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PM Endorses Plan to Merge 3 Saigon Districts Into New 'Silicon Valley' Town

The ambitious initiative is part of the city's desire to create the so-called "Vietnam's Silicon Valley."

VnExpress reports that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has endorsed the plan, which Saigon officials have been working on for several years. Accordingly, districts 2, 9 and Thu Duc would be combined into a single administrative unit.

The municipal Home Affairs Department has submitted this proposal to the city People's Committee for further development. The idea was formulated following a meeting with the prime minister on May 8, and would create a "city within a city" called, temporarily at least, the Eastern Town, the news source adds.

While there is no timeline on when, or even if, this will happen, the envisioned region would include several of Saigon's most high-profile development areas, such as District 9's high-tech park, Thu Duc's university area, and the long-gestating Thu Thiem new urban area in District 2.

Le Van Thanh, from the local Institute for Development Studies, told the newspaper that "this will be Vietnam's Silicon Valley."

The new administrative area would span 22,000 hectares and have over 1 million residents, and reduce the number of districts in Saigon from 24 to 22.

However, the Ministry of Construction has reportedly warned that there is no precedent for such a move in the country. This was in response to an April letter from Saigon officials asking for feedback on the plan.

The ministry also said there is no legal framework for creating an area like the Eastern Town, while adding that the city's most recent master plan, approved in 2010 and running to 2025, makes no mention of this project.

Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the municipal People's Committee, has said that the innovation hub would benefit not just Saigon, but also the entire region, including provinces like Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Tay Ninh.

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