With the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Japanese manufacturers are looking even more favorably on the ASEAN region and especially Vietnam as a base of operations, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on May 12.
According to the review, some 43.8% of respondents to of a survey by the Mizuho Research Institute cited ASEAN as the region where they plan to devote their greatest efforts moving forward. That is an increase of 2.3 percentage points over the survey conducted last year and the fourth year in a row that ASEAN topped the list.
The review said that the Mizuho Research Institute conducted the survey in February, targeting Japanese manufacturers capitalized at 10 million yen ($92,000) or more. The institute received valid responses from 1,100 companies.
Increasing interest in Vietnam was clear from the responses. Asked to list the ASEAN countries in which they plan to focus, 53.5% of manufacturers cited Vietnam, up 4.9 percentage points over last year. Thailand, where auto industry growth is slowing, was cited by 59.7% of companies, but that is a dip of 2.2 points from last year. Interest in Indonesia waned 4.7 points to 41.5%, Nikkei added.
With the signing of the TPP this February, Vietnam has gained attention as an export base for textiles and other products, the review said.
Asked where they plan to expand investments among the 12 signatory nations to the agreement, 12.8% of respondents cited Vietnam, 10.7% cited Japan and 4.9% said the U.S.
Meanwhile, manufacturers continued to pull out of China as the economy there slows. Only 67.4% of manufacturers said they have bases in China, which is a 2-point drop from last year and the second decline in a row, Nikkei reported.