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The sun shines on southern commercial zones

VSIP and Saigon South attract stellar tenants

Lai Chun Loong, advisor to VSIP.

Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park is almost a 40 minute drive north of HCMC on Highway 13 and situated in the Binh Duong province. This Singapore led project is financed by a consortium led by a subsidiary of SembCorp Industries- SembCorp Parks Holdings Ltd.- SembCorp is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and their joint venture partner is Becamex, a state-owned enterprise of the Binh Duong People's Committee.

" We have now achieved over $500 million of investment projects in our park project," quietly spoke Lai Chun Loong, an advisor to VSIP.

Over 72 companies from 15 countries have placed their investments in VSIP.

This includes: Kimberly Clark, National Starch, Rohto Pharmaceuticals, Fujikura, Nitto Denko, Diethelm, Schneider, Roche, Esquel, Toyo Tissue and others.

"One of our key advantages is offering a turn key ready to use factory and several companies have initially taken advantage of this before making a more sizable investment. In addition, investors can build their own factories on our prepared land with all infrastructures built in place" added Lai in VSIP's board room.

Like Saigon South's project, VSIP offers investors a reliable manufacturing environment with their on site power plant, constant water supply with WHO standard, a modern sewage treatment plant and an abundant and advanced telecommunications system.

Additionally, VSIP recognizes the need to train skilled and qualified employees and has available a Technical Training Center offering courses in electrical maintenance, mechanical maintenance, machining and electronics.

With over 10,000 workers at VSIP, senior management is taking the steps to train an employee force for future tenant needs and also provide for the local province practical courses for over 370 students each year.

"Our employee base continues to upgrade their skills and we know that one of the key attractions to our investors and future tenants is the highly educated and motivated human resources here at the park," added the young marketing manager, Huynh Quang Hai.

Saigon South Project
When foreign investors flocked to Vietnam in the early 1990s to build hotels and offices, corporations like Taiwan's Central Trading & Development and Singapore's government backed SembCorporation gambled on huge multi-million dollar infrastructure projects outside of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon.

Aerial photo of Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone.

VSIPs Technical Training Center.

Their distinctively separate commercial efforts appear to be paying off handsomely. The strategic locations of these two parks or massive multi-tiered developments reinforces Saigon's image or as it now called today, Ho Chi Minh City, as the commercial hub and historical center of business in Vietnam. Both developers would agree that with access to the south's deep water port, continuing developing infrastructure, and an abundance of qualified and trainable labor force, the conditions remain more than optimum for growth.

"Our vision has remained quite steady and clear here at Saigon South, we offer commercial, educational, residential, industrial, medical and recreational investment opportunities in what is widely lauded as one of the largest and most comprehensive real estate projects," reflected CT&D's chairman, Lawrence Ting who had just flown into HCMC from his corporate headquarters in Taipei.

Ting's son, Arthur, and his partner, Ferdinand Tsien's children, John and Gayle Tsien are the second generation, who are assuming a more active role in the operations of Saigon South. This younger generation appears to be even more expansive and expressive when describing the prospects for more new developments, including securing the necessary permits to develop a software park. "Sure, we think there is a need for a software park and after all, this location offers close access to HCMC which will attract the many talented software developers," added John Tsien.

From reclaimed mangroves and swamps, Saigon South, which encompasses, Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone and the Phu My Hung Corporation New City Center has grown to more than 600 hectares in its architectural master plan.

Although the export revenue of Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone, the city's biggest EPZ, rose by only 7.3 percent during the first nine months of 2001, the government is taking action steps to facilitate trade flow, including the implementation of new Customs Laws, reducing the time needed to declare commodities.

Meanwhile, the Saigon South Parkway, which consists of two lanes of a planned 10-lane, 17.8 kilometer parkway opened in December 1997 leading to an entire new city complex: a Japanese school, Saigon South International School, HCMC Korean School, award winning designer apartment complexes, luxury villas, golf course and driving range, a commercial office building, Southern Cross, a truly state-of-the art building, the soon to be constructed new Australian campus for RMIT and the new Franco-Vietnamese Hospital.

Yes, we do have ambitious plans and all this fits into a totally integrated Saigon South urban development project laid out in various stages, said the energetic John Tsien, formerly with Andersen Consulting in New York.

Meeting global challenges
These two industrial zones recognize that as Vietnam is poised to meet the global challenges which includes importing technology, they must also deliver an educated labor pool and thus their commitments to education and training centers. With International Data Corporation projecting that in 2002, that the Asia Pacific region will see more revitalized demand for information technology products and telecommunications services, these developers are taking the investment steps to insure they continue to offer not only a cost-effective, but an educated labor pool.

Although there's still a lingering shadow over most of SE Asia, these two premier industrial and mixed- use zones welcome the continued sunshine on their Vietnam development plans.

InternationalReports.net / The Washington Times 1994-2002

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