HANOI, March 17 (Reuters) – SpaceX, Netflix, and Boeing are among the companies joining the “biggest” US business mission to Vietnam next week to discuss investment and sales opportunities in the fast-growing Southeast Asian country, organizers said.
More than 50 companies, including defense, pharmaceutical, and technology companies, will participate in the mission organized by the US-ASEAN Business Council, an industry body, according to a list provided by Reuters.
The delegation is a sign of increasing interest in the global manufacturing hub, benefiting from a move away from China amid trade tensions between China and the United States.
With a population of 100 million, Vietnam also has a thriving consumer market with a growing middle class.
“This is the biggest mission in Vietnam,” said Vu Tu Tan, US-ASEAN Business Council representative, noting that the organization has hosted this event for three decades.
Streaming giant Netflix, which Reuters reported last month was planning to open an office in Vietnam, is one of the companies joining the journey. Netflix did not respond to requests for comment.
Aerospace manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Bell will hold meetings with Vietnam’s state-owned defense equipment company, Tan told Reuters, adding it was the first time since about a decade ago that the security company decided to join the annual mission to Vietnam.
In December, the same company held talks with Vietnamese government officials about a possible sale of helicopters and drones as the country seeks new suppliers and the conflict in Ukraine strains the capabilities of Russia, Vietnam’s leading military partner for decades.
“Helicopters are one of the things the company wants to sell to Vietnam,” said Tan, though he warned that defense deals would take time to finalize and no immediate breakthroughs were expected.
Boeing said in a statement that its talks with officials would focus on developing partnerships with Vietnam and ways to strengthen 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 businesses or manufacturers in Vietnam, including Apple (AAPL.O), Coca-Cola (KO.N), and PepsiCo (PEP.O), Tan said, and some plan to expand.
Some companies are also gaining a better understanding of the political situation following recent unrest in the Communist Party-led country, including the president’s resignation in January, Tan added.
Participants will meet with Vietnam’s political and regulatory leaders, including Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
According to Tan, while economic growth reached more than 8 percent last year, some companies are attracted to Vietnam as a hub for manufacturing 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, Tan said. SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment.