Workers are packaging products at a factory at the Linh Trung export processing zone in Thu Duc district. (Source: VNA)

HCM City, Vietnam’s southern economic hub, is making efforts to transform its processing and industrial zones from traditional labour-intensive structure to high-tech key industries.

After 24 years of developing export processing industrial zones, the city has made considerable achievements.

Since the establishment of the Tan Thuan export processing zone in 1991, a substantial amount of marsh areas have been transformed into a vibrant economic area with tens of thousands of workers within hundreds of factories.

Tan Thuan laid the foundation for hundreds of export processing and industrial zones across the country, which generate jobs, boost export-import activities, improve infrastructure and transfer technology.

According to Pham Xuan Trung, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tan Thuan Limited Company – a joint venture between the Tan Thuan Industrial Promotion Company Limited (IPC) and Central Trading and Development (CT&D), of Taiwan (Chinese), as of June, 2015, the Tan Thuan export processing zone had attracted 184 enterprises from 19 countries and territories with 1.5 billion USD in investment capital and generated an export value of 3.9 billion USD.

The zone is planning to develop an e-office park employing around 4,000 information technology workers.

The e-office park has drawn major corporations such as Renesas, Danieli, Marvell, Applied Micro and Aricent.

Besides pioneering the Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone, the city now has 11 other export processing and industrial parks with a combined occupancy rate of 91 percent, making impressive contributions to the city’s gross domestic product.

According to the management board of the Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (Hepza), the zones have 1,307 valid projects with total capital of 8.4 billion USD.

Of the figure, 523 are foreign projects with over 5 billion USD in capital and 3.4 billion USD in domestic capital.

Tan Thuan, Linh Trung and Linh Xuan zones account for the largest proportion of both investment capital and export value, which reached 22.34 billion USD in 2014.

Nguyen Chon Trung, former head of Hepza, said export processing and industrial zones have drawn major companies with modern technologies that promote the innovation of technology across fields.

In order to continually transform existing industrial facilities, Hepza has been focusing on attracting projects with substantial capital and advanced technology in four key industries: food processing, chemical-rubber, mechanics, and electronics-information technology.

From 2011-2014, the four key industries attracted 2.28 billion USD, making up 70.3 percent of the total investment capital flowing into industrial zones.

According to overall plan approved by the Prime Minister, HCM City will have 24 processing and industrial zones with a combined area of 6,100 hectares and focus on drawing projects in the high-tech sector, especially in mechanics, electric-electronics and chemicals.

The Hepza is also finalising a project to build support industrial zones within the Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park in Nha Be district and the Le Minh Xuan 3 Industrial Park in Binh Chanh district.

Besides that, Hepza is developing a pilot model of high-rise workshops for 2015-2020 at the Dong Nam, Hiep Phuoc, Linh Trung and Tan Thuan export processing and industrial zones to attract small- and medium- enterprises that use advanced technology and modern equipment.-VNA