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Ties between Vietnam and Hong Kong are strengthening, says former consul general Hoang Chi Trung

Annual trade has seen a 15 per cent increase in each of the past three years

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 November, 2017, 9:26am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 November, 2017, 9:26am

The relationship between Vietnam and Hong Kong has strengthened rapidly, especially in trade and investment, and the two will work even more closely in the future, says Hoang Chi Trung, former consul general in Hong Kong who returns to Vietnam this month after three years in the city.

“Vietnam and Hong Kong have close relationship, not only geographically, but also in the way of life, and people in the two places have been doing business for centuries,” he says.

Trung says Vietnam is Hong Kong’s largest trade partner in commodities among Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries.

Annual trade between Vietnam and Hong Kong – which totalled US$17 billion in 2016 – has seen a 15 per cent increase in each of the past three years. Hong Kong imports electronic products, smartphones, electrical appliances, computers, garments, shoes, seafood, rice and vegetables from Vietnam.

Trung says investors from Hong Kong have been active in the hotel, garment, and real estate industries in Vietnam. Chow Tai Fook Enterprises is investing more than US$5 billion in building a major resort and casino project in Quang Nam province over the next two years.

The TAL Group has set up garment factories in Thai Binh province over the past decade, and last year it opened a modern factory in Vinh Phuc province to manufacture textiles and garments. The Sunwah Group has built thousands of flats in Ho Chi Minh City. Hong Kong companies have also built and operated industrial parks in Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong in recent years.

Trung says that as Vietnam’s economy is developing so quickly, there are plenty of investment opportunities in infrastructure projects such as highways, bridges, seaports, airports and terminals.

Hong Kong companies are participating in the construction of some sections of the country’s new highways networks connecting the northern and southern extremities.

Hong Kong companies have also expressed interest in taking part in the construction and management of subway projects in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Hanoi plans to build nine subway lines, two of which are under construction, with the first expected to be completed early next year. Construction of the first of six subways lines in Ho Chi Minh City is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

To promote closer partnerships in infrastructure development between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Vietnam, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council organised a joint delegation to visit Vietnam in May 2016. Comprising 40 investors and professionals from Hong Kong and Shanghai, the delegation visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and met with senior government officials.