Today we went on the last of our site visits here in Vietnam, and so this will be my final blog post. In the morning, we visited the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP), which is located about an hour away from Ho Chi Minh City.
VSIP was developed in the 1990s in cooperation between the Vietnamese and Singaporean governments as a way to entice strategically placed, industry-specific corporations in or near east Asian urban centers. Its corporate park is unique from the many others in South Vietnam due to its numerous tax incentives, dedicated assistance services to startup companies, and effort put into creating a surrounding community and educating the next generation of talent for its tenants.
In the afternoon, we visited II-VI Vietnam, a Pennsylvania-based manufacturing company that does foreign business out of VSIP. II-VI’s Vietnam facility mainly specializes in photonics and laser products, and it serves as the world’s sole supplier in a medical device that revolutionized LASIK procedures, helping to decrease recovery time from two weeks to two days.
II-VI chose Vietnam as one of its global bases due to the large supply of manpower, tax incentives, and overall lower costs of operations. The biggest challenge it faces in working out of Vietnam is employee turnover; many of its factory workers decide to not return to work immediately following the Tet holiday, instead choosing to find new work once their savings have run out. However, II-VI has put several incentivizing measures into place to decrease its turnover rate, such as withholding bonuses until after the holiday.
I can honestly say the last two weeks may have been the quickest of my entire life. Becoming so engulfed in the social and professional culture so opposite to that of my own has been an invigorating and rewarding experience. I have loved every minute of my time in Vietnam, and though this country has offered me everything I could have expected and more, my favorite part of this trip has been the people I’ve met and the amazing friends I’ve made.