Our Corporate Communications staff spend time getting to know Sumitomo Corporation's different business sites around the world, reporting on how the people at those sites work. We will keep you up to date with the world of Sumitomo Corporation, which extends to every corner of the globe.
Mass Media Relations Team, Corporate Communications Department
He was assigned to the Corporate Communications Department in 2006, after working in sales in the Wood Resources Business Department. He is currently in charge of communications for the Financial & Logistics Business Unit, the Kansai Regional Business Unit and the Global Strategy & Research Department. His weight-losing efforts are proving to be successful.
Thang Long Industrial Park (Thang Long I)
This 274-hectare industrial park was established in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1997 by Sumitomo Corporation. As of March 2008, 82 companies have taken up occupancy (mainly Japanese firms in areas including precision instruments, electric, automotive and motorcycle parts and components). The word "thang long" means "rising dragon" in English.
Thang Long Industrial Park II (Thang Long II)
This industrial park in Hung Yen province situated in the north of the country is under development by Sumitomo Corporation. It is located near the national highway from Hanoi to Hai Phong port. Sales of properties within Thang Long II, which spans 220 hectares, began in August 2008.
Dragon Logistics Co., Ltd.
Dragon Logistics is a logistics company based in Vietnam, in which Sumitomo Corporation holds a stake. The company owns bonded warehouses within Thang Long Industrial Park, and engages in import/export customs clearing, storage and delivery of components and products. It also strives to expand road transportation services between Thailand and China.
The Japan-Vietnam Joint Initiative
The Japan-Vietnam Joint Initiative aims for the improvement of the investment environment in Vietnam. The Initiative was launched in 2003 under an agreement between then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan and Prime Minister Phan Van Khai of Vietnam. A joint conference for the third phase of the Initiative was held in November 2008, at which an action plan comprising of 37 items was adopted.
Thang Long Industrial Park II under development.
While the economy in Vietnam lacks the luster it once had, its mid- to long-term appeal is unrelenting. It is said that, even taking into consideration this severe economic crisis, many Japanese companies in Vietnam are not shedding jobs drastically. Such companies value the future potential of Vietnam, and are maintaining employment levels to prepare themselves for the much anticipated economic recovery. Japanese companies remain eager to make inroads into Vietnam; thus, property sales at Thang Long Industrial Park II, developed by Sumitomo Corporation near the National Highway No. 5 to Hai Phong, has been steadily progressing since its beginning last summer.
A dormitory under construction near Thang long Industrial Park.
That said, there is still much we need to tackle. Strolling around the neighborhood of the Thang Long Industrial Park, I spot five or six workers sharing a small rented room. Their living environment is dreadfully poor, even compared to Japanese housing, which is often thought tiny by world standards. It is important that Japanese companies benefit from advancing into Vietnam, but we must not forget about improving the lives of the people of Vietnam who work at our local facilities.
Next to the co-operative dwelling that the workers currently live in, a sturdy, five-story dormitory is under construction. Also, companies are posting salary and benefit package offers on the bulletin board listing employment information, as if to compete with one another.
The Japan-Vietnam Joint Initiative, of which the president of Sumitomo Corporation is a co-chairman, raises in its action plan the issue of improving the living environment at the industrial parks. As a model park, the Thang Long Industrial Park has initiated activities to truly enrich the lives of the local people.
People eagerly gather around the bulletin board listing employment offers.
It is said that, with the impact of the current economic situation in Vietnam, the benefits of the salaries offered by Japanese companies to people working at Thang Long Industrial Park have decreased. However, a young Vietnamese recently interviewed by a Japanese media outlet rightly commented as follows.
"It may be true that the appeal of working for a Japanese company in terms of salary may not be as strong. But, what we expect from Japanese companies is not just a high salary alone. If many Japanese firms invest in Vietnam, it will lead to the development of our country, and our standard of living will improve. So, it is my strong wish that Japanese companies come to Vietnam."
While Japanese companies faced high job attrition rates partially due to current economic conditions, the situation is rapidly improving. It is said that Japanese firms are winning the approval of the Vietnamese people because they rarely carry out drastic job cutting measures.
Susumu Kato, Sumitomo Corporation President, presents a speech at the launch of a sponsored lecture.
Could it be an expression of high regard for Japan? More than 500 people including students gathered to hear a speech by the president of Sumitomo Corporation at the National Economics University in Hanoi during the opening ceremony for a lecture series sponsored by Sumitomo Corporation. Since the audience surpassed the capacity of the venue, some had to stand. The theme of the sponsored lecture was "Managing a Global Corporation."
Students at the Japanese language school.
Recently, the government of Vietnam has been leading the promotion of Japanese language education. Approximately 110 students have studied Japanese at a Japanese language school operated by Sumitomo Corporation in Danang City in central Vietnam. The school has been extremely well-received by the local people. It is my wish that children in Vietnam will deepen their understanding of Japan through language education, and come to like our country.
At the Japan-Vietnam Joint Initiative (left to right) Mr. Mitsuo Sakaba, Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam; Mr. Vo Hong Phuc, Minister of Planning and Investment, Vietnam; Susumu Kato, President of Sumitomo Corporation
It is an undeniable fact that the economy of Vietnam, which continued to grow so rapidly, has slowed in the face of the global economic crisis. Real GDP growth declined from 8.5% in 2007 to a range of 6.0 to 6.5% in 2008. However, direct foreign investment in 2008 on an approval basis tripled from the previous year and this figure seems to reflect expectations for the future of Vietnam.
Having met with the energetic people of Vietnam, and having been exposed to their youthful vibrancy, I was able to feel an underlying strength and the steadiness of the Vietnamese economy and this somewhat, to me, resembled similar strengths in Japan during its period of high economic growth.
Top of page