Illustrative image (Source: saigondautu.com.vn)
Hanoi (VNA) - Japanese small- and medium-sized enterprises are set to invest in Vietnam in addition to capital expansion by many those already operating in the country.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, with investments of 1.9 billion USD as of October, accounting for 10.9 percent of total FDI, Japan is the second biggest foreign investor in Vietnam this year.

In mid-November, Toto Vietnam, a subsidiary of Toto Group (Japan), opened a representative office in Ho Chi Minh City. It is the second office for the company in the country where, after nearly 15 years of operation, TOTO employs over 3,000 employees at its distribution agencies.

Masao Yamasaki, general director of Toto Vietnam, said the Vietnamese operation has scored the highest growth rate in the group, with 2015 sales rising by 160 percent and this year’s by 130 percent.

“We would like to have a long-term connection with this country,” Yamasaki said.

Abayashi Isao, general secretary of the Japanese Business Association in HCM City, said Vietnam was attractive to Japanese businesses since Vietnamese customers liked their brands.

According to statistics released by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), nearly 70 percent of Japanese companies would like to increase their investment and expand production in Vietnam.

The sectors into which Japanese investments have flowed in are diverse, straddling construction, transportation, infrastructure, electronic equipment, property, trading and services.

More and more Japanese firms have been entering the hi-tech agricultural sector.

Hirokata Yasuzumi, chief representative of JETRO in HCM City, said due to the devaluation of the yen (against the US dollar) and the recession in Japan, investment from his country into Vietnam has been declining.

But a closer reading shows that the number of Japanese companies investing in Vietnam this year is not down.

“Though total investments have been declining, the number of foreign direct investment projects from Japan to Vietnam has been on the rise,” Yasuzami said.

“This indicates it is now the time for investments by Japanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”

In a recent report on Japanese investment, the Ministry of Planning and Investment says Japan has 4.7 million SMEs that are looking for opportunities to invest in other countries, including Vietnam.

He said the Japanese Government co-operated with trade promotion agencies and the Vietnamese Business Association to introduce a web-matching system called J-GoodTech to foster market development.-VNA