Kelvin TEO, CEO of Sembcorp Development and Co-chairman of Việt Nam-Singapore Industrial Park Group. VNA/VNS Photo
Kelvin TEO, CEO of Sembcorp Development and Co-chairman of Việt Nam-Singapore Industrial Park Group, speaks with Vietnam News Agency about foreign investment in Việt Nam.
How do you see the attractiveness of Việt Nam in the eyes of foreign investors, especially the improvement in the investment climate?
Việt Nam is making a mark for itself as a dynamic emerging country in Asia. Latest government statistics show strong FDI inflows in the first six months of the year, building on the record FDI attracted last year. With continued stable leadership, the economy will continue to strengthen. Việt Nam has done especially well in signing several important bilateral trade agreements that will open up its global integration and extend this advantage to foreign investors. Việt Nam’s middle class is also growing, making the domestic market attractive for foreign goods.
How does Sembcorp benefit from the growing foreign influx into the country?
Sembcorp jointly operates the Việt Nam-Singapore Industrial Park brand of integrated townships and industrial parks in the country. The increase in FDI from the manufacturing sector has led to higher occupancy levels at the VSIPs, such that we have expanded in Bình Dương and Bắc Ninh provinces. Sembcorp is also in the energy business, so there are opportunities to scale up in Việt Nam and support the country’s industrialisation.
Could you tell us about Sembcorp’s investment in Việt Nam in the last few years, especially the VSIPs?
There are now nine VSIP projects across the southern, central and northern economic zones of Việt Nam. This includes two VSIP expansions in Bình Dương and Bắc Ninh. We are in the process of reviewing the master plans for approval before launching. We are exploring a new industrial park design which is more sustainable in the form of energy efficiency and smartness so as to help our industrial tenants operate more competitively. To do this, we have recently established a Sembcorp country office in Hà Nội with the intention to bring more urban solutions to Việt Nam using Sembcorp Group’s combined strengths in energy, water and urban development.
What do you recommend to improve the country’s investment climate for foreign investors, especially Singaporean investors like Sembcorp?
We have admiration for the way the Việt Nam Government, both at the central and local levels, work with foreign investors to understand our needs and support our plans. There have been completions to several provincial airports, major highways and bridges in the country. Such infrastructure completions are critical as they enable businesses and communities to capitalise on the connectivity between cities and local synergies. With the growth of communities around us, there is also greater supply of manpower for businesses to hire. These are win-win outcomes for all, so infrastructure developments are not to be underestimated. VNS