German Business Interests and Opportunities in Vietnam

A delegation of 21 CEOs and high-ranking business representatives visited Vietnam from 19 to 26 November 2019 to explore future business opportunities for German enterprises and to understand more about key concerns faced by foreign investors. The group comprised of companies of sectors like architecture, banking, chemical industry, insurance, IT, legal advice and trade.

The delegation from Germany was headed by Ms. Almut Rößner, Executive Member of the Board of OAV, who herself had lived 9 years in Vietnam before she joined the OAV in February last year: “Even after having worked in Vietnam for a long time, it was amazing to see the speed of development and influx of investment especially in Central and North-Eastern Vietnam. It was a pleasure to build on my existing network and assist OAV members with contacts and insights.” In order to better understand the current developments in one of Southeast Asia’s most thriving economies the delegation travelled from South to North and visited the 4 major economic centers of Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Haiphong and Hanoi. In Haiphong the group was joined by Mr. Philipp Rösler, former German Vice-Chancellor, who is now advising the Vietnamese government and big private companies on innovation and start-up support. Highlights of the eight-day program included meetings with H.E. Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang, H.E. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai as well as meetings with key business figures in Vietnam like Mr. Vo Quang Hue, Vice President of Vingroup and CEO of Vietnam’s first local automotive company Vinfast, Dr Truong Gia Binh, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of the Vietnamese technology company FPT Corporation and Mr Do Quang Hien, President and CEO of T&T Group JSC. Furthermore, the delegation had exchanges with representatives of the Investment Promotion Agency of Da Nang and the local chapter of the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Haiphong. All delegation members who came to Vietnam for the first time were highly impressed by the dynamism and many untapped business opportunities. Wolfgang Schmitz-Heinen, CEO of Witte Group, a world-leading provider of industrial printing solutions from Germany sums up: “Many thanks to the OAV team for the great journey, their organization and support. The numerous visits and discussions gave us a deep insight into a country that we had not previously had on the agenda. We are curious how to proceed and plan next steps.”

But also German companies long established in Vietnam valued the business mission as a tool to deepen or establish contacts with Vietnamese private sector conglomerates and political figures alike. Mr Erick Contreras, Managing Director for BASF Vietnam Co., Ltd., who started his post in Vietnam just few months ago, stated: “The OAV mission was a welcome enrichment to my onboarding as the newly installed managing director of BASF Vietnam. I gathered a lot of insights on the country's business landscape that I wouldn't have found by just reading economic reports at the office. It was also an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from the accomplished leaders of German and Vietnam industries.”

The engagement of German companies in Vietnam is still low compared with their competitors from East Asia, but the country’s potential is obvious and likely to attract more German and European investors in the future.