Tuoitrenews

South Korea has overtaken Japan as the biggest foreign investor in Vietnam in the first eight months of this year, and it is likely to retain the position for the entire year, a trade newspaper reported Tuesday.

Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade) newspaper said, citing data from the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

South Korea topped the list of foreign investors, with total investment of $3.22 billion for its Vietnam projects, accounting for 31.5 percent of the eight-month FDI inflow.

Japan – Vietnam’s largest foreign investor in 2013 – fell to second place, with $1.27 billion worth of newly, and additionally, registered capital.

In both 2012 and 2013, South Korea was the third largest foreign investor, behind Singapore and Japan, despite efforts to fortify its presence in Vietnam, according to Cong Thuong.

As of the end of last month, South Korean businesses were operating 3,930 projects collectively worth $32.84 billion in the Southeast Asian country, the newspaper said, citing Foreign Investment Agency figures.

The newspaper quoted experts as saying that South Korea will remain atop the list of the largest FDI investors in Vietnam this year.

South Korean authorities have repeatedly released positive assessments of Vietnam’s investment environment, and many major South Korean groups are also considering expanding operations in the nation, according to experts.

South Korean Ambassador to Vietnam Jun Dae Joo was quoted by Cong Thuong as saying that Vietnam is an attractive destination for South Korean investors thanks to its large population and workforce, as well as good socio-economic growth.

The ambassador said these factors create an important ground for South Korea to expand investment in Vietnam in the future.

The diplomat underscored that the strategic partnership between Vietnam and South Korea has been increasingly improved and deepened over the last few years.

The two countries’ governments also agreed to boost economic cooperation during South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s visit to Vietnam last September, the ambassador added.

Shim Wonhwan, general director of the Samsung complex in the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Ninh, said at a recent conference that the electronics giant would continue increasing investment in the future.

Samsung has invested nearly $8 billion in its Vietnam operations thus far.

Retail giant Lotte Mart has also planned to hike its Vietnam store count to 120 from the current number of 60 by 2020.