ware factory in Vietnam, Morita returned to Vietnam to work there.

Over the last 15 years, the number of Lixil’s factories in Vietnam has increased from one to seven, not including the factories making supporting parts.

Morita is believed to be the person, who plays an important role in the decisions of the Japanese group to implement investment projects in many localities in Vietnam. Most recently, the group has approved the plan to develop a 441 million dollar factory in Dong Nai province, expected to kick off in November 2012.

As such, Morita has been serving as the bridge that connects foreign investors and the Vietnamese market. And Than Trong Phuc, a Viet Kieu in the US, has also been acting as a bridge.

In 2009, the information that Than Trong Phuc left Intel Vietnam stirred up the public, because Phuc is believed to be the person credited with bringing Intel to Vietnam.

The decision of Intel, the world’s biggest chipset manufacturer, to invest one billion dollars in Vietnam is believed to bring a new high hope to Vietnam high-tech industries and the national economy. It is believed to help attract more hi-tech investors to Vietnam.

A new story about Viet Kieu’s investment has been related recently by Vo Quang Hue, General Director of Robert Bosch Vietnam.

If Hue had not taken the post of the CEO of the company, Bosch would have still arrived in Vietnam, but it would not have gained such a big success only after four years of establishment.

Hue reportedly resigned from a good position at BMW, one of the leading groups in the world, to take the post of CEO of Bosh Vietnam, because he wants to devote himself to the country. The company has decided to raise the investment capital of its project to 322 million dollars by 2015, and once again, Hue would play a big role in the implementation of the plan.

VietNamNet Bridge - September 29, 2012

Overseas Vietnamese investors complain about red tape

HCMC – Many Overseas Vietnamese (OV) have returned home to invest in the country, but insist they are facing horrendous difficulties with local-level administrative red-tape.

Ken Thai, an OV who trades goods between Vietnam and New Zealand, said the Government called on citizens living abroad to make investment in the mother country, but Thai encounters huge problems when doing business in Vietnam due to cumbersome administrative procedures, he told the Daily on the sidelines of the second Overseas Vietnamese Conference held in HCMC on Thursday.

Anoa Dussol Perran, an OV residing in France, owner of An Hoa Residence resort in Vung Tau, said doing business in Vietnam was easier a decade ago. She is now having difficulty carrying out administrative procedures, which are not caused by the ministerial agencies but lower-level agencies.

Nguyen Thanh Son, deputy minister of foreign affairs and chairman of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, said the Government had reformed many administrative procedures for the sake of overseas Vietnamese investors. “Unfortunately, each locality has a different point of view, so our fellows (OV) complain that they are facing difficulties at the local level,” said Son.

A number of Vietnamese businessmen living abroad bring back many projects for investment in Vietnam. Therefore, it is essential to remove the difficulties of local-level procedures, said Son.

More than 4.5 million Vietnamese live abroad, including over 400,000 businessmen and specialists.

To attract this vast resource, Vietnam should continue to reform administrative procedures and adopt new policies consistently and transparently, said Johnathan Hanh Nguyen, an OV residing in the Philippines.

So far, 51 out of the 63 cities and provinces nationwide have had projects invested by 3,500 OV businessmen from mostly the U.S., Canada, France and the Netherlands, with total registered capital of US$8 billion, according to the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese.

Many OV businessmen are major shareholders in several banks in Vietnam, like Techcombank and VPBank. In the real estate sector, many tourism, commercial center and restaurant projects are invested by OV, such as Melinh Plaza, Furama, Eden Resort Dalat, Ba Na cable car system and many projects in Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

By Tran Thu - The Saigon Times Daily - September 29, 2012