Tiger-state grows by 7 per cent annually. Accession to WTO securessustainable growth.
Since 1997, Vienna-based Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB) hasbeen operating a representative office in boom-town Ho Chi Minh City andis still the only Austrian bank with a foothold there.“We have recognized Vietnam''s potential already 10 years ago and have expanded our business activities with the country substantially. Our commitment contributed significantly to the development of trade relations between Vietnam, Austria and Central and Eastern Europe,” said RZB''s Deputy General Manager Herbert Stepic on the occasion of the representative office''s 10th anniversary. “We have paved the way for Austrian export-oriented companies in another difficult market.”
RZB supports Austrian and international corporate customers both duringthe acquisition and closing steps of their business projects as well asby providing finance.“We have built up a solid reputation on the local market during the past years providing benchmark-deals to Vietnamese financial institutions,” said Patrick Butler, RZB Board Member in charge of Treasury and Investment Banking, at the anniversary ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City. The first large commercial loan transactions between a foreign bank and Vietcombank (Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam) and Vietindebank (Bank for Investment and Development) have resulted in business relations to practically all Vietnamese banks.
Growing will for reforms is rewarded
Vietnam is considered a new tiger-state in Southeastern Asia: Its realannual economic growth reached 7 per cent on average during the lastdecade and is forecast at 7.4 per cent until 2010. The continual reformsconducted by the country''s government and the related opening of thelocal market have not only won Vietnam the World Bank''s acknowledgementas"most successful transitional economy of the last decade", it alsobrought the official membership in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) inmid-January 2007.“Thanks to its growing will for reforms, Vietnam can both look back at an impressive development history and look forward into a promising future after the accession to the WTO,” said Butler.
Foreign trade is the most important contributor to the country''seconomic dynamics. While the trade balance is traditionallycharacterized by a significant import surplus, it was almost balanced in2006 with exports reaching 39.3 billion US-dollars against importsvaluing 39.9 billion US-dollars. The nominal GDP amounted to 58 billionUS-dollars.
Close international economic ties
Vietnam is not only attractive as trading partner. China''s southernneighbour has succeeded in positioning itself as a target for foreigndirect investments (FDIs) too. In 2006, new foreign investments alreadyamounted to approximately 2.2 billion US-dollars, or 3.8 per cent ofGDP. For the current year, FDIs of nearly 3 billion US-dollars (4.3 percent of GDP) are expected and total FDIs will exceed 10 billionUS-dollars. International investors focus above all on the south ofVietnam, where the majority of investment projects is located. About onethird of all foreign projects is located in Ho Chi Minh City, thecountry''s largest town with far more than five million inhabitants.
Linchpin between East and West
“Vietnam is among the world''s most promising markets,” emphasized Butler. “Against the background of traditionally good relations between the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Vietnam, the market offers great potential for our customers in the future.” The FarEast, RZB''s second geographical focus after Central and Eastern Europe, is covered by branches in Beijing and Singapore, as well as by representative offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Seoul and Zhuhai. “This strong presence underlines RZB''s strategic alignment on growth markets. We act as linchpin between East and West for our customers,” concluded Butler.
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RZB is the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group,the country''s largest banking group. It is a leading corporate andinvestment bank in Austria and also considers Central and Eastern Europe(CEE) as its home market. Via listed subsidiary Raiffeisen InternationalBank-Holding AG, it operates one of the leading banking networks in CEEwith subsidiary banks and finance leasing companies in 16 markets. Morethan 11.7 million customers are attended to through more than 2,775business outlets. Representative offices in Lithuania and Moldovacomplement the group''s presence in the region.
RZB is the only Austrian bank with a global network of business unitsreaching all important finance centres around the globe. It is alsopresent in Asia via its branches and representative offices.
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