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Northern Highland

 General information

- Geographic location: Bounded by Gulf of Tonkin to the East, by Chinese Southern provinces to the North and the North- East, by upper Laos to the West and by the Red River Delta provinces to the South.

- Area: more than 95,338.8 km2.

- Topographic features: High and dangerous mountain chains lying from the North border line to the Western of Thanh Hoa prov. are the main feature. Many types of grassland are dotted in highland 600-700 m high.

- Administrative units: There are 14 provinces which are divided into 2 regions: North-East and North-West. The North-East includes Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Thai Nguyen, Lang Son and Bac Giang. The North-West includes Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La and Hoa Binh.

- Population: approx. 11,169,300 people


The region’s advantages

- Hydroelectricity and mineral exploitation and production

The Midland and the Northern Highland has the largest mineral and hydroelectricity reserves. The soil here is rich in coal, iron-ore, mangan, copper, lead, zinc, rare earth, aptit, etc. Coal mines are mainly found in the North East (Thai Nguyen Provinces). The North East also has metal mines of which the largest are iron mine in Yen Bai Province, tin and boxit in Cao Bang, lead-zinc in Cho Dien, Bac Kan Province, gold-copper in Lao Cai; Non-metal minerals include apatit in Lao Cai Province. Approx. 600,000 ton of ore are exploited for phosphate production annually in this economic region.

The Red River system’s hydroelectricity reserves of 11 million kW accounts for one third of the country’s hydroelectricity capacity. Da River’s reserves are 6 million kW (Da River is in the Red River system). These reserves are well exploited with Thac Ba Hydroelectricity Plant in Cha river having designed capacity of 110,000 kW; Hoa Binh Hydroelectricity Plant in Da river having designed capacity of 1.9 million kW. Several big hydroelectricity plants such as Son La Hydroelectricity Plant in Da River with the capacity of 3.6 million kW, Dai Thi Hydroelectricity Plant in Gam River with the capacity of 250 kW are currently being bult by The Government.

- Industrial, medical plants and sub-tropical, temperate vegetable & fruits

The majority of soils in the Northern Highland and Midland are feralit in schist, limestone and other mother-stone and ancient alluvial soil in the Midland as well. It has humid temperate, monsoon with cold winter. It is characterized by strong influence of mountainous topographic features. Therefore, this is very good place for developing industrial trees of subtropical and temperate origin. This is the largest green tea tree growing place of the country with famous tea brands of Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen, Yen Bai, Ha Giang and Son La provinces.

The mountainous and bordering areas (with China) in Cao Bang and Lang Son provinces or Hoang Lien Son mountainous area are good places for growing valuable medical plants such as false ginseng (a type of bulbous aralia), ashweed, anise, cardamom, etc and fruits such as peach, plum, pear. Sapa district in Lao Cai Province is good place for growing winter vegetables and producing seeds annually.

- Cattle breeding: There are many medium size meadows in the Mountainous Highland and the Midland, mainly in 600-700m highlands. They are good place for grazingcow, buffalo breeding (for meat and milk), horse and goat breeding as well. Milky cow are mainly bred in Moc Chau Plateau of Son La province.

Economic situations

- Growth rate: The average development of GDP in the period of 2005-2010 was from 9 to 11%. In only 2010, it was 10%. The average income per capita was 11 million VND..

- Economic structure: changing in a way in which the proportion of agriculture-forestry, fishery has been reduced and the proportion of industry and service have been strongly increased. The proportion of agriculture-forestry and fishery was 34,09%, that of industries and construction was 28,64% and services was 36,98%.


Investment promotion status

1. Domestic Investment

Apart from local budgets, in recent years the governmental budget primarily supports the mountainous northern provinces through the national target programs (water and sanitation for rural area, project of 5 million hectares new-planned forests), the support program (program of forest protection and fire prevention; seedling, animals and aquatic species program); resettlement program for the ethnic minorities according to Decision No. 33/2007/QD-TTg; Population distribution program in areas that are affected by natural disasters, difficulty areas, bordering and island areas, important areas of protective forests and restricted areas of special-use forests under Decision 193/2006/QD-TTg; support from the governmental budget to provinces to deal with dykes erosion, natural disasters and national target programs. Total capital investment for 2006-2010 is 4,000,390 million VND.

2. Foreign investment:

To October 2010, the region has 253 valid projects with total registered capital of 1.53 billion USD. Average investment capital for each project is $ 6 million USD, lower than the national average (16 million USD / project).

The first 10 months of 2010, the region attracted 10 projects with total registered capital USD 38.4 million USD, five projects have increased capital. The total capital increased by 166.39 USD. Thus, in the first 10 months of 2010, FDI flow into the region is 204.79 million.

3. Key sectors that call for investment:
+ Investment in infrastructure
+ Urban area construction
+ Industrial zones development
+ Investment in Education and healthcare
+ Investment in Agriculture, commercial and services and industries.


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