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Quang Ngai carves out its own identity   2009-08-01 - VIR

The province is a rich playground for investors.

 Separating itself from the former Nghia Binh in 1989, central Quang Ngai province is rapidly shifting from an agricultural locale into a service and industrial-dependent economy. 

Twenty years after its establishment, central Quang Ngai province, about 150 kilometres south of Danang City, is seeing considerable achievements in socio-economic development.

With the appearance of important investment projects and the improvement of its infrastructure system, Quang Ngai now expects to become an economic force, pushing the development of the central region.

According to the Quang Ngai People’s Committee, the provincial average economic growth since 1991-1995 was 6.8 per cent, 8.56 per cent between 1996-2000, 10.3 per cent between 2001-2005 and it is expected to reach 14.82 per cent between 2005-2009.

The provincial average income per capita is expected to reach VND14.2 million ($797) this year. Quang Ngai People’s Committee chairman Nguyen Xuan Hue said those achievements came after the province increased investments in the industrial and service sectors, and reduced economic dependence on agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors.

Statistics from the provincial People’s Committee showed that agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors accounted for 52.95 per cent of the provincial gross domestic product (GDP) in 1989, but they are estimated to account for only 24 per cent in 2009. The proportion of industry and construction sectors increased from 18.18 per cent in 1989 to 22.96 per cent in 2000. This year, they will estimatedly account for 47 per cent of the provincial GDP.

Five stages of development

According to a report by the Quang Ngai People’s Committee, the socio-economic development of the province has been divided into five stages. In the first stage, from 1989 to 1991, provincial economic development faced a lot of difficulties, like poor infrastructure while industry and construction sectors were underdeveloped. However, Quang Ngai province still gained achievements in the development of its agriculture sector and through the reform of administrative procedures.

The period of 1991-1995 was the time when Quang Ngai province started to develop some industries including sugar processing. This was also the time that the Dung Quat Economic Zone was established, marking a new page for provincial development.

The third stage, from 1996 to 2000, the province continued gaining rapid economic development with investments in infrastructure and industrial projects. The proportion of agriculture, forestry and fishery in the economy began to decline, while industry, service and construction sectors increased. During the third stage, the province’s average economic growth was about 8.56 per cent. This number increased to 10.3 per cent in the fourth stage, from 2001-2005. At this point, the province witnessed a boom in infrastructure projects, including industrial parks, export processing zones, ports, tourism and urban development projects.

Quang Ngai is now experiencing a high rate of economic development in the 2006-2009 period - the province’s fifth development stage. Hue said that this could be considered the fastest-ever economic development period of the province as it marked a comprehensive economic development in Quang Ngai and proved that the province had been on the right path since its establishment.

The province targets to further pushing economic development and improve its business climate through new infrastructure projects, reforming administrative procedures and calling for more investments.

“Looking back on the socio-economic development of the province, we have made a lot of changes here. The average economic growth now is at about 9.87 per cent. Industry, construction and service sectors are seeing rapid development and local living standards have been considerably improved. These are all good reasons to strengthen the role of Quang Ngai in the central region and attract domestic and foreign investors to the province,” said Hue.

An attractive destination for investors

With its rapid economic development, Quang Ngai is gathering attention from many domestic and foreign investors. The province has become one of the most attractive places for industrial and tourism projects in the central region of Vietnam.

According to a report by the provincial People’s Committee, investment projects licensed in the province increase annually. So far, about 70 projects have been invested in industrial parks of Tinh Phong and Quang Phu, with a total investment capital of about $168 million, of which, $84.2 million funds have been disbursed.

In the Dung Quat Economic Zone, 147 projects have been licensed and given approval in principle with total investment capital of around $10 billion. Located in the economic zone, the Dung Quat oil refinery, the country’s fist oil refinery, is one of the most attractive features of the province. Hue said that the Dung Quat oil refinery was a major motivational force luring other investment projects to the province in recent years.

Dinh Van Ngoc, deputy director of the Dung Quat oil refinery, thought the refinery would not only be a motivational force for Quang Ngai province, but also for the central region of the country, including Quang Nam and Binh Dinh provinces. Ngoc said that the refinery was luring other projects to support petrochemcial industry. Especially, it will create good conditions for developing financial and manufacturing sectors.

In May this year, the globe’s leading heavy industrial Doosan Group inaugurated its giant manufacturing complex in the Dung Quat Economic Zone, worth $300 million. Taiwanese E-United Group is also working on its project to develop a $3 billion steel refinery in the zone.

Huynh Kim Lap, chairman of Thien Tan Investment & Construction Joint Stock Company, said Quang Ngai had a geographic advantage over other provinces, making it more attractive to investors. His company decided to invest in the Dung Quat Economic Zone because he believed that the oil refinery and good infrastructure system would change the provincial business climate. At present, the company is implementing two urban projects and two hydroelectricity plants in the zone.

Under the government’s plan, the Dung Quat Economic Zone will become a heavy industrial and petrochemical hub in the central region. Besides that, Quang Ngai authorities are also ambitious to turn the province into a regional tourism hub. The province is currently offering domestic and foreign companies the opportunities to invest in the province’s Sa Huynh area.

Sa Huynh is a coastal area in the southernmost part of Quang Ngai in Duc Pho district, 60km south of Quang Ngai City. The area is home to a nice beach and valuable archaeological traces of Sa Huynh culture.

Under the provincial strategy, the Sa Huynh tourism area would cover an area of 1,700 hectares, including luxurious resorts, commercial and sport complexes and cultural tourism areas. Domestic investors like the Tan Tao Group and Mai Linh Group have expressed interest in investing in the area. Tan Tao Group said it was planning to build a $50 million film studio in Sa Huynh, called Vina Universal. The project would include a film studio, a luxury resort, a golf course and villas.

To make Sa Huynh more attractive to investors, the province is ugently developing an infrastructure system in the area. Internal roads in the area would be completed over the next few years. Furthermore, the province plans to develop a waterway and railway system connecting the national railways and waterways with Sa Huynh. A small airport will also be built to serve the domestic travel demand.

The government has also approved the construction of an expressway linking Sa Huynh with neighbouring Quang Nam province and Danang City. The construction is scheduled to start as soon as 2011.

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