A view of Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam's southern economic hub (Photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – The wait-and-see time in Vietnam is over and investors are advised to take the plunge in one of Southeast Asia’s most promising economies, according to Thailand’s Bangkok Post on December 28.

According to the newspaper, with the growth of 6.5 percent in 2015, the 92 million-strong country has been a magnet for global investors in recent years as it has actively concentrated on improving diplomatic ties, business-friendly policies and international trade agreements.

Stronger economic cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand is expected to bring about great benefits to both countries while ensuring a seamless transition into the world of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), it said.

It quoted President of the Thailand-Vietnam Business Council Sanan Angubolkul as saying at a recent conference on “Bangkok- Ho Chi Minh City: Bridge to the Silk Road of ASEAN” that Vietnam and Thailand together can create an immense economic power and become the growth engine for Southeast Asia.

Experts at the event also highly valued opportunities for Thai and Vietnamese investors to intensify collaboration and fully tap economic potential of both countries.

The article acknowledged Vietnam is seen as the next investment destination globally as rising labour costs and complex regulations in China have impelled investors to reconsider their business strategies in recent years.

With a young and energetic workforce making up 70 percent of the population, Vietnam has emerged as a leader in quality low-cost manufacturing in the region. Its laboru cost is half that of China and 40 percent of the cost in Thailand and the Philippines.

Sanan called on Thai investors not to be afraid to start doing business in Vietnam since its government has actively removing business difficulties, completing infrastructure and economic corridors for cheaper logistics services.

He added Thailand and Vietnam together can strengthen collaboration in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), an economic area that encompasses southern China as well as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Vikrom Kromadit, the founder and chief executive officer of the industrial estate developer Amata Corporation Plc said Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) has expanded at an impressive pace in recent years thanks to political stability and a diligent workforce.

“Vietnam is catching up quickly with bigger economies, boosting its GDO to half that of Thailand from one-third in less than a decade”, he said.

The article cited that Vietnam’s exports have doubled over the past five years. The US is the country’s largest export market, accounting for 18 percent of the total, followed by Japan and China at 11 percent. Other large markets are the Republic of Korea (5 percent), Malaysia and Germany, 4 percent each.

Among the 10 ASEAN countries, Vietnam is Thailand’s fourth biggest trade partner and 10th largest in the world. Bilateral trade in 2014 reached 12 billion USD, up 13 percent compared to the previous year, and is expected to hit 20 billion USD by 2020.-VNA