Hanoi – Safe and Friendly Investment Destination (Insights by Dwayne Ong, Featured in The Hanoi Times)

Dwayne Ong, Founder x CEO of CASUGOL recently shared his insights on the capital’s investment and business environment with The Hanoi Times on the 15th anniversary of Hanoi’s administrative boundary expansion.

How do foreign businesses perceive the investment environment in Hanoi, one of Vietnam’s largest economic and financial centers?

The investment environment in Hanoi has grown significantly in recent years, thanks to the government’s proactive measures to promote FDI. Efforts to enhance the business environment and streamline processes have enabled foreign businesses to start operations quickly and efficiently.

Hanoi’s strategic location adds to its appeal for businesses seeking access to regional markets, particularly in ASEAN countries. This connectivity has been beneficial to organizations like Casugol, an international certification body, allowing them to efficiently manage multiple training sessions and meetings across ASEAN countries, taking advantage of the frequent international flights from Hanoi.

Furthermore, Hanoi offers access to a cost-effective, young, and highly educated labor pool across various industry verticals. This factor is a key attraction for foreign businesses looking to establish regional offices or tap into the growing opportunities presented by the city’s burgeoning middle-class and consumer market.

From your perspective, what are the pros and cons for foreign enterprises to do business in Hanoi?

Based on our experience in Hanoi, one of the intangible benefits that foreign enterprises can capitalize on is the willingness of its people to embrace new ideas, innovations, and best practices.

The city’s growing middle class and consumer market indicate strong purchasing power and a high demand for consistently high-quality goods and services.

The continuous improvement of Hanoi’s infrastructure has greatly facilitated commuting for foreign companies.

For example, it is now possible to visit several locations in different districts on the same day, with commutes often taking less than 30 minutes.

However, there are also challenges that foreign businesses may encounter in Hanoi. The language and cultural barrier can pose difficulties, especially in day-to-day administrative work and processes.

While English proficiency is generally prevalent in the technology training industry, other areas may face communication challenges.

Another key challenge is ensuring consistency in communication between different agencies. Despite the government’s efforts to streamline processes and improve transparency in business operations, there is still room for improvement in maintaining consistent and clear communication channels.

Hanoi has emerged as the leading city in attracting committed FDI, with $2.26 billion in the first half of this year. How would you assess the city’s efforts to attract investment?

This is undoubtedly a positive development for Hanoi’s investment landscape. Unlike in previous years, the city’s policies and agenda are now clearer, making it more welcoming to foreign investment.

In the past, obtaining consistent and accurate information on Hanoi’s investment plans has been challenging, with varying and unreliable data on different websites. However, the government has taken significant steps to address this issue in recent years. They have implemented a strict framework to remove fake information from the Internet and consolidated reliable data into a “single source of truth” accessible through government and agency portals.

This centralized and reliable information has been a great help to business owners like you, providing a clear understanding of government plans, investment strategies, and relevant processes.

Hanoi’s efforts to attract investment are commendable, and as more international brands invest and establish a presence in the city, there is significant potential for job creation. However, it is important to ensure that the jobs created are highly valued and aligned with the fast-paced digital economy. As Hanoi undergoes a sustained digital transformation, the demand for technical positions is expected to increase significantly.

However, the key challenge is ensuring the local workforce has the relevant skills to seize the opportunities created by this transformation. Investing in skills development and education to equip the workforce with the necessary skills for the digital economy will be critical to Hanoi’s continued success as an investment destination.

What recommendations would you make to Hanoi to maintain its position as one of Vietnam’s most appealing investment destinations?

Education indeed holds the key to sustaining Hanoi’s position as a sought-after investment destination in Vietnam. In today’s fast-paced digital economy, it is critical for Hanoi to continuously cultivate a skilled pipeline of talent proficient in technology and digital literacy.

Efforts to educate and upskill the workforce, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are vital. There should be a consistent initiative to inform and educate local businesses about the various programs and initiatives available to support their growth and competitiveness.

Currently, we have observed that larger conglomerates and government agencies are more proactive in upskilling and training their staff compared to SMEs. This disparity in skills development among businesses can pose a potential roadblock for SMEs to remain competitive.

To accommodate the influx of talent, both local and international, it is crucial for Hanoi to fast-track and prioritize the development of infrastructure and housing. This will not only attract talents from overseas but also facilitate the integration of job seekers from outside Hanoi.

In the coming years, with the increasing adoption of AI and automation technologies, Vietnam may see a mass exodus of workers due to job consolidation. To address this, employment policies must remain up-to-date, agile, and flexible to adapt to the changing nature of the digital economy.

For full article, visit Hanoi Times

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