GE celebrates 20 years in Vietnam

General Electric was one of the first American companies to enter Vietnam, doing so in 1993, a year before teh US trade embargo was lifted. For the last 20 years GE has met Vietnam’s board needs in aviation, energy and healthcare. To celebrate GE Vietnam’sn 20th anniversary in Vietnam, GE’s vice chairman John G.Rice told VIR’s Hoang Mai how GE’s partnership with the Vietnamese  government was helping the country’s process of sustainable development and giving it a stronger global presence.

 What was GE’s most significant achievement in Vietnam over the last 20 years?

I think over 20 years, people can see that GE has been a reliable and dependable partner for Vietnam. More recent annoucements such as the opening of the Vietnam Engineering CEntre and the Haiphong plant expansion certainly support our strategy of becoming more of a ‘local company’. The fact that we now employ 700 people focused on helping bring a broad range of infrastructure capabilities to the country across renewable energy, oil and gas, aviation and healthcare is something which makes us very proud. Our partnership with the Vietnamese government and many state utilities is helping the country’s sustainable growth and development.

In Vietnam, GE currently owns and runs the $110 million Haiphong wind power turbine manufacturing facility. It has also won several contracts to provide engines and equipment to the energy, aviation and healthcare sectors. How can you describle the position of Vietnam in both GE’s Asian and global strategy?

Vietnam is a preferred investment market in ASEAN. GE Vietnam is a sustainably growing business in the region, and the country still offers scope to develop, especially in infrastructure. We’re very optimistic about Vietnam as a market in which GE can continue to invest. Vietnam in particular and the ASEAN countries in general are well positioned for growth due to an increasingly affluent middle class and advances in basic infrastructure.

Additionally, Vietnam is supportive of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and plays an important role as a key member of many other organisation, including in the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community. These activities will enhance the role of Vietnam in the eyes of foreign investors. If you look at our $110 million Haiphong manufacturing plant, it’s a good example It needs to be straight forward to ship wind turbine generators and other components from Haiphong to other GE manufacturing to expand our investment in the plant’s second phase.

With the expanding Haiphong manufacturing base, how has GE helped establish a supply chain in line with the Vietnamese government’s expectations to develop local supporting industries in Vietnam?

We understand that we need to create the conditions and opportunities necessary for local suppliers to improve components, which then helps to drive the growth of auxiliary industries in Vietnam. The criteria we use to  selct component suppliers are of an exceptionally high standard, and we seek whenever possible to work with local manufacturers who meet these standards.

Vietnam is calling for the increased involvement of foreign companies in its energy sector. In what way will GE contribute to Vietnam’s energy sector in future?

It is critical for Vietnam to generate reliable energy to sustain its growth. In  addition to providing appropriate technologies for building the stability and reliability of Vietnam’s power generation capabilities, GE gas assisted in the development of transmission lines in order to help meet the various levels of regional power dermand. We have also realised our commitment in renewable energy through the Mekong Delta’s first wind farm in the Mekong Delta’s Bac Lieu province, and we will continue to work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam to develop wind power as a reliable and sustainable energy source into the national grid. Our new engineering centre will also help to develop the local oil and gas industry, while increasing Vietnam’s influence and position as an engineering powerhouse  in the region.

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