While some seriously conducted surveys or sought investment opportunities in the Vietnamese market new projects, others and decided to invest in new projects or expanded investment in their existing projects.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), foreign direct investment (FDI) registered in Vietnam in 2020 hit US$28.53 billion, a year-on-year decline of 25 per cent due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 2,523 new projects were licensed with capital totaling $14.6 billion, down 35 per cent in the number of projects and 12.5 per cent in registered capital. Meanwhile, 1,140 operating projects were allowed to raise their investment capital by $6.4 billion, up 10.6 per cent year-on-year. Foreign investors also spent $7.5 billion on shares of domestic enterprises last year, down by 51.7 per cent against the previous year.

Yen Phong Industrial Zone, Bac Ninh, attracts a lot of foreign investors

So far, many foreign investors have realized that this is a golden time and opportunity to pour investment into the Vietnamese market, which has an expectation of high profits in the context of a global economic decline.

For example, Samsung Group of the Republic of Korea recently has confirmed that they will expand the scale of its business in Vietnam as the conglomerate has considered the country as one of its important export production chain in its global strategy. It is another remarkable move of the company after it started to build its largest Southeast Asia research and development center in Hanoi to realize its strategy on researching and manufacturing hi-tech products.

Hong Sun, Deputy Chairman of the Korean Business Association in Vietnam (KORCHAM), said that Vietnam has gained great success in the fight against COVID-19 epidemic, which has helped the country to recover its economy earlier than other countries.

Hong Sun added that Vietnam has also achieved astonishing results of export and economic growth while all socio-economic activities have been described as “new normal”. The strong resolve of the Vietnamese Government and the people in the COVID-19 fight factual good results of COVID-19 prevention and control has strengthened the confidence of enterprises and foreign investors in Vietnam

This is the better time for Vietnam to attract foreign investment stronger than ever before, he said.

According to the KORCHAM’s Deputy Chairman, many RoK companies are seeking opportunities to expand their business and increase their investment in the Southeast country. Some of them recently met and talked with the Northern province of Vinh Phuc on investment opportunities in this locality.

Hong Sun revealed that hundreds of RoK companies specializing in supporting industries have planned to "land" in Vietnam to catch the wave of regional investment shift.  Investment plans of enterprises have a long-term vision and contribute to improving the quality of investment capital flows in Vietnam in the coming time.

In the coming time, more than 3,000 Vietnamese researchers, PhDs and masters in technology will have opportunities to study at RoK's top research centers. They will become high-quality human resources to support the Korean business community's efforts to scale up investment and production in the S-shape country.

Meanwhile, many Korean startups are also planning to come to Vietnam to challenge as Vietnam, according to them, has a very attractive startup ecosystem, and favorable mechanisms, and open policies for new-born companies.

A representative from the Australian Business Association (AusCham) also said that Australian businesses are considering diversifying their supply chains, especially in Asia, including Vietnam. "AusCham has been prepared to continue supporting Australian businesses operating in Vietnam and welcome new businesses to do business here", said the representative.

According to experts, Vietnam will see another wave of FDI, thanks to the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland (UKVFTA), which took effect from December 31, 2020.

Ms. Carolyn Turk, Country Director of the World Bank (WB) in Vietnam said that Vietnam’s good control of the COVID-19 pandemic will be the "best promotional tool" for the country, because Vietnam can recover economic activities while the other countries can only reopen partially. While businesses around the world are looking for a place to sustain their production activities, Vietnam has great opportunities to attract foreign investment.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong said that more investors will come and invest in the country in 2021.

Thanks to the participation in many new-generation free trade agreements, such as EVFTA, CPTPP and UKVFTA, Vietnam has a great opportunity to integrate more deeply into the world production network. These free trade agreements also provide Vietnam with the opportunity to choose quality FDI projects to advance further up the ladder of the global value chain.

However, in order to better attract FDI in 2021, some business associations and investors suggested that Vietnam should improve its infrastructure, further improve its investment and business environment. The Vietnamese business community and foreign investment enterprises are expecting that the Government will conduct solutions to support businesses and stimulate the economy.

Translated by Thu Nguyen