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FPT Gearing up for Massive Global Expansion

The future looks bright for FPT, one of Vietnam's largest telecommunications companies. Over the past 13 months, firm has opened its largest international office in Los Angeles, California; was dubbed one of two official retailers for Apple products in Vietnam; and broke ground on a dragon-shaped, tree-covered building designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects. Now, with the winds of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) behind its sails, FPT has even grander plans in the works. 

In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review last week, FPT chairman, Truong Gia Binh, boasted the strengths of Vietnam's young, highly-skilled and low-cost workforce, while conceding that there's a finite window for which this strength can be leveraged (while the TPP will act as a springboard for the company, it will have to compete with a larger, international labor pool). 

FPT seeks to close on US$50-100 million worth mergers and acquisitions in the US as the company's revenue growth there outpaces that in Japan, FPT's most strategic market. In addition to tapping into developed countries, FPT has also been contracted by the World Bank to build telecommunications infrastructure in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, reports the financial journal. FPT also recently won a $33.6 million bid to build an integrated tax administration system in Bangladesh.

Beyond large-scale projects, the company is also focusing on new areas of development. "For example, affordable robots to be sold around $89. it uses a platform that allows people [developers and entrepreneurs] to develop applications for robots. The concept is similar to Apple’s App Store, but for robots,” Binh told Nikkei Asian Review, adding that his company is targeting $1 billion in annual revenue By 2020.

Asked whether the FPT was planning to add more foreign investors into the mix (they now own up to 49% of the company, according to Thanh Nien) the FPT chairman said that he “still doesn’t have a clear agenda.” 

Either way, it looks like FPT is doing what other local brands, like Vietnamese Coffee giant, Trung Nguyen, have proven unable to accomplish thus far - shedding its provincial cocoon to become a global brand.

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