Asia Business Channel

PwC Report – 46% of APEC firms plan to increase their investments in Vietnam

PwC has just released the results of their “2018 APEC CEO Survey.” The survey polled 1,189 business leaders from all 21 APEC economies during the May to July period.

The top countries that executives said they would invest in / or increase investments in are:

Vietnam  46%
China  45%
Australia  44%
United States  44%
Thailand  39%

Related to Vietnam, the PwC report noted that international trade would continue to be a source of growth for Vietnam-based firms. It also noted some unique items related to Vietnam:

• 40% of Vietnam-based businesses expect an increase in revenue opportunities because of a new bilateral trade agreement

• For APEC as a whole this figure is 30%

• 34% of respondents in Vietnam believe that a multilateral trade agreement will also bring more opportunities, according to 34 percent of respondents in Vietnam

• For APEC as a whole this figure is 30%

• Only 7% of respondents in Vietnam expect to see an increase in barriers to moving goods across borders next year

• For APEC as a whole this rate is 23%

In discussing the report, Dinh Thi Quynh Van, General Director of PwC Vietnam, said: "With major trade deals like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA on the horizon, Vietnam has the potential to attract even more investment and generate new cross-border business opportunities."

While there are many opportunities for Vietnam, there are also a number of critical challenges, the most crucial one being human resources. Businesses find it difficult to recruit people with both experience and skills. According to the PwC report, almost 30% of businesses said that they are struggling to fill job positions with the people and skills that they need.

This gap is felt acutely in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills area:

• 76% of respondents in Vietnam said the government needs to do more to train STEM professionals

• For APEC as a whole this rate is 65%

Another critical area that Vietnam respondents noted that needs improvement is “digital infrastructure” including data centers and additional Internet cable and communications satellite capabilities.

Ms. Van from PwC noted that: "While businesses need to determine their infrastructure requirements and communicate them, the government's role is to understand these requirements and introduce policies and regulations for the sustainable development of digital infrastructure."

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