However, new FDI during the period totalled just 83.09 billion USD, a drop of 27 percent year-on-year.
The period also witnessed a significant slump in added investment capital. Only 73 operating projects registered to increase their levels of capital by a total of 1.16 billion USD – 60 percent of the figure in the corresponding period last year. This added investment will bring the total amount of FDI committed to the country in the first four months of the year to 4.26 billion USD, a yearly reduction of 32 percent.
Among the largest projects are the Japan-invested Tokyu Binh Duong urban area worth 1.2 billion USD, a tyre manufacturing plant worth 575 million USD, a 300 million USD fibre production plant and a 180 million USD shipbuilding factory financed by Oshima Shipbuilding Vietnam.
Processing and manufacturing surpassed real estate to become the most attractive sector to foreign investors. It was worth 2.3 billion USD, accounting for 55.6 percent of the total FDI.
The real estate sector ranked second with 1.57 billion USD, making up 37 percent of the total FDI, while the transport and storage sectors came third, worth 180 million USD.
Out of 32 nations and territories, Japan was the leading source of foreign investment, pumping 2.86 billion USD into Vietnam in the first four months. It was followed by the British Virgin Islands, which invested 438 million USD and Hong Kong, 351 million USD.
Southern Binh Duong province drew the largest share of FDI, worth 1.58 billion USD, with northern Hai Phong city in second at 664 million USD and HCM City in third with 460 million USD.
A marked slowdown in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in the first quarter of 2012 has not deterred HCM City from targeting total FDI investments of 2.5 billion USD for the whole year.
According to the HCM City Department of Planning and Investment, in the first quarter of the year, HCM City attracted registered FDI capital of 65.7 million USD, just 5.83 percent of amount in the same period of 2011.
Nevertheless, the city is focusing on achiveing the ambitious annual target through the finance and banking, insurance, transport and logistics, import-export services, and telecommunication technology industries, the deputy director of the department, Lu Thanh Phong, told the Vietnam Investment Review.
The city is also seeking to boost FDI in the real estate consulting services, healthcare, tourism and education sectors, as also in the field of science and technology, he said.
The city will also pay attention to hi-tech industries and sectors of high added value such as electronic engineering, information technology, pharmaceutical chemicals, rubber, food processing and bio-technology industries, he added.
Energy saving technologies and supporting industries will be other areas of focus, he said.
Phong said that in the Thu Thiem Urban Area, the city will give priority to key projects including the development of low-income buildings in the residential area located south of the East-West Highway, office buildings along the East-West Highway, luxury hotels in the eastern part of the city, a convention centre and a financial centre, and a multi-purpose sports complex. The city will call for investment from Japanese investors in the Hiep Phuoc IP.
It is also seeking FDI from the US, the European Union, and the Northeast Asian countries, Phong said.
From the US, the city is calling investments in hi-tech industries, supporting industries and health care services. Investment is sought from Germany, Belgium and Holland for projects in solar energy, bio-technology and IT, he added.
"The FDI target can be reached if these measures are carried out synchronously and comprehensively," Phong said.
Regarding the price-transfer issue, where FDI enterprises had their local subsidiaries suffer losses by importing components at high prices and selling finished products at lower prices in their books, Phong said his department provided information on firms doing this to the city's Taxation Bureau for follow up action.