The southern economic hub attracted approximately US$820 million in foreign direct investment during the first seven months of this year, down by 57 per cent year-on-year, according to the municipal Statistics Office.

Up to 214 new foreign-invested projects, worth over 292 million USD, were granted licences in the city while 65 operating projects were allowed to raise capital by 528 million USD during the period.

Singapore was the city's leading source of foreign direct investment (FDI) with 38 projects capitalised at 118 million USD, accounting for 40 per cent of the total FDI registered in the city.

Japan ranked second with 46 projects valued at 83 million USD, followed by the Republic of Korea , Malaysia , France and the British Virgin Islands .

The heath sector took the lead in terms of investment capital during the period, gobbling up 83.9 million USD or 28.6 percent of total FDI. It was followed by industry and services, attracting 83 million USD and 72.5 million USD respectively, while the construction sector drew 20 million USD.

To date, HCM City is home to 4,275 foreign-invested projects worth a total of 30.8 billion USD.

The city is focusing on achieving the ambitious target of attracting 2.5 billion USD in FDI for the whole year mainly through the finance and banking, insurance, transport and logistics, import-export services, and telecommunication technology industries, the municipal Department of Planning and Investment deputy director Lu Thanh Phong told the Vietnam Investment Review.

It will also pay attention to hi-tech industries and sectors of high added value such as electronic engineering, information technology, pharmaceutical chemicals, rubber, food processing and bio-technology industries, he added.

Energy saving technologies and supporting industries will be other areas of focus, he said.

Apart from Japan, the city has also been seeking FDI from the US , the EU, north-east Asian countries, Germany, Belgium and Holland.-VNA