Our final visits were at Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks and II-IV. VSIP is a government supported company that develops industrial parks and townships. It offers land for “custom-built” factories in mostly southern Vietnam. The hold facilities like post office, banks, restaurants, schools, markets, and shopping malls. The company has a competitive advantage by partnering with Singapore. Singapore incorporates its management expertise with Vietnam’s growing labor force and resource advantages. Singapore is also aiding Vietnam industry parks with the growth in sustainability policies that cater to Vietnam’s current urbanization needs. It isn’t rare for Vietnam to enter foreign relationships, for example, they take loans from Japan for their subway systems and the U.S. also works on many businesses in Vietnam as well. There are mostly pros in entering foreign relations. Vietnam gets a lot of funding and economic aid. Many of the VSIPs are also located in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that offer incentives to foreign investors. On-the-spot logistics and customs service facilities help companies in import and export operations save time and reduce overhead. These services could amount to significant cost reductions in a country plagued by bureaucracy, corruption, and inadequate infrastructure. After the tour at VSIP, we ate lunch at a mall and visited one of their industrial park malls with many high-end gifts and clothing. Everything was too expensive and the stores were spread out in huge rooms with few people walking around.
Afterward, we went to II-VI. Focuses on material engineering. The branch in Vietnam works on optics and lasers. Their biggest challenge is retaining their workforce. Every year during the Tet holiday, a majority of the employees will travel back to their hometowns and some never return and find a new job somewhere else. This is because they are skilled based workers which are high in demand. They try to overcome this issue by giving employees bonuses for staying the extra month. They placed their company in Vietnam for several reasons. This gives them the advantage of minimized costs, expanded labor pools, and diversified investment risks. They make products like photonics, performance products, and laser solutions. The workers are highly specialized with very tedious jobs. The products are usually unique and some are highly advanced. Overall, II-VI was really interesting for me to see because I am not an engineer so it was cool to see what the other Pitt students in our group are interested in.
This trip has been the most amazing experience and I wish I could stay longer! I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn so much about a culture and make so many new friends!