Industrial parks and export processing zones in the southern region, including HCM City and the provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Ba Ria – Vung Tau, are turning their attention to attracting hi-tech and supporting industry projects that are environmentally friendly.
Speaking at a meeting held to review the operation of IPs and EPZs in 2011 on Thursday, the head of the HCM City EPZs and IPs Authority (HEPZA), Vu Van Hoa, said that for the 2011-15 period, HCM City EPZs and IPs will target investment projects that use green technology, manufacture high value-added products and employ qualified labour forces.
This will include projects in electronics, telecommunications, IT, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and food processing sectors.
"We aim to attract investment projects in support industries and support industry-related services," Hoa said.
At present, most investment projects in the city's IPs and EPZs are labour-extensive facilities that manufacture low value-added products, such as those in leather and footwear, textile and garment and electronic assembly industries.
Up to 73 per cent of the foreign-invested enterprises in the city's EPZs and IPs have a registered capital of less than US$5 million each.
Explaining the situation, Hoa said in the first decades of development following doi moi (renewal), the city authority had aimed to fill up the city's IPs and EPZs to the extent possible, create employment opportunities for its residents, access investment capital and management expertise from foreign investors.
However, they had failed to focus on green projects, he added.
"Now we aim to attract annual investments of $4 billion and export growth of 15 per cent for IPs and EPZs in the city," said Hoa.
According to a HEPZA report, in 2011, the city's IPs and EPZs received 18 new investment projects with a combined investment of nearly $1.04 billion plus additional investments of $198 million for projects under operation.
The deputy head of Dong Nai IP Authority, Nguyen Manh Van, said the southern province will pursue a clear policy in selecting investment projects for IPs in the 2012 – 15 period. Priority will be given to hi-tech and support industries that are less labour-extensive and more environmentally friendly.
He said Dong Nai has asked for permission from the Prime Minister to grant incentives for support industry projects.
Despite several challenges, Dong Nai has reached its target of attracting investment projects capitalised at over $720 million for its IPs in 2011, said Van.
A representative of Binh Duong IPs Management Board said that in 2011, the province's IPs attracted a combined investment of $818 million, including investments in support industry projects licensed to Japanese investors such as the projects to manufacture computer components by Finecs, to produce cables by Tokyo Rope and to make gloves, by Showa Gloves.
Dr Le Tuyen Cu, deputy head of the Economic Zones Management Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said the shift towards attracting investments for high-tech and support industry projects was the need of the hour.
It will help restructure the country's economy and make it more efficient, he said.