General Director of GS Battery Vietnam Co., Mr. Soichi Hanano, shares his thoughts with VET on Vietnam's investment environment.
What is your view of Vietnam’s investment environment and the existing policies to support foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) in Vietnam?
I believe Vietnam is a dynamic market with great potential given its infrastructure development, young human resources and the amount of incentives and policies to encourage and support enterprises with high-tech and environmentally-friendly investment.
At economic forums I have noticed that more and more foreign enterprises, especially Japanese enterprises, have left China to invest in and expand their production in Vietnam. This is both an opportunity and a challenge for domestic businesses because they have to expand their market in the context of economic integration and enhance their investment in technology in order to cope with competitive pressure. They must perfect their operations to seize the opportunities.
The signing of the TPP has given Vietnam a competitive advantage in opening up its market with preferential tariffs, helping the growth of support industries. Notably, the strong growth of the automobile manufacturing industry in the near future will create opportunities for support enterprises such as GS Battery to support market expansion and diversify products for new automobile lines. The TPP is also a chance for local businesses to promote exports to other countries in the region.
What would you recommend Vietnam do to attract more foreign direct investment in the future?
Vietnam still exhibits certain weaknesses that need to be addressed in order to catch up with economic integration. Although the government and local authorities have preferential policies for FIEs and conduct surveys to collect business’s opinions on reform and amendments to laws, laws are still overlapping and administrative procedures remain complicated. We hope that administrative procedures, policies, laws and regulations will be more specific and clearer to assist businesses.
Human resources in Vietnam are dynamic, creative and enthusiastic but lack practical experience. We must therefore regularly hold training courses inside and outside of Vietnam and conduct exchanges with leading experts in the field of batteries in Japan to ensure we have a skilled and highly-qualified workforce in Vietnam.
To gain a competitive advantage with foreign enterprises, domestic businesses need to invest in advanced technology, restructure their business activities, and change their management thinking, while raw material industries need to be encouraged so that imports can be reduced and warehousing costs need to be cut to lower product prices and meet customer needs. GS Battery Vietnam will also implement these development policies to launch its exclusive product line, such as maintenance-free batteries and E-series batteries with environmentally-friendly functions, adapt to market demand and maintain its competitive position not only in the domestic market but also in regional markets.