Foreign direct investment (FDI) in HCM City in the first quarter of the year rose by 109 percent compared to the same period last year, pointing to a positive trend that indicates investors feel more confident about the economy.

According to the city's Department of Planning and Investment, 78 FDI projects with a total investment of nearly 160 million USD were licensed during the first quarter.

Among the licences granted in the first quarter, the municipal People's Committee in late March approved a third plant to be built by MTV Sanofi Viet Nam, a subsidiary of the Sanofi Aventis Group, with a registered capital of 75 million USD. It will be located in the city's Hi-Tech Park in District 9.

Authorities also granted a licence for capital expansion of 95.8 million USD to Nidec Tosok Vietnam \, a subsidiary of the Japanese Nidec Group. That brought the total capital investment of the plant, located in Tan Thuan Industrial Park in HCM City's District 7, to 205.6 million USD.

In addition, 26 FDI projects in the city were licensed for capital expansion of 175.3 million USD.

According to HEPZA, the city's EPZs and IPs in the first quarter mobilised a total investment of 144.5 million USD, up by 21.4 percent compared with the same period last year.

That included FDI of 122.65 million USD, an increase of 57.35 percent, and domestic investment of 21.83 million USD, down by 57.35 percent compared to the same period in 2012.

The profitable operation of companies in the city's Export Processing Zones and Industrial Parks, especially foreign-invested enterprises, was behind the rising investment trend, said Nguyen Tan Dinh, deputy head of the HCM City Export Processing Zone Authority (HEPZA).

Dinh said that this year, HEPZA will take measures to attract even more investment to the city's EPZ and IPs.

Focus will be on hi-tech industries that have high added value: mechanics, electronics/information technology, chemicals, and food and foodstuff processing. In addition, the city will map out a plan to build an industrial area for support industries within the Dong Nam Industrial Park, and is seeking Japanese investment for infrastructure construction.

The HCM City Trade and Investment Promotion Centre, the Department of Planning and Investment, and the IP and EPZ Infrastructure Development Company will organise investment promotions in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, the US and Canada with the aim of attracting investment to local IPs.-VNA