The Department of Infrastructure and Urban Development in the Ministry of Planning and Investment estimates that Vietnam needs to invest over $60 billion for roads, airports, ports and rail services through 2020 (not including power, water, sanitation, etc.). Private investment funds, Multilateral Development Banks such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, and Overseas Development Assistance by foreign countries such as Japan and China, have spurred investment in infrastructure but financing continues to be a major challenge.
Business Monitor International (BMI) notes that infrastructure will make up an average of 48 percent of total construction industry value each year between 2009 and 2014 in Vietnam. This is above the global average of 36.4 percent, an indication that investments in infrastructure in Vietnam will continue to dominate the construction sector. BMI further forecasts that infrastructure industry value will grow 28 percent in 2010 to $3.4 Billion, up from $2.6 Billion in 2009.
As Vietnam makes headway in tackling its massive infrastructure development needs, the country is also positioning itself to attract foreign investors, expand industrial manufacturing, stimulate domestic consumption and foster new industries such as tourism, retail and services. As a result, foreign and domestic real estate developers have responded by making large investments in a wide range of projects throughout the country including commercial/office space, hotels, mixed-use/retail, coastal resorts and housing. Foreign direct investment in the real estate sector was estimated at $7.4 billion for 2009 or 45.1 percent of total FDI.
In the larger cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, there is a greater interest among developers to utilize international architecture services, imported construction materials and high-end building technologies as developers look to differentiate themselves among a growing field of competition.
An internal credit boom followed by steep inflation in 2007/08, combined with the financial crisis in 2008/09 has contributed to a start-stop tendency for a number of development projects in Vietnam. While investment dollars have started pouring back into the country, determining which projects are viable and conducting due diligence on potential projects is both challenging and time-consuming.
The markets for architecture, construction, and engineering (ACE) services have emerged as concentrated and lucrative business opportunities in Vietnam. Competition is intense, and many international architects and construction services companies are active in the market. However, American products and services can compete, owing to expertise and reputation for quality among U.S. suppliers, and the increasing demand among developers for new, innovative technologies and services.
Architecture services, concept design, construction management, project management, and new building technologies represent the best opportunities for U.S. firms. Specific prospects include high-end hotels and resorts, high-rise office towers, and mixed-use projects, many of which are foreign invested and require high-quality design and construction. Awareness of sustainable and “green” buildings is just beginning to emerge, and suppliers in this area will need to educate project owners on the benefits of green technologies. Other key areas include:
- Landscape architecture, water features and swimming pools
- Hotel and restaurant interiors
- Theme parks
- Town planning/master planning
- Use of High-end interior products and designs
• High-quality residential kitchen equipment
• Distortion-free glass
• Hardwood floors and architectural features
• Fire safety, Illumination and alarm systems
New Towns: Vietnam is developing a number of “new towns” as satellites of major metropolitan or industrial areas. These master-planned developments often call for investments in industrial parks, commercial areas, residential housing, hospitals, schools, retail, etc. Major new town developments in the South are centered around Ho Chi Minh City and provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong, and Ba Ria – Vung Tau, an important industrial region linked by road, rail and seaports. Other developments include Dien Nam-Dien Ngoc New Urban Area in Quang Nam Province. In August 2008, the Government decided to expand Hanoi to cover neighboring Ha Tay province and part of Hoa Binh and Vinh Phuc provinces, which tripled Hanoi’s area and doubled its population to 6.2 million. This expansion will result in all government offices moving from downtown to the My Dinh area (west of Hanoi). This has created many major residency projects in My Dinh and Ha Dong towns (south west of Hanoi). The new city administrative district includes such new housing projects as Bac Anh Khanh, Nam An Khanh, Indochina Plaza, Dolphin, Kengnam, Le Van Luong residences, Van Khe, Van Phu, My Dinh, Mo Lao, and Mulberry. There are also some major projects being developed in the east and northeast of Hanoi alongside the Hong river on the road to Noi Bai airport and to the Hai Phong port, such as the Ecopark, Sai Dong, Viet Hung, Thach Ban Garden City, Van Phong, and Dam Va. New towns and industrial zones have also been developing in provinces surrounding Hanoi, such as Bac Ninh, and Vinh Phuc.
Thu Thiem: This is the next chapter in Ho Chi Minh City expansion, encompassing 737 hectares of Greenfield development and spurred by the development of 5 bridges and a 1.49km-long tunnel linking Thu Thiem with the downtown and other districts of the city. Plans call for massive investments in infrastructure and utilities, and a full range of new construction including: commercial/business district, retail, hotels, residential housing, schools and parks.
Hospitality/Resort Development: Vietnam is attracting vacation-going and second-home demographic with more than 3,200 kilometers of coast-line including over a hundred beaches, beautiful and diverse landscape, and cultural heritage. Prominent areas that have been targeted for tourism development include Can Gio, Quang Nam province, Nha Trang, Binh Thuan province, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, Phu Quoc Island, Da Nang City. While many projects are underway (including many of the top international hotel brands), there are many projects still in the planning stages. There are also a few hotel and resort projects being developed in Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long and Van Don in Quang Ninh province, and Do Son and Cat Ba Island in Haiphong, but they are relatively small. City planners also cite the need for accompanying airports, roads and other tourism infrastructure as priorities.