Construction began Sunday on a blast furnace that will be part of a steel mill complex built with investment by Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp., a Formosa Plastics Group (FPG) steel venture in Vietnam. FPG president William Wong said that in the primary stage of construction, the company expects to hire around 10,000 Vietnamese workers. The complex is aimed at turning Ha Tinhi, a province on the country’s north central coast, into a key industrial city. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the blast furnace, which is expected to go into operation in 2015. Second and third blast furnaces at the steel mill complex are scheduled to be completed in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Huang Chih-peng, Taiwan’s representative to Vietnam, said the investment project, which is estimated to be worth over US$15 billion, is an immense and arduous construction task. Huang said that despite the global economic downturn, Vietnam is still doing well and that the economy in the next year is expected to improve. Huang expressed hope that more investment projects from Taiwan will come to Vietnam and said the government there will provide more support to Taiwanese businessmen. The mill complex, which is expected to be the largest of its kind in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, will enjoy tax and investment incentives among ASEAN member countries. FPG also hopes the investment will help it expand its distribution channels through Son Duong Port, which is near Ha Tinhi Province.