Despite problems like high inflation and exchange rate volatility, Viet Nam remains an attractive destination for investors, Chainarong Limpkittisin, managing director of Thailand Reed Tradex, a leading exhibition organiser in Southeast Asia, told Viet Nam News on the sidelines of Metalex Thailand, an exhibition that was held in Bangkok last month.
As an organiser of metalworking and manufacturing technologies expos in Viet Nam for many years, how do you see the potential of the market?
We are happy our exhibitors there enjoyed the business. Once they enjoyed business means a lot of investors in Viet Nam invested more in machines. It also means there are a lot of business opportunities there. It is good for the country, good for the businesses that they can employ more people.
We are very satisfied with the outcome that we had in Viet Nam this year. This year we had two shows: the Viet Nam manufacturing expo in Ha Noi in September, and Metalex Viet Nam in HCM City in October. These were the biggest ever shows that we organised in Viet Nam.
What is your assessment of Viet Nam's support industry?
After the flooding in Thailand, investors are looking for new investment destinations and some companies are looking to balance their manufacturing locations.
The countries that they consider are Indonesia and Viet Nam.
I think Viet Nam has good potential but... needs to improve a lot in terms of infrastructure including support industry to satisfy requirements of businesses.
Some economic indicators like inflation and currency exchange also need to be managed.
Even though Viet Nam is facing some issues like that, I think [it] is still a very attractive destination for many investors.
When I talk to industrialists here, they are talking about Indonesia and Viet Nam, they are [saying] we still need more support industries in Viet Nam.
I believe that if your government supports the private sector to invest more and more in support industries, you can get more orders definitely.
What are your company's plans in Viet Nam in the coming years?
We will have one more show in Ha Noi called Worlddidac Viet Nam 2012. In addition, I am trying to look at other sectors also.
Viet Nam is very strong in the food sector, jewellery sector, and some decorative items and also has a booming construction sector. So a lot of profiles or sectors have good potential, but what we are struggling a little bit with here is the infrastructure to support for exhibition.
In Ha Noi we have a very small exhibition hall. It is not possible to organise big shows there. If we organise small shows, the overall cost per square metre is very high.
In HCM City it is a little bit better because it has a bigger exhibition hall but I think in the near future there is still need to build more halls. So in terms of infrastructure to have a good show there, your government needs to help get a new venue or expand the existing one.
Can you tell us a bit more about Worlddidac Viet Nam 2012?
It is an exhibition of educational materials and supplies for schools, universities, and training institutions, with most participants coming from overseas, especially Germany, the UK, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
We are in the process of talking with the Worlddidac Association to bring the show Viet Nam. If everything goes OK, the show will be in Ha Noi in December.
I read a lot of newspapers saying the literacy rate among Vietnamese is very high. You have over 97 per cent people who can read.
It is a fact that Vietnamese are very interested in improving themselves through learning, through education. I think this profile would be good for the country.