Sun, Jan 08, 2006 - Page 11 News List

US$7.93bn makes Taiwan Vietnam's biggest investor

CNA AND AP , TAIPEI AND HANOI

Taiwanese manufacturers implemented 1,408 investment projects in Vietnam totaling US$7.93 billion in value as of the end of last month, making Taiwan the largest foreign investor in the Southeast Asian country, according to statistics released by the Vietnamese Department of Planning and Investment (DPI).

Hou Wen-chin (侯文欽), director of the Ho Chi Minh City office of the Taiwan Trade Center, said that the figure does not include the amount of those investments which many Taiwanese manufacturers implemented under the name of their holding companies set up in a third country.

If such investments are included, the real amount of investments by Taiwanese manufacturers in Vietnam totals US$10 billion, Hou pointed out.

Singapore ranked second in terms of the total value of investments in Vietnam at US$7.60 billion (395 cases) , followed by Japan at US$6.19 billion (590 cases) and South Korea at US$5.28 billion (1.029 cases), the DPI statistics indicate.

Last year alone, Taiwanese businesses invested US$674 million in Vietnam, representing a phenomenal growth of 43.7 percent in comparison with the previous year's level, according to the tallies.

Meanwhile, Vietnam boosted the minimum wage of employees at foreign-invested companies in a move expected to quell a recent wave of labor strikes involving tens of thousands of workers.

An increase of between 25 percent to 42 percent will take effect on Feb. 1, the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported yesterday.

Some workers will see their minimum monthly salaries jump to 710,000 dong (US$44.7) or 870,000 dong (US$54.7), depending on whether their factories are based in rural or urban areas, it said.

Over the past week, more than 50,000 workers from two dozen foreign-invested companies in Ho Chi Minh City and neighboring Binh Duong province went on strike demanding higher salaries.

"The new minimum wage will help to stop the wave of labor strikes," said Nguyen Van Nam, chief of the trade union in Binh Duong.

The current minimum wage ranges from 556,000 dong to 695,000 dong at foreign-invested companies, which are either 100 percent foreign owned, or a joint venture between a foreign company and a local one.

The wage hike doesn't apply to Vietnamese companies, where the minimum monthly salary is 350,000 dong.

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