A worker inspects the quality of rubber tyres at a factory in Da Nang (Photo: VNA)

Da Nang (VNA) - The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Week is a crucial opportunity for businesses throughout central Vietnam to seek trade partners and export markets as representatives of foreign firms flock to the APEC business forums from November 5-11, Da Nang businesspeople and officials said.

Nearly 2,000 CEOs will attend the CEO Summit in the city. Vice Chairman of the city’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Association (DANASME), Nguyen Van Ly, said that this would represent a rare opportunity for local firms to show off their capacity.

The city has 21,000 businesses, of which 98 percent are SMEs and super-small businesses with registered capital of 90 trillion VND (3.9 billion USD). They contribute 43 percent to the city’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP), and employ 60 percent of the city’s labour force. Eighty percent of the city businesses operate in trade, service, hospitality, tourism property and retails, making international connections especially important.

Da Nang has been a leader in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) for the past decade. It has 408 domestic projects worth 4.5 billion USD, and 525 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth 3 billion USD.

Tourism real estate remains an investment magnet in this central city, attracting 25 FDI projects worth 1.8 billion USD. But the city’s business community faces challenges that the APEC Economic Leaders Week could help ameliorate.

“We have been struggling in seeking a larger export market and long-term strategic partners in service and tourism as well as property. For us, building connections with giant foreign partners is nearly impossible,” Ly said. “Our small and medium enterprise community faces limited funds and technology, as well as little international exposure. That’s why the APEC Economic Leaders Week is very important to the city’s business community.”

Ly said he hoped that local businesses would be able to share experiences with CEOs from some of the world’s top firms and join global production processes.

He said the association had received a list of top 100 enterprises in the APEC’s CEO Summit for business matching. Local businesses are particularly expected to connect with international firms operating in the fields of finance, hi-tech and human resources.

The 2017 APEC Economic Leaders Week is a "diamond" chance for Da Nang’s tourism industry in hosting the world’s top economic leaders and CEOs, as well as officials from 21 member economies and partners, said the city’s tourism association, Huynh Tan Vinh.

Vinh said the city received an award for Asia’s Leading Festival and Event at the World Travel Awards ceremony for tourism last year. He said that hosting the APEC Economic Leaders Week would confirm the city’s tourism prowess.

He said Da Nang is also the first city in Vietnam and the Southeast Asian region to host a leg of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race last year. Because of that event, the symbol of the Ngu Hanh Son Mountain (Marble Mountain) and the city’s tourism logo, Fantastic City, travelled around the globe.

[Infographics: APEC 2017 – Opportunity for Vietnam to affirm its position]

 “The APEC Economic Leaders Week is a great promotional opportunity for the city’s tourism industry,” Vinh said. “We’ll be able to offer international observers an introduction to the city through the first-hand experiences of 10,000 delegates, 2,000 CEOs and 3,000 journalists at the APEC Economic Leaders Week.”

He said the city had received huge investment from the central Government and private sectors in infrastructure projects, including airport expansion - a new terminal could host about 14 million tourists per year - convention halls, accommodations, human resource training and decoration projects.

“The city has developed 600 hotels and resorts to provide 26,000 rooms for hosting 15 million tourists per year in 2030,” Vinh said.

He said Da Nang had been designed to serve as a favourite destination for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition) in Vietnam and the region.

Yeon In Jung, CEO and general director of the Republic of Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam (Doosan Vina) said the APEC Economic Leaders Week is an excellent opportunity for Vietnam to showcase its advantages and encourage firms to invest and open a branch or subsidiary in the country like Doosan did in 1995. 

He said the APEC Economic Leaders Week would provide long-term benefit for Vietnam, its people and businesses; the exposure that Vietnam would receive is tremendous.

“If you think of Vietnam in terms of a ‘brand’, hosting the APEC Economic Leaders Week will introduce key decision makers in Governments and businesspeople from all over the world to what is possible in Vietnam, and that is priceless,” he added.

“The VIP’s that are coming will be able to see firsthand what companies like Doosan have done here and they’ll be able to easily see the possibilities for investment.  Another side effect will be the millions of people in the leaders home nations who will also be shown what it is like to visit and do business in Vietnam by their media, so the benefits from APEC will last long after the event and have a knock-on effect that will bring lasting value to Vietnam for many years to come,” he said.

“I think all the factors for success are here and good businessmen are sure to recognize that,” he continued. “They will ‘Carpe Diem’ or seize the day and take a serious look at Vietnam.”-VNA