Seoul mayor works to boost Vietnam business ties

By Thuy Nguyen
Thu, August 4, 2022 | 1:45 pm GTM+7

Seoul mayor Oh Se-hoon has helped Korean tech startups gain greater access to Vietnam, and other Korean firms expand their presence.

During his Wednesday working visit to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest economic hub, Oh forged a partnership with Vietnam's Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) to facilitate Korean startups’ access to the Vietnamese market.

To serve as a bridge between the two nations, Oh appointed Korean resident Park Hang-seo, head coach of the Vietnam national football team, as the global ambassador for Seoul tourism. Oh also hosted Wednesday night a Seoul tourism promotion event in HCMC.

Earlier, the Seoul mayor signed a joint letter of intent for a technology partnership with MoST’s National Agency for Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Development (Natec). This is aimed at easier entry into Vietnam for Korean tech firms through partnerships and cooperation between the tech sector and academia.

The letter also envisions synergies between Seoul and HCMC as the Korean capital is promoting electric vehicles and self-driving cars, while Vietnam has a goal of having all its cars be electric by 2050.

The Vietnamese government is pursuing several policies to promote electric vehicles including reductions in registration fees and special consumption taxes.

Before the Seoul mayor’s visit to HCMC, the MoST had agreed to provide space in the Hanoi-based National Startup Support Center, where the Seoul Startup Hub is located, dedicated to technology partnerships and research and development between Seoul and Vietnamese companies.

Seoul mayor Oh Se-hoon (L) holds a commemorative plaque with Nguyen Anh Thi, head of Saigon Hi-tech Park board of management, on August 3, 2022 in HCMC.

Seoul mayor Oh Se-hoon (L) holds a commemorative plaque with Nguyen Anh Thi, head of Saigon Hi-tech Park board of management, on August 3, 2022 in HCMC.

In HCMC, Oh also visited the Saigon Hi-tech Park, home to factories of high-tech enterprises, including Samsung Electronics HCMC CE Complex, which is Samsung Electronics Co.’s second largest manufacturing site worldwide for TV screens and home electronics (after Mexico). Korean giant Samsung Electronics has invested over $2.84 billion in the complex, which started operations in 2016.

The Seoul administration also signed an agreement with Vietnam National University HCMC to support industry-academic cooperation between Korean companies and Vietnamese universities by jointly developing technologies or recruiting talent.

Oh also met with Korean businessmen and Vietnamese startup CEOs in the city. “I will support and contribute to the development of fourth industrial revolution technologies such as smart mobility, artificial intelligence, and robots in both countries and contribute to job creation,” he said.

Vietnam and South Korea expect bilateral trade to soar to $100 billion in 2023 from $78.1 billion last year, then to $150 billion by 2030, the Vietnamese government said on July 5.

The economic goals were agreed upon during a telephone call between Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Korean counterpart Han Duck-soo.

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