The safari project would cover around 460 hectares and require a total of US$500 million. There would be nine areas, including a theme park, places for diurnal and nocturnal animals, an open zoo, a garden for animal collections, a convention center, and a museum, says a report submitted by the municipal Department of Planning and Investment to the city government last year.
Late last year, Vinpearl Joint Stock Company sought to get involved in the Saigon Safari project in the outlying district, according to the report. However, the city still introduced the project to Japanese investors at a Vietnam-Japan investment and tourism promotion conference last Friday.In addition to the Saigon Safari, the city expected Japanese firms to pour money into an underground shopping center worth around US$312 million at the Ben Thanh station of Metro Line No. 1 under construction, two monorail lines and a garbage collection and wastewater treatment plant. The Japanese Prime Minister’s special advisor Isao Iijima, who was leading a Japanese business delegation to HCMC last week, said many Japanese companies are shifting production to ASEAN countries to cope with growing difficulties in the Chinese market. Vietnam is regarded as an important investment destination and HCMC is appealing to Japanese firms.Many Japanese firms in the delegation are major influencers in a number of business sectors, Iijima said at the conference, which was attended by representatives of around 100 companies.Masuda Chikahiro from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Vietnam said that thanks to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), many Japanese businesses are seeing Vietnam as a manufacturing base to boost sales in Vietnam and exports to other markets.However, he requested Vietnam to improve the performance of supporting industries and train Japanese-speaking personnel to meet demands of Japanese investors.HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong told the conference that the city always welcomes and supports foreign companies, including those from Japan, to invest and do business.
“The Japanese enterprises participating in the conference are active in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, water and wastewater treatment, manufacturing, construction, transport, information technology, hospitality and tourism sectors, in which the city wants investments,” Phong stressed.
The conference was part of the sakura festival held in HCMC last week by the HCMC Investment and Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) in collaboration with partners. Japan is the sixth largest foreign investor in HCMC with 865 valid projects worth US$2.87 billion as of March 15.