Mr. Yukio Konishi, General Director of AEON Mall, shares his thoughts on investing in Vietnam.
Vietnam has a young population and inexpensive labor compared to countries such as China and Thailand. Vietnamese employees work very hard and many have good skills. This is as an advantage in competing with other countries in the region. Agriculture and fisheries are considered key industries in Vietnam’s industrialization strategy, but there will be a problem if key industries don’t receive enough focus to develop their international competitiveness. I think the tariff cuts if the TPP comes into being must be thoroughly utilized. Although political policy has been more open, I still find a number of unclear points that may affect Vietnam’s investment environment.
I have noticed the establishment and operation of agencies specializing in investment promotion. This is good news for Japanese investors in Vietnam and we expect to be able to discuss with and receive consultancy directly from these agencies during business operations. I have realized, however, that because of a lack of clarity and transparency, each organization or individual receives different levels of support. It would therefore be better for authorities to have meetings with investors before issuing any laws or rules. Cooperation with domestic firms also remains limited, so Vietnamese enterprises need to be more open and tighten their relationships with foreign investors to record solid business results.
Over the last year AEON Mall has invested in two business centers and shopping malls in the south. We have attracted large numbers of customers to these shopping malls, with 13 million visiting Tan Phu Celadon in Ho Chi Minh City and 8 million visiting Canary Binh Duong. We aim to invest further, opening ten new shopping malls and business centers by 2020. In addition to our business activities we also focus on corporate social responsibility to support and develop the local community, such as the Aeon Scholarships and a Tree Planting Festival to name just two.