The US$1.2 billion software park project was originally rolled out by TA Associates Vietnam Limited, a 20:80 joint venture between SaigonTel and Singapore’s TA Associates International, a unit of Taiwan’s Teco.
However, the HCMC government has agreed to revoke the license of the project at the request of the Investment and Construction Authority for Thu Thiem New Urban Area (Thu Thiem ICA) because of the investors’ long delays and unacceptable requests.
In its Dispatch 55/2011/CV-SGT sent to the city government, SaigonTel said it had incurred huge losses due to the foreign partner’s withdrawal from the project. Therefore, SaigonTel, a member of Saigon Invest Group, sought permission to invite another foreign partner to join in the project.
SaigonTel is willing to place a deposit as a guarantee for its commitments to the project. It previously proposed paying 100% of land rent on behalf of its partner but the proposal was turned down by the authorities of HCMC and Thu Thiem ICA.
According to SaigonTel, on April 21, 2010, Chairman Ted Huang of TA Associates Vietnam submitted a document to the city government stating the company would pay 60% of the land rent and the remaining 40% would be paid in three years’ time.
Regarding the penalty for the slow payment, the foreign party ascribed it to the global economic downturn and asked for an exemption. Also, the fine would impact the parent firm Teco and its shareholders.
However, there has been no official reply from the HCMC authority. So Teco has decided to invest in the Tsingtao China project after receiving an offer from China’s authorities for a free land lot with sufficient infrastructure.
As of now, the first phase of the project worth hundreds of millions of dollars has been completed, according to SaigonTel.
One year after Chairman Huang’s document was sent to the city, Thu Thiem ICA decided to reassess the land rent. Disappointed by this decision, Teco Group dissolved TA Associates Vietnam Limited and withdrew from the project despite having paid in millions of dollars for the project design.
Earlier, Ted Huang met with the then President Nguyen Minh Triet on the occasion of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting in Danang City, according to the dispatch. Huang sought an exemption from the penalty and Triet promised to convey the proposal to the HCMC authority.