Infrastructure reforms steer growth in Thai Nguyen

To elicit domestic and foreign investment, the northeastern province of Thai Nguyen is expediting a raft of synchronous measures, including infrastructure reform, to grow its economy in a sustainable manner.

Road, electric, and water-oriented infrastructure has helped IZs and other businesses develop in Thai Nguyen

In recent years, Thai Nguyen has emphasised the development of technical and industrial park (IZ) infrastructure, positioning it as a vital tool to attract investment and drive the province’s urban, social, and economic development.

With respect to transport infrastructure, investment capital was put into building major roads with big impacts on provincial development. These projects included building the new National Highway 3 linking Hanoi to Thai Nguyen, upgrading former National Highway 3, the Thai Nguyen-Cho Moi (Bac Kan province) route, and the roads and urban complexes belonging to the Thai Nguyen city urban development project, to name but a few.

The projects have helped enhance connectivity between Thai Nguyen and Hanoi as well as other northern locations. As for IZ infrastructure, the province is currently home to six well-planned IZs covering 1,420 hectares, four of which have come into operation, scoring 170 investment projects, including 85 foreign-invested ones valued at more than $7 billion in total committed capital, and 85 domestic investment projects worth over VND12.8 trillion ($582 million).

The most eminent projects are run by South Korean tech giant Samsung Group and its satellite businesses. Province-based IZs enjoy a developed transport network and the availability of associated infrastructure, such as power, water supply, wastewater treatment, fire prevention, and security systems. Most of the planned IZs spread along new and former National Highway 3 (Yen Binh, Diem Thuy, Nam Pho Yen, Song Cong I, and Song Cong II IZs), as well as provincial routes, helping to ensure connectivity with technical and social infrastructure systems inside and outside province-based IZs.

“As a satellite unit to Samsung, after the tech giant landed their project in Thai Nguyen’s Yen Binh IZ, we studied the possibility of setting a foothold in the province. After the survey, our company has chosen to build a factory in Diem Thuy IZ due to its proximity to Yen Binh IZ and the new National Highway 3,” said Kim Byeong Hun, director of Dongsung Vina Limited based in Diem Thuy IZ in the province’s Phu Binh district.

Thai Nguyen has done a smart job ensuring province-based IZs have access to comprehensive infrastructure to facilitate their operations. For instance, an approach road linking Diem Thuy IZ to Yen Binh IZ and the new National Highway 3 was recently put into use, supporting goods transport of businesses based in Diem Thuy IZ to other destinations in the province and in Hanoi.

Regarding the energy system, the province has succeeded in attracting investors into building Cao Ngan and An Khanh thermal power plants, as well as large transformer stations at Yen Binh and Diem Thuy IZs to serve businesses and connect to the national power grid.

The information communications technology infrastructure has been developed robustly with the presence of thousands of base transceiver stations, while the optic cable network has now reached most residential areas in the province. The 4G network has also reached the province’s major areas.

The World Bank-funded Dynamic Cities Integrated Development project is expected to benefit Vietnam’s five cities and provinces, including Thai Nguyen. The project aims to boost the development of stakeholder localities, leveraging the application of urban

integrated solutions on infrastructure development and urban management.

The project component in Thai Nguyen has a total investment capital sum of $100 million. According to World Bank senior urban development expert Phan Thi Phuong Huyen, “Thai Nguyen is the locality scoring the most confidence with the World Bank in both project implementation and loan repayment capacity.”

As scheduled, after the project receives the Vietnamese government’s approval, the World Bank will evaluate the capital scheme in March 2018, paving the way for official implementation from July next year.

Huyen from the World Bank has suggested Thai Nguyen to concentrate on developing public transport, producing clean agricultural items, and exert better control over urban water drainage systems.

The project’s success will gear the city of Thai Nguyen’s urban infrastructure towards modern and sustainable development, matching the criteria required for a Grade 1 city’s technical infrastructure, while in the meantime propelling economic development through strategic infrastructure investment development.

The prime target is to turn  the city of Thai Nguyen into the centre of political, cultural, educational, healthcare, tourism, and services of both the province and northern Vietnam’s midland and mountainous region.

By Anh Duc