Green Transition: CBAM Motivates Vietnamese Firms

Experts emphasize the significance of aligning with the European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) for Vietnamese enterprises to stay competitive and foster a sustainable value chain.

CBAM Motivates Vietnamese Firms

Starting October 1, the EU’s trading partners must report greenhouse gas emissions in key exports like steel, cement, aluminum, fertilizer, hydrogen, and electricity. By 2026, they’ll need to purchase CBAM certificates, priced based on EU’s Emissions Trading System.

Although initially deemed insignificant for Vietnam, CBAM’s implications are far-reaching. Failure to comply could mean hefty carbon taxes for manufacturers. The EU may also expand CBAM’s coverage to include more sectors.

Nguyen Hoa Cuong, Vice Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, stresses the importance of ‘going green’ for commercial success, citing Bangladesh’s success in apparel exports. He urges Vietnam to prepare for CBAM to maintain competitiveness.

Researchers advocate for carbon emission reduction measures and call for a carbon pricing mechanism in Vietnam to support enterprises and enhance their EU market access.

Vietnamese enterprises are encouraged to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprints for smoother access to EU markets. 

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What are the Alternatives of doing Business outside of China and stay in Asia? Malaysia

One of the most culturally rich regions globally and one of the most open economies has seen a Trade-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio of over 130 % since 2010, leads to employment creation and income growth. Like in China, Malaysia´s ongoing economic transformation to high-income-status has been powered by openness to the world. In 2022, GDP will grow between 5.3% and 5.5%.

What are the Alternatives of doing Business outside of China and stay in Asia? Malaysia

Malaysia is now the third biggest economy in the ASEAN bloc and the third wealthiest by per-capita income. The IMD World Competitiveness Center ranked Malaysia in the top 25 most competitive economies in 2021. In 2022, the Milken Institute ranked Malaysia number one with the most potential to attract foreign investors. The reason for this is, Malaysia has some of the best value land in the world, 90% of it freehold. This is a winning combination for foreign investors.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Sabri has committed more support for small and medium enterprises, reduce bureaucracy, provide reliable infrastructure, support private investment and develop a skilled workforce, all in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan.

However, the country´s construction and real estate industry will grow 16.5% this year. EBITDA of property developers is one of the highest in the world, reaching up to 50%, because the cost of land is one of the lowest across the globe, and majority of the land is freehold. YNH Property Berhad, a property developer listed on Bursa Malaysia stock exchange since 2003, who reaches EBITA of 15%, is looking for international business partners with strong track record and brand to help develop more iconic properties.

In the World Bank´s Doing Business Ranking, Malaysia ranks 12th. More and more companies doing business 100% online, approaching customers virtually, and creating partnerships with other companies. For example, NIRWANA, a 30years old care provider with burial and funeral services in Asia. Every year, they increase profit. Now they are looking for new opportunities, e.g. in Vietnam.

For all companies, Malaysia remains the best place to do business, because of a save and stable country, diverse ethnic mix, ample resources, friendly and adaptable people, underpinned by excellent legal and administrative infrastructure. As well as continued support for infrastructure development through government investment. Whereas RM5.5 billion were approved total investments in 2019, of which 24% were foreign investments.

Like in Thailand, the start-up ASCIRA online platform, a partner company of GTEC (German Technology and Engineering Cooperation) who helps people in Asia and worldwide to convert education into profits and lifestyle, with high multiplier effects and strong demand in e-commerce, social media, e-learning, tourism, travelling, WOM (words of mouth), also boosting the economic growth. Details see

Automotive Industry

As in Indonesia, India, Thailand, Japan, Hongkong and Singapore, traffic in Malaysia is on the left. However, Philippines and Vietnam drive on the right.

Malaysia has about 800 automotive suppliers. Technology-driven trends such as multi-mobility, autonomous driving, electrification and connectivity are expected to shape the industry in 10 to 15 years. The National Automotive Policy (NAP) said in 2020, further development includes three new elements:

1.      Next-Generation Vehicle (NxGV) such as electric and hybrid vehicles,

2.     Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

3.     Industry 4.0.

Malaysia’s national car company PROTON is expanding production of EEVs. It is located about 5km north of Tanjung Malim, and 90km from Kuala Lumpur, 210 km from Penang. Besides the RM1.8bil Proton car assembly plant, it also houses Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris. The PROTON plant in Tanjung Malim is fully automated, using robotic technology and designed for high production volumes and efficiency, using lean manufacturing processes.

Since 2018, Sime Darby Motors and BMW Group Malaysia have officially launched and opened the Sime Darby Auto Engineering (SDAE) Engine Assembly Facility in Kulim, Kedah, which assembles three- and four-cylinder petrol engines, four-cylinder diesel engines as well as three- and four-cylinder petrol engines for plug-in hybrid. This plant is located 35 km distance to Penang. Company ZF, a supplier of BMW, has settled their plant at Kulim as well.

Locations of more automotive companies and their suppliers you will find on following maps:

Additionally, following tables show locations, manufacturers and car types (status 17 February 2022):

Indeed, Full-Year sales for 2021 have been 501,972, reporting a 5.2% decrease compared to 2020.

Brand-wise, this year the leader Perodua (-13.6%) lost 3.6% market share and reported the worst performance on the leaderboard, followed by Proton (+2.9%), which gained 1.8% share. Toyota gained 22.4%, gaining 3.2% share.  Honda fell in 4th place (-12.3%), followed by Mitsubishi which reported the best performance on the leaderboard gaining 90.9% rose 2 spots.

Nissan -down 1 spot- lost 13.2%, followed by Mazda -down 1 spot- which lost 12.2%, and Isuzu which gained 6.9% sales. Closing the leaderboard we have Ford losing 11.7% and rising 1 spot, and Hino entering the leaderboard and gaining 15.1%.


Source: The International Investor, Newsweek 10.6.2022

For details and sources, please see following additional links:

Karlheinz Zuerl

Asia Expert for Supply Chain, Process Optimization and Business Development/ Executive Consultant Automotive Industry/ Author “Effective Cost Cutting in Asia”, “Management in China”

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Vietnam’s Industrial Real Estate Market

In recent years, the industrial real estate sector has emerged as a bright spot in the Vietnamese market, attracting a significant amount of foreign investment and showing strong potential for growth. However, some experts argue that the industry still faces several challenges that need to be addressed.

Vietnam's Industrial Real Estate Market

Top highlights

  • Vietnam’s development plan for industrial parks reveals that there are currently 563 industrial parks with a total area of 210,900 hectares. Out of the 406 industrial parks that have been announced to come into operation, 361 are situated outside the economic zone, 37 are within the economic zone and eight are located in the border gate economic zone.
  • The country has seen a growing interest from global manufacturers with significant investment needs, particularly in specialized products such as ready-built warehouses (RBW), ready-built factories (RBF), logistics, and data centers.
  • Foxconn, the Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturer, has signed a $62.5 million lease on 45 hectares of land in an industrial park in Vietnam’s Bac Giang province.
  • Giant Manufacturing, also from Taiwan, has invested an additional $13 million in the VSIP2 industrial park in Binh Duong province
  • Matsuya R&D, a Japanese company, has invested an additional $6.7 million in its production line in Dong Nai Industrial Park.
  • Samsung has also increased its total investment in Vietnam to $20 billion, with a focus on developing AI and Big data.
  • Furthermore, major companies such as Boeing, Coca-Cola, Meta, SpaceX, Netflix, and Apple are exploring business and cooperation opportunities in Vietnam, indicating the country’s rising attractiveness for global corporations.
  • The market has experienced steady growth, with rental prices remaining stable at an average of $100-120/m2 per lease cycle.
  • Ho Chi Minh City has recorded the highest average rent, ranging from $180-300/m2, followed by Long An with an average rent of $125-275/m2. In Binh Duong, rental rates range from $100 to $250/m2, while in Dong Nai they range from $100 to $200/m2. These rates are calculated for each rental cycle.
  • In the northern industrial zones, the rental price is slightly lower, between $90-120/ m2 per lease cycle.

The Southern Region

A recent report by VNDirect on industrial real estate revealed that the total land area of industrial parks in southern Vietnam has increased to 41,950 hectares, a growth of 9.2% compared to the same period last year. Furthermore, the proportion of warehouses for lease increased to 66.6%, equivalent to 27,950 hectares, a rise of 8.2%.

The industrial real estate market in southern Vietnam witnessed a supply boom in the first half of 2022, which led to a shortage in the second half of the year when no new industrial parks were put into operation.

Dong Nai proved to be an attractive destination for investors in the latter half of the year, absorbing nearly 250 hectares of industrial land, which accounted for 48% of the total net absorption in the region.

Bien Hoa Industrial Park (Dong Nai, Viet Nam)

The warehouse segment in the Southern market continued to show strong growth in 2022, with new supply primarily coming from modern warehouses that utilize dock levelers for cargo handling. Total import supply increased by 28.3% over the same period, reaching 3.87 million square meters.

As land rents and land-use fees rise in southern Vietnam, the market is being positioned to become a new production center, where RBF models are likely to become the preferred asset class in the near future, with a total market supply of around 4.8 million square meters.

The Northern Region

The Northern market recorded a significant increase in new supply during Q4/2022, with approximately 590 hectares of leasable area added, resulting in a 7.9% increase in the total leasable area, reaching 11,923 hectares. Hai Phong, despite having no new supply in 2022, still maintained its leading position in the Northern market, occupying 29.1% of the total land area.

Seven new warehousing projects were added to the Northern market in the second half of 2022, originating from locations such as Hai Phong, Bac Ninh, Hung Yen, and Hanoi. Similar to the South, property developers in the North also focuse on offering modern warehouses, as the new supply in the second half of 2022 has been recorded mainly from this type of warehouses.

Due to limited new supply, the average occupancy rate of RBF remained high, hovering around 97%.

Rising Challenges

New supply decreased due to delays in the approval process

Since the first quarter of 2022, no new proposals to establish industrial zones in both the South and the North have been put forth. Moreover, the number of new industrial parks included in the national master plan for development of industrial parks is limited.

This comes from the fact that the planning of industrial park development is still unstructured, mainly decided by localities. In addition, the change of senior leaders of many localities in the past year has slowed down the approval process of many projects, causing slow site clearance and creating overlaps in planning.

As a result, the market is expected to face a shortage of new supply from now until the end of 2023.

VNDirect’s forecast indicates that the supply of industrial real estate in the southern market is expected to remain limited from 2024 to 2027. During this period, the region is projected to have only 1,134 hectares of industrial real estate, a 76% increase compared to the previous report.

Competitive pressure to attract FDI from neighboring countries

In the first two months of 2023, FDI inflows into Vietnam weakened due to global economic uncertainties, such as slowing global growth, high inflation, and tightened financial market liquidity caused by the Fed’s interest rate hike.

Despite this, Vietnam and Indonesia still receive the most FDI inflows in the region. In particular, Indonesia’s Omnibus Law in 2020 has opened up many investment and operating opportunities for foreign corporations within the country. While Vietnam is focusing on becoming an electronics manufacturing center, Indonesia is aiming to develop an electric vehicle supply chain.

FALL RIVER, MA – MARCH 23: The seemingly endless rows of products with lifts on the way to retrieve them are pictured inside the million-square foot Amazon distribution warehouse that opened last fall in Fall River, MA on Mar. 23, 2017. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

As the demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy grows, countries in the region such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines have actively promoted FDI attraction in these industries. In this trend, Vietnam is lagging behind other countries, making it less attractive to foreign investors.

The development of electric vehicles and semiconductors is expected to shape the investment landscape in ASEAN. To remain competitive in the fields of industrial real estate, Vietnam needs to act quickly to implement policies that promote investment in these sectors.

The Global Minimum Tax and its impact on Vietnam’s FDI attraction

According to VNDirect, the upcoming application of the Global Minimum Tax (GMT) is expected to pose challenges for Vietnam’s foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction, particularly in industrial parks.

Initiated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the GMT is a global tax reform that targets multinational companies with revenue exceeding 750 million euros to ensure they pay at least 15% of taxes regardless of their location.

The new tax will be implemented by several OECD countries from the beginning of 2024. Applying the GMT too soon would result in Vietnam losing the advantage of preferential tariffs, while delaying the implementation would mean losing out on tax revenue.

Over 100 FDI firms are expected to be affected by the new tax, leading to billions of dollars in lost revenue for the national budget each year. To remain attractive to investors, VNDirect suggests focusing on developing industrial park projects with strategic locations, high-quality infrastructure, and full utilities.

Urgent need to improve transportation infrastructure

Despite allocating 5.8% of its total GDP to infrastructure development, which is a significant amount compared to other Southeast Asian countries, there is still a need for further improvement in highway projects, deep water ports, and service ports. The southern region, in particular, requires better transport networks, especially in terms of road infrastructure.

By enhancing infrastructure, Vietnam can create a convenient transportation system, making it more appealing to investors.


The demand for industrial real estate in Vietnam is on the rise due to the need for expansion from China to Vietnam and to meet the production supply chain from the Chinese side. Foreign manufacturers, especially from Asia, Europe, and the US, consider Vietnam as their first choice. As a result, the industrial real estate market, including industrial parks, factories, and ready-built warehouses, is expected to grow and attract investment in the future, making it a promising market.

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