LONDON — Paul Smith, executive chairman for London-based IT services firm, Harvey Nash Outsourcing, has told UK businesses looking to expand into Asia to take advantage of growing commerical opportunities in Viet Nam.
Smith offered his recommendation at a Viet Nam-UK Trade and Investment Opportunities conference, organised by the Vietnamese Embassy for Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the UK-ASEAN in London on Tuesday.
The meeting was held as a Ha Noi delegation, led by the Vice Chairman of the Municipal People's Committee Nguyen Huy Tuong, visited the UK to promote the capital city's investment potential.
Nearly 70 representatives from UK businesses and trade organisations attended the reception.
Tuong said that the conference was just one activity realised under a strategic partnership agreement signed in September 2010 to elevate the two countries' bilateral relationship to a higher level.
According to Tuong, 158 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects have been recorded from British businesses in Viet Nam. However, only 34 projects totalling US$68 million have been invested in Ha Noi.
Hoping to attract further FDI into the capital, the vice chairman said Ha Noi possessed favourable conditions for UK firms looking to invest in areas such as banking and financial services, insurance, technology, education and health care.
Head of the Southeast Asia Team for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Lizzy Hawkins told the conference that the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC) was established in November 2011 to increase the UK's level of trade with ASEAN countries, and that UKTI considered Viet Nam the "third pillar" of growth markets in Asia, alongside China and India.
He said Harvey Nash Outsourcing had been doing business in Viet Nam for 12 years and its offices now generate 30 per cent of the company's total revenue, as well as 30 per cent year-on-year growth, adding that revenue in 2011 was US$836 million and profitable.
Smith also enthused about the country's entrepreneurial spirit, drive and the energy of his Vietnamese colleagues, describing them as hardworking, loyal, trustworthy, honest and highly skilled.
However, he did not forget to mention the challenges encountered when doing business in Viet Nam but said it had been well worth the effort. — VNS