Yen Bai province - the gateway to the beautiful, potential northwest
Yen Bai currently accommodates three industrial parks (IPs), including the Southern IP and Au Lau IP in Yen Bai city and Minh Quan IP in Tran Yen district. There are three China-invested projects specialized in timber processing operating in the Southern IP and the Republic of Korea (RoK)-invested garment project in the Au Lau IP, Director of the provincial Management Board of Industrial Parks Trinh Huynh Yen told the Vietnam Law and Legal Forum magazine.

Located in the heart of Vietnam’s northern midland and mountainous region, Yen Bai province borders Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces to the northwest, Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang provinces to the east and northeast, Phu Tho province to the southeast and Son La province to the west. Covering some 6,887 square kilometers, Yen Bai is the eighth largest locality in the region by area with a population of 821,030 (according to 2020 statistics). It is home to Kinh (Viet) and 29 other indigenous ethnic groups, including Tay, Thai, Muong, Dao, Nung, San Chay and Giay. It is made up of a provincial city with the same name, Nghia Lo town and seven districts of Tram Tau, Mu Cang Chai, Van Chan, Van Yen, Luc Yen, Tran Yen and Yen Binh.

Spotlight for FDI

Yen Bai lies on the Kunming-Lao Cai-Hanoi-Hai Phong economic corridor, one of the most important free trade routes between ASEAN nations and China, the Hanoi-Lao Cai railway and the Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway that facilitate trade exchange between Yen Bai and neighboring provinces of Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, Phu Tho and Vinh Phuc.

Since 2016, the province has invested more than VND 12,435 billion (USD 540.6 million) in its transport infrastructure system. Worthy of note, it has commissioned construction works that help mitigate impacts of natural disasters and develop socio-economic development in the province. They include the road section connecting national highway 32C and the Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway, the 426-m Bach Lam bridge linking national highway 37 with the Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway, and the 400-m long Co Phuc bridge in Tran Yen district.

The province is planning to implement 21 new projects and five existing ones with the total investment capital of VND 12.7 trillion (USD 552.1 million) for the 2021-25 period. The three-phase Yen Bai Intelligent Operation Center project and the construction of river embankments in a number of sections of Ngoi Thia and Ngoi Hut rivers and the road section connecting national highway 32 and the Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway are among nine projects rolled out this year. The remaining new projects are expected to be commenced next year.

The provincial authorities have resolved to improve the province’s investment environment. According to the 2020 Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) report, the province was among high-average performers with a score of 43.85 points thanks to its good performance in public administrative procedures, control of corruption in the public sector and public service delivery. In addition, the province jumped three spots to 33rd out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide in the 2020 Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) ranking in three of 10 sub-indices - entry costs, time costs and informal charges.

Yen Bai currently accommodates three industrial parks (IPs), including the Southern IP and Au Lau IP in Yen Bai city and Minh Quan IP in Tran Yen district. There are three China-invested projects specialized in timber processing operating in the Southern IP and the Republic of Korea (RoK)-invested garment project in the Au Lau IP, Director of the provincial Management Board of Industrial Parks Trinh Huynh Yen told the Vietnam Law and Legal Forum magazine.

According to the Foreign Investment Agency of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the province currently hosts 33 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth over USD 446 million. In the first ten months of this year, the province granted investment licenses to seven projects, bringing the total amount of capital registered and share value purchased by foreign investors to USD 55.12 million.

To facilitate foreign investment, the province has offered incentives to investment projects on IP and industrial complex infrastructure construction and business operation, hi-tech agriculture, new materials and clean, green and renewable energy generation, supporting industries, waste collection, treatment and recycle and construction of trade-service centers. Accordingly, project owners will be entitled to a financial support of VND 300 million (USD 13,000) per hectare of land for construction of IP or industrial complex infrastructure. However, the amount must not exceed VND 20 billion (USD 869,500) for an IP or VND 10 billion (USD 434,700) for an industrial complex. Meanwhile, hi-tech agriculture production businesses will enjoy a support equal to 30 percent of their projects’ total investment amounts which, however, must not exceed VND 2 billion (USD 86,000) for procurement of machinery, equipment and production lines. The support level may be equal to three percent of a project’s investment but must not exceed VND 5 billion (USD 217,300) for a new materials project or clean, green and renewable energy generation project and VND 3 billion (USD 130,400) for a supporting industry project.

With the motto “Yen Bai’s provincial authorities always stand side by side with investors and people”, the province would always be willing to listen to investors’ opinions and aspirations and do their utmost to create a transparent investment and business environment for sustainable development of enterprises, Chairman Tran Huy Tuan of the Yen Bai People’s Committee has affirmed.

Therefore, meetings with investors on every Saturday or coffee talks with entrepreneurs are regularly held to increase the efficiency of dialogues between provincial authorities and investors and entrepreneurs and find ways to remove difficulties and obstacles for investors.

Terrace rice fields in Mu Cang Chai district, Yen Bai province, during the harvest season__Photo: VNA

Ecotourism potential

Yen Bai province is famous for spectacular stunning landscapes that trekking, cycling and photograph tours can be organized to suit all travelers from extreme adventures to relaxing trips. Mu Cang Chai district, which is home to beautiful terraced rice fields, is ranked 21st among the top 50 most beautiful destinations worldwide, as voted by Big 7 Travel. US-based media site CNBC describes Mu Cang Chai as a remote gem deep in the valleys forged by the waters of the Red River, a series of colorful mountain villages are encircled by fields of towering rice terraces. The fields are agricultural feats of precision - rugged mountains blanketed with emerald stairways that, seemingly, ascend to the heaven above. “In the spring, near-neon shades of green arise as the seedlings sprout from the water. In the warm summer months, brilliant green terraces fill the countryside with bursts of color,” says CNBC.

Other must-see tourist destinations include breathtaking Khau Pha pass - one of the country’s steepest and most winding passes with high mountains on one side and a deep valley covered with fluffy white clouds on the other side; Thac Ba reservoir, nicknamed “Ha Long Bay on the mountains” with more than 1,300 green islets; and the natural hot spring in Tram Tau district.

The province is well-known for shan tuyet (mountain snow) tea and 13 traditional craft villages that make hi-quality tea products in Tran Yen district, and rice wine, artistic bamboo and rattan woven products and brocade clothes in Mu Cang Chai district.

Yen Bai province has 13 national and 73 provincial historical and cultural relic sites and 22 festivals with four annual festivals. They are the Mu Cang Chai terraced field festival, the Mother Goddess of Forest worshipping festival at Dong Cuong Temple, Le cap sac - the maturity ritual of the Dao and xoe, a traditional dance of the Thai ethnic group.

At present, the province has a total of 200 homestays, ecolodges, guesthouses and hotels.

Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the province’s hospitality sector welcomed 685,700 tourists, including 420 foreigners, and raked in VND 410.6 billion (USD 17.8 million) in the first 10 months of this year.

The sector is expected to receive 900,000 tourists and earn a turnover of VND 620 billion (USD 26.9 million) this year.

According to Director Le Thi Thanh Binh of the Yen Bai Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the sector will pursue its development goals of green, identity, attraction, sustainability and efficiency associated with environmental protection in the coming time.

To make Yen Bai province into a friendly tourist destination in northwest exploration tours, the province has been taking preventive measures to ensure safety for tourists while resuming its post-COVID-19 tourism activities.

It will continue providing training in professional tourism services to its staffs, apply digital technology to smart tourism development, improve tourism advertising quality, and intensify tourism cooperation with other localities in the country.-

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