While fresh foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals in the country suffered a sharp fall in the first quarter of this year, those in Ho Chi Minh City rose strongly in the period, a local newspaper has reported.

According to the Saigon Times Daily, a recent report by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Investment says the city licensed 78 new investment projects with total pledges of over 691 million USD in the first quarter, jumping 332% over the year-ago period.

Besides, 26 operational FDI projects in the city spurred capital by a combined 62.3 million USD in the first three months.

As such, both fresh and additional FDI pledged for the city amounted to nearly 754 million USD in January-March, growing 125% year-on-year. Of the amount, up to more than 406 million USD was channeled into the projects outside the city’s export-processing zones (EPZs) and industrial parks (IPs), said the Investment and Planning Department.

Late last month, the General Statistics Office (GSO) estimated the foreign direct investment (FDI) capital pledges for new and operational projects across the country in the first three months at 3.33 billion USD, down by 49.6% from a year ago.

As of March 20, 252 new FDI projects had been registered with total investment capital of more than 2 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 6% in number and 38.6% in capital while investors of 82 operational projects had registered to add 1.29 billion USD in total.

The local EPZs and IPs witnessed a strong rise in foreign investment in the first three months, according to the HCM City export processing zones and industrial parks authority (Hepza).

The FDI inflow into local EPZs and IPs was estimated at more than 234.5 million USD in the first quarter, surging 97% year-on-year, Hepza office manager Ho Xuan Lam was quoted as saying.

The major FDI contributors there include a 140 million USD high-class textile-garment project by Vietnam Worldon Ltd. Co., a 50 million USD high-class fabric weaving project by Sheico Vietnam Ltd. Co. and a rubber glove scheme of Cleanwrap Latex Vietnam Ltd. Co. worth 10 million USD.

The city’s IPs and EPZs have also attracted plenty of hi-tech schemes in recent times. These schemes comprise a 4 million USD electronic components plant of Merrimack River Precision Mechanical Ltd. Co., an electronic components facility of Arirang Vietnam and another Japanese-invested scheme.

Lam said that in the second quarter Hepza would concentrate on supporting the Vietnam-Japan Hi-tech Area project in Hiep Phuoc IP in a bid to woo Japanese hi-tech supporting schemes. In addition, the authority will accelerate construction and expansion of An Ha, Dong Nam and Tan Phu Trung IPs to lure more investors.

Hepza targets investors with hi-tech and supporting schemes, especially those in mechanics, electronics, chemical and processing industries, which are identified as the top priorities by the city’s government.-VNA