Sonadezi’s story: “Stay if you’re not done”

Sonadezi’s first FDI project to attract investment in Bien Hoa 1 Industrial Park was to establish Fashion Garments, a ready-to-wear company of Comtextile (HK) Limited (Hong Kong).

The project site was an old warehouse, about 5,000 m2 previously managed by Sovi Bien Hoa Packaging Company. After negotiations, Comtextile (HK) Limited acquired this site from Sovi. With the dedicated support from Sonadezi, the investor completed the procedures of project site selection and completed the Technical and Economic Justification Report and the application for an investment license.

Yet, things started out with much difficulty as the project was “screened carefully” by the Appraisal Center and was almost rejected by the State Commission for Cooperation and Investment (SCCI) for an investment license. The reasons given was: The project was located within the premise of a Vietnamese enterprise, why was the applicant seeking a license for a 100% FDI company, but not a joint venture?

Facing that situation, Sonadezi sought help from the Provincial Party Committee and Provincial People’s Committee. In response, Dong Nai provincial leaders dealt with it directly. The Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Phan Van Trang and the Company’s leaders personally brought all documents to Hanoi to work with the Director of the SCCI Appraisal Center. The Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee also requested for a meeting with Mr. Dau Ngoc Xuan – SCCI Chairman. Given sound and reasonable explanations from the Dong Nai leader, the establishment of the Fashion Garments Co., Ltd. was eventually licensed by SCCI.

However, the joy was short-lived. In implementing follow-up actions, there was another issue with land allocation for the project. At that time, land allocation to foreign investors under long-term lease had to be approved by the Prime Minister. Therefore, the Company together with the investor urgently completed this very important procedure. The investor constantly urged the Company and Dong Nai province to help facilitate this process quickly as they had had the first orders from the US.

With all documents complete, Mr. Nguyen Long Bon was assigned to bring and submit them to the General Department of Land Administration based in Hanoi – the one tasked to advise the Prime Minister on land allocation for FDI projects. When handing over the documents to Mr. Nguyen Long Bon, Director Nguyen Van Thuyen reminded him that: “By all means you have to wait for the Prime Minister’s decision on land allocation for this project. Stay if it’s not done!” It was a command that could not have been stronger and clearer.

Meeting expectations of the Company’s Director and the investor, after more than 10 days in Hanoi, managing to have the task handled properly, Mr. Nguyen Long Bon finally got the written proposal of the General Department of Land Administration and Decision of the Prime Minister on allowing land lease to the investor for project implementation in accordance with Vietnam’s Law on Foreign Investment.

After initial difficulties, the Fashion Garments’ project in Dong Nai was delivered smoothly, with the first batch of ready-made clothes successfully exported from Vietnam to the US. In the following years, Fashion Garments continuously expanded its business, adding new investment projects in Bien Hoa 2 Industrial Park and many other provinces in Vietnam. Fashion Garments now remains one of the Sonadezi’s key partners. Currently, Fashion Garments’ office and some technical departments are based at Sonadezi Building in Bien Hoa 1 Industrial Park where Comtextile (HK) Limited started its first project in Vietnam.