Cambodian PM rejects Vietnam electric taxi plan: local media

Hun Manet’s decision comes after a meeting with VinGroup’s chairman in Hanoi.
By Mike Firn for RFA and RFA Vietnamese
2023.12.21
Bangkok, Thailand
Cambodian PM rejects Vietnam electric taxi plan: local media An electric taxi made by VinGroup’s EV arm VinFast.
VinFast

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet has rejected a plan by Vietnam’s VinGroup to set up an electric taxi business in the kingdom using VinFast EVs, according to the Khmer Times newspaper.

VinGroup Chairman Pham Nhat Vuong made the proposal following a meeting in Hanoi with Hun Manet on Dec. 12 during his first official visit to Vietnam since becoming prime minister.

A Cambodian government announcement, carried by the local media two days later, stated:  “On Wednesday, December 13, 2023, some media outlets reported that Vietnam’s Vingroup was planning to launch 2,500 electric taxi companies in Phnom Penh. Sihanoukville and Siem Reap.

“This information has attracted the attention of some social media players and has been shared, causing some people to misunderstand that the company will open a business in Cambodia in 2024.”

Vietnamese state-controlled media have not reported on the latest developments.

VinGroup set up a similar business in Laos in October after debuting its electric taxi service in Vietnam’s Hanoi in April through the Green and Smart Mobility Joint Stock Company.

VinGroup’s EV arm VinFast was the first Vietnamese company to list on a U.S. stock exchange, debuting on the Nasdaq in August, following a merger with special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, Black Spade Acquisition that landed VinFast US$30 million in proceeds.

VinFast Nasdaq.jpeg
Executives from Vietnamese automaker VinFast Auto Ltd. celebrate the commencement of the trading of company shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, Aug. 15, 2023. (Business Wire)

On its trading debut, VinFast stocks soared 250% to trade at US$37 with a market capitalization of US$85 billion, making it the highest valued electric vehicle maker on Wall Street, after Tesla and China’s BYD. Shares lost ground in following days and are currently trading just above the $8 mark.

Pham Nhat Vuong controls 99% of VinFast and the company’s first day of trading made him one of the top 30 wealthiest people in the world, according to Forbes’ Real-time Billionaires list.

The company, which was established in 2017, began delivering its all-electric SUV, the VF8, to the U.S. from its factory in Vietnam in March and is taking orders for another SUV, the VF9. Since beginning production in 2021, VinFast has delivered nearly 19,000 vehicles through the end of June, mostly within Vietnam.

“Vinfast is not an ordinary company, it is ‘the face’ of Vietnam’s business sector. So the rejection of a Vinfast plan won’t come down well in Hanoi,” a Vietnamese political analyst who wishes to stay anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue told Radio Free Asia.

RFA contacted VinGroup in Vietnam for comment but had not received a reply at time of publication on Friday.

Edited by Taejun Kang.

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