HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited Vietnamese automaker VinFast’s factory on Saturday and said that he would create the necessary conditions for the multinational to be able to build a plant and invest in Indonesia quickly.

On a trip to the sprawling factory in the port city of Haiphong in northern Vietnam, Widodo also sat behind the wheel of a VinFast electric car before wrapping up his three-day visit to Vietnam.

The Vietnamese EV maker has said it will invest $1.2 billion in Indonesia and build a factory with the potential to make up to 50,000 vehicles every year. Green SM, an EV taxi operator that is mostly owned by VinFast’s founder, also announced an investment plan of $900 million in Indonesia. It had earlier signed an agreement with Indonesian technology company PT GoTo Gojek Tokopedia Tbk, the owner of Gojek transportation services, to help their taxi service switch to electric vehicles.

VinFast’s plans to expand in Indonesia are part of their global goal of selling EVs in 50 markets worldwide. It is exporting EVs to the U.S. and also building a $4 billion EV factory in North Carolina, where production is slated to begin this year.

Earlier this month it said it planned to spend up to $2 billion to build an electric vehicle factory in India, the world’s third-largest auto market by sales.

VinFast is part of Vingroup, a sprawling conglomerate that began as an instant noodle company in Ukraine in the 1990s. It was founded and is run by Vietnam’s richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong.

Both Vietnam and Indonesia have been pledged billions of dollars by the Group of Seven advanced economies to help transition away from dirty fossil fuel as a part of a Just Energy Transition Partnership.


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