HCMC’s Hotel de Ville.

In 2018, Ho Chi Minh City received over $6billion in foreign direct investment registered investments. You can see the original article here.

The actual investments are much lower, but registered projects reached $6billion. This means that HCMC is one of the larger recipients of FDI in the country with over 1,000 new foreign invested projects registered in 2018. Since 1988 when Doi Moi opened the country to foreign investment HCMC has received over $45 Billion in FDI.

FDI is a good indicator of whether a country is attractive to investment, and its development indicates how safe the country is for that investment. For investors seeking an alternative to China–thanks to the Trump trade war–Vietnam offers an increasingly attractive investment destination.

But FDI in Vietnam remains a tough sell, especially because of some of the legal restrictions that remain in place despite opening up for the World Trade Organization accession over a decade ago. For example, the treatment of intellectual property as capital investment is difficult, being that IP inventions cannot currently be contributed as capital until they are registered with the authorities, a process that could take several years and obviate the need for such inventions.

Also, the IRC/EC problem remains an obstacle. And then there are issues with the government trying to impose restrictions that are in opposition to treaty promises made by previous administrations such as an upcoming resolution on Over the Top video streaming. For all its liberalization, there remains sometimes a desire to control more than should be controlled.

That said, Vietnam has made massive progress over the last decade since the WTO accession. From simplifying investment registration procedures and minimizing steps necessary to get approval for technology use. Infrastructure and English language ability have also improved in general. The place has made itself more attractive to FDI in many ways. Most of the remaining challenges come from left over capital command structures that impose themselves on an otherwise free enterprise system.

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