HCM CITY (VNS)— Vietnamese firms have invested a total of US$14 billion in 60 countries and territories, according to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA).
Vu Van Trung, FIA's deputy head, said overseas investment by companies is on the rise and mostly focused on the mining, agricultural, telecom, and consumer products sectors.
Last year, 84 projects with a combined registered capital of $1.4 billion were given the green light while nine others were allowed to increase their investment by $132.25 million.
Some 712 Vietnamese firms have invested in other countries, with the Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) being the largest investor.
Nguyen Xuan Son, the oil giant's deputy general director, said it has invested $6.5 billion in 18 overseas projects, including Russia, Peru, and Venezuela.
Another large investor is C.T Group, which was one of the first Vietnamese firms to enter the Myanmar market.
It recently started construction of a $150 million residential-commercial complex for lease in that country.
It has invested nearly $24 million in two factories that make wheat flour and instant noodles.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group has invested more than $1.3 billion in foreign countries, mainly in planting industrial trees, real estate, and mining.
The company said it plans to focus on overseas markets.
The Viet Nam Rubber Group has invested in rubber plantations in Laos and Cambodia since 2007.
The military-run Viettel Group is also among the pioneers in investing abroad, with projects spanning Cambodia, Laos, Haiti, Peru, Mozambique, East Timor, and Cameroon.
Tran Bac Ha, chairman of the Association for Vietnamese investors in Cambodia and Myanmar and chairman of the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam, said many Vietnamese banks are also seeking investment opportunities abroad.
But because many of the target countries are developing ones, Vietnamese companies often encounter problems such as weak legal systems and shortage of skilled workers, companies said.
They also face fierce competition from investors from other countries, they added.
Tran Bao Giam, Viet Nam's Trade Counsellor in Laos, said Vietnamese firms should study the market carefully before investing. — VNS