Ho Chi Minh City plans to be global financial hub

Ho Chi Minh City’s downtown at night. Authorities want the city to become an international financial hub. MANH LINH/VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY/VIET NAM NEWS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HO CHI MINH, Jul 22, 2019, Vietnam News. Ho Chi Minh City has committed to develop a detailed plan to turn the city into a regional and international financial hub after years of delay in carrying out the ambitious goal, reported The Phnom Penh Post.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the city’s Party Committee, said: “There’s no better time to do it than now.”

As an international financial hub, Ho Chi Minh City, which contributes 45 per cent to Vietnam’s gross domestic product, would enhance socio-economic growth locally, nationally and regionally, he added.

Speaking at a meeting last week, Nhan said a feasibility report on the plan would be submitted to the People’s Council in October.

By June next year, the city is expected to start building a financial centre complex in the Thu Thiem new urban area in District 2.

The city will also report to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc by the end of the year on a special incentive policy for the project.

Vu Thanh Tu Anh, of Fulbright University Vietnam, said the city must have a complete financial ecosystem that meets international standards.

“The international financial centre should conduct cross-border financial transactions and have diverse financial products,” he noted.

Anh, who is a member of the prime minister’s economic advisory group, said Ho Chi Minh City’s location is ideal for an international financial hub.

“The city accounts for only 9.36 per cent of the country’s population and 0.6 per cent of the country’s total area, but it contributes 14 per cent to the country’s export value and 27 per cent to state revenue.”

It also accounts for 14.1 per cent of the country’s total foreign investment, said Anh, adding that the city, however, is still not listed among global financial centres.

Economist Tran Du Lich said Ho Chi Minh City should receive assistance from the government and should not be expected to shoulder the burden alone.

Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, said a long-term strategy was needed to attract major investors, enterprises and financial institutions to develop the plan.

To develop the plan, the city recently assigned the Ho Chi Minh City Financial Investment Company to work with Fulbright University Vietnam to conduct a survey of major financial centres around the world.

Phong said new policies were seriously needed, including measures to address the lack of high-skilled human resources.

In 2001, the city included the finance sector as one of the city’s nine key services. The sector has had an annual growth rate of 8.8 per cent and accounts for 5.7 per cent of the city’s gross regional domestic product.

The city recently solicited investment to build the 4.9 trillion dong ($210 million) financial, banking and trade centre, which is expected to cover 14,500sqm, according to the Department of Planning and Investment.

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