SpaceX, Netflix and Boeing Join ‘Largest’ US Business Mission to Vietnam
By Francesco Guarascio
HANOI (Reuters) – SpaceX, Netflix and Boeing are among companies taking part in the “biggest” US business mission to Vietnam next week to discuss investment and sales opportunities in the booming Southeast Asian nation, the organizer said.
More than 50 companies, including defense, pharmaceutical and technology companies, will take part in the mission organized by the US-ASEAN Business Council, an industry body, according to a list viewed by Reuters.
The delegation is a sign of rising interest in the global manufacturing hub, which is benefiting from a shift away from China amid China-US trade tensions.
Vietnam, with a population of 100 million people, also has a fast-growing consumer market as its middle class grows.
“This is the largest mission to Vietnam to date,” said Vu Tu Thanh, the representative of the US-ASEAN Business Council in the country, noting that the body has been organizing these events for three decades.
Streaming giant Netflix, which Reuters reported last month as planning to open an office in Vietnam, is among the companies taking part in the trip. Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.
Aerospace manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Bell will hold meetings with Vietnam’s state-owned defense procurement companies, Thanh told Reuters, adding that it was the first time in about a decade that security firms had decided to join the annual mission to Vietnam .
In December, the same companies held talks with Vietnamese government officials about the potential sale of helicopters and drones as the country searches for new suppliers and the Ukraine conflict has strained the capabilities of Russia, Vietnam’s main military partner, for decades.
“Helicopters are one of the things companies want to sell to the Vietnamese,” Thanh said, although he warned that defense deals would take time to complete and no immediate breakthrough was expected.
Boeing said in a statement that its discussions with officials would focus on its growing partnership with Vietnam and ways to bolster the country’s aviation and defense capabilities.
Lockheed Martin and Bell did not respond to requests for comment.
The majority of companies joining the business mission already have a business or manufacturing presence in Vietnam, including Apple, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, Thanh said, and some plan to expand.
Some companies are also getting a better sense of the political situation following recent unrest in the Communist Party-led country, including the president’s resignation in January, Thanh added.
Participants will have meetings with Vietnam’s top political and regulatory leaders, including Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
Thanh said that at a time when economic growth hit more than 8% last year, some companies are interested in Vietnam as a manufacturing hub and providing services to increasingly affluent consumers.
Among them is SpaceX, which plans to sell its satellite internet services to Vietnam and other countries in the region, Thanh said. SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.
The mission will also include semiconductor companies, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, medical device maker Abbott, financial firms Visa and Citibank, internet and cloud companies Meta and Amazon Web Services, the list showed.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Jamie Freed)