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Foreign investment on the rise in southern economic hub

(VNA): Positive signs in the economy over recent years have made foreign investors feel comfortable injecting money into both new and existing projects in Ho Chi Minh City, local officials said.

In January, Vietnam's southern economic hub licensed 19 foreign-invested projects and allowed four existing ones to increase capital with a combined investment of nearly US $16 million. The city now boasts 1,620 foreign-invested projects, capitalised at US $12.2 billion.

Last month, foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses registered a 49.6-% year-on-year increase in industrial production value, a 45.5% increase in hotel service revenues, and a 28.5% increase in service and tourism sales.

Efficient businesses in the city have encouraged foreign investors to inject more money into the economy. FDI businesses asking for increases in investment capital have been growing in number: 55 projects in 2001, 92 projects in 2002, 107 projects in 2003, and 140 projects in 2004, with their total capital increasing by US $231 million, US $168 million, US $262 million, and US $324.5 million, respectively.

Currently, Taiwan is Ho Chi Minh City's biggest foreign investor in terms of  capital. It is followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea and France.

With advanced technology, FDI businesses involved in industrial production are turning out products of high quality for exports.

Over recent years, the city has seen the establishment of a number of hi-tech projects. Among them, noteworthy are Nidec Tosok's 86-million-USD project to manufacture motors, electrical wires and automobile engines; Nissei Electric's 40-million-USD project to produce electrical cables and wires, switches and insulators; and Renesas' 13-million-USD project to make micro chips and semi-conductors.

In his letter to FDI businesses last month, municipal People's Committee Chairman Le Thanh Hai affirmed: "We are moving to make the flow of foreign investment run faster, to have it become a major capital injection channel for the municipal economy".

In line with this, the city is furthering its efforts to simplify administrative procedures, boost trade promotion activities and promptly provide legal information to foreign investors.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, Vice Chairman of the municipal People's Committee, revealed that the city is continuing to improve its services in five areas, namely land administration, human resources development, information provision, telecommunications and investor support.

It has set up a land fund to help investors choose sites for projects more easily, and facilitate project site clearance and infrastructure construction. In particular, the city advocates building infrastructure facilities and offering preferential land rent for hi-tech projects./.

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