A worker operates a motor oil packaging line at Cheveron Vietnam in Hai Phong city's Dinh Vu Industrial Park. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Foreign direct investment (FDI) registered in Vietnam saw a year-on-year increase of 12.5 percent in 2015 to reach 22.76 billion USD, data from the General Statistics Office (GSO) revealed.

Up to 2,013 projects with 15.58 billion USD in foreign investment were granted licences as of December 15, surging 26.8 percent in terms of the number of projects, but plunging 0.4 percent in terms of capital over the same period last year. Meanwhile, 814 existing projects were also allowed to increase their capital by 7.18 billion USD.

During the reviewed period, FDI disbursement reached an estimated 14.5 billion USD, surging 17.4 percent year-on-year, GSO said.

The manufacturing and processing sector attracted the lion's share of FDI at 15.23 billion USD, accounting for about 67 percent of the nation's FDI. The production and distribution of electricity, gas, hot water and steam, and air conditioners ranked second with 2.81 billion USD FDI or 12.4 percent, while real estate trading came third with 2.39 billion USD or 10.5 percent.

HCM City beat 48 cities and provinces to become the most attractive destination for foreign investors. The city lured more than 2.81 billion USD, comprising 18 percent of the total FDI registered in the country. It was followed by Tra Vinh province with 2.52 billion USD or 16.2 percent, Binh Duong province with 2.46 billion USD or 15.8 percent, Dong Nai province with 1.47 billion USD or 9.4 percent and Hanoi with 910.7 million USD or 6 percent.

Other localities that also attracted FDI are Hai Phong city (573.1 million USD), Tay Ninh province (503 million USD) and Quang Ninh province (374 million USD).

Among 58 countries and territories that have invested in Vietnam, the Republic of Korea is the country's largest source of FDI with 2.68 billion USD, accounting for 17.2 percent of the total new FDI, followed by Malaysia with 2.45 billion USD or 15.7 percent and Japan with 1.28 billion USD or 8.2 percent, besides the United Kingdom with 1.26 billion USD or 8.1 percent and Taiwan with 940.4 million USD or 6 percent.

Experts said Vietnam was likely to attract more foreign investment next year and in the future because of the opportunities and advantages resulting from free trade agreements (FTAs).

Vo Tri Thanh, Deputy Head of the Central Institute of Economic Management, said of the FTAs, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal and FTA between Vietnam and the European Union would bring great opportunities for the nation and attract additional foreign investment, especially FDI.

If foreign investors came to Vietnam to participate in production and business, they could approach large markets that are member countries of the FTAs, Thanh said.

These member countries include the US, Japan, Australia and Canada in the TPP, and European Union nations operating under the FTA.

Hoang Thi Chinh from the HCM City Economics University said Vietnam would enjoy great opportunities from not only Japanese and American investments, but also the Republic of Korea’s ones.

There would be investments not in labour-intensive industries, but in fields that required hi-tech and intelligence, Chinh told Dat Viet online newspaper.

Investors from the Republic of Korea and Japan might pour money into agriculture, while the US was likely to inject money into hi-tech fields, she said.-VNA