Industry Headlines

Vietnam May Step Into China's Footsteps as Next Manufacturing Hub

NEWARK, NJ-With rising labor costs and cultural shifts in China pushing manufacturers to look for new sourcing options, many are rediscovering Vietnam, according to a story in The Journal Commerce. Transportation leaders are responding with investment in the developing nation whose business managed to grow last year as others struggled.

Vietnam's prime minister reported at last week's World Economic Forum on East Asia that its economy will grow 6.5% to 7% this year after expanding 5.3% in 2009. PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions, a sister company of The Journal of Commerce, forecasts increased U.S. imports from Vietnam of 41.6% and exports of 16.3% this year.

In the first four months of 2010, exports of computer and electronics jumped 40.8%, compared to the same period last year, said IMA Asia. Technology giant Intel will fuel that surge with a new packaging and testing plant in Ho Chi Minh City opening this year.

"In effect, we are seeing a very fast transformation of Vietnam's light industrial base," says Richard Martin, managing director of IMA Asia.

Infrastructure investment is growing to meet the demand. In the face of recession cutbacks, six leading container lines initiated direct Vietnam-U.S. services, and operators opened four new terminals, with two more expected for 2011.

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