Japan is the largest investor in Vietnam. Around 65.3 per cent of the 723 Japanese companies in Vietnam recorded high profits in 2018. Competitive human resources, economic and market growth, and a dynamic society are factors that make Vietnam an attractive destination for Japanese firms to develop their business in future. The market scale and growth are the greatest advantages of Vietnam’s investment environment. Other positive factors include low labor cost and political stability. Given China’s goal of moving away from low-end manufacturing, and the rising labor costs in China, this will likely see much of Japanese direct investments shift to countries like Vietnam, which boasts a relatively cheap and educated labor force alongside a large and growing working class population. China still accounts for 11.6 per cent of Japan’s total outbound FDI as compared to just 2.1 per cent for Vietnam.
Japan’s initiative to move its investments to the Mekong region nations will likely see Vietnam receiving a significant part of the funds, particularly if these investments are in lower-end manufacturing. Japanese investment in Vietnam’s non-manufacturing industries, such as retail, wholesale, IT, professional support and education, may increase, fuelled by the rising growth of Vietnam’s consumption market.