Why we write about this topic:
Not every day does such a heavy government delegation from Asia visit Brainport Eindhoven. There is something to be gained for both sides, especially at a time when relations with China are under pressure.
In the light of geopolitical developments, the Western world is looking hard to complement or even replace its activities in countries such as China and Taiwan. Hence, it was not surprising that a top delegation from Vietnam – Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh with the five key ministers in his cabinet and dozens of diplomats in their slipstream – took the time this Sunday morning to strengthen ties with Brainport Eindhoven. Their visit to Brainport Industries Campus (BIC) marked the beginning of a heavy political visit for which appointments with Prime Minister Rutte and the European Commission were also scheduled.
Brainport’s most important (potential) economic partners gladly gave up their Sunday mornings for it. Naturally, vice governor Martijn van Gruijthuijsen was present as the host, but the bosses of regional high-tech manufacturing companies and Dutch diplomats were also present. The prime minister was updated on the industry and innovation power in the Brainport region, specifically on what is happening at and around BIC.
Vietnam is developing strongly in terms of technology, partly in cooperation with the West. Currently, the Netherlands imports six billion euros worth of products from Vietnam, mainly electrical appliances and machinery. But that is only the beginning, it sounded loud and clear this Sunday morning. For the Eindhoven International Project Office (EIPO), which under the leadership of Joost Helms and Peter Portheine has been doing business with Vietnam for about seven years already, it was an excellent opportunity to bring all relevant parties together. Portheine was the day’s chairman, Helms gave the necessary background to bring East and West closer together. “You see that Vietnam is going through a similar development as Eindhoven once did, only much faster. Binh Duong, where many of our activities are concentrated, has already made it to the seven most innovative regions in the world for the second time. And much more is still possible.”
That was also the opinion of the representatives of VDL, Sioux, AAE, KMWE, and BESI, all large high-tech companies that are considering transferring – or have already transferred – part of their assembly, production, R&D, or sales to Vietnam. Sioux founder Hans Duisters went the furthest in this: “We have been building hard in recent years on the Sino-Dutch business park in Suzhou, near Shanghai. Next year that should be able to go into operation. We are certainly capable of doing something like that in Binh Duong, Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi as well.”
In doing so, Duisters directly echoed the words of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who, in his message, not only called for all forms of cooperation but also directly praised the Dutch model. “You are great as an airport, as a seaport, and as a brainport; we can learn a lot from the cooperation between government, knowledge institutions, and business as you have shown us here in Brainport Industries Campus. We want to continue with this; our entrepreneurs and companies are ready to take our country further in making it more sustainable, stimulating social development, and ending the poverty still visible in our country’s remote parts. Brainport Eindhoven is an example to the world; Brainport Hanoi should be developed at least as well; let’s take that up together – let’s go!”