Japanese Enterprises Want to Leave China to Enter Vietnam

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The labor costs in China rose steadily, along with the territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo are the two factors that the Japanese business community wants to move their production to Vietnam instead of China.

Mitsui OSK Lines, the largest shipping company in Japan has decided to invest 1.2 billion USD in the project to build international container port in Hai Phong. The decision is given 3 years since the Japanese businesses gradually increase investment in Southeast Asia due to the rising labor costs in China and the territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo causes many complex issues to incur.

The International Container Terminal Project in Hai Phong is implemented by the Tan Cang Saigon Company, partner Molnykit (Japan) and Hai Phong International Container Port, in the form of public-private partnership (PPP) and under the guidelines the Government of Vietnam and Japan.

According to  the Financial Times, the terminal will start operation in 2018 and double the port’s current capacity to serve the needs of the growing electronics manufacturer industrial zones near Hanoi.

Currently, the situation that many Japanese companies close their factories in southern China and moved manufacturing operations to areas with cheaper labor costs in Vietnam.

Since the protests against Japan exploded in major cities of China in 2012, investing activities of Japanese companies in Southeast Asia surged. The foreign direct investment from Japan to ASEAN reached more than 20 billion USD in 2015, according to Government data, and exceeded total foreign direct investment in China, Hong Kong.

Results from an annual large-scale survey of Japan External Trade Organization showed that the proportion of Japanese companies want to expand production in China fell below 40% since 1998.

According to another report from Mizuho Research Institute, after surveying the opinions of more than 1,000 Japanese manufacturers, it is showed that Vietnam was the top destination among 12 countries participating in TPP Agreement for companies who want to increase their investment.

Vietnam is also one of the countries in which Japanese firms considered ideal to build the factory if they move production out of China’s territory.

Many reports estimate the total domestic product of the ASEAN countries will increase from the current rate of 2.6 trillion USD to 5.8 trillion USD in 2025. The rising labor costs in China are changing the conception of the Japanese business community on the role of ASEAN in the global supply chain. Vietnam is really an emerging heaven of electronic products. This fact will completely change the macroeconomic outlook of Vietnam.

In addition to the prospect to become the center of merchandise exports to Europe and the United States, Vietnam can also directly supply goods to the ASEAN markets in the context of mass population is about to reach 700 million people.

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