Soc Trang’s efforts make it a new investment hub
The Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang has made constant improvements in its investment landscape in the recent past, as more and more domestic and foreign investors have flocked to the province. Writes Lam Hoang Nghiep, director of the Soc Trang Department of Planning and Investment.
A lucrative target for investors
Last year, the province met with and presented investment opportunities to 148 investors with projects in wide-ranging fields such as high-tech agriculture, industrial zone (IZ) and industrial cluster (IC) infrastructure development, hospitality industry, renewable energy, and others. This was an 85-per-cent jump on-year in the number of projects, reaching 242 per cent of the full-year plan.
The province granted investment certificates and approved proposals of 29 projects, an increase of seven projects compared to the previous year, valued at more than VND4.15 trillion ($184.4 million), a 3.5-fold increase compared to 2016.
The situation remained positive in the beginning of this year. As of May 31, Soc Trang had welcomed 60 investors seeking investment opportunities in 72 projects in the province, a 45-per-cent jump on-year.
Twelve projects valued at VND2.806 trillion ($124 million) were given investment certificates and had their proposals approved during the period.
Notably, major local and foreign players have landed in the province in increasing numbers. Some large-scale projects have been set in motion, including building a trade centre and an urban entertainment complex in the city of Soc Trang, developing high-tech agriculture and eco resorts in several provincial areas, and building a milk processing plant and high-tech dairy cow breeding zone, to name but a few.
In addition to domestic investors, foreign businesses from all over the world have been flocking to the province. Eminent examples are Tata Group from India; C.P Vietnam JSC and Banpu Public Limited from Thailand; Soc Trang Broadpeak Ltd., a subsidiary of South Korea’s Youngone Group; Egeres Ltd. from Singapore; Envision Energy from China; and Dragon Joy International Engineering from Hong Kong.
Though the demand for attracting investment to serve its socio-economic development is tremendous, Soc Trang, in selecting investors, has paid due heed to avoiding harmful impacts on the environment and ensuring green and sustainable development.
Building a conducive investment environment
Over the past few years, along with implementing the government’s incentive policies to attract investors in a timely manner, the Soc Trang People’s Committee has made efforts to build a favourable environment to support investors doing business in the province.
Investors have been supported in market surveys, in seeking information, and in finalising investment procedures. Several policies and regulations were enacted to assist investment into and outside of IZs, such as investment incentives related to IZ and IC infrastructure development or a shortening of the time needed to settle administrative procedures.
A special working group was founded to help businesses facilitate the investment procedure, the core function of which is to consult with the provincial People’s Committee on ways to ensure speed in processing while adhering to current regulations.
The province has also supported businesses in getting approval for their programmes on investment and trade promotion, market connection, and products and services presentation at domestic and international trade fairs.
Notably, with support from a Canadian government project to push the development of local small and medium-sized enterprises, Soc Trang has implemented a raft of steps for business support, gradually building up a local startup ecosystem.
In addition, provincial leaders are considering an innovative startup plan for 2018-2020 with a vision toward 2025 for approval, consisting of diverse solutions to prop up the development of the province’s startup ecosystem. The plan will lay important groundwork for Soc Trang to nurture startups in the near future.
Under the plan, a business incubator will be integrated into the Soc Trang Investment Promotion and Business Support Centre’s headquarters, where activities to support startups will be organised to connect all elements of the provincial startup ecosystem.
The positive development of investment attraction in the past months is a motivating force for Soc Trang to continue improving its local business climate, turning the province into a lucrative destination for domestic and international investors.