Quang Nam province: the essence of central Vietnam
Quang Nam province is the only locality in the country having two sites recognized by UNESCO as the world cultural heritage sites - Hoi An ancient town and My Son sanctuary. With a diverse eco-system and ancient cultural and historical sites, Cu Lao Cham (Cham island) in Hoi An city was recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in May 2009.
Tourists visit Cu Lao Cham biosphere reserve in Tan Hiep island commune (Hoi An city, Quang Nam province) __Photo: Do Truong

Located in the central coast, Quang Nam province borders Da Nang city to the north, Quang Ngai province to the south, the East Sea to the east and Kon Tum province and the Laos to the west. Covering 10,406 square kilometers, the province has a population of 1.43 million (according to 2012’s statistics) and is home to four indigenous ethnic groups, namely Kotu, Co, Gie Trieng and Xe Dang. It has two provincial cities - Tam Ky and Hoi An - and 16 districts (including nine mountainous districts).

FDI attraction

Quang Nam is one of the five provinces in the central key economic region (Thua Thien Hue - Da Nang - Quang Nam - Quang Ngai - Binh Dinh). The Da Nang - Quang Nam - Quang Ngai expressway, the Da Nang - Hoi An - Chu Lai coastal route, National Highway 1A running through the province and the 91.5km-long railway section help connect Quang Nam with other localities in the country and boost the provincial socio-economic development. For air transportation, Vietjet Aviation Joint-Stock Company (Vietjet Air) is seeking the Ministry of Transport’s permission to join its US partner Parsons Brinckerhoff in upgrading Chu Lai Airport in the province.

The province entered the country’s top ten in the 2016 provincial competitiveness index (PCI) ranking for the second consecutive year and ranked second to Da Nang city in the central coastal region. It strives to become a modernity-oriented industrial province by 2020. This offers a great opportunity for domestic and foreign investors to tap the province’s potential.

Quang Nam is home to eight industrial parks, 51 industrial clusters and Chu Lai open economic zone, the first of its kind in the country.

Deputy head of the Quang Nam Planning and Investment Department’s investment cooperation section Nguyen Oanh Thi said the province has so far attracted 135 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with a combined registered capital of over USD 5.5 billion. Hoi An city and Duy Xuyen, Thang Binh, Dien Ban and Nui Thanh districts have the highest number of FDI projects.

One of the biggest projects licensed in the province was the South Hoi An tourism project worth USD 4 billion, a joint venture between Vinacapital and Hong Kong’s Chow Tai Fook group, Thi added.

At a recent conference on promoting investment in Quang Nam province in 2017, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung highlighted the province’s attractive investment environment and a successful investment attraction model after 20 years of re-establishment. “Quang Nam is connected with other localities in the country and other Southeast Asian nations and one of a few localities in the country having a complete transport infrastructure,” he said.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc described investors and enterprises as cranes flying in the Vietnamese sky and called on potential cranes present at the conference to invest in Quang Nam province to help Vietnam and Quang Nam fly higher.

The Prime Minister also pledged to stabilize the macro-economic policies, maintain peace and friendship with other countries for cooperation and development, create a transparent legal system for an efficient business environment and join Quang Nam in ensuring investors’ legitimate rights.

At the event, Chairman of Truong Hai Automobile Company (Thaco), the largest local carmaker, said the company would additionally invest USD 3 billion in this sector. The local carmaker is licensed to domestically manufacture and distribute car brands of Kia from the Republic of Korea, Mazda from Japan and Peugeot from France.

Notably, an investment and cooperation agreement on the Blue Whale natural gas well was signed at the event between the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), the US-based Exxon Mobil Corporation and Quang Nam province. The Blue Whale well project, the largest of its kind in the country, has an approximate on-site reserve of 150 billion cubic meters of gas.

Under the project, Exxon Mobil will invest in a well head platform for offshore water separation and two underground mining groups, each with four extraction wells and an 88 kilometer-long pipe connecting to Chu Lai coast.

On land, PetroVietnam will invest in a gas processing factory and a power plant with two generators at 600 to 700 megawatts capacity each. Both plants will be located in Nui Thanh district.

In the near future, the province will continue attracting investment, focusing on supporting industries, hi-tech agriculture and spearhead industries such as automobile manufacturing and assembling and electronics, said Thi, adding that the province would squarely refuse polluting, outdated-technology and natural resources-intensive projects.

To further improve its investment environment, the Quang Nam People’s Committee established the Public Administration and Investment Promotion Agency of Quang Nam province (IPA Quang Nam) on September 14, 2016. All administrative procedures are expected to be carried out at the agency by 2018.

The province has recently introduced numerous incentives for investors. According to the Quang Nam Industrial Park Authority, new investment projects in Quang Nam will enjoy import duty exemption for machinery, equipment and vehicles imported to create fixed assets. In addition, investors will be entitled to corporate income tax exemption for two years since earning taxable income and 50-percent tax reduction in the subsequent four years.

At present, land rent rates in Quang Nam are equal to only one-third of those in neighbor provinces. Investors may be exempted from land rental for 11 years to the whole implementation duration of the projects depending on their investment fields. Furthermore, Quang Nam provincial authorities will support investors in compensation for ground clearance, labor training, trade promotion and product advertisement.

Tourism development

Quang Nam province is the only locality in the country having two sites recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the world cultural heritage sites – Hoi An ancient town and My Son sanctuary. With a diverse eco-system and ancient cultural and historical sites, Cu Lao Cham (Cham island) in Hoi An city was recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in May 2009. With a coastline of 125km, it boasts white sandy beaches such as Cua Dai and An Bang with big potential for ecological and convalescent tourism.

Quang Nam is rich in culture and craft villages. Deputy Director of the Quang Nam Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Muon said the province was home to 44 craft villages famous for vegetable and fruit planting, seafood processing, weaving, carpentry and shipbuilding.

Among the best known are Phuoc Kieu bronze casting village in Dien Phuong commune, Dien Ban town; and Kim Bong woodwork village in Cam Kim commune, Tra Que vegetable planting village in Cam Ha commune and Thanh Ha pottery village in Thanh Ha commune, Hoi An city.

Visitors learn about traditional ceramic-making methods in Thanh Ha ceramic village (Hoi An city, Quang Nam province)__Photo: Thanh Ha/VNA

According to the Quang Nam Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, about 300 festivals are organized every year in the province, including 30 in Hoi An city, that strongly attract domestic and foreign tourists.

In particular, Hoi An city won the Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards 2016 and its lantern festival was chosen by the UK’s Wanderlust Travel Magazine as one of the country’s seven most spectacular festivals the same year.

Duong Hoai Huong from the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Travel Management Division said the province welcomed in 2016 4.36 million arrivals, including more than 2.2 million foreign tourist arrivals and earned a turnover of VND 3.1 trillion.

Quang Nam plans to turn its hospitality sector into a spearhead one and strives to become one of the country’s large tourism hubs.

It expects to receive 5.15 million arrivals, including 2.65 million foreign arrivals and earn a gross profit of over VND 3.8 trillion this year.

To achieve the targets, the hospitality sector will organize the sixth Quang Nam Heritage Festival on June 9-14 in Hoi An city and focus on developing ecological, cultural and community-based tours and tours to rural and mountainous areas. It will upgrade coastal routes and district roads to ecological, cultural and historical sites in service of tourism.

To promote tourism development, the sector will take part in domestic and foreign fairs, make films, print leaflets and run ads at airports and seaports.

The sector will also organize familiarization (FAM) trips and press trips to Western Europe, Japan, the RoK, Australia, India and other countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to expand tourism cooperation.- (VLLF)

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