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SpaceX, Netflix, Boeing To Join “biggestever” US Business Mission To Vietnam

SpaceX, Netflix, Boeing To Join

By Francesco Guraccio

Hanoi, March 17, 2010 (FBC) SpaceX, Netflix and Boeing are among the companies to travel to Vietnam next week as part of a US mission to discuss investment opportunities and power plant sales in Southeast Asia.

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 Reuters list.

The delegation said China's exit from the trade war between China and the United States is a sign of growing interest in the global manufacturing hub.

With a population of 100 million, Vietnam's consumer market is booming as its middle class grows.

"This is the biggest mission in Vietnam," said Vu Thu Thanh, representative of the US-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce, which has organized it for three decades.

Netflix, which Reuters reported last month planned to open an office in Vietnam, is one of the companies to join the ride. Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.

Aerospace manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Bell will hold meetings with Vietnamese defense companies, Tank told Reuters, marking the first time in a decade that defense companies have decided to join the annual mission to Vietnam.

In December, the same company held talks with Vietnamese government officials about selling helicopters and drones as the country looks for new suppliers and the conflict in Ukraine undermines the capabilities of Russia, Vietnam's main military partner for decades.

"Helicopters are one of the things that the companies hope to sell to the Vietnamese," Tank said, warning that it will take time to finalize defense deals and that rapid progress is not expected.

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Boeing said in a statement that its discussions with the authorities will focus on growing its partnership with Vietnam and strengthening the country's air and defense capabilities.

Lockheed Martin and Bell did not respond to requests for comment.

Most of the companies joining the trade mission have sales or manufacturing facilities in Vietnam, including Apple, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, Thanh said.

After recent turmoil in the Communist Party-run country, including the resignation of the president in January, some companies are becoming more aware of the political situation, he said.

Participants will hold meetings with key Vietnamese political and regulatory leaders, including Prime Minister Pham Minh Chi.

Some companies are eyeing Vietnam as a manufacturing hub and catering to increasingly affluent consumers amid economic growth of 8 percent last year.

Among them, SpaceX said it wants to sell satellite internet services to Vietnam and other countries in the region. SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.

The mission includes semiconductor companies, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, medical device maker Abbott, financial services companies Visa and Citibank, internet and cloud companies Meta and Amazon Web Services on the list. (Reporting by Fresco Guraccio; Editing by Jamie Fried)

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