New Taste of Singaporean Investors

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Recent projects of Singaporean investors have shown new features in the investment taste of Singapore enterprises when they decide to set up business in Vietnam.

In July 2017, United Overseas Bank (UOB – Singapore) was approved by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) in principle to set up a 100% foreign owned bank in Vietnam. The list of personnel proposed to be appointed as members of the Board of Members, the Board of Supervisors, the General Director of UOB has also been approved. After much waiting, UOB finally has a “passport” to operate in Vietnam as a bank with 100% foreign capital in Vietnam. What is left is just completing the dossiers and procedures for the SBV to make the final decision.

UOB is the first bank in Singapore setting up a subsidiary in Vietnam. This event seems to mark the “new taste” of Singaporean investors. Previously, Singapore’s investment capital is mainly focused on such projects as processing, manufacturing and real estate. Now, it seems that the cash flow is changing direction.

Not just banking project, latest information indicates that Singaporean investors have also begun to pay attention to the energy sector in Vietnam. Last year, UOB under UOB Venture Management Pte Ltd (UOB VM), along with ORIX Corporation (Japan) have invested 25 million USD in Bitexco Power JSC under Bitexco Group. The involvement of well-known global organizations like UOB and ORIX will make a significant contribution to Vietnam’s energy sector.

In addition, Sembcorp is also a Singaporean investor willing to invest billions of dollars for a power plant in Vietnam.

According to the information, at the end of July 2017, Sembcorp’s representative went to Quang Ngai to officially report to the leaders of this province that Sembcorp will have a Feasibility Study Report at the end of this year about the gas thermal power plant in Dung Quat Economic Zone.

Last year, The Blue Circle – Singapore’s wind power developer has received an investment certificate for a 40 MW project in Ninh Thuan province, with investment capital in the 1st phase of 60 million USD.

In fact, Singapore has always been a leading investor in Vietnam. According to data from the Foreign Investment Agency (Ministry of Planning and Investment), the accumulated capital so far invested by Singaporean enterprises is 41.6 billion USD, ranking 3rd in countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Many of Singapore’s projects have contributed significantly to Vietnam’s socio-economic development.

One of the noteworthy examples is Sembcorp joint venture with Becamex to develop a series of VSIP industrial parks and urban areas spanning across Vietnam, from Binh Duong, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong to Quang Ngai, Nghe An, Hai Phong… At the beginning of this year, VSIP decided to invest in a third industrial zone in Binh Duong, with a total registered capital of 284.75 million USD.

Not only VSIP, many other Singaporean investors have also succeeded in Vietnam and are continuing to boost investment. Last year, Mapletree Investment Pte Ltd decided to acquire Kumho Asiana Plaza Saigon in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City from Kumho Industrial Company Limited and Asiana Airlines Incorporated. After this deal, Mapletree’s assets in Vietnam amounted to more than 1 billion SGD.

Prior to Mapletree, Keppel Land has also acquired 40% of the Empire City project in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, equivalent to 93.9 million USD. Not to mention, many other Singaporean enterprises have also invested much in Vietnam, such as Banyan Tree with Laguna Lang Co project, total capital of 875 million USD; or KinderWorld with a series of international schools in many provinces, cities and is continuing new investment plans…

Not stopping with the current results, Singaporean enterprises are still quietly looking for new investment opportunities in Vietnam. The fact that UOB opened a subsidiary in Vietnam is to serve the purpose of investing more and more in Vietnam of Singaporean enterprises.

Finding the right business partner in Vietnam is also important. We recommend doing research on the reputation of the company and individual shareholders, corporate or individual, gathering publicly available company information, and performing background checks on key personnel to find potential risks in cooperation. Working with a reliable partner can help achieve economic benefits, saving time and money in business.

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