Located 102 km from Hanoi, Hai Phong city is also known as the city of red flamboyant or the northern port city of Vietnam. Covering 1,507.5 square kilometers, the city is the third most populous city in the country, after Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with nearly two million people (by December 2011). The city has seven districts (Ngo Quyen, Hong Bang, Le Chan, Duong Kinh, Do Son, Kien An and Hai An), six suburban districts (Thuy Nguyen, Hai An, An Lao, Kien Thuy, Tien Lang and Vinh Bao) and two island districts (Cat Hai and Bach Long Vi) with 223 communes, wards and townships.
Hai Phong has many limestone mountains, mainly in Trang Kenh (Thuy Nguyen) and Cat Ba with an estimated reserve of 200 million tons and minerals such as iron and kaolin in Thuy Nguyen, zinc in Cat Ba and clay in Tien Lang.
According to a report on socio-economic situation in the city in April and the first four months of 2014 recently revealed by the municipal People’s Committee, the city’s April industrial production index rose 9.6 percent against April 2013 and recorded a year-on-year increase of 11.6 percent in the first four months of the year. Its exports fetched USD 282 million in April, an increase of 17 percent against April 2013, and some USD 1 billion in the first four months of the year, a year-on-year increase of 17.7 percent.
Hai Phong port handled five million tons of cargo in April and around 18.4 million tons in the four months, bringing in more than VND 1.2 trillion. In April, one ongoing project added an investment capital of USD 3 million and the city granted investment licenses to 12 new projects totaling USD 115.4 million, and seven existing projects added USD 136.5 million to their registered investment capital in the first four months of the year. These projects are invested in allied industries, housing construction, services and commerce and manufacture of automobile spare parts.
This year, the city set out to achieve a GDP growth of 8-9 percent and a year-on-year rise of 6.5-7.5 percent in industrial production, 5.9-6.2 percent in agricultural-forestry-fishery product value, and 16-17 percent in export value. The city expects to handle 53 million tons of cargo and receive 5.2 million tourists.
To fulfill the sustainable development target, Hai Phong is always eager to cooperate with experienced investors with great financial capability. To basically become a modernity-oriented industrial city by 2020, Hai Phong will focus more on mobilizing resources from all economic sectors, make the best use of its geographical position associated with the rational economic restructuring, and closely cooperate with other provinces and cities in the northern key economic region and the whole country.
Promising foreign investment
Hai Phong is a road and railway hub and a waterway and airway gateway of the north to the east sea and has an important position in the northern key economic region and the “two corridors-one economic belt” between Vietnam and China. Prime Minister Decision No. 1448/QD-TTg dated September 16, 2009, therefore regarded Hai Phong as a growth pole of the northern key economic region (Hanoi - Hai Phong - Quang Ninh) in the Red River delta socio-economic development strategy and an economic, scientific and technological center in the northern coast.
Hai Phong is one of Vietnam’s major industrial centers specialized in steel making and rolling, shipbuilding, cement production, chemicals, footwear, garments and textiles. Founded in 1961, the city’s shipbuilding industry is now capable of making large-tonnage vessels of at least 22,500 DWT up to international maritime standards. Most recently, oil-containing Floating Storage Offloading 5 (FSO5) has been launched, marking an important breakthrough for Vietnam’s shipbuilding industry. The city shipbuilding’s products have been exported to Singapore, Japan, Denmark, Greece, Iraq and the UK.
Hai Phong is now home to 17 industrial parks and economic zones, eight of which have occupied a total area of 4,180 hectares and attracted large foreign direct investment (FDI) projects. They include the USD 61 million GE plant of the US General Electric Group in the Nomura industrial park, the USD 1.22 billion Bridgestone tire production plant of Japan’s Bridgestone in the Dinh Vu industrial park and Japan-invested USD 250 million Vietnam Nipro Pharma plant in the Vietnam-Singapore industrial park. Foreign-invested businesses have made great contributions to socio-economic development and restructuring toward industrialization and modernization.
Tourists set feet on a beach of Khi (Monkey) island in Lan Ha bay
(Cat Ba district, Hai Phong city)__Photo: Thanh Ha/VNA
The Foreign Investment Agency of the Ministry of Planning and Investment has reported that by April 20, 2014, the city had 404 valid FDI projects with a combined investment capital of USD 10.1 billion.
Under Prime Minister Decision No. 631/QD-TTg dated April 29, 2014, Hai Phong has two projects on the list of 127 national projects calling for foreign investment until 2020, namely the railway project to the Hai Phong international gateway port that needs VND 28 trillion and the industrial park exclusively for Japanese investors.
At present, investment projects in Hai Phong’s industrial parks and economic zones are entitled to exemption from land rental for 15 years. In particular, enterprises investing in economic zones are entitled to corporate income tax exemption for up to 4 years since having taxable income and 50-percent tax reduction in the subsequent 9 years or subject to the tax rate of 10 percent for 15 years since having incomes from activities eligible for tax incentives.
This year, Hai Phong is planning to attract around USD 1 billion in FDI with priority given to projects in allied industries, yielding high economic value or saving energy.
In addition to investors from the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea, the northern port city is striving to lure European investors in projects to develop allied industries for its shipbuilding industry.
In the coming time, the city will focus on implementing 10 socio-economic development solutions, including removing difficulties for businesses, organizing a business contact conference in 2014, facilitating early operation of large industrial production projects, speeding up ground clearance and resettlement compensation and the implementation of investment projects that might greatly impact the city’s economic development such as the upgrading of Cat Bi international airport, the Hai Phong international gateway port in Lach Huyen and Tan Vu-Lach Huyen motorway.
Hai Phong has more favorable conditions than any other northern localities for tourism development, with convenient sea, air and railway routes. Every day, Cat Bi international airport services five Ho Chi Minh City-Hai Phong flights and one Da Nang-Hai Phong flight, and the Hanoi-Hai Phong railway schedules four trains from Hanoi to Hai Phong and vice versa.
Located some 45 kilometers east of Hai Phong and 150 kilometers southeast of Hanoi and covering more than 17,000 hectares of land and 9,200 hectares of sea, Cat Ba archipelago in Cat Hai district is an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign visitors.
Recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve in 2004, Cat Ba boasts a typical ecosystem in Vietnam, including tropical rain forests on limestone islands, mangrove forests, coral reefs, sea grass, sandy beaches and picturesque caves.
Cat Ba archipelago has truly become a valuable genetic reserve for a variety of wildlife animals and plants, including rare and endangered species. Cat Ba is home to some 2,320 different species of fauna and flora, including 740 terrestrial animals, 280 forest plants, 540 seabed creatures, 200 fish species, 180 coral reef organisms, 80 sea grass species and 20 different wetland plants. It also serves as a living laboratory for scientists and visitors to conduct their research and exploration.
The city is applying for UNESCO recognition of its Cat Ba archipelago as a world natural heritage.
Along with Cat Ba, Do Son is a stunning beach located in an ideal area which is easily accessible for local transportation facilities. Located around 105 kilometers from Hanoi, Do Son is a small peninsula formed by the stretch of Rong Mountains to the sea. The harmonious mix of mountains and hills with pine tree forests surrounding the beach areas looks like a green blanket and makes beaches more attractive.
Hai Phong once had more than 60 traditional craft villages with 20 different trades. However, undergoing many historical ups and downs, the city now has over 30 craft villages, many of which have been revived to contribute to the city’s socio-economic development and the preservation of traditional cultural values. They have become attractive tourist destinations, such as Bao Ha wooden sculpture village in Dong Minh commune, Vinh Bao district; Kha Lam carpentry village in Kien An district; Chinh My bamboo and rattan weaving; and My Dong metal casting village in Thuy Nguyen district.
The city welcomed 338,100 local and foreign tourists in April, bringing the total number of holiday-makers to the city in the first four months of the year to 1.23 million, a year-on-year increase of 7.7 percent. In Liberation Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) this year alone, Cat Ba island received 55,000 local and foreign tourists.
In order to achieve the target of attracting 5.2 million local and foreign tourists this year, the city’s culture, sports and tourism sector has planned to promote the city’s image and prestige, mobilize resources to create breakthroughs in developing brands of tourist products, raise the quality and competitiveness of tourist services, and expand economic exchange with other localities in the country and foreign countries.-