Dhe tent is up, the dignitaries line up in the heat, the drummers make the desert floor tremble: If the good blessing of the dragon dancers helps, the Franconian medium-sized company Kurz will build 100 million euros here. The film specialist is the first manufacturer to venture onto the huge construction site in front of the Vietnamese port city of Quy Nhon. But soon the factories will grow out of the ground here, like the bright green stalks of the rice plants in the fields next door: Vietnam is the country of the moment. It benefits from its own efforts. And that Beijing is messing with the world.
The smashing of open Hong Kong, the lockdown of Shanghai in the pandemic, secondary sanctions and simmering threats from Americans are forcing companies to look elsewhere. In addition, costs are rising in China and there is a shortage of good workers. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the visible proximity of Moscow and Beijing, the industry also fears that China will pass on parts produced there to Russia and use them there for military purposes. “For months we have also been functioning as a small travel agency for German medium-sized companies that are interested in Vietnam,” says Michael Wekezer, deputy of the law firm Rödl & Partner in the former Saigon. “In the past, China was for the world, then China for the region, today China for China.” This is now opening up spaces that others can use.