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  • 09/29/17--02:15: Article 3
  • Vietnam finance ministry unit pushes for change in brewers' privatisation

    A department of Vietnam’s finance ministry suggested transferring responsibility for the privatisation of brewers Sabeco and Habeco


    ​Vietnam finance ministry unit pushes for change in brewers' privatisation 
    Sabeco's Saigon beers are display for sale in a market in Hanoi, Vietnam April 17, 2017. Picture taken April 17, 2017. Photo: Reuters

    A department of Vietnam’s finance ministry on Wednesday suggested transferring responsibility for the privatisation of brewers Sabeco and Habeco if the trade ministry does not publish sale prospectuses by the end of the month.

    Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp (Sabeco) and Hanoi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Joint Stock Corp (Habeco) hold 60 percent of Southeast Asia’s biggest beer market by litres consumed. They have drawn interest from foreign peers such as the Netherlands’ Heineken NV and Japan’s Kirin Holdings Co Ltd , Sabeco’s former chief previously told Reuters.

    The pair were earmarked for privatisation almost a decade ago as part of a nationwide program to trim stakes in state-owned enterprises, many of which have low profitability. But progress has been slow given the small stakes on offer, sizable state control and concerns about vested interests.

    Only with a change in government last year has progress been made with Sabeco and Habeco, with the Ministry of Industry and Trade - which holds shares in the brewers on behalf of the state - hiring advisors, listing the firms and targeting a 2017 sale.

    On Wednesday, the Ministry of Finance’s Department of Corporate Finance waded in with an unusually public push.

    “The complete sale of state capital in Habeco and Sabeco must be fulfilled to ensure money is transferred to the Foundation To Support The Arrangement And Development of Enterprises before Dec. 1,” the department said in a report on privatisation and divestment.

    If sales prospectuses are not published by Sept. 30, then the state’s shares should be transferred from the trade ministry to the finance ministry’s State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), the government’s investment arm, the department said.

    “The transfer will ensure a faster pace of divestment as SCIC is an organisation specialised in divestment ... and will simultaneously help the trade ministry focus on completing state management tasks,” the department said in the report.

    The department would ordinarily submit any such suggestions to higher up within the finance ministry for further consideration.

    The trade ministry holds 89.6 percent of Sabeco and 81.8 percent of Habeco, together worth 168.8 trillion dong ($7.43 billion) at market value, Reuters data showed. The ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The government aims to fully divest from the brewers by the end of the year. The prime minister has approved a plan to sell 53.59 percent of Sabeco, showed a report seen by Reuters earlier this month, which did not detail a timeline or valuation.

    Danish brewer Carlsberg A/S wants to increase its stake in Habeco to at least 51 percent from about 17 percent now, local media previously reported. 

    By Reuters



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  • 09/29/17--02:21: Article 2
  • Vietnam joins international efforts to end human trafficking



    Vietnam pledges to strengthen its coordination with the United Nations (UN) in order to implement the declaration on the UN global action plan to end human trafficking. 
     
    Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN.
    Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, made the assertion at a meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 27-28.

    She extolled the adoption of the declaration at the meeting and called for stronger international cooperation in the field.

    Human trafficking is a crime, a violation of human rights and human dignity, which poses serious threats to peace, security and development, Nga stressed.

    Vietnam condemns and resolutely combats trafficking, especially that of women and children, as well as cross-border crimes, via policies and measures to prevent, prosecute, judge and punish perpetrators and support victims, she affirmed.

    VNA


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  • 09/29/17--02:34: Article 1
  • GSO: Vietnam’s GDP expands 6.41% in nine months

    Hanoi - Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the first nine months of 2017 grew about 6.41 percent as compared to the same period last year, reported the General Statistics Office (GSO). 

    The press conference (Source: VNA)

    GSO General Director Nguyen Bich Lam said at a press conference in Hanoi on September 29 that the country’s GDP growth rate in the third quarter posted a record high of 7.46 percent, while the figures in the second and first quarters were 6.28 percent and 5.15 percent, respectively.

    Lam said breakthroughs have been made in the processing and manufacturing sector and export activities. Besides, structural transformation in rural areas, forestry and fisheries sectors has proven effective, he added.

    According to GSO, the nine-month GDP growth rate was mainly contributed by the agro-forestry-fishery sector, along with industry, construction, and services. Processing and manufacturing also made a big stride in the third quarter with a rise of 16.63 percent, the highest level since 2011.

    Pham Quynh Loi, Deputy Director of the Trade and Services Statistics Department, said the country’s export turnover in the first nine months of this year was estimated at 154 billion USD, up 19.8 percent year-on-year.

    The consumer price index (CPI) in September rose by 0.59 percent from the previous month and by 3.4 percent over the corresponding time last year. The average CPI in the nine months was up 3.79 percent as compared with the same period of 2016.

    The target of curbing inflation and keeping the CPI in 2017 below 4 percent is achievable, said Vu Thi Thu Thuy, Director of the Price Statistics Department.

    Between January and September, Vietnam attracted 25.5 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI), a rise of 34.3 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, 12.5 billion USD of FDI capital was disbursed in the reviewed period.

    As many 93,967 enterprises registered to establish with a total registered capital of 902.7 trillion VND (around 39.7 billion USD), up 15.4 percent in number and 43 percent in capital. In addition, 21,100 businesses in the country resumed operations, a year-on-year rise of 2.9 percent.

    However, there remained limitations in State budget collection and spending, plus losses caused by natural disasters and complex developments of dengue, heard the conference.

    In order to reach the growth target of 6.7 percent set for the whole year, it is a must to gain a growth rate of 7.31 percent in the last quarter, Lam said, noting that the goal is achievable thanks to the concerted efforts of the government, ministries and sectors.-
    VNA



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  • 09/29/17--03:28: Article 0
  • Macro economy rosy: national consultation council

     Hanoi - Macroeconomic indexes have experienced positive changes over the last nine months, showing the effectiveness of Vietnam’s financial and monetary policies, according to the National Financial and Monetary Policy Consultation Council.


     
    Macroeconomic indexes have experienced positive changes over the last nine months (Source: VNA)
    The council revealed at a meeting in Hanoi on September 28 that on average, inflation rate grew by 1.45 percent on average during January-September. The figure is expected to stand at about 1.5-1.8 percent for the whole year, lower than the target set by the National Assembly. 

    GDP rose by 7.46 percent in the third quarter, and 6.41 percent in the first nine months of the year. 

    The council attributed the high GDP rise in July-September to industrial growth, which was up 13.2 percent year-on-year, led by the processing and manufacturing sector and export growth. 

    Up to 147 trillion VND (6.47 billion USD) worth of Government bonds were mobilised from January to September, completing 80 percent of the set plan.


    Stock market capitalisation increased by 38.7 percent, equivalent to 60 percent of GDP, the council said.

    As of September 20, foreign direct investment edged up by 21.7 percent year-on-year with a record high of newly-registered capital at 14.6 billion USD and additional capital at 6.8 billion USD.

    The council underlined the need to keep a close watch on credit growth and quality although the Government has allowed the State Bank of Vietnam to increase the credit growth rate from 18 percent to 21 percent.

    They proposed the Government continue streamlining administrative procedures, amending and issuing policies to attract businesses in agriculture and rural areas, and instructing agencies to cut production and businesses costs.-VNA


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  • 09/30/17--06:51: Article 0
  • Social News 30/9


    RoK firm to build waste-to-energy plant in Hung Yen 

     RoK firm to build waste-to-energy plant in Hung Yen, Food festival celebrates ASEAN Community, PM urges Hanoi to build green, smart city, Training course for journalists reporting APEC 2017 

    The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Hao Group said it plans to invest in a waste-to-energy plant with a daily capacity of 150 tonnes of rubbish in the northern province of Hung Yen. 

    At a meeting with local authorities on September 29, the group said it would produce high-capacity batteries and microbiological fertilizer through waste fermentation.

    The group called on the provincial authorities to facilitate the early implementation of the project, which aims to provide electricity for the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), reduce environmental pollution and increase locals’ income.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Phong affirmed his support for the project, requesting the group to conduct thorough feasibility studies.

    He also pledged that the locality will create the best conditions for the investor to successfully implement the project.

    Food festival celebrates ASEAN Community

    The Ho Chi Minh City Women's Union hosted a Southeast Asian food festival in the city on September 29 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    The event features culinary delights and traditional costumes from the bloc’s ten member nations.

    Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, President of the city women’s union, said the event aims to introduce the culture and people of ASEAN nations to local people.

    The cultural exchange is among efforts of the chapter to promote the solidarity and friendship between ASEAN nations with Vietnam in general and Ho Chi Minh City in particular, Ngoc said.

    Founded in 1967, the 10-member ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

    The bloc formed the ASEAN Community on December 31, 2015.

    ASEAN is one of Vietnam’s leading trading partners and an important driving force in helping Vietnam’s economy maintain its exports and growth over recent years.

    PM urges Hanoi to build green, smart city

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged the capital city of Hanoi to develop in the direction of a green, smart city based on the rule of law during a working session with the city’s officials on September 29.

    The PM hailed the city for improved business climate and administrative reform, and for leading in the new rural development campaign. The rate of poor households in the city has been reduced to 1.7 percent. It also leads the country in human development index in culture, school education, health care and sports. 

    He also spoke highly of many innovative ideas and the successful application of scientific and technological advances in management of the capital city.  

    According to the PM, the biggest challenge for Hanoi is how to manage a mega urban area, along with those relating to production model transform, workforce training, technological application, resources for infrastructure development, and public services. He particularly singled out the problem in urban construction in the city.

    Suggesting several action plans, the PM stressed the need for Hanoi to work closely with neighbouring localities to minimise policy overlapping and fully tapping land resources, while continuing to enhance the management capacity of the contingent of public servants in combination with corruption prevention. 

    He required Hanoi to continue to work to meet criteria for a city of peace, especially those regarding social and residential community, and maintain its status as a cultural city representing Vietnamese culture.  

    At the same time, Hanoi should push forward with building a transparent and equal business environment, putting the citizens and enterprises at the centre of its services, PM Phuc said, urging the municipal authorities to continue pooling public resources, especially from the private economic sector, to raise capital for infrastructure works such as metro lines. 

    In his opinion, it is necessary to issue a decentralisation mechanism for the city in line with the law.

    The PM recommended that the city relocate universities, businesses, hospitals out of the inner area to ease traffic jams, which have become a pressing issue for local residents.  

    Regarding the problem, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung suggested Hanoi reduce population in inner areas through building high-quality urban areas in the suburbs and accelerating the progress of urban railway routes to ease traffic congestion.

    Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh called for issuing a special mechanism for Hanoi to enable the capital city to develop more rapidly.

    Expressing impression over the rearrangement of Hanoi public administrative apparatus, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue agreed with the city’s proposals and urged all possible policy support to Hanoi and amendments to the Law on the Capital City. 

    Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung reported at the meeting that the city collected 146.4 trillion VND (6.36 billion USD) for the State budget in the first nine months this year, or 71.5 percent of the estimate and up 16.2 percent annually. 

    The city attracted 398 foreign-invested projects with a registered capital of 2.16 billion USD, 22 others in public-private partnership worth an estimated 60 trillion VND in the period. At the same time, the city recorded 18,685 newly-established firms, up 10 percent year-on-year, raising the total number of operating businesses to 225,700. 

    Hanoi ranked third among 63 cities and provinces nationwide in terms of the public administration reform (PAR) index, up 6 places from 2015, and was placed second in terms of readiness for technological application. The rate of business registration online hit 96 percent while tax e-filing and electronic customs procedures reached 98 percent and 100 percent, respectively. 

    However, rampant violations of construction and land use rules along with serious traffic congestion are among major causes of public concern.

    Lao-funded Ho Chi Minh memorial house inaugurated in Nghe An

    The Government of Laos hosted a ceremony to inaugurate and hand over a memorial house dedicated to President Ho Chi Minh in the late President’s home province of Nghe An on September 29.

    The Lao Government was represented at the ceremony by Party Central Committee’s Secretary and Deputy Minister of National Defence Vilay Lakhamphong.

    The two-storey facility, located in the Kim Lien relic site, Nam Dan district, has four exhibition spaces, featuring the solidarity and the traditional friendship between the two Parties, States, armies and people of Vietnam and Laos; the remembrance of late Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Kaysone Phomvihane; and Lao culture.

    During the event, the Lao Deputy Minister presented the Bravery Order, third class, to the Company of Economic Cooperation of Military Region 4 for its contribution to building the President Ho Chi Minh memorial house.

    Vietnamese students in Laos receive scholarships from Vietnam Government

    The Embassy of Vietnam in Laos held a ceremony in Laos’s capital Vientiane on September 29 to present scholarships of the Vietnamese Government to 40 overseas Vietnamese students in the country.

    The scholarships was part of an agreement on education and training cooperation between the two Governments and a cooperation plan on education and human resources development between Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training and Laos’s Ministry of Education and Sports. 

    Congratulating the scholarship recipients, chargé d’affaires of the Vietnamese Embassy in Laos Nguyen Thanh Tung said the scholarships demonstrate the Vietnamese Party, State and people’s attention to overseas Vietnamese in Laos. 

    Nguyen Van Mui, Vice Chairman of the General Association of Vietnamese People in Laos, described the scholarships as valuable material and spiritual gifts to the students that help encourage the development of the Vietnamese community, which is a friendship bridge linking the two nations.

    The number of the Vietnamese Government’s scholarships for children of overseas Vietnamese in Laos has increased from five in 2005 to 40 at present.

    ASEAN Food and Cultural Festival held in HCM City

    The Executive Committee of the HCM City’s Women Union organised a Food and Cultural Festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) today.

    The event, held at the Women’s Cultural House in District 7, was attended by the chairwoman of the city’s Women Union, Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Bích, deputy chairman of the city’s Fatherland Front, Nguyễn Thành Trung, and representatives from the Consulate Generals of attending ASEAN members.

    In addition to ASEAN fashion and music performances, a competition was held to explore the cuisines of ASEAN members.

    Ten teams from 24 provinces and four armed-forces units were required to present a traditional dish of one ASEAN-member country that they had randomly selected.

    Each team, which had to dress up in traditional costumes that represented their chosen country, had five minutes to present, according to the organiser.

    Some of the dishes included Myanmar’s grilled pork, Singapore’s stir-fried rice vermicelli, Brunei’s rice cake with grilled meat and satay sauce, Indonesia’s fried chicken with turmeric, Thailand’s tom yum soup, Malaysia’s shrimp curry and Việt Nam’s spring rolls, among others.

    Training course for journalists reporting APEC 2017

    The Ministry of Information and Communications on September 29 opened a training workshop in the central city of Danang to update journalists with an overview of APEC 2017 and the APEC Summit set to take place in November.

    In his speech at the opening ceremony, Dang Khac Loi, Deputy Director of the Press Department, highlighlighted the importance of people’s participation in promoting Vietnam, a peaceful country with friendly people and a reliable partner.

    Loi said communications play a very important role in reporting on Vietnam’s efforts to make the summit a success, adding that he hopes the training workshop will provide journalists with more information, knowledge, and the skills to produce quality articles on APEC 2017.

    Six taxi pick-up stations to be set up in district 1

    Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee yesterday approved the proposal from Department of Transport allowing taxis to pick up passengers at taxi pick-up stations within six months starting October 1.

    The move aims to solve traffic jam in the city in rush hours.

    Accordingly, district 1 will select investors to carry out the pilot installation program of six taxi pick-up stations in district 1.

    Department of Transport said six taxi pick-up stations will be set up on the streets such as: Nguyen Du, Han Thuyen, Alexandre De Rhodes…

    Ha Tinh receives woodblock about Great Poet Nguyen Du

    The National Archives Center No.4 - under the State Records and Archives Department of Vietnam handed over the woodblock about Great Poet Nguyen Du, the World Cultural Celebrity to the Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Ha Tinh Province on September 29.

    The offering ceremony was held at Nguyen Du Memorial House in Tien Dien Commune, Nghi Xuan District, marking the 197th death anniversary of the great poet Nguyen Du.

    The woodblocks reflect Vietnamese history and society from the initial stage to the Nguyen dynasty, including writings about great poet Nguyen Du, said director of the National Archives Center No.4, Nguyen Xuan Hung.

    Director of the Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Ha Tinh Province, Bui Xuan Thap expressed its deep appreciation and thanked to the National Archives Center No.4 for presenting the valuable woodblock of poet Nguyen Du which is part of the Woodblocks from the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945) recognized as World Documentary Heritage by UNESCO in 2009.

    Nguyen Du, also known as To Nhu and Thanh Hien, was born in 1765 to a noble family in Thang Long ( Hanoi ).

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) chose the great Vietnamese poet Nguyen Du among other world famous personalities at its 37th General Assembly in Paris in 2013. He was also recognized by the World Peace Council as one of the world’s cultural celebrities in 1965.

    Poet Nguyen Du has been recognized by UNESCO for his Truyen Kieu (Tale of Kieu), a masterpiece of Vietnamese classic epic poetry.

    Truyen Kieu has the most number of translations in more than 30 languages. The classic literature is a unique work containing verses which are divided into hundreds of short poems.

    HCMC & Phu Yen cooperate to develop tourism

    The Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Association and Phu Yen Tourism Association jointly held yesterday the ceremony to review the program to promote local tourism sector 2017.

    Mr. Nguyen Thanh Tam, Chairman of Phu Yen Tourism Association said through the program, the province achieved many successes as tourists traveling to Phu Yen increased sharply up to 30 percent in 2016 and higher than that in the first 9 months of 2017.

    Phu Yen with many beautiful landscapes and local cuisines attracted many local and international tourists. The province has made big achievements since Vietnamese movie which filmed in the central coast province of Phu Yen, “Toi thay hoa vang tren co xanh” (I see yellow flowers on the green grass) has been screened and awarded in the country and abroad, added Tam.

    Mr. Tam affirmed in the upcoming times, tourists would be provided tours with the stability of prices and high-quality services.

    Ms. Nguyen Thi Khanh, the HCMC Tourism Association shared at the ceremony that Phu Yen tourism sector should continue connecting tourist sites between Phu Yen and neighboring provinces and the province should invest infrastructure development to welcome more and more tourists in next time.

    She added that the program targets to connect the localities in the country, hoping that the localities would continue luring more and more domestic visitors.

    Mr. Le Quoc Trung, deputy chairman of Sai Gon Railway Company said since the beginning of the year to date, Sai Gon Railway has sold over 40,000 train tickets, a threefold increase over the previous years.

    When public confidence is lost

    To the public, the theft may not seem to be a big one in terms of value, when an official reports the missing of VND385 million from his baggage inside a hotel room in Long An Province this Monday. However, most – if not all – newspapers in the country have given an extensive coverage of the case, and surprisingly still, the story has captured widespread attention, with feedback from readers overwhelming local media.

    Nguyen Xuan Quang, deputy director of a Hanoi-based environmental protection agency under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, checked in to a hotel in Long An Province’s Tan An District last Tuesday to begin an inspection of 30 enterprises in the province. This Tuesday, Quang after waking up found that his laptop plus VND385 million, or roughly US$17,000, had been stolen.

    The news was quickly alerted to local police. An initial investigation shows that apart from the lost money and the laptop, several envelopes were still in the hotel room, some still sealed and others opened, including U.S. banknotes amounting to the thousands. In the room was also a receipt showing an amount of money had been deposited at a bank the day before, meaning Quang is still lucky as he might have lost a bigger sum if the burglary had occurred one day earlier, according to vov.vn, the news site of the Vietnam Radio station.

    The value of the lost money and the laptop is not too big to a public haunted with losses of trillions at State corporations as shown at court hearings these days, but questions stemming from the theft emerge en masse. Instead of sympathizing with the victim, they cast doubt on the origin of the money.

    When the incident occurred, Quang and his subordinates had inspected nine out of the 30 enterprises in the inspection scheme, according to Dan Tri online newspaper.

    Most feedback from readers in local newspapers suspects that this might be bribe money from inspected enterprises.

    Quang asserted in encounters with reporters that such an assumption was baseless, and the lost sum is his personal money he took along from Hanoi to hand over to a family member in HCMC. “This is my personal money taken along to settle a private family business, not the money given by enterprises,” Quang is quoted as saying in Tuoi Tre.

    His assertion fails to persuade the public, and newspapers also have similar suspicion.

    According to vov.vn, the hotel owner told the police that some guests had come to the hotel to meet with Quang, and some had even been invited into his room, but the nature of their communications was unknown. Also according to the hotel owner, one member of Quang’s inspection team had also asked for the way to the nearest bank.

    In an analysis titled “Inspector’s loss of VND385 million: Not just a theft,” Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper wonders why the inspector took along a huge amount of cash from north to south despite increasingly convenient banking services.

    In addition, says the paper, “there is a good reason for rumors of corruption given so many suspicious vestiges at the scene such as envelopes and a money transfer receipt.”

    In a sarcastic tone, Tuoi Tre quotes a blogger as saying “the case rings a bell of alarm on the property safety for leaders when taking a field trip to inspect environmental issues at enterprises.” The newspaper ponders whether all hotels should have a special safety box service to keep money for officials during field trips.

    Thanh Nien suggests a backtracking measure to determine whether it is Quang’s personal money or bribes taken from enterprises by reviewing X-ray machines at the airport of departure to see whether the money was there when he began his trip. The newspaper also reminds readers of a similar incident years ago, when a leader of the Government Office after a field trip forgot a bag on board a plane, with VND400 million inside. The case had prompted the National Assembly to urge the Government to give an explanation.

    Back to the case this time, according to Nguoi Lao Dong, leaders of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, aware of the sensitivity of the incident, has ordered Quang to give a full account.

    Following the demand of the ministry, Nguoi Lao Dong says that an extensive investigation into the burglary is extremely necessary so as to shed light on the nature of the incident. A well-established outcome of the investigation will be beneficial for society.

    If the money is ascertained to be Quang’s personal money, then all the rumors harmful to his prestige will be wiped out and he is proven clean again. Otherwise, if Quang is found to lie about the origin of the money, then the ministry can assure the public that it does not tolerate corruption and is ready to wage a war on such unlawful practices.

    If police are hesitant to step in, and all the case is reliant on explanations by the victim to his agency, transparency cannot be obtained, according to Nguoi Lao Dong.

    Given numerous cases of corruption in the country, given the worsening environment despite numerous inspections, there are good grounds for the public to doubt the case of theft as reported by the victim. The public confidence has been eroded or even lost, if no tough measures are taken to unveil the real nature.

    “The public awaits a conclusion from police, even if there is no theft as declared by Mr. Quang,” says Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper.     

    British Council holds education show in three big cities

    The British Council Vietnam will organize the UK Education Exhibition 2017 at Lotte Hotel in Hanoi on October 7, InterContinental Asiana Saigon in HCMC on October 8 and at Novotel Hotel in Danang on October 12 from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., with around 60 UK universities, colleges and high schools taking part.

    Those interested in UK education can learn more about information on various undergraduate, postgraduate, pathway programs as well as domestic programs leading to UK-accredited degrees aside from looking for scholarship opportunities.

    Visitors can talk with Living Books, known as Vietnamese alumni and students currently studying in the UK, who are willing to share their learning and job-seeking experiences and stories about university life in the UK.

    One of the highlights of the event is the UK cultural corner with its theme “Harry Potter”, allowing exhibition-goers to get a glimpse of the UK culture and lifestyle in celebration of the 20th anniversary since the first book in the Harry Potter series was published.

    Interested people should register and search for scholarships at https://vn.edukexhibition.org/vi-vn.

    Exit and entry procedures for aircraft through national OSS mechanism

    The Prime Minister has issued Decision No. 43/2017/QD-TTg regulating the responsibility for carrying out the entry, exit and transit procedures for aircraft through the national One-Stop Shop (OSS) mechanism.

    Concerning the responsibility for performing exit procedures for aircraft, the decision stipulates that persons who carry out procedures declare the following information and vouchers electronically via the national OSS mechanism: the declaration of export goods and the master bill of loading as for exit aircraft carrying export goods; the list of passengers as for exit aircraft carrying passengers; and the member list of the flight crew.

    Procedure performers must submit the following print vouchers (original) to State management agencies at airports: a general air declaration (including medical declaration) submitted to the border health quarantine organization; a medical declaration on the body, remains and ashes (if yes) submitted to the border medical quarantine organization; a medical declaration on the medical microbiological samples, biological products, and human tissues and organs (if yes) submitted to the border medical quarantine organization.

    Procedure performers must present the following print vouchers (original) to state management agencies at airports: passport or valid international travel documents and visa of the passenger; passports or valid international travel papers and visas of the flight crew, which will be presented to the border gate police. 

    With regards to the responsibility of the State management agencies at airports, the decision clearly states that the State management agencies are responsible for: receiving and giving feedback on the reception of information and vouchers provided electronically; accepting the print versions of vouchers; conducting checks over the vouchers with print versions; confirming the completion of procedures as for exit aircraft. The reception, feedback and confirmation procedures are carried out automatically through the national OSS portal for both procedure performers and related parties.

    The place to receive and process electronic voucher information is the national OSS portal. Those who carry out procedures are responsible for sending electronic data to the national OSS portal as stipulated in the decision, so that the State management agencies carry out exit, entry and transit procedures for aircraft.

    The reception and processing of print versions of voucher information are conducted at the headquarters of State management agencies at airports.

    VNN


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  • 09/30/17--07:16: Article 1
  • Real estate developers in small provinces do big business



    Though provincial real estate developers are less known than bigger firms in Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang, they are rivals with powerful financial capability.


     vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, real estate, Nguyen Thanh Than, Horea 


    Nam Tien Lao Cai has signed a cooperation contract with InVision Hospitality on the management of Scenia Bay apartment project in Nha Trang.

    Nam Tien Lao Cai remains an unfamiliar name to the real estate market and not many people know why the company based in the mountainous province in the north chose to develop a project in the southern part of the central region.

    Though provincial real estate developers are less known than bigger firms in Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang, they are rivals with powerful financial capability.

    However, in Lao Cai, the name is better known. It is a big investor in hydropower, chemicals, construction and real estate development. Nam Tien Lao Cai has charter capital of VND500 billion and revenue of VND1.2 trillion.

    Thanh Hoa Construction Corporation in the central province of Thanh Hoa once surprised investors with the takeover of Sky Park Residence in Hanoi in a deal worth VND143 billion. This is a large project with two buildings, including a 25-storey office building and 35-storey apartment block.

    In Thanh Hoa province, where the company sets its head office, it has developed many large-scale projects including Hoang Long IZ and urban area and Ho Toan Thanh residential quarter. The company has been assigned by provincial authorities to build 30 schools, 18 hospitals and medical centers and other important works in the province.

    The takeover the ‘golden land plot’ owned by Sao Vang Rubber Company (SRC) at No 231 Nguyen Trai street in Hanoi once stirred up the public. Hoanh Son Group reportedly spent VND435 billion to help SRC relocate its factory to Chau Son IZ in Ha Nam province.

    Hoanh Son is unfamiliar to Hanoians, but it is well known in the central region because its name is associated with the building of the Vung Ang Economic Zone.

    A big real estate developer in Nha Trang City, Phuc Son Group is actually based in the northern province of Vinh Phuc. Though Phuc Son is still little known, its charter capital is huge, VND1.5 trillion.

    The common characteristic of many provincial real estate groups is that they don’t invest in their home regions, but tend to look for new promising land and are not afraid to compete with local real estate big developers.

    Cao Thi Thu Hien, CEO of Nam Tien Lao Cai, said competing with big players is unavoidable and she has to be ready for the competition. The company based in the mountainous northwestern province is still seeking opportunities to develop resort projects in coastal cities of Nahtrang and Danang. 


    H. Tu, VNN


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  • 09/30/17--07:33: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 30/9


    Sacombank Laos opens branch in Savannakhet province 



    The Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank in Laos (Sacombank Laos) inaugurated a branch in the Lao central province of Savannakhet on September 29.

    Director General of Sacombank Laos Pham Quang Phu said the inauguration of the branch reaffirms the bank’s determination to do long-term business in the country and bring its modern products and services to Lao customers.

    He said with an initial chartered capital of 12 million USD, Sacombank Laos has expanded its network to key areas in Laos such as Vientiane capital, Pakse city, and Champasak and Savannakhet provinces over the past nine years.

    As of August 31, 2017, the total assets of Sacombank Laos stood at 157 million USD and its pre-tax profit in the first eight months of this year reached 1 million USD, fulfilling 68 percent of the annual target, he noted.

    Vice Governor of Savannakhet province Thonkeo Phoutthakaiyalard said the launch of Sacombank Laos’ branch in the province not only generates jobs for locals but also contributes to the local social-economic development in the coming years.

    He said local authorities will create the best conditions for the branch to operate efficiently.

    On this occasion, Sacombank Laos donated 6,000 USD to the province’s disaster mitigation fund.

    US$660 million needed to finance ring road project in HCMC

    The HCMC Department of Transport says around VND15 trillion (US$660 million) is needed to cover the three remaining sections of Ring Road No. 2 in HCMC.

    The first section spans from An Lac Intersection on National Highway 1 to Nguyen Van Linh Parkway in Binh Chanh District while the second stretches from Phu Huu Bridge to Binh Thai Intersection both in District 9, and the last spreads from Binh Thai Intersection to Go Dua Intersection in Thu Duc District.

    The department says the first section has yet to attract any investors. Meanwhile, an investor has expressed interest in developing the second section of 3.82 kilometers in length which requires more than VND5.7 trillion, with around VND4.1 trillion for site clearance. The investor is about to complete a feasibility study for the project.

    Part of the third section from Pham Van Dong Street to Go Dua Intersection which stretches 2.7 kilometers long got off the ground in end-2015.

    Besides, its remaining section from Pham Van Dong Street to Binh Thai Intersection had its investment plan approved in end-2016. This road, 1.9 kilometers long and 67 meters wide, needs about VND1.05 trillion, with VND842 billion of it going to site clearance. Its investor has sent an investment report to the department for approval.

    According to the department, the remaining sections of the ring road are estimated to require VND15 trillion in total. They are among the projects designed to help reduce traffic congestion in the 2016-2020 period.

    Therefore, HCMC has petitioned the central Government to give it the green light to offer no-bid contracts to investors to develop the three sections on schedule.

    The department says in phase one, the ring road is just 10 meters wide instead of 67 meters in order to meet the demand for travel (in the short run).

    The entire ring road is about 70 kilometers long from Nguyen Van Linh Parkway to Phu My Bridge, Binh Thai Intersection on Hanoi Highway, Go Dua Intersection, Tan Tao Intersection, Ho Hoc Lam and Ba To streets, and Nguyen Van Linh Parkway. But some sections of the road have not been built.

    Once in place, the road will help ease chronic traffic congestion in the city center as trucks will no longer cut through the inner-city areas when transporting cargo to and from ports in HCMC and between the southeast and the Mekong Delta.

    Ministry relaxes requirements for strategic investors in equitized SOEs

    The Ministry of Finance is about to finish an amended Government decree replacing Decree 59/2011/ND-CP on equitization of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in which the ministry seeks to relax a slew of requirements for strategic investors.

    According to the draft decree, strategic investors must meet requirements on financial capacity, and their businesses must be profitable for the last two years.

    Besides, strategic investors must have written pledges to be active in the same sectors of equitized SOEs, and maintain their brands for at least three years.

    Notably, strategic investors must not transfer the State stakes they purchase in three years instead of the current five years, and must have plans to support equitized SOEs such as technology transfer and personnel training.

    As such, they will be obliged to pay compensation if they breach their written commitments.

    The draft stipulates the sale of State stakes shall be executed upon a certain auction in which the selling price is not lower than the average bid price in the initial public offering.

    In comparison with the current regulations prescribed in Decree 59, the ministry has relaxed regulations for strategic investors in equitized SOEs in the draft decree whose aim is to attract potential investors.

    For example, the draft decree requires strategic investor to be profitable for two consecutive years instead of the current three years.

    In addition, the current decree requires them to maintain the business sector of equitized SOEs without stating a particular length of time, while the draft rule puts it at three years, after which the investors can change the business fields of equitized SOEs.

    Consumer finance market underdeveloped

    The local consumer credit market remains underdeveloped despite high consumer demand while the black market still attracts a large number of people in need.

    At a seminar on consumer lending held by the Institute of Business Administration under the University of Economics and Business in Hanoi City on Wednesday, Hoang Van Hai, head of institute, said consumer loans account for a mere 5-10% of total outstanding loans, compared to 40-50% in developed nations. In addition, the number of credit institutions catering to consumers is small.

    According to a survey of the institute with 2,000 respondents in 12 provinces and cities, 62% of them have never taken out consumer loans as they worry about indebtedness and stringent lending requirements. Some 53% of them will ask for consumer loans in case of absolute necessity.

    However, 48% of respondents, mainly young people who have never taken out consumer loans before, are willing to borrow if necessary.

    The survey shows that there are currently more than ten consumer loan lenders with minimum chartered capital of VND500 billion (US$21.81 million) each, in which, FE Credit is the leader with the largest capital of VND2.79 trillion.

    At present, FE Credit holds a market share of more than 48%, followed by Home Credit with nearly 16%, HD Saison with 12%, JACCS with 2% and Mirae Asset Finance with 1%.

    Most clients are satisfied with lending services and procedures but they are displeased with the high lending rates.

    A representative of the State Bank of Vietnam admitted that the consumer lending market still faces numerous obstacles despite huge demand.

    The central bank wants the market to develop safely and moderately so that local people will be not affected by potential risks.

    Truong Thanh Duc, chairman of Basico law firm, said the legal system has not facilitated the development of the service.

    Finance firms may face higher risks than commercial banks in recovering debts as this kind of loan does not require collateral. Besides, the legal system is insufficient to deal with violations.

    However, the sector holds high growth potential as consumer loans are suitable to modern life and help ease concerns of consumers.

    The survey also shows that consumers ask for loans for a vast range of purposes. Household businesses tend to get consumer loans to increase investments, farmers to pay for healthcare services and household appliances, students to buy personal appliances or to travel, and officials to pay for healthcare, entertainment, tourism, beauty care and education.

    Le Xuan Sang, deputy director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said Vietnam has huge demand for consumer credit thanks to the young population whose consumer spending makes up 75% of gross domestic product (GDP).

    Saigontourist launches new river tours

    Saigontourist Holding Company, the country’s leading tourism services provider, on September 28 put into operation five new tourist boats and launched seven new river tours at Tan Cang tourist site in Binh Thanh District, HCMC, offering a new option for visitors to discover popular destinations in the city and neighboring areas.

    With a luxurious design the five new modern motor boats can accommodate 25 passengers each and travel at a maximum speed of 50 km per hour.

    Tran Hung Viet, general director of Saigontourist, said in a statement that river tourism has been an integral part of Saigontourist’s development strategy in recent years and that the city government has assigned Saigontourist to find ways to boost river tourism services in the city.

    Three member companies under Saigontourist – Saigontourist Travel Service Co., Binh Quoi Tourist Village and Vam Sat Tourist Site – have joined forces to develop these river tours, Viet noted.

    Apart from the new boats and tours, Saigontourist is investing in modern wharfs at Tan Cang and Binh Quoi 2 tourist sites, and Saigon South tourism wharf in District 7 will also go up later.

    Saigontourist will focus on promoting these new river tourism services by distributing multilingual brochures to tourists and travel agencies in the city. Tourist information booths can also be found at travel firms, hotels and restaurants under Saigontourist, Viet noted.

    Especially, the company will present its river tours at international travel fairs including Top Resa in France in September, ITB in Singapore in October and WTM in the UK in November, he added.

    Following are the seven newly-launched river tours.

    Tan Cang-Binh Duong-Ben Dinh tour

    The tour departs at Tan Cang tourist site at 7 a.m. and ends at 3:20 p.m. every weekday, taking in some popular destinations such as Ba Son, Thanh Da Canal Bridge, Binh Loi Bridge, Lai Thieu Bridge, Tran Van Ho’s ancient house in the southern province of Binh Duong, Thien Hau Lady Pagoda, Thu Dau Mot Market, Phu Cuong Church, Ben Cat Intersection, Ben Dinh Tunnel and Hai Thanh Koi Garden ecotourism site.

    Tickets are priced at VND2.1 million per adult and VND1.58 million per child, including tax and service fee. These prices are applicable to tours for at least six passengers.

    Tan Cang-Binh Duong-Hai Thanh Koi Garden ecotourism site tour

    Departing at 7 a.m. at Tan Cang tourist site, the tour will allow tourists to explore Thanh Da Bridge, Binh Loi Bridge, Lai Thieu Bridge, Tran Van Ho’s ancient house in the southern province of Binh Duong, Thien Hau Lady Pagoda, Thu Dau Mot Market and Phu Cuong Church. Upon arrival at Hai Thanh Koi Garden ecotourism site, visitors will have the opportunity to visit Koi fish stream, crocodile farm and seasonal fruit farm, and enjoy other services.

    The ticket costs VND1.66 million per adult and VND1.245 million per child, including tax and service fee. The prices are applicable to tours with six passengers or above.

    The tour ends at 3.30 p.m.

    Mangrove Forest-Tan Cang-Can Thanh tour

    The boat will pick up tourists at 7 a.m. at Tan Cang tourist site. The tour is available on weekdays and scheduled to finish at 4.40 p.m., giving visitors enough time to see Phu My Bridge, Den Do (Red Light) Intersection, Nha Be Intersection, Yen Quan House, Tam Thon Hiep Village, Nga Bay River, Thieng Lieng Islet and Ha Thanh River.
    The boat will stop at Hoa Hiep Port in Can Thanh Town, Can Gio District. From there, tourists can take a bus tour around Can Thanh Town to inspect local residents’ daily activities.

    Then, the boat will sail to Monkey Island, Dan Xay Bridge, Binh Khanh Ferry, Phu Xuan, Rach Dia, Rach Ong, Te Canal, Tan Thuan, and Khanh Hoi. 

    The ticket price is VND2.04 million per adult and VND1.53 million per child, including tax and service fee. The price is only for tours with at least six passengers taking part.

    Tan Cang- Thanh Da Binh Quoi Peninsula tour

    The tour is available on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays with the departure time at 4 p.m. Tourists can admire the landscapes along the Saigon River and Thanh Da Binh Quoi Peninsula.

    The boat will depart from Tan Cang tourist site, taking in some tourist spots including Binh Quoi 1 and Binh Quoi 2 tourist sites and Rach Chiec Intersection.

    Tickets are priced at VND750,000 per adult and VND560,000 per child, inclusive of tax and service fee. The prices are for tours with at least six passengers attending.

    Tan Cang-Ben Dinh Tunnel tour

    The tour departing at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. is available every weekday. Tourists will be brought to Thanh Da Binh Quoi Peninsula, Binh Loi Bridge, Lai Thieu pottery craft village in Binh Duong and Ben Dinh Tunnel in Cu Chi. The tour price is VND1.899 million per adult and VND1.424 million per child, including tax and service fee, and applicable to tours with at least six passengers joining.

    Tan Cang-Long Phuoc tour

    The departure time is 8 a.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. The itinerary includes the upstream of the Dong Nai River, the Saigon River, Den Do (Red Light) intersection, Cat Lai Port, Coconut Garden, Long Thanh Bridge, Buu Long Pagoda, Long Phuoc garden and Sy Hoang’s ao dai museum. Tickets cost VND1.52 million per adult and VND1.14 million per child, with tax and service fee included. The prices are for tours with six passengers or more participating.

    Tan Cang-Vam Sat tour

    The tour departs at 7 a.m. and finishes at 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Guests can get a glimpse of sites such as the Saigon River, Te Canal, the Rach Dia River, Phu My Hung urban town, Phu Xuan Market, An Thoi Dong, Ly Nhon and Vam Sat ecotourism site. Tickets are priced at VND2.145 million per adult and VND1.61 million per child, including tax and service fee. The prices are applicable to tours with six passengers or more attending.

    Tour prices also include boat ticket, snack, lunch, fruit, beverage, admission fee and shuttle bus transfer. 

    For booking, contact the River Tourism Center at A100 Ung Van Khiem Street, Binh Thanh District, HCMC. Tel: 028 35125139. Hotline: 0908611138 or 0909284554. Email: binhquoirivertour@gmail.com.

    Saigontourist to build more boat stops for waterway tourism

    Saigontourist Holding Company, Vietnam’s leading tour operator, on September 28 introduced seven new waterway routes and five motor boats taking tourists to destinations in HCMC and neighboring areas and announced to build more boat stops to develop waterway tourism in the city.

    Seven tours are from Tan Cang to Binh Duong-Ben Dinh, Binh Duong-Hai Thanh Koi farm, mangrove forests and Can Thanh in Can Gio District, Thanh Da Island, Ben Dinh, Long Phuoc in District 9 and Vam Sat.

    Saigontourist general director Tran Hung Viet said many members of the company, including Binh Quoi Tourist Village, Saigontourist Travel Service and Vam Sat Tourist Site, have operated waterway routes. In addition to boats and tourist attractions, the company has invested in wharfs, piers and stations for boats at Tan Cang and Binh Quoi 2 tourist sites and will develop a wharf at Saigon South tourist site in District 7.

    The company has added more tourist attractions and services to make these tours more attractive, Viet noted.
    Vo Anh Tai, deputy general director of Saigontourist, said the firm will focus on both international and domestic visitors, especially urban people and students.

    Tours to Can Gio District are suitable for students and the company will set attractive prices to lure such customers.

    Saigontourist sells waterway tours at its travel agents, hotels and restaurants, and promotes them on social and mass media. The products have been also introduced at overseas fairs such as Top Resa exhibition in France this month, ITB travel trade show in Singapore and World Travel Market (WTM) in the UK at the end of this year.

    In June, the HCMC government approved a waterway tourism development plan in the 2017-2020 which focuses on waterway tourism. At least seven waterway tourism routes were expected to be developed on the Saigon, Dong Nai, Nha Be, Soai Rap and Long Tau rivers by 2020.

    The city targets to attract 450,000 tourists using waterway services next year and the number will increase 15% annually.

    Vietnam enjoys US$400 million trade surplus in September

    The country enjoys a trade surplus at US$400 million in September, but the trade deficit was estimated at US$442 million during the first nine months in 2017, the General Statistics Office announced on September 29.

    Accordingly, the export turnover in September was estimated at US$19 billion, down 3.9% over the previous month yet nonetheless has continued to increase strongly at 23.6% over the same period in 2016. Meanwhile, import turnover for September was estimated at US$18.6 billion, up 2.3% over the previous month and up 27.3% over the same period last year.

    Previously in August, the trade surplus reached US$400 million and the figure for July was at US$266 million.

    For the nine month period of this year, exports were estimated at US$154 billion, up 19.8% over the same period last year, of which the domestic economic sector gained US$43.2 billion, up 16.8% and the FDI sector (including crude oil) reached US$110.8 billion, an increase of 21%.

    Remarkably, several key export items still maintained their upward trend in the first nine months of 2017, including telephone & components valued at US$30.99 billion, up 21.4%; textiles and garments at US$19.26 billion, up 8.6%; and computers, electronic products and components valued at US$18.46 billion, up 40.8% over the same period of 2016.

    In the other sense, the import turnover in nine months reached US$154.5 billion, up over 23% over the same period last year, of which the domestic economic sector contributed US$61.3 billion, up 18, 7%; while FDI sector reached US$93.2 billion, an increase of more than 26%.

    In overall, in the first nine months of this year, the trade deficit was at US$442 million, of which the domestic economic sector made up a trade deficit of over US$18 billion, while FDI enjoyed trade surplus of US$17.64 billion.

    It is noteworthy that the trade deficit from the Republic of Korea in nine months amounted to US$23.3 billion, an increase of 57.7% over the same period of 2016, the largest trade deficit market of Vietnam; followed by trade deficit from China at US$19.7 billion, down 5.6% and trade deficit from ASEAN bloc at US$4.6 billion.

    Service exports in this period were estimated at US$9.74 billion, which was up 7.3% over the same period last year, of which tourism services exports reached US$6.58 billion, accounting for 67.6% of the total export turnover and increase by 7.3%.

    Imports of nine-month services were estimated at US$12.55 billion, up 2.9%, of which imports of transport services reached US$5.97 billion, accounting for 47.5% of total imports and increased 0.9%. Trade deficit in services of nine months was at US$2.81 billion, equivalent to 28.9% of service export turnover.

    According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, in September 2017, estimated budget collection was at VND22 trillion (US$968 million).

    Lotte eyes Vietnamese credit card firm

    South Korean conglomerate the Lotte Group is seeking to expand its presence in Vietnam with the acquisition of a Vietnamese finance company, in the hope of offsetting its snowballing losses in China amid an ongoing diplomatic spat between China and South Korea over Seoul’s installation of a US anti-missile shield.

    It was reported on September 27 that the Lotte Card Co., the credit card unit of the Lotte Group, is in the final stages of talks to buy out TechcomFinance, a subsidiary of Vietnam’s fifth-largest bank, Techcombank.

    “Lotte Card is expected to buy 100 per cent of TechcomFinance from Techcombank,” a source close to the acquisition deal, who declined to be named because the talks are still ongoing, was quoted as telling Pulse News. 

    Techcombank hadn’t responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing.
    Once the deal is clinched, Lotte Card will be the first South Korean credit card company to hold a credit card license in Vietnam. Via TechcomFinance, it will be able to offer card issuing, installment finance, and consumer loans in the country. 

    This is the first acquisition the Lotte Group has made this year. Its decision to venture into Vietnam’s credit card market comes after its retail unit, Lotte Mart, closed its outlets in China after receiving business suspension orders from Chinese authorities.

    To offset the growing business risk in China, the Lotte Group is believed to have shifted its focus away from China to Vietnam, which has been on a solid growth path, with many South Korean companies eager to expand their presence. 

    The credit card market in Vietnam is still in the early stages of development, with only 3.3 per cent of the population owning credit cards, but the South Korean giant seems to be optimistic about the growth potential, as the Vietnamese Government has been actively encouraging its people to use plastic. 

    The Lotte Group, which first entered Vietnam with its fast-food chain Lotteria in 1998, is currently operating several businesses under its ten units, including department stores, large retail stores, hotels, cinemas and home shopping. In July, Chairman Mr. Shin Dong-bin made a visit to Vietnam to look at its businesses in the country.

    ADB applauds Vietnam on reducing deficit

    The Vietnamese government’s efforts to reduce the state budget deficit accumulated by fiscal imbalances have been applauded by the Asian Development Bank.

    In its update on the Vietnamese economy released a few days ago, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stated that the government has achieved “good results in reducing state budget deficit,” and that “the state budget revenue has been strongly increasing.”

    “Like in 2016, total budget revenue rose 18.2 per cent in this year’s first half, thanks to a hike in revenue from value-added tax, corporate income tax, personal income tax, and non-tax sources,” said the report.

    ADB also stated that amidst rising budget revenue, the government has done a very good job in tightening spending, which increased by less then 10 per cent in this year’s first half.

    The General Statistics Office (GSO) reported that between January and September 15, 2017, state revenue hit $33.5 billion—higher than the $30.2 billion last year—while expenditure stood at $38.7 billion, slightly higher than the $37.2 billion in the same period last year.

    Thus between January-September 15, 2017, Vietnam’s budget deficit totalled at $5.2 billion, lower than the $7 billion in the corresponding period last year.

    “As revenue growth exceeds expectations, the government’s target of trimming the budget deficit to the equivalent of 3.5 per cent of the GDP in 2017 and 4 per cent in 2018 looks broadly attainable,” said Eric Sidgwick, ADB country director for Vietnam.

    However, he also stressed, “This will depend on further efforts to enhance revenue collection and stricter control of spending on wages and salaries and other recurrent expenditures. After three years of lower infrastructure spending, redirecting the 2017 budget toward capital outlays should help achieve this badly needed adjustment to public expenditure.”

    Statistics from the Ministry of Finance showed that nominal capital spending has been flat for the last five years. As a result, the share of capital spending in the total budget has fallen to 16 per cent in this year’s first half from the nearly 30 per cent in 2011.

    However, since 2010, Vietnam’s nominal recurrent spending has more than doubled, driven by rising wage and salary costs, along with health and education spending.

    Currently, Vietnam has about 11 million people on the state’s payroll.

    Recently, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund also commended Vietnam for its efforts to control rising public debt. The World Bank said in its update on Vietnam’s economic situation that Vietnam has been showing “early signs of fiscal consolidation.”

    “The government has reinforced its commitment to rein in the fiscal deficit over the medium term in order to contain further increases in the public debt-to-GDP ratio. Fiscal consolidation is crucial to contain the fiscal deficit and stabilise public debt over the medium term,” said Sebastian Eckardt, lead economist and acting country director for the World Bank in Vietnam.

    Vietnam’s medium-term financing plan for 2016-2020, adopted by the National Assembly in November 2016, envisages a gradual fiscal adjustment over the next four years. The plan aims to reduce the fiscal deficit to 3.5 per cent of the GDP by 2020.

    According to a document produced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Vietnam’s economic situation released two months ago, the IMF executive board “considered the tightening of the fiscal stance as appropriate and welcomed the authorities’ intentions to ensure that consolidation is growth-friendly. They also concurred with the intention to reduce the deficit to 3.5 per cent of GDP by 2020 and to maintain public debt below the legal limit of 65 per cent of GDP.”

    According to the National Assembly Economic Committee, by late March 2017, Vietnam’s public debts hit 61.5 per cent of the GDP. It is expected that by late 2017, the rate may reach about 64.6 per cent ($141 billion) of the GDP, almost hitting the 65 per cent limit set by the National Assembly.

    Details of Toyota recall programme announced

    Viet Nam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has announced a recall programme to check and replace airbag inflator modules in the front passenger airbag of Toyota Vios models produced and assembled by Toyota Viet Nam (TMV) and Toyota Yaris models imported and distributed by TMV.

    Earlier, TMV said it would recall more than 20,000 Vios and Yaris sedans to check and replace the airbag inflator module of the front passenger airbag.

    The recall programme covers 18,138 locally-assembled Vios cars produced between January 5, 2009 and December 29, 2012, and 1,877 imported Yaris cars produced from September 1, 2009 to August 31, 2012.

    The Toyota Viet Nam dealership network nationwide will offer free checks and replacements for all relevant airbag inflator modules on Toyota Vios cars produced and assembled domestically and those imported.

    The programme will last from now until August 21 next year. Total time for checking and replacement is estimated at around 2 hours per vehicle.

    For Yaris models which were not imported and officially distributed by TMV, if the request is received from customers, TMV will contact the global Recall Programme of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) to confirm information.

    Once getting official approval from TMC, Toyota Viet Nam will check and replace the airbag inflator module of the front passenger airbag of affected vehicles at no cost.

    Customers should contact TMV dealership, hotline 18001524 and 0916001524 or visit website toyotavn.com.vn and toyota.com.vn.
       
    September CPI rises due to impact of floods

    September’s consumer price index (CPI) has increased by 0.59% against last month, which is attributed to the impacts of floods and higher prices of petroleum products.

    According to the General Statistics Office, price increases were seen in up to nine out of the 11 goods and service groups in the price basket, with the highest levels reported in educational equipment and transport group at 5% and 1.51% respectively.

    They were followed by housing and construction materials with 0.69%; medicines and health services with 0.25%; food and catering services with 0.08%; household appliances with 0.06%; footwear and garment products with 0.05%; drink and tobacco with 0.02% and other services.

    Meanwhile, culture, entertainment and tourism services saw the price fall of 0.08% and the rate is 0.04% for telecommunications group.

    The office attributed to higher CPI mainly heavy rains, storms and floods which happened in many localities in the month, causing the price hike of fresh flood in these localities. Floods and storms also damaged many houses, schools and infrastructure in many localities, particularly in the central region.

    The price increase of housing and construction materials is due to the steel prices which have been raised by 5-10% following more expensive input materials.

    Increased petrol prices on September 5 and September 20 were also blamed.

    The office also mentioned the increase of 0.31% of health service prices for people who do not own health insurance.

    September’s CPI increased 3.4% on-year and 1.83% against December 2016. CPI in the first ninth months of this year increased 3.79% against the same period of last year.
       
    US approves star apple fruit imports from Vietnam

    Vietnam will be the first country globally allowed to export star apple fruits to the US.

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service under the US Department of Agriculture on September 27 sent a document to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) officially approving the import of the Vietnamese fruits, after a notice to the same effect was published by the US Federal Registrar in April.

    Star apple joins litchi, longan, rambutan and dragon fruits to enter the US from Vietnam, thanks to the country’s efforts over the last 10 years to meet plant quarantine standards.

    Hoang Trung, head of the MARD’s Plant Protection Department, said similar to other fruits which have been approved for export to the US, star apple must be planted in coded areas and treated with irradiation and checked for eight kinds of insects.

    After receiving the US notice, several Vietnamese businesses in the southern region registered for star apple export, he said, noting that shipments may be conducted in 2017.

    Vietnam has about 5,000 ha of star apple fruits, mostly in the Mekong Delta, especially Tien Giang and Can Tho, which yield about 60,000 tonnes annually.

    Vietnamese star apple has been exported to China and other ASEAN nations. Vietnam is also waiting for authorisation from the Republic of Korea to ship the fruit to the market.   

    Hanoi retail sector rising with real estate

    The upward trend of investment into the Vietnamese retail sector is raising the number of retail stores in the country’s big cities, which results in higher demand for prime locations in attractive real estate projects.

    In the first eight months of 2017, it is estimated that the Vietnamese retail sector generated nearly VND2.6 trillion ($114.4 million) in revenue, an increase of 8.9 per cent compared to the same period last year, after inflation-adjustment.

    Along with the rising investment into the retail sector and the continuous expansion of convenience stores and new retail models, the number of retail stores in Vietnam has been rapidly increasing, which leads to the growth of demand for prime locations.

    CBRE Vietnam, one of the leading commercial real estate services providers in the country, estimated that during the first three quarters of 2017, there were 36,000 square metres of gross floor area to open new retail stores in Hanoi. It is forecasted that the number of retail units in Hanoi will witness a growth of 8 per cent in the last three months of 2017, adding 44,000sq.m of gross floor area.

    In 2017, the supply of retail store locations in Hanoi remains pretty much stagnant. 35 per cent of retail projects are located in south-western Hanoi. 21.5 per cent of retail stores, including big shopping malls like AEON Mall Long Bien, Vincom Center Long Bien, and Savico Mall, are located in eastern Hanoi. 13 per cent of retail stores are located in the west, mainly in Cau Giay and Tu Liem districts.

    In the next few years, the retail sector in Hanoi is expected to develop along with the expansion of real estate and traffic infrastructure projects. Along with constructions stretching down Ring Road No.3 and the two urban railway metro lines, the projects on AEON Mall Hadong, as well as the shopping mall projects of Vincom and FLC Group, are forecasted to make the western, south-western, and southern regions of Hanoi more attractive in real estate investors’ eyes.

    Also, the city’s northern areas are expecting revival with Lotte Group’s Ciputra Mall, which Lotte confirmed in early 2017 would be started soon.

    According to a survey of Nielsen, Vietnam’s consumer confidence index reached a record peak during the past five years, which helped the country become the fifth most optimistic country on the globe. This demonstrates the prospects of the retail sector as well as optimism for personal finance and immediate spending of Vietnamese consumers.

    Nguyen Hoai An, head of Market Research and Consultancy at CBRE Vietnam, said that 2017 has witnessed the boom of fast fashion, which is a favourable condition for the growth of the Vietnamese real estate market, especially in big cities like Hanoi.

    “Everyone is has seen pictures of long queues in front of newly opened international fashion stores, such as Zara or H&M. They have debuted in Ho Chi Minh City, the most populous and active city of Vietnam. After getting acquainted with the Vietnamese market, they will expand their store systems to Hanoi,” An said.

    Startup businesses still thirsty for capital

    Access to sufficient capital resources is crucial to the successful operations of businesses in addition to good ideas, proper business models and strategies, and qualified personnel.

    The favourable business environment of Vietnam along with numerous incentive polices have offered optimal conditions for more and more enterprises to launch startups with their feasible ideals for new products.

    However, the fact shows that many are still managing themselves to look for capital inflow, which is seen as a key factor behind their smooth operations.

    Nguyen Sac Phong, Project Director of the Green Farm Import Export Joint Stock Company in HCM City, says his company began operations in the field of organic agriculture in 2016 and since then its key products and services have been sold well in the domestic market.

    Phong says initially he plans to expand this business model but failed on the back of capital shortage despite his best efforts to seek funding from multiple sources.

    Vu Thien Hoang also faced the same situation when he came up with a business ideal for cosmetics and imported food. Hoang had to get along with capital mobilization from his friends and relatives and seek reputable suppliers during the startup process.

    “If you do not have money in your hands, all ideas will get stuck,” he shares.
    Actually, startup businesses usually only have in-depth knowledge about projects, products, areas of production and business but lack the skills to call for investment and basic knowledge about various related fields such as finance and administration.

    In addition, many businesses are often impatient in persuading investment funds to lend them money and most banks set a series of rigid loan conditions that startups find difficult to meet.

    Phan Dinh Tue, Deputy General Director of Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) says his bank is still in the process of building exclusive regulations for startup businesses.

    According to some economic experts, the capital for startup businesses can still be found from banks and investment funds. The question is to have the knowledge and skills to call capital inflows from commercial banks and investment support funds.

    There are many investors and private equity funds that startups can ask for help if their projects are proved to have great potential for development.

    Ho Trong Lai from US financial advisory firm Waterstone Capital Partners LLC in Asia says if a start-up business wants to call for investment capital it is required to outline a specific project on personnel and capital using plans.

    Many policies on streaming administrative procedures have been adopted, making it easier for businesses to embark on startups. The crux of the matter is how to ensure sufficient capital. It is now time for commercial banks to give a helping hand to startup businesses by setting appropriate lending criteria.

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) has set up the Startup Assistance Fund with a chartered capital of VND2,000 billion with a view to supporting startups but it is essential to define the right target and how much stakeholders will be involved in and how much will be provided by the fund.

    Additionally, startups should stay more active in looking for investment funds or adventurous investors as the better way to help them get rid of capital shortage.

    New roads, bridges help southern real estate

    Improved transport infrastructure has helped to increase real estate activity in HCM City and neighbouring southern provinces, including Long An, Đồng Nai and Bình Dương.

    Transport development has been one of the strong points of the property market this year, according to CBRE Việt Nam. 

    In the past few years, several road projects have opened, including the Phạm Văn Đồng Highway linking Tân Sơn Nhất Airport with National Highway No 1A, running through Bình Dương Province’s Dĩ An District to Biên Hoà City in Đồng Nai Province.

    From 2000 to 2010, when the eight-lane Phạm Văn Đồng Highway had yet to open, no real estate projects existed along the route.

    But after 2010, a number of big projects, such as Đất Xanh, Him Lam Land and Thủ Đức House, were built along the new highway in HCM City and Bình Dương Province.

    Previously, real estate projects were built before infrastructure development occurred, but now transport infrastructure is a pre-condition for new property projects.

    Before 2007, few property projects were seen along Nguyễn Văn Linh Highway, which connects districts 2, 7, 8 and Bình Chánh with Long An Province.

    However, the new 10km highway has triggered a construction boom of apartment buildings along the road.

    The 10-km Võ Văn Kiệt Avenue which links the city’s District 1 with National Highway No 1A to Long An Province and the Mekong Delta has paved the way for a number of property projects, including Novaland, 577, Nam Long and Vietcomreal.

    The new Võ Văn Kiệt Avenue has also spurred development of apartment buildings near the road after a couple of years of stagnancy.

    The newly upgraded and enlarged Mai Chí Thọ Street and Hà Nội Highway, which connect HCM City with Đồng Nai Province, have also jump-started a construction boom of apartment building projects in the area.

    Figures from the HCM City Department of Transport show that over 50 property projects, with more than a total of 30,000 apartments, have been built along these two roads.

    In addition, construction of the Metro Line No 1 in HCM City has helped promote the property market, despite financial challenges faced by the metro project.

    Since 2007, when construction of the Metro Line No 1 began, at least 20 real estate projects with a total of 20,000 apartments have been built along the route.

    Bùi Xuân Cường, director of the city’s Department of Transport, said the city would develop more roads and bridges in suburban areas as more residents move from the inner city to suburbs.

    “It’s easy to see the rapid growth of property in areas where transport infrastructure has developed. This is a sign of equal growth of the city’s main property areas,” Cường said.

    Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the city had given priority to investment in transport projects, and had given red-carpet invitations to potential investors.

    The city has called for investments in 100 projects under the PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) form, mainly investment in transport infrastructure, which also benefits neighboring southern provinces.

    Sử Ngọc Khương from Savills Việt Nam said HCM City’s policy on transport projects has been on the right track, with shifts from inner to suburban districts.

    More property projects when the Cát Lái Bridge opened, linking the city with Đồng Nai Province’s Nhơn Trạch District, and after the HCM City–Long Thành–Dầu Giây–Phan Thiết Expressway was built in 2009.

    When the property market in Bình Dương Province faced stagnant growth, the property market in Dĩ An, a district bordering HCM City, showed signs of revival, with apartments in 10 property projects on sale since 2013.

    Similarly, with the extension of Lê Trọng Tấn and Trường Chinh streets, and National Highway No 22 linking western areas of HCM City with Đức Hoà District in Long An Province, the property market of Đức Hoà District expanded, with  nearly 20 apartment building projects on sale since 2010.

    The developers of these property projects told customers that it would take only a half hour to travel by motorbike from HCM City’s inner district to the apartments in Đức Hoà District, according to Khương.

    “The region’s transport infrastructure development has paved the way for the sustainable development of the real estate market in HCM City and neighbouring provinces,” Khương said.

    Water, energy exhibitions to be held in HCM City
       
    Two leading exhibitions, by the water and energy industries, will take place in HCM City next November with hundreds of companies from 38 countries and territories taking part.

    Organised by UBM Asia, Viet Nam’s leading international water supply, sanitation, water resources and purification event, Vietwater 2017, and most important renewable energy and energy efficiency exhibition, RE & EE Viet Nam 2017, will take place at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7.

    The latest innovations and products like pumps, wastewater treatment technologies, water filters and solar and other renewable energy technologies and equipment will be showcased at the exhibitions.

    There will be 14 pavilions put up by the UK, EU, France, Germany, Australia, Finland, Belgium, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, Hungary, Thailand, and Taiwan.

    “This is the third year that the two exhibitions have been organised at the same time,” Eliane Van Doorn, marketing development director, Southeast Asia, UBM Asia, said.

    “The exhibition hopes to bring more co-operation opportunities to Vietnamese and foreign companies in the water and energy sectors.

    “We hope that technology transfer between Viet Nam and foreign countries will also get a boost.”

    There will be several conferences on the sidelines with experts from Viet Nam and other countries taking part.

    The organisers told a press conference that Viet Nam has a total of 800 urban areas that provide 8 million cubic metres of water daily to their inhabitants, a 1.6-fold increase in the last 10 years.

    The rate of urban water loss is also high at 24 per cent, they said.

    The country only has 37 urban sewage treatment plants with a capacity of 890,000cu.m per day, and this means only 12-13 per cent of waste-water is collected and processed, they said.

    Viet Nam’s renewable energy market has great potential, they said.

    The Government’s renewable energy development strategy aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent by 2030 and provide most households access to modern, sustainable and reliable energy at reasonable tariffs.

    The exhibitions are important events in encouraging the transfer of innovation and technologies, strengthening business co-operation and attracting investment in the water and energy industries.

    VN Index falls after late selling
       
    Shares fell slightly on the HCM Stock Exchange on Friday as large-cap stocks lost steam and declined on investors’ late selling.

    Viet Nam’s benchmark VN Index on the southern market closed down 0.05 per cent at 804.42 points after having risen as much as 0.5 per cent during the morning session.

    It also reversed from a 0.13 per cent drop on Thursday. Friday’s fall also marked a weekly loss of 0.3 per cent for the VN Index.

    More than 139.4 million shares were traded on the HCM City market, worth VND3.1 trillion (US$137.6 million).

    Friday’s trading figures dropped 27.6 per cent in volume and 20 per cent in value from the previous session’s numbers.

    Large-cap stocks were unable to maintain their prolonged growth rates as investors increased selling to earn profits when the market was coming to a close.

    Half of the 30 largest stocks by market capitalisation and trading liquidity in the VN30 Index declined while 12 others advanced and three stayed unchanged.

    BIDV Securities Company (BSC) said in its daily report that low investor confidence must be blamed for the decline of the stock market as it pulled down market trading liquidity and created strong selling pressure on local shares.

    According to Vietnam Investment Securities Company (IVS), after tapping the intraday high of 808.77 points, the benchmark VN Index weakened and finished lower than Thursday’s ending level as investors increased their selling in two stocks – brewer Sabeco (SAB) and PetroVietnam Gas (GAS).

    SAB fell 2.3 per cent after having reached its intraday highest growth rate of 2.4 per cent. Shares of the largest brewer jumped 4.3 per cent on Thursday.

    GAS dropped more than 2.2 per cent after it had gained total 4.3 per cent in the previous six sessions.

    Other large-cap stocks that also weighed down the southern market index included gas station operator Petrolimex (PLX), consumer goods producer Masan (MSN) and Sacombank (STB).

    Among the three stocks, MSN was down 1.1 per cent after having risen as much as 2 per cent during the session. MSN gained 1.5 per cent on Thursday.

    On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX Index inched up 0.21 per cent to end at 107.66 points. The northern market index had dropped total 0.4 per cent in the previous two sessions.

    Nearly 62.5 million shares were traded on the northern bourse, worth VND528.8 billion.

    Ethnic women to access formal banking services
       
    LienVietPostBank signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CARE International in Viet Nam to launch a pilot programme aimed at helping ethnic minority women access formal banking services.

    The women will be able to access these services via a mobile application called Vi-Viet e-wallet.

    Under the MoU signed on September 28, the two sides will select six self-managed financial groups in Thanh Nua and Hua Thanh communes of the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien and train them to use Vi-Viet e-wallet for the following purposes -- selling group shares, transferring money, lending and other services.

    There are more than 30 self-managed financial groups comprising 900 members in the two communes, who are Thai ethnic minority people with low and unstable income ranging from VND1-3 million (US$44-133) per month.

    The self-regulatory finance group is a collection of 15 to 30 members (mostly women) who make regular savings through the purchase of shares at regular meetings. These savings are used to lend with interest to members, who agree to develop their livelihood, promote business investment and spend on other purposes.

    In Viet Nam, there are 1,500 self-managed financial groups of some 28,000 members, of which 111 groups are in Dien Bien Province, with about 3,000 members. This is a micro-finance model that CARE International has successfully researched and tested in many countries around the world, bringing significant benefits to its members through savings products, by profiting from the savings and gaining access to larger and longer term loans and facing low risk due to discipline of the self-governing group.

    With LienVietPostBank, this programme will help increase the number of customers using the e-wallet in remote areas and support the development of this type of banking service.

    The partnership programme between LienVietPostBank and CARE International in Viet Nam is expected to be piloted from September to December 2017 in the province, and will then be expanded if it really brings social benefits, such as increase in access to formal financial services, capacity of savings and ability of ethnic minority women to do business.

    This pilot programme is part of the project Comprehensive Financing for Ethnic Minority Women (FinLINK) currently funded by CARE in Viet Nam with support from Visa Inc. The main objective of the project is to help ethnic minority women access formal banking services through mobile platforms.

    HDBank wins Asiamoney award
       
    The Housing Development Bank (HDBank) received Asiamoney’s award for best bank in Viet Nam as chosen by corporate clients at a ceremony in Beijing this week.

    The magazine said for its Corporate Client Choice Awards it asked corporate treasury officials to rank their banking partners for quality of execution capabilities and quality of relationship in six key business areas – capital markets, cash management, credit, rates, foreign exchange and trade finance.

    Other lenders in Viet Nam to win awards included ANZ, HSBC, Citibank and Vietcombank.

    HDBank reported solid results in the first half of the year, with its assets increasing by 31.4 per cent year-on-year to VND169.5 trillion (US$7.46 billion).

    Deposits were up 34 per cent to VND152.3 trillion and loans outstanding were up 29.8 per cent to VND105.5 trillion.

    Bad debts accounted for 1.6 per cent of loans, much lower than the limit stipulated by the State Bank of Viet Nam of 3 per cent.

    Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port needs changes
       
    The Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port Complex has obtained significant investment for its expansion, however, it has still not fully maximised efficiency and capacity, causing wastage of potential and national resources.

    The statement was made by Nguyen Van Trinh, chairman of Ba Ria-Vung Tau People’s Committee, at a conference held in the province on Thursday.

    The event was designed to find solutions to improve the management and exploitation of this port cluster.

    Trinh recommended that enterprises, functional agencies and associations highlight problems and inadequacies and contribute ideas and solutions to help the province improve the performance of the port cluster.

    Nguyen Duy Minh, secretary general of the Association of Logistics Services companies in Viet Nam, raised the question as to why people tend to use HCM City’s Cat Lai Port instead of Cai Mep-Thi Vai, despite the former being frequently overloaded.

    He said the reason was that the Cat Lai Port had formed an "ecosystem" that included ports, customs (procedures) and fleet transportation, which were synchronised and had optimal cost. Therefore, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province needed to build an "ecosystem" for the Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port like the Cat Lai Port, besides organising conferences to introduce the port to customers in the region.

    In addition, the province should also coordinate with Dong Nai Province to form depots (dry docks) along Highway 51 and have mechanisms to attract transportation companies to this port, Minh added.

    Meanwhile, Ngo Minh Thuan, deputy general director of Sai Gon Newport Corporation, suggested incentives on tax and policies should be prioritised and inspection procedures for goods to be shipped directly to the United State and Europe should be simplified.

    Besides this, it is necessary to install a customs scanner at the port cluster for quick inspection work and deploy the port management scheme.

    Under the project “Improving management efficiency for seaports of port group No 5 and ports in Cai Mep-Thi Vai area", over the past four years, the Ministry of Transport has been actively coordinating with HCM City, Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces and other related ministries and agencies to enhance the efficiency of the Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port Complex, according to Nguyen Dinh Viet, deputy director of the Viet Nam National Maritime Administration.

    In recent years, total cargo and container cargo passing through the Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port Cluster has increased positively. Specifically, in 2013, total cargo reached 35 million tonnes, accounting for 5 per cent of the growth rate, and in 2016, the figure increased to 62 million tonnes, achieving a growth rate of more than 30 per cent.

    The conference drew the participation of the Viet Nam National Maritime Administration, the General Department of Viet Nam Customs, the Association of Logistics Services companies in Viet Nam, and goods owners and ship owners in the area of the Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port Complex.

    Vietnamese, Thai firms seek to promote trade at business-matching event
       
    Vietnamese and Thai businesses have enhanced trade promotion activities in the other country to achieve bilateral trade of US$20 billion by 2020 as targeted by the two governments, a Viet Nam-Thailand Business Matching event heard in HCM City on September 29.

    Pham Thanh Kien, director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said the trade has been grown rapidly in the last few years, topping $12.54 billion last year.

    Viet Nam’s exports were worth $3.69 billion, an increase of 15.9 per cent over 2015, while Thailand’s exports grew by 6.9 per cent, he said.

    He told the Thais, who included executives from 13 major Thai companies in the food and beverages, cosmetics, and personal care industries, to meet and explore the possibility of collaboration with more than 30 Vietnamese companies taking part in the event.

    The event was organised by the Thai consulate in HCM City and Kasikorn Bank (KBank) together with the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and VietinBank.

    This two-day programme, which ended yesterday, also included site visits on Thursday to MM Mega Market and Saigon Co-op, the leading supermarket operators in Viet Nam, to get an inkling into consumer behaviours in Viet Nam.

    Ureerat Ratanaprukse, the Thai consul in HCM City, said with its large population, of whom more than 50 per cent are of working age and increasing affluence, Viet Nam offers a promising market for Thai products, which are of high quality and reasonable priced.

    Many Vietnamese love Thai products, another reason for Thai firms to promote their products here, she said.

    The consulate and Kasikorn Bank plan to take a Vietnamese business delegation to Thailand to explore business opportunities, she said.

    “Building upon the already cordial and close relations between the two countries and Viet Nam being Thailand’s only strategic partner in ASEAN, the Royal Thai Consulate-General in HCM City is fully committed to continue working in close and sustainable partnership with authorities and leaders in HCM City as well as our business partners in promoting two-way trade and investment between two countries towards our leaders’ commitment to achieve bilateral trade of $20 billions by 2020.”

    Nguyen Hoang Dung, deputy general manager of VietinBank, said business matching is a value-added service where the bank provides its clients with opportunities to expand their business, diversify distribution channels and develop new markets.

    According to Thawee Teerasoontornwong, executive vice president of KBank, the event is part of the bank’s World Business Matching programme, which aims to deepen its client’s understanding of the Vietnamese market and connect them with their counterparts across the region.

    “By leveraging the strong network of local partners, we can provide services to the clients which go beyond financial support.

    “Viet Nam has always been our key focus, given the current economic performance and favourable policy to support business and investment. More importantly, Viet Nam has become one of the major export markets for Thai products and several Thai companies are now looking to expand their business to Viet Nam.

    “I hope that this event can serve as a bridge to help deliver high-quality Thai products to Vietnamese consumers. I can also foresee more products from Viet Nam entering the Thai market, given the increasing awareness of Vietnamese products among Thai consumers, which in turn will help boost the trade between the two countries.”

    Agriculture research results remain on paper

    The provinces of Long An and Đồng Nai have been unable to use high-quality research findings to boost agricultural development because they lack funds and are unable to match what farmers want, officials say.

    Đinh Thị Phương Khanh, deputy director of the Long An Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmers needed technical support obtained from scientific research that they can apply in production.

    Many scientific projects have produced approved, high-quality results that can help farmers, but few have been applied in practice, she said.

    By last year, her office had received 16 scientific research results from the Department of Science and Technology for application on the field.

    Khanh said her office has asked district and commune authorities to apply the research findings to boost agricultural development, and 14 projects have been registered to do so. However, only one project has received financial support.

    “A project to commercially breed catfish in Thanh Hoá District was the only one that received VNĐ190 million (US$8,360). The remaining projects are still on the waiting list, because the Department of Science and Technology has not been able to allocate funds,” Khanh said.

    Lê Quốc Dũng, director of the province’s Department of Science and Technology, agreed that funding shortage was a big challenge. Without funding, scientific researches would remain theories, he said.

    Dũng said the department has been allocated just VNĐ10 billion ($440,000) for all scientific and technological activities, so the maximum it could offer a project was VNĐ 200 million ($8,800).

    There are as many as 32 projects that have not yet been implemented, he added.

    Scientific projects in Đồng Nai Province have faced another problem: selling the produce once the findings have been applied by farmers.

    According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the local Centre for Biotechnology Application has received the results of 30 scientific research, but 16 of them remain on paper.

    A project to expand Mokara orchid gardens was carried out as a collaboration between the Đồng Nai Centre for Biotechnology Application and HCM City’s Biotechnology Centre in 2013.

    Trial results were good. Mokara orchid growers could earn more than VNĐ1.2 billion ($52,800) per hectare from the second year onwards. However, the total area of orchid gardens four years after the project began implementation was only four hectares or so.

    Trần Vũ, farmer in Long Khánh Township, said he had visited the model of orchid planting at the centre and decided not to invest in it.

    Vũ said the centre asked farmers to invest more than VNĐ 1 billion ($44,000) for each hectare of orchids, but did not promise stable outlets.

    Other projects, one to raise buffaloes in Đồng Tháp Mười and another to grow dragon fruits in Châu Thành District, have showed promise. However, the high cost of production and uncertain markets were major barriers to implementing them on a larger scale.

    Highlighting yet another problem, Lương Thành Trung, director of Đồng Nai Province’s Agriculture Extension Centre, said farmers only wanted to plant crops with low production cost and high selling prices. But most of the scientific research projects focused on high-quality products, which increased production costs. This, combined with the inability of authorized agencies to guarantee stable outlets, made farmers reluctant to apply them.

    Trung said among the projects applied in practice over the past five years, the project with the highest total area covered just a few dozen hectares.

    Khanh of the Long An agriculture department suggested scientific researches should be based on specific requests.

    For example, the department would use its budget to ask the Department of Science and Technology to study or research a certain project, and later, use agricultural extension funds for applying them practice through training courses for officials and farmers in districts and communes.

    She said businesses could also ask the Department of Science and Technology to conduct research projects, the results of which could be bought for application in production.

    This could help ensure that scientific and technological research for agricultural development is practical and efficient, she added.

    Vietnam, China seek measures to balance trade

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh and his Chinese counterpart Gao Yan co-chaired the 10th meeting of the Vietnam-China Committee for Economic and Trade Cooperation in Hanoi, focusing on measures to reduce Vietnam’s trade deficit with China.

    They were delighted that Vietnam-China trade is growing towards a balanced manner.

    Vietnam’s statistics showed that two-way trade reached 71.9 billion USD in 2016, a rise of 7.9 percent over the previous year, while trade deficit reduced 13.67 percent year on year.

    By the end of August this year, trade between the two countries hit 55.2 billion USD, up 23.59 percent over the same period last year, with Vietnam running a deficit of 17.7 billion USD, down 5.76 percent.

    China continued to be Vietnam’s top trade partner, while Vietnam was China’s biggest partner in ASEAN and ninth biggest in the world.

    The Chinese side agreed to speed up the evaluation of Vietnamese milk and dairy products, while stepping up the quarantine of Vietnamese fruits before allowing the import of these products to China.

    At the same time, the two sides discussed a wide range of issues to manage the quality of Vietnamese rice in the Chinese market, while concurring to increase the exchange of information to facilitate the export of rice and alive pigs to China.

    Both countries will encourage businesses and relevant trade associations to foster connections to increase the export of Vietnamese farm produce, aquatic products and fruits to China.

    They also recognised the effective operation of Vietnam’s Trade Promotion Office in China’s Chongqing city in bolstering bilateral economic and trade cooperation and supporting businesses of both sides. The Chinese side is finalizing procedures to approve the formation of a similar office in Hangzhou on the occasion of the Chinese leaders’ visit to Vietnam and attend the APEC Summit in November this year.

    They will work together to deal with problems in joint projects, such as the Cat Linh – Ha Dong urban railway project, while discussing the signing of an agreement on cooperation in some additional projects in the future.

    Both sides will also negotiate for the early signing of a protocol replacing the 1992 Vietnam-China border railway protocol, and launch a feasibility study for the use of China’s aid package worth 1 billion CNY (nearly 150 million USD) to build a traditional medicine academy in Vietnam in 2017.

    Conference seeks ways to build sustainable rice production chains

    Measures to build linkages towards sustainable rice production chains in the context of climate change were the focus of a workshop in the framework of the recent investment promotion conference held in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang.

    Tran Huu Hiep from the Southwest Steering Committee said that investing in production chains will prevent imbalanced investment. He also recommended that Hau Giang should pay due attention to selecting suitable key products based on local comparative advantages to prevent stretching investment. 

    Meanwhile, Doan Manh Truong from the Mekong Delta Rice Research Institute suggested that Mekong Delta localities need to promote linkages through restructuring the rice market from purchasing, processing to consumption markets.

    Transparent mechanisms for purchasing activities must be set up to prevent unhealthy competition and contract breakdown, he said, adding that priority should be given to facilitating businesses’ investment in advanced rice preserving and processing systems.

    Truong highlighted that connections in rice production and consumption can also be established through cooperation in mechanization, the transfer of technology and scientific advances and development of services and product sale.

    Hau Giang has over 200,000 hectares of rice with average rice productivity of 6.2 tonnes per hectare per year. The province has built over 3,300 hectares of large scale fields, drawing the participation of 3,200 local households.

    BIM vital to construction sector in Industry 4.0

    The Building Information Modeling (BIM) will be a vital solution for the construction sector to approach the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), said Tran Hong Mai, deputy head of the Ministry of Construction’s BIM Steering Committee.

    He made the remarks at the September 28 conference on “BIM Implementation in Constructing and Facility Management Activities” held in Hanoi by the committee and Autodesk, an American multinational corporation that makes software for architecture, engineering and construction.

    In Vietnam, BIM used to be applied mostly in projects involving foreign investors, consultants or designers in the past, but now the method has become more familiar to local firms thanks to benefits it brings to their projects, Mai said.

    BIM enables shorter project duration and lower costs as it helps operators see where problems could occur during the planning phase and closely manage the construction process, he explained.

    It not only is a virtual design but also contains lots of information of the project, said Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean director of Government Affairs of Autodesk Daniel Green, adding that the information will continue to be updated after the planning and designing phases by the contractor.

    The operator could take advantages of the information archived in BIM to effectively operate the project, he noted.

    The Prime Minister has approved a plan to apply BIM in construction and operation management, aiming to encourage and provide better environment for relevant parties to apply BIM and undertake measures to improve productivity and quality as well as save human resources.

    The plan, between 2017 and 2019, will focus on encouraging organisations and companies to apply BIM, developing legal framework and technical standards for the model, and building guidelines and training courses.

    HCM City credit growth reaches 13.5 percent in 9 months

    Outstanding loans of commercial banks in HCM City in the first nine months of 2017 rose 13.5 percent against December last year to more than 1.67 quadrillion VND (73.57 billion USD), the city People’s Committee report stated.

    Of the total, loans in Vietnamese dong accounted for 90.4 percent, equal to more than 1.5 quadrillion VND, up 13.2 percent against December last year. Loans in foreign currencies made up 160 billion VND, up 15.4 percent.

    Non-performing loans accounted for 4 per cent of the city’s total outstanding loans, down 0.04 percentage points against December last year.

    HCM City-based commercial banks during the period lent 152.77 trillion VND to 37,920 customers in the Government’s five prioritised industries of agricultural production, export business, production of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), supporting industry and high-tech production, of which loans to SMEs made up the highest proportion of 64.4 percent, or 98.44 trillion VND.

    The committee also reported that the banks mobilised 1.94 quadrillion VND in the first nine months, up 9.2 percent against December last year.

    Of the total capital, deposits in dong reached over 1.7 quadrillion VND, accounting for 87.9 percent and rising 9.6 percent against December last year.-

    HCM City’s CPI rises 0.9 percent in September

    The consumer price index (CPI) in the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City in September increased 0.9 percent from the previous month and 4.12 percent over the same period last year, reported the municipal Statistics Office on September 29.

    According to the office, out of 11 surveyed commodity groups, education saw the highest price hike of 11.2 percent due to high demand in the beginning of the school year.

    Meanwhile, transport services rose 0.99 percent as a result of petroleum price adjustment in September, the fifth consecutive increase in the year.

    Other groups which experienced price hikes against August included housing, electricity, water, fuel and construction materials (0.3 percent); garments, hats, footwear (0.15 percent); other goods and services (0.02 percent); and drinks and cigarettes (0.01 percent).

    The prices of of culture, entertainment and tourism services dropped 0.29 percent; home appliance and drinks, down 0.19 percent; posts and telecommunication, down 0.05 percent; and restaurants and catering services, down 0.02 percent.

    In September, the gold price increased 0.93 percent, while that of US dollar dropped 0.01 percent month-on-month.

    Vietnam – Thailand trade to hit 20 billion USD in 2020

    Vietnam and Thailand are striving to increase bilateral trade to 20 billion USD in 2020, as heard a business connectivity conference in Ho Chi Minh City on September 29.

    Thai Consul General in HCM City Ureerat Ratanaprukse stated Vietnam and Thailand are key economic partners, with leaders of both sides agreeing to boost comprehensive trade ties.

    The agreement lays the basis for Vietnamese and Thai firms to work together and involve in global and regional supply chains.

    Pham Thanh Kien, head of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said the southern city is a potential destination for Thai products, which have gained favour with local consumers for their quality and competitive prices.

    Since the beginning of 2017, seven Thai goods fairs have taken place in HCM City, with three more expected to run toward the year’s end.

    Vietnam is currently Thailand’s second biggest partner in ASEAN, while Thailand is top trade partner of Vietnam in the bloc.

    In 2016, bilateral trade reached 12.54 billion USD, which accounted for 3.6 percent of Vietnam’s total import-export value.

    4G quality of Vietnam’s mobile carriers put to test

    The official results of quality checks on the stability and speed of 4G mobile Internet services offered by two major carriers in Vietnam have been released.

    The results, announced on September 27, showed that MobiFone and Viettel lived up to benchmarks issued by the Authority of Telecommunications, the agency responsible for conducting the tests.

    The 4G services were tested on five indicators: the availability of the wireless network, access success rates, average latency time, data transfer drop rates, and data upload/download speeds as recorded in Hanoi.

    Military-run telecom giant Viettel had their 4G service tested between June 8 and 16, scoring 100 percent in network availability and 0.65 percent in drop rates.

    The average download speed using Viettel’s 4G Internet was 34.9 megabits per second, while the average upload speed was 16.88 Mbit/s.

    MobiFone’s 4G service, which was tested between July 19 and 26, demonstrated 99.98 percent network availability in Hanoi and a drop rate of 0.74 percent.

    The provider’s average 4G download and upload speeds were 36.91 Mbit/s and 19.28 Mbit/s, respectively.

    The report by the Authority of Telecommunications, published on its website on Wednesday, did not include Vinaphone, the country’s third major mobile service provider.

    In the State of the Internet Report issued by American content delivery network Akamai Technologies earlier this year, Vietnam’s average mobile Internet speed in the first quarter of 2017 was recorded at 5.3 Mbit/s.

    The performance was much slower than the regional average of 9.69 Mbit/s, according to the same report.

    WB, Vietnam discuss national priorities

    Senior Vice President and World Bank Group General Counsel Ms. Sandie Okoro, has discussed with high-ranking Vietnamese officials on national priorities and support the Bank’s global experience could offer in meeting these goals.

    During her first two-day visit to Vietnam September 26-27, Okoro held technical meetings with the Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Justice.

    The discussions showcased the strong partnership between Vietnam and the World Bank and explored opportunities for continued Bank support.  Issues discussed included areas where the Bank has been providing technical advice, the fiscal constraints faced by Vietnam, and the importance of capacity building for institutional strengthening.

    “Vietnam has made significant achievements in poverty reduction and economic growth, and it needs to tell its development story out loud. I would like to reaffirm the longstanding partnership between Vietnam and the World Bank Group,”said Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and World Bank Group General Counsel.

    She had a fruitful discussion with women representatives of the private sector where she learnt how Vietnamese women are drivers of growth and contribute to all aspects of Vietnamese economy and other areas, such as climate change.  She also learnt about the constraints facing Vietnamese women in the public and private sector.

    During her meeting and inspirational talks with hundreds of students of Hanoi Law University, Ms. Okoro shared her own life experience starting as a law student like them and stressed the importance of being humble, resilient, kind and helpful to all, especially embedding integrity in anything they do.

    During her visit to the Medium Cities Development Project financed by the World Bank in Phu Ly City, Ms. Okoro met with provincial leaders and officials as well as beneficiaries including students and teachers from kindergarten and schools financed by the project.  She also saw firsthand how project helps to improve basic infrastructure and services including water supply and environmental sanitation and rehabilitation of urban roads and bridges.   

    The World Bank provides analytical and technical support in a wide range of development areas in Vietnam and is currently financing 51 IDA and IBRD projects, totaling US$10.5 billion.
    Areas of strategic focus include enabling inclusive growth and private sector participation, ensuring environmental sustainability and resilience, and investing in people and knowledge.
       
    Animal feed, corn imports from Argentina account for large share

    Argentina is the largest exporter of animal feed and corn for Vietnam from South America with a value of US$1.6 billion in the first eight months of this year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    In the period, animal feed and corn accounted for 86% of total import value. Vietnam imported more than US$1 billion of animal feed and materials from Argentina (up 4.92%) and 2.7 million tons of corn valued at US$525.7 million (up 54.66% in volume and 59.83% in value against the same period last year).

    Garment and footwear materials were also major import products with US$29.3 million in eight months, up 57.05%.

    In general, 87.5% of import products from Argentina saw a growth in eight months, particularly cotton (up 357.07% to US$6 million).

    Coffee markets stay muted in Vietnam, Indonesia on low supply

    Asian coffee markets remained subdued this week due to low supplies at the end the crop season in Vietnam and the harvest period in Indonesia, traders said on September 28.

    In line with a drop in London prices, domestic coffee prices in Vietnam's Daklak province fell to 42,000-43,000 dong (US$1.85-US$1.89) per kg from 44,000-44,500 dong last week, discouraging farmers to sell beans, traders said.

    London ICE January futures fell 2.23% on September 27 to US$1,931 a tonne, in their sharpest fall in three weeks.

    Exporters in Vietnam hardly clinched any deal as they offered the 5 percent black and broken grade 2 robusta on par with the January contract, while importers sought a discount of US$30-US$40 amid low demand.

    Meanwhile, local farmers also refused to lower their prices amid a thin stockpile at the end of the 2016/2017 crop season after unfavourable weather at end-2016 hurt output.

    Vietnam's coffee exports volume in the 2016/2017 crop year as of August was 1.4 billion tonnes, down 13  from the same period last year, but exports value during the same period rose 9% to $3.16 billion as prices were higher this year, customs data showed.

    The coffee crop season in Vietnam starts in October and ends in September of the following year.

    In Indonesia, prices of the grade 4 defect 80 robusta beans in the province of Lampung stood at a premium of US$10 to the November contract, unchanged from last week.

    A trader in Lampung, Indonesia's main coffee growing area, said trade remained light as sellers ran out of beans.

    Administrative reforms help firms in Hau Giang

    Alongside the application of a multitude of regulated investment incentives, Hau Giang province in the Mekong Delta is pushing administrative reforms to support businesses.

    Hau Giang has taken the state focus on investment climate seriously, and the results seem to be paying off

    Despite being a ‘young’ location still facing many difficulties in socio-economic development, Hau Giang currently ranks among the top five locations in the Mekong Delta region for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), according to the Hau Giang Department of Planning and Investment.

    Currently, the province is home to 29 FDI projects valued at $808.5 million in total committed capital, including 16 wholly foreign-owned enterprises valued at $642.6 million and 13 joint ventures worth $165.8 million in total registered capital.

    Each investment project averages $28 million in terms of committed capital, higher than the Mekong Delta region’s average of more than $14 million. FDI projects in the province come from 10 different countries and territories, such as the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea, China, and Australia, providing jobs for more than 10,000 labourers.

    The province expects to see breakthroughs in FDI attraction in the near future, as it has recently received two large-scale FDI projects in the energy sector, with combined investment capital surpassing $3.6 billion.

    The first is Jinko Solar Vietnam, a solar energy plant invested by Hong Kong’s Jinko Solar Co., Ltd. in Phung Hieu district’s Hoa An commune. According to Jinko Solar’s project director James Gia Co, the group is set to expedite the project in Hau Giang later this year on an area of roughly 50 hectares with a designed capacity of 40 megawatts (MW). With total estimated capital of $70 million, the project is expected to come online next year.

    The second project is the Song Hau 3 thermal power plant by Viet Lao Energy Investment Development JSC, which is a consortium consisting of Deo Ca Investment JSC, Viet Lao Energy Investment Development JSC, and Laos-based Phongsubthavy Road and Bridge Construction Co., Ltd.

    The investor wants to deploy the project on a site belonging to Song Hau Power Centre in Chau Thanh district’s Phu Huu A commune. The plan entails building a large-scale thermal power plant to connect to the national power grid, thus meeting the ever-increasing electricity demands of the region.

    The plant’s designed capacity comes to around 2,000MW (consisting of three 660MW turbines), with a total annual power production output of 13 billion kilowatt-hours. With an estimated VND81 trillion ($3.68 billion) in total investment capital, the project is to cover an area of 117ha.

    As for domestic investment, Hau Giang is now home to 490 projects valued at VND123 trillion ($5.6 billion) in total registered capital. A number of leading players have made forays into the province.

    Local consumer goods giant Masan Group operates Masan Brewery HG in the province under the White Lion brand. The brewery reported an initial designed capacity of 100 million litres per year, and is valued at more than VND1.6 trillion ($72.7 million).

    Major beverage firm Tan Hiep Phat Group is racing to complete the project Number One Hau Giang, which is expected to be the largest beverage plant in the southwestern region, worth VND4 trillion ($181 million) in total investment capital.

    AquaOne Hau Giang JSC is set to build a water refinery in the province to serve Song Hau Industrial Park and neighbouring locations, with first-phase production capacity reaching 100,000 cubic metres per day – valued at VND1.9 trillion ($86.3 million).

    Businesses in the province have been consistently growing in number, strength, and professionalism. The province is currently home to 4,200 businesses, valued at over VND45 trillion ($2.04 billion) in total committed capital.

    In the first half of this year, the registered capital amount rose 2.4-fold compared to one year ago, with the average capital size of each business reaching VND6.13 billion ($278,600) – compared to VND2.07 billion ($94,000) last year.

    In the past, Hau Giang has focused on improving the local investment climate, with priority given to accelerating the pace of administrative reform and business support.

    The single-window, one-stop shop mechanism has been applied across business fields, aiming to build an effective interface between businesses and the public administration. The licensing process can now be done online, and is constantly modernised to boost state management efficiency in diverse fields such as taxation, land-use rights registration, and business administration.

    According to director of the Hau Giang Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Huu Nghia, the procedural administrative processing time in the province has been significantly shortened.

    For instance, the time to obtain a business registration certificate now averages only 1.5 days, and changing the content of a business registration can be done in half a day.

    The time to review an investment proposal now averages 15 days – against a regulated 32 days – while investment certificates will be granted after two days on average (compared to the regulated five days).

    In industry and trade, certificates for food safety and petrol businesses require an average of three days against a regulated 15 days.

    “Hau Giang is concentrating efforts into pushing administrative reforms, investment promotion, and planning activities in an attempt to attract effective investment projects to the province. Investors will enjoy a multitude of investment incentives and support activities when doing business in the province, such as tax reductions and exemptions as well as post-licensing support,” said Dong Van Thanh, Deputy Chairman of the Hau Giang People’s Committee.

    New milestone in Vietnam’s enterprise-oriented economic reform

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) recently made a historic decision to scrap 675 business conditions in a significant move to remove the obstacles facing enterprises and improve the business climate in Vietnam.

    The abolition came just after two weeks of reviewing the business regulations in the sectors under the MOIT’s jurisdiction.

    The 675 removed conditions were 63 higher than the original plan and accounted for 55.5% of the total regulations under review.

    Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s Legal Department said that the MOIT’s move is a positive signal, adding that if other ministries follow suit, the business climate in Vietnam will improve significantly and the business community will gain more confidence in the government’s commitment to reform.

    Echoing Tuan’s comment, Director of the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM) Nguyen Dinh Cung stated that, except for the MOIT, no other ministry has yet taken steps to discard unnecessary business conditions.

    MOIT Minister Tran Tuan Anh emphasised that removing the obstacles to businesses will be his ministry’s foremost undertaking as part of a wider administrative reform that seeks to re-organise the ministry and improve the business climate in Vietnam.

    He stated that the MOIT’s efforts are bringing about positive effects and the frequent complaints of businesses, such as those concerning checks on energy efficiency, formaldehyde content and steel quality, energy labelling and declaration of chemicals have been or will be resolved completely.

    For example, abolishing checks on formaldehyde content in textile materials and sample products has helped garment enterprises to save VND1.5 million for each check and has reduced the customs clearance time by up to nearly four days.

    Meanwhile for steel products, the MOIT has scaled down its audits on enterprises fully complying with quality control regulations, helping to reduce the customs clearance time by three to four days and is saving enterprises roughly VND2 million for auditing each shipment. The customs clearance time is expected to be cut further, as of October 1, when post-clearance audits come into effect.

    Most enterprises stated that the MOIT’s bold administrative reforms have helped them to cut costs and possess more resources to enhance their competitiveness and grow larger.

    CIEM Director Nguyen Dinh Cung stated that abolishing the unnecessary business conditions will boost Vietnam’s industrial production, trade and exports.

    In the time ahead, the MOIT will continue listening to voices from the business community in order to promptly deal with any arising issues, seeking to reduce the types of goods that require audits and simplify the administrative procedures and business conditions within the scope of the ministry.

    Sacombank sells VND2,580 billion deep debt to VAMC

    Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) has also signed contracts to sell three debts worth VND2,580 billion (US$114 billion) to Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC).

    These bad debts will be purchased according to market value. Their mortgages are real estates, machines and equipment in Da Nang and HCMC.

    The two sides yesterday signed a cooperation agreement on handling bad debts and asset backlog. According to the agreement, Sacombank and VAMC will work together to build a roadmap to handle debts every year.

    Sacombank will propose the list of bad debts which will be sold to VAMC through special bonds and those which will be traded according to market value.

    This year, they have set a target of tackling VND15-20 trillion of deep debts. Of these, at least VND1 trillion will be traded according to market value.   

    Toyota recalls 20,000 Vios, Yaris cars for airbag problem

    The Competition and Consumer Protection Agency has received a report from Toyota Vietnam Company about the recall of 20,000 Vios and Yaris cars to examine and repair the inflator modules of front passenger airbags.

    According to an announcement from the Ministry of Industry and Trade yesterday, 18,138 Vios cars locally assembled and 1,877 imported Yaris cars will be recalled.
    The inflator modules of front passenger airbags will be replaced free of charge to ensure safety for passengers.

    GDP growth rate strongly increases in third quarter

    Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate has been up quarter by quarter this year and reached 7.46 percent in the third quarter, a strong increase compared to 5.15 percent the first and 6.28 percent in the second quarter.

    That was announced at a meeting presided over by deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, chairman of the Advisory Council on National Financial and Monetary Policies, yesterday afternoon.

    The meeting was organized to estimate macroeconomic norms in the third quarter and the first nine months of 2017, aiming at providing the Government with estimations and advises in macroeconomic management at the regular cabinet meeting in September which will take place next week.

    At the event, council members estimated that monetary and fiscal policies have been run stably in a harmonious way contributing in positive changes of macroeconomic norms.
    Inflation rate continued being curbed below 4 percent. It increased 0.59 percent in September mainly because of petrol price adjustments. Core inflation averaged 1.45 percent in nine months, forecast to approximate 1.5-1.8 percent this year, below the assigned norm of the National Assembly.

    In addition, capital mobilization for the economy via Government bonds during the nine months reached VND147 trillion (US$6.47 billion), accounting for 80 percent of plan, thanks to stable interest rates.

    Foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction hit a record high. As of September 20, there was $14.6 billion newly registered capital and $6.8 billion additional capital. Total new and additional funds rebounded 21.7 percent over the same period last year.

    Although the Government has permitted the State Bank of Vietnam to increase the credit growth rate from 18 to 21 percent this year, council members said it is still needed to keep a close eye on the market to prevent fluctuations and pay attention to credit quality to ensure the progress and quality of projects.

    They proposed the Government and the Prime Minister to continue administrative reform, reduce business and investment procedures to create advantageous conditions for enterprises, quickly amend and issue policies to lure investment in agriculture and rural development, require authorized agencies to further cut interest rates and lower costs for production and trading activities.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE


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    “Vietnamese Dragon Fruit Day” goes vibrant in Australia 

    “Vietnamese Dragon Fruit Day” goes vibrant in Australia, PM holds policy dialogue with leading private firms, Credit growth rate tops 11 percent during first nine months 2017, HCMC halts pilot electronic cargo supervision at Cat Lai seaport 
      
    Nearly 100 kilos of dragon fruit were sold during the Vietnamese Dragon Fruit Day, which was jointly held by the Vietnamese Trade Office and the Embassy of Vietnam in Australia on September 30.

    The fruit was sold at 30 AUD (23.89 USD) per kilo due to its high quality and eye-catching appearance.

    At the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Ngo Huong Nam expressed his hope that Australia market entry will help Vietnamese dragon fruit enter a group of fruits earning export value of 1 billion USD.

    The move is also a good launch pad for the fruit to go to other fastidious markets worldwide, Nam highlighted.

    He said that Australia is a prospective market for the Vietnamese fruit due to its contrast in fruit harvest time with Vietnam.

    Vietnam will promote negotiations to ship other fruits to Australia like longan, passion fruit and rambutan, he stressed.

    Hoang Huy Khanh, Director of the Da Lat Export-Import Company in Australia, said that farmers and domestic businesses must obey strict requirements in food safety and quarantine set by Australia and the fruit must be harvested from Global GAP farming areas and undergo proper pasteurised process.

    Among three fruit shipped to Australia (lychees, mangoes and dragon fruit), dragon fruit poses huge potentials as it can fruit all year-round and if the import cost is lower the consumption will go up soon, he added.

    The first batch of Vietnamese dragon fruit was exported to Australia by the Hoang Phat one-member Ltd Co in the southern province of Long An on September 20.

    Dragon fruit is one of Vietnam’s key export fruits, and saw export sales of 895.7 million USD in 2016, 50.3 percent of the country’s total fresh fruit exports and 36.1 percent of its total fruit and vegetable exports.

    Vietnamese dragon fruit has been exported to 40 countries and territories such as China, Thailand and Indonesia.

    Hanoi: Consumer price index rises over 3 percent

    Hanoi’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) in September posted a month on month rise of over 3 percent as reported by the municipal Statistics Office.

    The Office attributed the growth to the rising prices of foods and foodstuff, which has made up the largest part of the groups concerning commodities that are subject to calculation for the index.

    At a conference of the Hanoi People’s Committee on September 28, it was reported that the average consumer price index in the capital in regards to the first nine months was up by 3.5-3.55 percent over the same period last year.

    The average CPI in 2017 is estimated to increase by 3.05-3.11 percent compared to 2016.

    The city’s revenue for the first nine months of the year reached VND146.4 trillion (US$6.5 billion), meeting 71.5 percent of the year’s targeted revenue.

    It is estimated that the total city revenue for the entire year will reach over VND207.6 trillion (US$9.2 billion).

    The city aims for a GDP growth of 8.5 percent in 2017.

    Novaland Group receives $40mn loan facility

    Credit Suisse AG, Singapore Branch, has recently disbursed $40 million to Vietnamese property developer the Novaland Group. This is the first disbursement from a $100-million credit package committed by the Singaporean capital arranger with a 42-month term, signed between the two parties in early August.

    After Novaland’s two previous secured loans were disbursed, Credit Suisse AG approved this unsecured loan to the developer. The loan has a competitive interest rate of 3-month LIBOR plus a margin of 5.5 per cent per annum.

    Novaland’s brand name and prospective developments have been recognized and highly appreciated by Credit Suisse AG. The disbursement will immediately fund the company’s projects under development to ensure the product quality and construction progress committed to with customers, simultaneously strengthening its reputation among shareholders and investors.

    Credit Suisse Group is a Swiss-multinational financial service holding company, headquartered in Zürich, that operates the Credit Suisse Bank and other financial services investments. The company is organized as a stock corporation with four divisions: Investment Banking, Private Banking, Asset Management, and a Shared Services Group that provides marketing and support to the other three divisions.

    Similar to the previous offshore loans granted by Maybank, Malaysia’s largest financial services group and the leading banking group in Southeast Asia, VietinBank Filiale Deutschland, the first and only Vietnamese bank operating in Europe, and the Singapore-based GW Supernova Pte Ltd., Novaland had to prove strong financial strength, project development plans, and growth potential.

    All of the loans from international credit institutions will support Novaland in diversifying its sources of capital, especially its access to international capital markets. It previously secured a credit facility of $50 million from GW Supernova Pte. Ltd., maturing in 36 months from the first day of drawdown, in December 2016. It included non-convertible and convertible borrowings of 40 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively.

    In April this year, Novaland also received disbursement of $30 million. The 30-month syndicated loan came from Maybank Ho Chi Minh City, which is the agent and representative receiving and dealing with collateral, Maybank Labuan Malaysia, and VietinBank Filiale Deutschland.

    Local e-commerce sites win the hearts of Vietnam's shoppers

    Eight out of the 10 most visited e-commerce sites in Vietnam are locally based, but number one spot goes to Lazada.

    Online shoppers in Vietnam are showing a growing preference for local retailers, according to a new report released by iPrice, an e-commerce platform available in seven countries across Southeast Asia.

    Eight out of the 10 most commonly visited e-commerce sites in the country are locally-based firms, the report found.

    The only two foreign representatives to appear in the top 10 are Alibaba-owned Lazada and Singapore-based Shopee, who are both expanding their operations across Southeast Asia.

    Despite dominating the top 10, domestic retailers still lost out on number one spot to Lazada, which attracts 41 million visitors per month. Vietnamese giant The gioi di dong came in second with 32 million visits, followed by Sendo with 24 million. Shopee came in eighth, generating traffic of 7.6 million a month.

    Vietnam's e-commerce sector has been blossoming in recent years, growing at 22 percent annually. Unsurprisingly, competition in the sector is fierce, and some foreign players have already felt the heat.

    American e-commerce platform Ebay has been unable to compete with local firms, while Singapore's Zalora recently called it a day in Vietnam.  

    The report, compiled in April and June this year, compared 50 e-commerce merchants currently operating in Vietnam based on monthly visits, application downloads and social media followers.

    In the apps race, The Gioi Di Dong outnumbered its competitors with five million installed, five times more than each of Sendo, Lozi and Shopee.

    When it came to the number of Facebook followers, Lazada and Shopee outpaced their Vietnamese peers. Lazada now has around 17.5 million followers while Shopee has 2.4 million.

    Online sales in Vietnam have expanded rapidly in recent years, currently accounting for 3.39 percent of the country’s retail market. The total retail market grew 10.2 percent last year to $118 billion, mainly fueled by a growing middle-class with expanding disposable incomes and an increasing number of internet users.

    Fabrice Carrasco, managing director of Kantar Worldpanel for Vietnam and the Philippines, predicted that e-commerce in Vietnam will grow more than fivefold by 2020 on the back of widespread smartphone usage and increasing demand for consumer convenience.

    Vietnam economy grows, boosted by exports

    The economy expanded 7.46 percent in third quarter of 2017 from the same period last year, the strongest third quarter growth since 2010.

    Vietnam's economy surged more than 7 percent in the third quarter according to data on September 29, but officials warned the country may still fall short of its annual target.

    The country has been one of the region's best performing economies in recent years, fueled largely by exports of cheaply made goods like Samsung phones and Nike shoes.

    The middle class is also rapidly expanding in the country of 93 million people, lifting domestic spending across many sectors.

    But growth dipped last year to 6.2 percent as the economy recovered from a major drought and a massive fish kill along the central coast.

    GDP expanded 7.46 percent in third quarter of 2017 from the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO), the strongest third quarter growth since 2010.

    "Growth was largely driven by exports. Domestically, strong credit growth is supporting household spending and the real estate sector," ANZ Bank said in an email to AFP on September 29.

    It was also a bump up from last quarter's 6.28 percent growth and 5.15 percent posted in first three months of the year.

    Overall growth for the first nine months of 2017 is 6.41 percent, the highest since 2015 but below the official annual target of 6.7 percent.

    But the GSO chief warned the economy may struggle to hit that goal.

    "Reaching this year's growth target will be a challenge," Nguyen Bich Lam said on state-run Vietnam Television.

    The Asian Development Bank said earlier this month it expects annual growth to hold steady at 6.3 percent, even as some sectors have slowed.

    "Despite the drop in mining and oil output, Vietnam's economy continues to perform well, driven by its twin engines of export-orientated manufacturing and rising domestic consumption," ADB Vietnam country director Eric Sidgwick said in a statement.

    Economists have warned that soaring public debt and dodgy loans plaguing the banking sector are holding the economy back.

    The government has vowed to tackle mismanagement in the corruption-riddled banking sector.

    VN Index falls after late selling

    Shares fell slightly on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on September 29 as large-cap stocks lost steam and declined on investors’ late selling.

    Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index on the southern market closed down 0.05 percent at 804.42 points after having risen as much as 0.5 percent during the morning session.

    It also reversed from a 0.13 percent drop on September 28. The fall on September 29 also marked a weekly loss of 0.3 percent for the VN Index.

    More than 139.4 million shares were traded on the southern market, worth 3.1 trillion VND (137.6 million USD).

    September 30’s trading figures dropped 27.6 percent in volume and 20 percent in value from the previous session’s numbers.

    Large-cap stocks were unable to maintain their prolonged growth rates as investors increased selling to earn profits when the market was coming to a close.

    Half of the 30 largest stocks by market capitalisation and trading liquidity in the VN30 Index declined while 12 others advanced and three stayed unchanged.

    BIDV Securities Company (BSC) said in its daily report that low investor confidence must be blamed for the decline of the stock market as it pulled down market trading liquidity and created strong selling pressure on local shares.

    According to Vietnam Investment Securities Company (IVS), after tapping the intraday high of 808.77 points, the benchmark VN Index weakened and finished lower than Thursday’s ending level as investors increased their selling in two stocks – brewer Sabeco (SAB) and PetroVietnam Gas (GAS).

    SAB fell 2.3 percent after having reached its intraday highest growth rate of 2.4 percent. Shares of the largest brewer jumped 4.3 percent on September 28.

    GAS dropped more than 2.2 percent after it had gained total 4.3 percent in the previous six sessions.

    Other large-cap stocks that also weighed down the southern market index included gas station operator Petrolimex (PLX), consumer goods producer Masan (MSN) and Sacombank (STB).

    Among the three stocks, MSN was down 1.1 percent after having risen as much as 2 percent during the session. MSN gained 1.5 percent on September 28.

    On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX Index inched up 0.21 percent to end at 107.66 points. The northern market index had dropped total 0.4 percent in the previous two sessions.

    Nearly 62.5 million shares were traded on the northern bourse, worth 528.8 billion VND.

    Community-based organisations tend to turn into social firms

    A conference was held in Ho Chi Minh City on September 29 to discuss how community-based organisations (CBOs) continue helping vulnerable groups since the amount of foreign financial aid is declining. 

    Speaking at the event, Pham Hong Son, head of G3VN group – a CBO for the gay community, said it has changed itself to a social enterprise by building Galant general clinic specialising in diagnosing HIV infection, treatment of sexually-transmitted diseases, among others. It also commits to reserving 51 percent of its profits for supporting the gay community. 

    Director of the Centre for Promotion of Quality of Life (LIFE) Nguyen Nguyen Nhu Trang said six out of 31 CBOs in the south have turned into social businesses. 

    In particular, three CBOs, namely “Aloboy”, “Hoa co may” and “Da khoc” have been cooperating together to create a clean food distribution channel called AloFood, which sets aside 52 percent of its profits to serve the community. 

    Trang said CBOs also play an important role in HIV/AIDS prevention and control by working closely with victims or those at high risk of infection. 

    The event was co-hosted by the Centre for Promotion of Quality of Life (LIFE) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).-

    Kien Giang moves to develop supporting industry

    The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang plans to disburse more than 19 billion VND (836,000 USD) to develop its supporting industry.

    According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, the province will invest in developing manufacturing mechanics, packaging production, electronic components, medium density fibreboard (MDF) wood, and footwear.

    Vice Chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Thi Minh Phung said some supporting industry products will be developed in the coming time such as metal, plastic and rubber components, electronics and spare parts, garment-textile and footwear materials.

    The province pledged to help businesses apply product quality management and business administration systems in line with international standards to increase their competitiveness, she said.

    Local authorities will also offer assistance in improving human resources quality and increasing connectivity between universities, research institutes, training facilities and enterprises, she added.

    PM holds policy dialogue with leading private firms

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held a policy dialogue with 14 chairmen and general directors of leading private enterprises in Hanoi on September 30.

    PM Phuc praised the production and business achievements of the participating firms, which, he described as important contributions to the economy.

    The PM said he wants the businesses to frankly talk about their difficulties and challenges, stressing that the dialogue was a concrete action to implement the Resolution on the development of the private sector, which was adopted at the 12th Party Central Committee’s 5th plenum.

    The government leader highlighted the recent substantial progress achieved by the private sector, but also pointed to a lack of large-scale private companies. Most of Vietnamese private enterprises are of small-, medium- and micro-sized firms, he said.

    PM Phuc affirmed that the Government will collect feedback from the companies to complete relevant policies, improve the business climate, and remove bottlenecks in order facilitate the private sector’s development.

    According to the Business Development Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the private economic sector contributes 43.22 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), accounts for 39 percent of the total social investment, and generates 11.9 percent of all jobs. Meanwhile, the State economic sector contributes 28.69 percent to the GDP. 

    In 2016, the number of newly-established enterprises nationwide hit a new record with more than 110,000, up 16 percent annually. In the first nine months of 2017, an additional 94,000 firms were established with a combined registered capital of 900 trillion VND (39.6 billion USD).

    Hanoi, Qatar Airways seek tourism development cooperation

    Hanoi’s Department of Tourism has suggested Qatar Airways to coordinate with the city in promoting its tourism potentials.

    Tran Duc Hai, Director of the Department of Tourism, said at a working session with representatives of the airline on September 29 that Hanoi welcomes over 4 million foreign visitors each year. Currently, 24 international airlines are operating flights to Hanoi-based Noi Bai International Airport.

    Hai pledged that Hanoi will help Qatar Airways promote its images, while creating optimal conditions for the airline to operate in Vietnam.

    For her part, Jeanie Jin, chief of the Qatar Airways Office in Hanoi, said that the airline has run flights to 150 destinations across the globe.

    She expressed hope that the launching of the Hanoi-Doha direct air route will help boost tourism cooperation between Vietnam and Qatar.

    Nguyen Nhat Phuong, from travel firm Saigontourist, proposed that Qatar Airways loosen its regulations on group tours while cooperating with Vietnamese firms and offer ticket promotions to introduce new destinations and promote tourism.

    The Hanoi-Doha direct air route is scheduled to operate from January 2, 2018, which is expected to foster the Vietnam-Qatar connectivity. Currently, flights between Vietnam and Qatar have to transit in Bangkok.

    Workshop in France spotlights Vietnam’s economy

    A workshop on Vietnam’s economy after 30 years of reform has been held in France’s central city of Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire by the friendship association Touraine-Vietnam.

    Speaking at the seminar, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Nguyen Ngoc Son stressed that Vietnam began its reform policy by opening its door to the world. Vietnam wants to become a trustworthy and responsible partner of the international community, he said.

    The ambssador introduced Vietnam’s economic achievements and the importance of the Vietnam-France strategic partnership.

    France is currently the bilateral second biggest provider of official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam, with a committed amount of 3 billion USD since 1993.

    France is also Vietnam’s third biggest export market in the European Union, he said, adding that France is investing over 3 billion EUR in more than 300 projects in Vietnam.

    However, the diplomat said bilateral economic ties still fail to match with potential of both sides. He expected that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UVFTA), which is scheduled to take effect next summer, will foster trade and investment relations between the two nations.

    Participants lauded the strong development of Vietnam in recent years. They expressed their interest to learn about the teaching of French language in Vietnam, key Vietnamese exports to France and Vietnam’s average living standards and heath care.

    Touraine-Vietnam has hosted various events to introduce Vietnam’s traditional culture and socio-economic development in France. In November last year, the organization received a certificate of merit bestowed by Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for its outstanding work.

    Conference promotes Vietnamese tourism in Thailand

    A coference to discuss ways to promote Vietnamese tourism among Thai people and international friends was held in Bangkok on September 29.

    The event was jointly organised by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism), the Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Tourism Council of Thailand.

    Representatives of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism introduced Vietnam’s potentials to the delegates, including political stability, open-minded and hospitable people, 3,200 km-long coastline, being one of the ten countries holding the longest coastline in the world, a number of world heritage sites recognised by the UNESCO and also various cuisines, etc.

    With such potentials and advantages, Vietnam has become an increasingly popular destination for international tourists. In the first eight months of this year, Vietnam welcomed nearly 10 million international arrivals, including nearly 200,000 Thai, up 23% over the same period last year. The country is expected to welcome around 13 million foreign visitors in 2017.

    Speaking at the workshop, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu praised Thailand's initiative to link tourist destinations in the regional and international frameworks, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (CLMVT), the Ayeywady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). Vietnam and Thailand can take advantage of this initiative in order to extend the journey of Vietnamese tourists to Thailand and vice versa, he noted. He also called for closer coordination between relevant agencies and travel agents between the two countries.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Nguyen Hai Bang emphasised that in the context of good relations between Vietnam and Thailand, especially in terms of politics and economics, the two countries should further promote cooperation in tourism, with the motto "two countries, one destination".

    Representative from the Tourism Authority of Thailand Pichai Raktasinha affirmed that Vietnam has many advantages to develop the nations’ tourism; however the number of 13 million international visitors to Vietnam per year is still not adequate. He suggested that Vietnam should further implement tourism promotion programmes in order to bring the image of Vietnam closer to international friends.

    Credit growth rate tops 11 percent during first nine months 2017

    Credit growth rate reached 11.02 percent as of September 20 this year, higher than 10.46 percent during the same period last year, reported the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GOS). 

    Total means of payment increased 9.59 percent over the same period last year. Banks’ capital mobilization growth was 10.08 percent, down 12.02 percent.

    GOS said that the credit growth maintained good momentum showing positive tendency and capital absorption ability of the economy.

    Banks have positively implemented policies and requirements by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to lower interest rates and short term rates to priority fields by 0.5 percent. They have also reduced interest rates in some mid and long term programs to these fields to 8 percent a year.

    Customers getting loans for production and trading enjoyed a cut of 0.5-1 percent. Those having transparent financial conditions can get short term loans at 4-5 percent a year.

    SBV branch in HCMC said that total outstanding loans in the city reached VND1,670 trillion (US$73.51 billion) at the end of September, up 13.5 percent over last yearend and 19.8 percent over the same period last year. That is nearly 3 percent higher than the country’s average rate.

    Capital capitalization by credit institutions in the city hit VND1,940 trillion ($85.39 billion), increasing 9.2 percent over the same period last year. Credit in HCMC continued flowing into production, trading and business assistance.

    HCMC halts pilot electronic cargo supervision at Cat Lai seaport

    HCMC Customs Department has officially halted the pilot implementation of electronic cargo supervision at Cat Lai seaport since September 30. 

    The Customs Division at Cat Lai seaport started the electronic supervision on December 26 last year to pilot implementation of Article 41, the Customs Law 2014 to container export import goods.

    The e-supervision process is conducted quickly in the system of the General Department of Vietnam Customs and businesses. The two sides exchange data confirming that cargo containers have passed customs’ supervision area. Customs officials do not need to sign papers confirming that the containers have gone out of the port.

    Still the system has not smoothly operated, causing the official have to sign many confirmation papers. Therefore, the general department has permitted HCMC to temporarily halt the electronic supervision program to reestimate the efficiency of the article’s implementation, improve customs supervision quality in the upcoming time, shorten customs clearance time for business, counter trade fraud, ensure security and safety.

    Ministry discusses ways to uphold world’s top cashew exporter

    The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development presided over a conference discussing ways for Vietnam to uphold world’s top cashew exporter and obtain the export turnover of $3 billion by 2020.

    The forum debated solutions to intensify connectivity between businesses and farmers in applying science and technology and implementing the agricultural restructuring project approved by the Prime Minister to obtain the above targets.

    Delegates at the forum said that the cashew industry should focus on deep processing, market development and material zone development; plant new varieties and replant old and low-yield cashew trees to increase productivity and output.

    The ministry would side with businesses to solve policy problems to develop the industry, it affirmed.

    According to the Department of Crop Production, Vietnam has obtained the biggest cashew nut export turnover in the world after 30 years of development. The country ranks second in processing and third in productivity and output.

    In 2016, Vietnam exported 347,000 tons with the turnover of $2.84 billion and processed over 50 percent of the word’s cashew output.

    Despite leading in export turnover, the cashew industry has showed some limitations for instance output has been in down trend, cashew growers’ income not high, added value low and degraded area on the rise.

    Statistics from the ministry show that at present, local production output can meet only one third of the processing demand of over 300 businesses. Therefore, Vietnam has increased import from Cambodia, India, West Africa and Côte d'Ivoire. Last year, the country imported one million tons of raw cashew nuts.

    Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that the cashew industry still has many opportunities develop as the world’s consumption demand is forecast to continue growing in the upcoming time.

    LienVietPostBank to trade on UPCoM in October

    The Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) has just announced on October 5, 646 million shares of LienVietPostBank (coded LPB) will officially be traded on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM). 

    The first reference price will be VND 14,800 per share.

    LienVietPostBank has current VND 6,4trillion of chartered capital. Of these, Vietnam Post is its biggest shareholder, owned 12.54 percent of LienVietPostBank’s chartered capital.

    Representative from LPB said, it would organize roadshow of investment opportunity in LPB’s share in HCMC on October 2.

    FTM issues 11million shares

    In October, Duc Quan Investment & Development JSC (coded FTD Vietnam) will issue 11million shares to raise VND 110billion. 

    It will issue 10million of the shares to existing shareholders at a price of VND 10,000 while 1million shares will be sold for its laborers at the same price.

    The money raised through this issuance will be used to invest in the trade apartment complex locating at 55 Tran Nhat Duat, Tan Dinh Commune in District 1, HCMC.

    After issuing, FTM will have chartered capital of up to VND 610billion.

    ADS to issue 10million shares in October

    Yarn producer Damsan (ADS) plans to issue 10million shares in October, priced at VND 17,000 per share aiming to invest in Eiffel Yarn Corp and Damsan manufactures yarn and cotton at An Ninh Industrial Zone in Tien Hai district of the northern province of Thai Binh.

    Of these, 5.6million shares will be sold to its current shareholders and 4.4 million shares will be for its strategic partners.

    If successful, ADS will increase its chartered capital up to VND 269billion.

    ADS announced for the first half 2017 it profited VND 25billion. 

    GDP growth rate reaches peak in Q3

    Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Q3 expanded 7.46%, a record high over the past years, said the General Statistics Office (GSO).

    The GSO convened a press conference to announce socio-economic performance in the first nine months of 2017, on September 29 in Ha Noi. 

    In the first nine months, GDP picked up 6.41% against the previous year; increasing 5.15% in Q1; 6.28% in Q2. The agro-forestry-fishery sector went up 2.78%. Industry and construction expanded 7.17%. Service sector picked up 7.25%. 

    Noticeably, in Q3, GDP reached the peak of 7.46%. 

    GSO General Director Nguyen Bich Lam mentioned four bright points for growth namely (1) agriculture; (2) the manufacturing and processing industry (up 12.8%); active FDI sector (with US$ 25.5 billion of FDI attraction in the first nine months) and (3) service boom (9.2% growth rate of total retail sale of goods and services); and the Government’s drastic effort to streamline administrative procedures; and improve the business environment.   

    Mr. Lam held that with the growth trend, the preset goal of GDP growth rate may be within reach despite the GDP scenario for Q4 must touch 7.31%, a relatively high target.

    The GSO General Director said that there are wide doors for Viet Nam to fulfil the preset goal. He suggested the Government continue to facilitate business development. Since the beginning of the year, Viet Nam had 93,967 newly-founded enterprises. However, the number of temporarilly suspended enterprises was 49,345, up 9.4% against the same period last year.  

    In addition, the domestic economy is coping with numerous difficulties including declining mining industry and slowdown trend of agricultural production. The progress of State budget collection and disbursement of public investment projects was slow. Natural disasters continued to occur. 

    The General Director stressed the necessity to implement Resolution 01/NQ-CP on major tasks and solutions for implementation of this year’s socio-economic development plan and state budget estimates; cut lending interest rates; strive for a 21% credit growth; speed up disbursement progress of public investment projects; and restructure budget collection and spending; reduce regular spending./.  

    HNX raises over 4 trillion VND from Government bonds in September

    The Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) announced it mobilised over 4 trillion VND (176 million USD) from 16 government bond auctions in September.

    The bonds were offered for four tenures: five years, seven years, 10 years and 30 years.

    The coupon rates of five-year term bonds were at 4.63-4.67 percent, seven-year at 4.83-4.85 percent, 10-year term at 5.38-5.4 percent and 30 year-term at 6.1 percent per annum.

    Compared to August, coupon rates rose 0.02-0.07 percent per annum for five-year, seven-year, 10-year and 15-year term bonds while the rate remained unchanged for 30-year term bonds.

    In the secondary market, the total number of government bonds in outright transactions reached over 1.02 billion, which was equivalent to 113.6 trillion VND (5 billion USD), a month-on-month surge of 8.6 percent.

    The total volume of government bonds in repurchase agreement (repo) trading stood at more than 851 million, valued at over 85.3 trillion VND (3.8 billion USD), down 31 percent from last month.

    Foreign investors also made outright purchases of more than 291 billion VND (12.8 million USD). They made no repo transactions in September.

    Vegetable, fruit exports estimated at 2.64 billion USD

    Exports of fruits and vegetables in the first nine months of the year are estimated at 2.64 billion USD, a year-on-year surge of 44.2 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

    China, the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea are largest import markets of Vietnam which all together occupy 85.4 percent of total vegetable and fruit export value. Meanwhile, strong export growth was recorded in Japan (64.6 percent), the United Arab Emirates (64.4 percent) and China (60.2 percent).

    The MARD said that unfavourable weather conditions, especially recent storms, affected vegetable and fruit supply in July and August. However, the market has seen signs of recovery recently.

    In the nine-month period, the country splashed out 1.15 billion USD on purchasing fruits and vegetables from foreign countries, up 78.2 percent from the same time last year.

    Vietnam Airlines aims to transport 25 million passengers in 2018

    The national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, said that it plans to transport about 25 million passengers in 2018, a rise of 10.8 percent against the previous year’s figure. 

    The carrier also expects to transport around 320,000 tonnes of cargo during the year.

    Besides, Vietnam Airlines will mobilise resources to implement its key projects in a bid to improve its competitiveness as well as the efficiency of production and business. These projects cover its fleet, infrastructure and information technology. 

    In 2017, the company looks to serve 21.9 million passengers, up 6.2 percent year-on-year, and an estimated 310,000 tonnes of cargo, up 14.6 percent.    

    Monthly Ngoc Linh ginseng market to be held in Quang Nam

    The central province of Quang Nam will organise a monthly market to promote Ngoc Linh ginseng, part of the project to raise consumer awareness over Ngoc Linh ginseng.

    Nam Tra My District People's Committee announced the news during a press conference on September 29.

    According to Ho Quang Buu, chairman of Nam Tra My People's Committee, about 20 to 50kg of fresh ginseng will be sold at the market held at the district's centre. The first session will be held from October 1 to 3.

    The ginseng will cost from VND55m (USD2,400) to VND90m a kilo. The ginseng leaves cost from VND5.5m to VND6.5m a kilo. Over 20 stalls will be opened to introduce ginseng and its products. Other 30 stalls will be used to introduce other agriculture and craft products. 

    Visitors not only can buy genuine ginseng with a certificate of origin but can also enjoy various activities such as exchanges with the farmers, manufacturing companies or exploring cultural and cuisine of ethnic people.

    "A group of seasoned farmers, managers and state officials will evaluate the quality of the ginseng. The district will take responsibility if there is fake ginseng," Buu said.

    The project to grow and make Ngoc Linh ginseng a major product costs about VND9trn (USD397m). Le Tri Thanh, vice chairman of Quang Nam Province said they wanted to make ginseng a key product to drive local economic development and erase poverty for ethnic people in mountainous areas.

    Ginseng was first found on Ngoc Linh Mountain on the border between the Central Highlands Kon Tum Province and Quang Nam in the late 1960s. Last year, Ngọc Linh Ginseng was granted geographical indication in Quang Nam and Kon Tum provinces. It is regarded as one of the five best ginseng species in the world.

    Using smart phone in cultivating vegetables

    Doctor Duong Trong Hai, Director of the Institute of Science and Technology has introduced the Ilyra agriculture ecosystem along with his associates which enables anyone to cultivate vegetables using the VietGap process.

    Using the automatic Ilyra system, farmers don’t have to go to the garden but can still control the farming experience via smart phone or computer. All the watering, fertilizing, spraying, or harvesting processes are programmed.

    This allows anyone even those who don’t have any farming technique to cultivate. Doctor Duong Trong Hai said that in addition to automation, the system also enables origin tracing. 

    “The system is useful for farmers and big agricultural producers because it enables growers to make their cultivation process transparent. The public or agencies can collect accurate information about products from the system,” said Doctor Hai. 

    The system helps urban people to grow vegetables for their daily meals and also big gardeners to pursue large-scale production. 

    Doctor Ngo Thi Lam Giang, Deputy Director of the Agriculture Biology Institute of Nguyen Tat Thanh University said automatic production on a large scale helps save labor and costs and ensure strict technical factors which traditional cultivating methods cannot meet. Circled production and transparent information will help growers earn customers’ trust. 

    Ms Giang said “We found the system feasible and a breakthrough, technologically. The system connects all factors in a chain enabling us to manage from the cultivation process to consumption.”

    The research group is finalizing the system which has proved successful in growing 7 vegetable species. They plan to program the cultivation process on more plants and herbs and establish an electronic business system to connect growers with consumers.

    Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement ratification expedited

    Some pending issues around the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement are being settled to ensure that the deal will be ratified early next year.

    The Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is being struck with bilateral relations between Vietnam and the EU developing well, especially in economics and trade.

    Under the agreement, the two sides will remove more than 99% of tariff lines and offer customs quotas or tariff reductions for other products.

    The strong commitment to opening their markets is considered one of the agreement’s breakthroughs, particularly enhancing Vietnam-EU trade relations in garments, textiles, footwear, agricultural products, machinery, equipment, automobiles, and some EU farm produce.

    The agreement will also create new market access opportunities in services and investment. Vietnam has agreed to a liberalization of trade in financial services, telecommunications, and postal and courier services. Vietnam will also remove or cut production restrictions in food, beverage, and non-food sectors for EU businesses.

    With commitments to secure a more open investment and business environment, the deal will increase investment flows from the EU and other partners to Vietnam.

    This could make Vietnam a transit hub connecting EU trade and investment activities to Southeast Asia.

    Alann Bouvot, CEO of SODEX Sport Vietnam, which has done business in Nha Trang City since 1991, said “I’m quite optimistic about Vietnam’s investment environment. I have witnessed improvements in the local investment climate in 26 years investing there. 

    Since 2017 Sodex has invested in a new production facility covering an area of 15,000 m2.  Our investment in Vietnam has brought us advantages in the entire Southeast Asian region. With a strategy to globalize our products, our presence in Vietnam is a key factor.”

    At a recent workshop on the agreement in Brussels, Jean-Jacques Bouflet, a member of the EuroCham Executive Committee, said that to quickly realize the benefits of the deal, both sides should speed up negotiations in this decisive period.

    Nguyen Hoang Long, Director of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Vietnam Foreign Ministry, said EU enterprises expect the deal to be signed soon and become an effective tool to protect them.

    “The EU, represented by EU’s chief negotiator Mauro Petriccione, said that the early adoption of the EVFTA will be one of its priorities. 

    It will work closely with Vietnamese partners so that ratification in the European Parliament and negotiations with partners in the EU will soon be completed,” said Hoang Long.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 10/04/17--00:36: Article 6
  • Vietnam tops ASEAN with September PMI at 53.3


    Vietnam tops ASEAN with September PMI at 53.3, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking newsLatest Nikkei Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index puts Vietnam well ahead of its ASEAN peers. 



     The headline Nikkei Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) strengthened to 53.3 in September from 51.8 in August, driven by faster rises in output, new orders, and employment on the back of stronger customer demand.
    The end of the third quarter saw an improvement in growth momentum at Vietnamese manufacturing firms, with the reading putting Vietnam at the top among its ASEAN peers, leaving the runners-up far behind with indicators standing at below 51.

    Anecdotal evidence highlighted an improvement in customer demand over the month. 

    This resulted in a sharp and accelerated increase in new business, the most marked in five months, with the rate of expansion in new export orders also quickening in September, the report noted. 

    Manufacturing output increased for the eleventh successive month, with the latest rise the most marked since April. 

    All three broad sectors saw production increase, led by consumer goods firms.

    Higher new orders contributed to capacity pressures, as signaled by a further rise in backlogs of work. 

    Some panelists also reportedly mentioned that staff shortages contributed to the build-up of outstanding business. 

    Firms responded to greater workloads by increasing their staffing levels. Moreover, the rate of job creation quickened to a six-month high.

    Manufacturers also used inventories to help fulfill new orders in September. 

    As a result, stocks of finished goods decreased for the third month running and to the greatest extent since July 2016. 

    A marked acceleration in the rate of input cost inflation was recorded, linked to higher prices for raw materials, including those sourced from China.

    The increase in input costs was the strongest since May 2011. 

    Rising input prices led firms to increase their output charges in September for the first time in five months. 

    That said, the rate of inflation was modest amid reports of competitive pressures.

    Higher new orders, and a subsequent rise in production requirements, encouraged firms to increase their purchasing activity at the end of the third quarter. 

    Manufacturers remained optimistic that output will increase over the coming year, with positive sentiment linked to predictions of new order growth and business expansion plans, according to the report.

    “The third quarter of the year ended on a positive note for Vietnamese manufacturers as improving client demand breathed fresh life into the sector,” said Mr. Andrew Harker, Associate Director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey. 

    “New orders rose markedly, feeding through to faster expansion of output, employment, and purchasing activity. Manufacturers are, therefore, well placed to record further growth during the final quarter.”

    “A cautionary note, though, is signaled by a reemergence of inflationary pressures,” he added. 

    “Cost inflation was the strongest in over six years amid pressure on the supply of raw materials.”

    VN Economic Times



    0 0
  • 10/04/17--00:45: Article 5
  • Vietnam attracts foreign investment, but technology transfer remains low


    One of the major purposes of Vietnam attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last 30 years is to receive technology to be transferred by foreign investors. 


    vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, technology transfer, MST, FDI 
    However, according to the 2016 World Economic Forum, the efficiency of technology transfer from foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) in Vietnam is surprisingly low. Vietnam ranked 57th in the world in 2009, while it ranked 103rd in 2014, falling by 46 grades after five years, much lower than other regional countries, including Malaysia (13th) Thailand (36th), Indonesia (39th) and Cambodia (44th).

    The analysis of other criteria also gives unsatisfactory results.

    In 2015, of five business fields which made up 49 percent of the added value of the whole industry, three were low technology fields, including the processing industry, textiles & garments, and footwear. The other two fields, mining and steel manufacturing, had medium technology.

    One of the major purposes of Vietnam attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last 30 years is to receive technology to be transferred by foreign investors. 

    The industry which made up 12.2 percent in added value was electronics, computer and optical products. Though it is considered ‘hi-tech industry’, the works implemented in Vietnam are simply assembling.

    The labor productivity in Vietnam industries increased very slightly, just 2.4 percent per annum in 2006-2015, or 3.9 percent lower than the country’s GDP growth rate.

    Analysts, when comparing the number of FDI projects and technology transfer contracts, found there were only 600 technology transfer contracts out of 14,000 FDI projects, or 4.28 percent.

    Regarding the quality of transferred technology, a report from MPI showed that more than 80 percent of FIEs use medium level technology, 14 percent low technology and only 5-6 percent use high technology.

    Analysts commented that the policies and business environment do not stimulate  technology transfer.

    Under decentralization, provincial authorities have the right to grant investment licenses to foreign investors. As localities try to attract more FDI, they rush to build industrial zones and offer very high investment incentives, which, in many cases, go beyond the national incentive frame.

    Some projects could not satisfy the requirements in some localities, but were still welcomed in other provinces.

    Meanwhile, FIEs don’t have power to transfer modern technology if they invest mostly in labor and capital intensive industries. Electronics and computer manufacturing are considered ‘high technology industries’, but the factories foreign investors have in Vietnam only assemble components, the work with the lowest value in the global production chain.

    A technology transfer cycle is considered complete when the transferee can master the technology and develop the technology. It is still unclear when the technology transfer cycle will be completed in Vietnam.


    Kim Chi,VNN


    0 0
  • 10/04/17--00:51: Article 4
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 3/10


    Businesses encouraged to invest in large-scale pepper production 

     Businesses encouraged to invest in large-scale pepper production, GDP in quarter three posts record high of 7.46%, Export import turnover might reach $400 billion this year, HCMC posts year on year GRDP growth rate

    Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh has suggested key pepper growing provinces such as Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Binh Phuoc and Dong Nai have more policies to encourage and create favourable conditions for businesses to invest in large-scale pepper production with high quality and efficiency.
    The ministry will issue Production Unit Codes (PUCs) to areas that qualify to produce peppercorns for export, he said.

    He suggested building concentrated pepper material areas and providing technical assistance for farmers to ensure food safety and create brands.

    Small-scale pepper growers should shift to other crops to avoid economic losses, he recommended.

    Vietnam exported 180,000 tonnes of pepper worth 965 million USD in the first nine months of 2017, up 22.2 percent in volume but down 19.6 percent in value compared to the same period last year.

    The country is home to about 130,000 hectares of pepper, mostly in the Central Highlands and the south-eastern region, according to the Department of Cultivation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The Central Highlands posted an average yield of 2.86 tonnes a hectare per crop, the highest in the country. Gia Lai had the highest yield of the region, 41.2 tonnes a hectare per crop. In some farms, yield could reach to 10 tonnes per hectare.

    GDP in quarter three posts record high of 7.46%

    The national gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter reached a record high of 7.46%, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

    GSO general director Nguyen Bich Lam said at a press conference in Hanoi on September 29 that the economic growth has shown positive signs. Significant breakthroughs have been made in the processing and manufacturing sector and export activities.

    He added the restructuring of agriculture, forestry and fisheries as a whole, as well as the role of an “enabling State” has proven effective. The major balances of the economy have been sustainable, and inflation has been curbed.

    The GDP growth in the year to September grew by 6.41%, driven by a 2.78% pickup in agriculture, forestry and fishery, a 7.17% rise in industry and construction, and a 7.25% improvement in services.

    The speedy recovery and growth of the processing and manufacturing sector, and the impressive result of the services sector are major factors contributing to the economy’s overall growth rate.

    In particular, the processing and manufacturing sector rose by a sharp 16.63% in quarter three, the highest since 2011 thanks to electronics products, computers, phones, metals and metal products.

    The production index of electronic products, computers and phones in quarter three rocketed to 45.5% against the year-ago period, making the January-September period increase to 25.1%, as the Samsung Group expanded its production of high-valued electronic products.

    Vietnam fetched US$154 billion in export revenue in the nine-month period, a year-on-year rise of 19.8%.

    The consumer price index (CPI) last month rose by 0.59% compared to August, expanding 1.83% against December 2016, and 3.04% year-on-year. Overall, the average CPI inched up 3.79% in the year to September.

    As such, the target to curb inflation and keep the all-year CPI of less than 4% is attainable.

    Direct and indirect foreign investments amounted to US$25.5 billion in the nine months, increasing by 34.3% year-on-year.

    The country has had over 93,900 startups with total registered capital of around VND902.7 trillion in the nine-month period, up 15.4% and 43% respectively over the same period last year. Notably, around 21,100 suspended enterprises had resumed operations, rising 2.9% year-on-year and bringing the total number of businesses that have been newly established and resumed business to over 115,000.

    The GSO general director said this year’s 6.7% growth target will come true if the GDP in the last quarter reaches 7.31%. This is an ambitious target, however.

    He stressed the positive results in the past nine months, especially the trend in the third quarter, has created a strong momentum, and thus the GDP growth target for 2017 will likely be met.

    Export import turnover might reach $400 billion this year

    With the export import turnover of over US$30 billion a month as present, Vietnam might obtain an extra of $100 billion in the fourth quarter and set a new record of up $400 billion a year. 

    According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, export import value totaled $37.6 billion in September, up 0.9 percent over the same period last year.

    During the first nine months this year, the value is estimated to reach $308.51 billion, up 21.4 percent over the same period last year. That is a positive sign as the value has been nearly triple that during the same period last year.

    Of these, export value hit $154.03 billion, increasing 19.8 percent and import hit $154.48 billion, hiking 23.1 percent.

    HCMC posts year on year GRDP growth rate

    The Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) in HCMC reached 7.97 percent in the first nine months this year, higher than 7.76 percent during the same period last year.

    That was reported at the opening session of the 14th conference of the executive board of the HCMC Party Committee on October 3.

    Economic structure has changed according to growth model. Service sector accounted for 57.2 percent, industry and construction 25.1 percent and agriculture 0.7 percent.

    Total retail sales of goods and services is estimated to increase 10.82 percent and total export turnover hit $26.3 billion, up 15.7 percent. Import increased 16.9 percent, up 13 percent.

    Social investment capital made up 30.6 percent of GRDP. Of these, the city gave capital priority to implementing key projects to solve urgent issues such as traffic jam and flooding and seven breakthrough programs of the city.

    First unique fair of Ngoc Linh ginseng in Quang Nam Province

    The first unique fair of Ngoc Linh ginseng opened on October 1 in the central province of Quang Nam's Nam Tra My mountainous district, the habitat of the plant. 

    The event in the district culture, sport center with over 50 booths including 20 booths displaying Ngoc Linh ginseng and its products and 30 booths exhibited agriculturre and forestry product and handicrafts such as sinnamon Tra My, visually-striking Vietnamese tho cam (brocade), various herbs and specific produces of the mountainous district.

    As per the organizer, it is planned to sell 20 – 50 kilogram of fresh gingseng at the fair. Price of a ginseng fluctuates from VND55 – VND65 million ($2,420 - $2,860) per kilogram ( 36 bulbs of ginseng per one kilogram)  and VND80 – VND90 million ( ten bulbs of ginseng per kilogram), while fresh leave fetches VND5.5 – 6.5 million a kilogram. Especially, some ginseng with beautiful shape has cost of tens of millions of dong.

    Chairman of People's Committee in Nam Tra My District Ho Quang Buu said the fair is organized to bring genuine gingseng to customers; accordingly, a group of gingseng experts is present at the fair to verify the products as well as instruct people how to distinguish fake and genuine gingseng.

    People's Committee will be held accountable if people detect fake gingseng at the fair.

    Additionaly, there had been exchange people with farmers and enterprises and visitors enjoyed dishes of mountainous residents.

    Root of Ngoc Linh Ginseng contains 52 saporins. It is recognized as one of the five most valuable and rare ginseng species in the world because it possesses such a diversity of medicinal properties.

    Accordingly, the Prime Minister June 5 signed a decision to recognize the ginseng as the national product.

    Ginseng was first found on Ngoc Linh Mountain on the border between the Central Highlands Kon Tum Province and Quang Nam in the late 1960s. Since then, the two provinces have cooperated to preserve and grow the precious tree. Quang Nam province has 15,000 hectares of land for growing the ginseng.

    Vietnam seeks to diversify its seafood markets as exports to US decline

    The United States remains one of the largest importers of Vietnamese shrimp and catfish but revenues from this market have been falling in recent months, forcing Vietnamese exporters to seek new markets.

    According to the VASEP, an association of seafood producers and exporters, Vietnam’s catfish exports to the US reached US$18.44 million in August, down 58.5% from the previous month and down 54.8% compared with the same month of 2016. Total catfish export revenues to the world’s largest economy in the seven months through to July only rose by 3.3% over the same period of last year to US$220.8 million.

    Shrimp exports to the US declined 5.5% during the period, while exports to Japan, the European Union and China surged by 35.2%, 20.5% and 106.3% respectively, throwing the US into fourth position among the largest export markets of Vietnamese shrimps.

    Such a decrease was attributed to the US imposition of trade protection measures on Vietnamese seafood, which levied the highest anti-dumping taxes among Vietnam, India and Thailand. Meanwhile, the price of raw shrimp in the domestic markets has also been rising steadily and remains high, thereby increasing input costs and weakening the competitiveness of Vietnamese shrimp products in comparison with those of Indonesia, India and Thailand.

    Furthermore, the sharp decline of catfish exports to the US in August was attributed to a decision by the US Food Safety and Inspection Service to inspect all shipments of Vietnamese catfish as of August 2.

    According to the VASEP Secretary-General Truong Dinh Hoa the 5.5% decline in shrimp exports to the US is not too large but is a warning for Vietnamese seafood enterprises as for years the US has been the largest importer of this food. Therefore in the long run, it is necessary to seek solutions to both deal with the technical barriers from the US and to introduce Vietnamese shrimp to other markets.

    Currently Japan’s demand for Vietnamese shrimp is rising and the world’s third largest economy is expected to become a steady market for a long time. In addition, China has recently emerged as a new destination for Vietnamese shrimp but, according to many exporters, the market is not quite stable. Besides these aforementioned markets, the Republic of Korea, Australia and Brazil are new potential markets for Vietnamese enterprises’ export market diversification strategies.

    In addition to shrimp, Vietnamese catfish processors and exporters should make efforts to raise their product quality. These enterprises have stated that they will be more careful in selecting raw catfish for processing when exporting to the US, while striving to penetrate other markets and focusing on the domestic market which has been neglected for years.

    Creating motivation for sustainable economic growth

    The impressive gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 7.46% in the third quarter of 2017 has opened up the possibility of achieving the economic growth target of 6.7% for the whole of 2017. However, experts say that the most important thing is to create a driving force for sustainable economic growth.

    According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), the GDP in the third quarter of 2017 was estimated to increase by 7.46%, raising the GDP growth rate in the first nine months of the year to 6.41%.

    GSO General Director Nguyen Bich Lam said that the spectacular growth rate was attributed to advances in numerous economic sectors.

    The aquatic sector recorded a 5.42% increase over the same period in 2016, contributing 0.17 percentage points to the overall economic growth rate, demonstrating the efficiency of converting rice cultivation to aquaculture.

    In particular, for the first time in many years, the processing and manufacturing industry has grown impressively at 12.77%, thanks to significant contributions from various sectors, including electronic products.

    The production of electronic products grew 45.5% in the third quarter of this year (mainly due to the launch of Samsung's mobile product Galaxy Note 8), which is much higher than the growth rate of 5.9% witnessed in the first quarter and the 23.5% in the second quarter of this year.

    The revenue of electronics products in 2017 is forecast to increase by 17.7% over 2016, raising expectations for the high growth of the processing and manufacturing industry this year.

    In addition, the service sector has also seen advances, with a 9.2% increase in the total retail sales of goods and services in the first nine months of this year, contributing significantly to the national economic growth.

    GSO General Director Lam said that the GDP growth rate should increase by 7,31% in the fourth quarter in order to achieve the set target of 6.7% for the whole year, noting that this is not an easy task as statistics from 2011 to 2016 show that Vietnam has never achieved such a growth rate. However, with the spectacular growth in the third quarter, it is possible to expect a breakthrough in the fourth quarter, Lam added.

    Dr. Le Dinh An, former director of the National Centre for Socio-Economic Information and Forecasting, said that based on the published GDP statistics, there is a clear basis to believe that the government will achieve the GDP growth target of 6.7% this year. In addition, factors that have pushed up the economic growth in the third quarter, such as mining and exports of electronic products, are forecast to advance further in the fourth quarter.

    Lam noted that Vietnam still faces many challenges despite the possibility of achieving the set growth target for the whole year.

    The State budget revenue and expenditure were too slow in the first nine months of this year. The total State budget revenue, as of September 15, was estimated at VND786.3 trillion (US$34.59 billion), equivalent to 64.9% of the year's estimate and the total budget expenditure was estimated at VND851.5 trillion (US$37.46 billion), equivalent to 61.2% of the year's estimate.

    Therefore, in the time ahead, Vietnam should develop measures to fulfil the task of State budget revenue and expenditure in 2017.

    Besides, unexpected natural disasters have also created negative impacts on agricultural production, requiring further efforts from the related authorised agencies in the remaining months of the year. The total damage caused by natural disasters in the past nine months was estimated at nearly VND21.5 trillion (US$946 million), equivalent to approximately 0.64% of the GDP.

    Dr. Le Dinh An stated that the impressive growth in the third quarter is a great sign, demonstrating that the efforts of the Government have paid off. However, Vietnam has yet to finish renewing its growth model and building an economy with an advanced development model.

    An added that the total investment capital for development purposes in the first nine months of 2017 was estimated to account for 33.9% of the GDP, showing that growth was mainly based on capital investment which is a primitive growth model that Vietnam is striving to change.

    In addition, Vietnam is relying on cheap labour and conducting outwork which can be seen by the significant contributions made by Samsung to the economic growth.

    Dr. Vu Dinh Anh said that the high growth rate in the third quarter is a big surprise and the growth rate target of 6.7% for the entire 2017 is feasible, while recommending that the Government reviews the adjustment of micro-policies to ensure sustainable growth in the future.

    UOB launches Business Banking service for SMEs

    Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) has launched a Business Banking service dedicated to help small businesses in Vietnam grow. This follows the State Bank of Vietnam’s licensing of UOB as a foreign-owned subsidiary bank on September 26.

    Mr. Lawrence Loh, UOB’s Head of Group Business Banking, said the bank is committed to supporting the growth of Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which, in turn, have a major role to play in the country’s continued economic development. 

    “SMEs are the backbone of economies in Asia, and account for 97 per cent of Vietnamese companies,” Mr. Loh said. “They are essential to the health of the economy through the goods and services they provide and the jobs they create. Over the last 80 years, UOB has gained first-hand understanding of what it takes to help small businesses prosper and to grow. We have designed our business banking services specifically to meet the needs of small businesses, to enable them to seize business opportunities such as exporting their products and services overseas.”

    “To make it easier for small businesses to apply for the services they need, we are also introducing the first in-market digital solutions,” he went on. “For example, companies can easily submit their account application through UOB Vietnam’s website or the bank’s mobile app for businesses, UOB Business, without needing to visit the UOB branch. UOB will then process the application and, if approved, the business can use their account or receive in-principle approval for their loan applications in just one business day.”

    To help small business owners manage their business more effectively, UOB has put together a range of financial solutions to meet their unique needs. This includes transaction accounts to manage day-to-day expenses and operations, small business loans to finance the growth of the business and extend cash flows, and trade financing solutions to manage import and export supply chain payments.

    One company that has used UOB’s Business Banking services is the Grown Tech Company, specializing in mobile and tablet trading. The company aimed to increase sales by introducing new products to its customers and needed additional capital to do so.

    “We have been growing our business steadily through online sales channels and recognized that we needed new products to meet the increasing demand from our customers,” said Ms. Dang Thi Khanh Le, Managing Director of the Grown Tech Company. “We faced many difficulties in trying to secure the funding needed until we started working with UOB. We received prompt approval from the bank and the funds enabled us to expand our product range to grow our business.”

    Mr. Harry Loh, Vietnam Country Manager, UOB Ho Chi Minh City Branch, said that UOB will organize knowledge-sharing seminars in the city, through which small business owners can learn from their peers and adapt the experience to finance the growth of their business more effectively. The seminars will also offer insight into the ways in which they can use digital solutions to take advantage of export opportunities.

    “Running an SME is demanding and often leaves business owners with little time to identify new business opportunities,” he said. “Through the seminars, we hope that SMEs in Vietnam will be able to learn from the experiences of others and use the insights to optimize the output of their business strategy and leapfrog to the next stage of growth.”

    Talentnet to hold first Business Innovation Showcase in Singapore

    October 25 to 27 tour to Singapore to provide opportunities for Vietnamese business leaders and HR heads to engage with six award-winning companies recognized for their best business and talent management strategies.

    The Talentnet Corporation has announced it will host its first Business Innovation Showcase on October 25 to 27 in Singapore, offering enterprises an exclusive three-day journey of networking in the island state with the theme “Cultivating Growth Through Creative & Proactive Business and People Management Practices”.

    Designed for business leaders and human resources (HR) heads, the tour aims at providing opportunities to engage with six award-winning companies recognized for their best business and talent management strategies: Cisco, Dimension Data, LinkedIn, NatSteel Holding, SATS, and the Sentosa Development Corporation.

    Exclusively for Vietnamese businesses and HR leaders, the intimate tour will provide a networking platform where these leading Singaporean companies will share their success stories on how cultural and workplace transformation have positively impacted their business outcomes.

    Those on the tour will also have the opportunity to network and engage with winners of the Singapore HR Awards and leading experts from the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI).

    Participating companies can also engage with leading HR experts and strategic business developers to gain a deeper understanding into leading HR practices for business innovation, leading HR models for business growth and talent management, and leadership development strategies.

    In August this year Talentnet held the Vietnam HR Awards 2017 and post-event activities to honor enterprises for their excellent HR policies since 2014. It also announced a strategic partnership between itself and the Singapore Management University - SMU Academy, in upgrading the profile of Vietnam’s workforce in the region.

    Sea seizes 82 per cent of Foody

    Sea, formerly known as Garena, was rumoured to have successfully bought 82 per cent of Foody’s shares, officially becoming the largest shareholder of the Vietnamese gourmet application.

    According to newswire Deal Street Asia, rumour has it Southeast Asia’s Sea Ltd., spent $64 million purchasing shares of a Vietnam-based company that provides restaurant reviews and supports customers on their quest to find memorable culinary experiences.

    In late September, according to the national business registration system, foreign-owned firm Airview Investment, Sea’s official contact entity in Singapore, acquired a total of 415,652 public shares of Foody, approximately 82 per cent.

    However, both Sea and Foody have not yet confirmed this information.

    Given the past relations between Singaporean and Vietnamese companies in the e-commerce industry, the aforementioned company is likely to be Foody.

    Earlier, in 2016, Sea also made its way into the Southeast Asia by pouring investment in Hanoi-based flash deal startup Jamja.vn.

    In May 2017, Sea raised a hefty $550 million in series E funding and was re-branded to Sea Limited.

    “We intend to take advantage of investment opportunities and purchase strategies to develop customer database, enhancing market penetration and continuing to complement subsidiary services and products,” Sea’s spokesperson noted.

    At the time, the rebranding decision was the outcome of Sea’s strategy of business diversification and expansion in order to compete with other e-commerce giants like Lazada (backed by Alibaba) and Amazon, which has been hinting at penetrating the same target region.

    Meanwhile, the acquisition of Foody could also expand Airpay, the company’s online payment platform. Another Foody operation, DeliveryNow, is utilising the Airpay’s platform. The financial services platform was introduced in Vietnam in 2014.

    To date, the company’s portfolio includes the Garena platform, Airpay, and online shopping application Shopee, all of which have been introduced in Vietnam.

    “Our capability of penetrating the Greater Southeast Asia market is still fairly limited due to the number of subscribers and our share of discretionary consumer purchases. We also believe that expanding our trademark will deepen our moats to defend the company’s position in the e-commerce market,” Sea’s representative shared with Deal Street Asia.

    Greater Southeast Asia implies the seven e-commerce markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

    Sea raised series B funding (expanding market reach) in Foody in July 2015.

    Founded in 2012, Foody is one of the most successful start-up stories in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Tiger Global Management raised series C funding (injecting capital into the business to gain more profit) at the same time as Sea.

    KDF becomes new UpCom eye-candy

    At the first transaction session on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX)’s UpCom trading platform under the code KDF, Kido Frozen Foods’ shares saw avid attention from foreign investors.

    Notably, on September 28, KDF made 56 million shares, representing a capitalisation of VND2.71 trillion ($119.2 million), officially available for trading at the initial reference price of VND60,000 ($2.64) apiece. After the first transaction, 1.17 million shares were handed over to investors, 678,000 shares of which were taken over by foreign investors.

    On the second day of transaction, foreign investors continued buying into the company with gusto.

    According to Euromonitor’s report, in 2017, the Vietnamese ice-cream and frozen dessert industry has soared by 7 per cent in quantity and 15 per cent in value. KDF maintains its first position in terms of market share with 40 per cent, up 2 per cent on-year.

    Euromonitor, the world's leading independent provider of strategic market research, reported that KDF has numerous competitive advantages, including advantages in terms of taste, price, product diversity, as well as coverage. The market research firm highlighted Merino and Celano as two of KDF’s outstanding brands.

    At present, KDF’s products are sold in two channels. One is the traditional channel, including distributors, second-tier agencies, and retail agencies, while the second is a more modern channel, namely supermarkets, convenience stores, hospitals, industrial parks, canteens, as well as large-scale amusement areas. In the coming time, convenience stores, supermarkets, and hypermarkets are considered important distribution channels of the ice-cream industry in general and KDF in particular.

    In 2017, KDF has opened an additional 10,000 retail points, increasing the number of its total retail points to 80,000 across the country.

    Continuously expanding its distribution system and diversifying its products have contributed to KDF’s increase in market share, leading to an increase in revenue. Notably, in the nine months of this year, the company earned VND1.23 trillion ($54.1 million) in net revenue, up 7.8 per cent on-year.

    The company has been investing in facilities, including factories and freezers for retail agencies, to expand its operation.

    Notably, in November 2016, it took the Bac Ninh frozen food factory into operation, with the annual capacity of 6,000 tonnes of ice-cream and 9,000 tonnes of yogurt, 170 per cent higher than the total capacity of its existing factory in Ho Chi Minh City. The factory helps to decrease logistics expenditure and contributes to increasing the coverage for its products in the northern region.

    Besides, it bought an additional 10,000 freezers for retailers, increasing the number of its total freezers to 50,000.

    According to the KDF management board, the expenditures for operation expansion have short-term impacts on revenue and profit, however, these investments are necessary to maintain its leading position as well as penetrate the frozen food manufacturing industry, which is considered more lucrative than the ice-cream sector, with the expected value of VND4.19 trillion ($184.3 million) by 2022.

    In 2016, KDF started expanding its operations in the frozen food manufacturing sector via debuting a variety of dumplings to meet the different demands for taste in different regions.

    Besides, KDF also entered into a co-operation with Dabaco Foodstuffs Processing Co., Ltd. to produce numerous new frozen products, including fresh sausages and canned food among others, which are expected to debut in the fourth quarter of this year.

    Isuzu Vietnam Auto Care Centre rolls into service

    Isuzu Vietnam Auto Care Centre promises to be Isuzu’s strategic step in winning Vietnamese customers’ hearts.

     Isuzu Vietnam, part of Japanese automotive giant Isuzu Motors, officially inaugurated Isuzu Vietnam Auto Car Centre (IAC) on September 29 at Tan Phu Trung Industrial Zone in Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi district.

    Kicked-off construction on March 23, 2017, after six-month intensive construction, IAC which is located at lot B6-6, Bloc B6, D2 Road in Tan Phu Trung IZ, has completed construction and is slated to commence operation from this month.

    IAC is designated to handle three core functions: a training base of repair and maintenance skills for truck and pickup lines for Isuzu agent technicians; a warehouse centre where genuine components and parts are kept in a big volume to meet burgeoning market demands; and providing support to Isuzu sales agents in major overhauls going beyond the agents’ capacity.

    Isuzu Vietnam has been developing by leaps and bounds in the Vietnamese market in recent years, attesting through its strong investment commitments.

    Besides expanding the agent network and promoting commercial and family-oriented vehicle lines the company has been constantly trying for perfection in the components and after-sales service aspect.

    In addition, with the commitment of Northwest Saigon City Development Corporation (SCD) - the developer of Tan Phu Trung IZ in providing utmost support to the investors, IAC promises to be Isuzu’s strategic step in satisfying Vietnamese customers’ demands.

    Isuzu Vietnam is a joint venture operating in assembling and distributing vehicles with the brand Isuzu, the world leading brand for commercial vehicles and diesel engines.

    The company chose Tan Phu Trung IZ as the location for its auto care centre due to the latter’s convenient location, smart planning and investment incentives that have made the IZ very appealing to both domestic and foreign investors.

    EU – major importer of Vietnam bamboo, rattan, sedge products

     Vietnam bamboo, rattan and sedge products have been exported to more than 20 countries in the world, of which the EU made up 35.5% of total value, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    Exports of these products hit US$170.7 million in the first eight months of this year, up 1.5% against the same period last year.

    The EU was the biggest consumer of Vietnam products with US$60.7 million in eight months (up 7.76%), trailed by Japan and the US with US$5 million and US$4.4 million, respectively. Other markets having value of more than US$1 million each included Germany (US$2 million), the Republic of Korea (US$1.2 million) and Australia (US$1 million).

    Generally, 61.9% of markets obtained growth in the first eight months. Belgium saw the highest growth of 52% to US$2.4 million.

    Thanh Hoa province promotes investment in Germany

    A conference was held in Berlin on October 2 to promote investment in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa as part of the working trip to Germany by senior officials from the Vietnamese province.

    The visit marked a new development in the relations between Thanh Hoa and Germany in general and German business community in particular.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee and Vice Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Dinh Xung introduced his province’s strengths and potential with rich minerals and abundant human resources as well as numerous incentives. 

    The province has seen vigorous and comprehensive development in all fields in recent years, he noted.

    Germany is one of the leading industrialised countries in Europe and its businesses boast huge potential with high technologies, he said, adding that this is the reason why Thanh Hoa authorities want to learn experience from the country.

    The conference creates a good chance for Thanh Hoa to introduce its advantages to German firms as well as share information and cooperation opportunities in the fields of mutual interests, he said.

    Xung pledged to create the best conditions for German investors to do business in the province.

    Thanh Hoa will be a reliable and long-term partner of foreign businesses, especially those from Germany, he affirmed.

    Vietnamese Trade Counsellor Nguyen Huu Trang said Germany, a leading economy in the world with strengths in industry and services, is proactively seeking investment cooperation opportunities with countries, including Vietnam.

    Thanh Hoa has a lot of attractive fields to German investors, he said, urging local authorities to devise more incentives to facilitate their investment.

    Many German businesses attending the event expressed their wish to explore the investment opportunities in the Vietnamese locality.

    Contract signed for world’s most modern hot-rolled mill

    Hoa Phat Dung Quat Steel Joint Stock Company and Italy’s metal plants supplier Danieli Company have signed a contract to install thin slab caster and hot-rolled mill for the Hoa Phat Dung Quat iron and steel production complex in the central province of Quang Ngai.

    Under the contract, Danieli will be responsible for supplying equipment to the Quality Strip Production (QSP) line and Compact Endless Cast and Rolling Mill Complex, consisting of two casting machines, two tunnel furnaces and one lamination mill.

    The plant is expected to produce 3.5 million tonnes of steel per year and its capacity can be expanded to 4 million tonnes per year for the second phase.

    Steel products will include hot rolled steel coil, low carbon steel, high strength low alloy steel and medium carbon, high strength medium alloy steel.

    They are used for producing special steel pipes, roofing and other special products. Currently, these products are being completely imported.

    Tran Dinh Long, Chairman of the Hoa Phat Group, stressed that the categories of thin slab caster and hot-rolled mill were most important for the Hoa Phat Dung Quat iron and steel production complex.

    The complex is designed to have an annual capacity of 4 million tonnes. Work on its first phase kicked off in February 2017 and is scheduled to finish within 21 months. The second phase of the project also began in August 2017 and the whole project is expected for completion in late 2019.

    Local large cap stocks perform poorly

    Shares on October 2 fell further on the HCM Stock Exchange as large-cap stocks continued performing negatively on poor market sentiment.

    The benchmark VN-Index on the southern market lost 0.27 percent to close at 802.23 points. It was down 0.05 percent on September 29.

    The VN-Index had rose as much as 0.45 percent to reach its intraday high of 808.09 points during October 2’s session.

    Nearly 119.5 million shares were traded on the southern exchange, worth 2.78 trillion VND (123.8 million USD).

    October 2’s trading figures were down 14.3 percent in volume and 10 percent in value compared to September 29. These were also the lowest liquidity figures recorded since February 2017.

    Large-cap stocks underperformed with the VN30 Index, which tracks the performance of the 30 largest companies by market capitalisation and liquidity, fell 0.25 percent to 790.70 points.

    Seventeen of the 30 largest companies in the VN30 basket declined while 12 others advanced and only one closed flat.

    The worst decliners included insurance-finance firm Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), Thanh Thanh Cong Tay Ninh Sugar Co (SBT), Sacombank (STB) and food producer Kido Group (KDC).

    Foreign investors remained net buyers but their net sell value on October 2 dropped 5.4 percent to 45.8 billion VND from September 29.

    “The first trading session of October was very bad, with liquidity dropping sharply, gainers being outnumbered by losers by nearly a 2:1 ratio and foreign investment being weak,” Vietnam Investment Securities Company (IVS) said in its daily report.

    The VN-Index had weakened considerably in the late period of the last three trading sessions and the benchmark is now only two points away from 800 points, IVS said. “If the VN-Index fails to hold onto that level, the stock market will likely go through a hard-correction period.”

    However, there is a chance that the VN-Index could move narrowly around the level of 800 points without any positive signals about its future development, the brokerage said. “The market will continue weakening and may extend its correction to the end of the year if demand remains negative,” IVS said.

    In addition, the third-quarter earnings reports were unlikely to provide a strong boost for local stocks as investors had already priced in the gains of those stocks based on forecasts and intel sources of higher earnings results, the securities company said.

    On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index inched down 0.13 percent to end at 107.51 points. It gained 0.2 percent on September 29. Nearly 52 million shares were traded on the northern market, worth 468.7 billion VND.

    Retail sales post significant increase in 9 months

    The total retail sale value of goods and services from January to  September posted the highest year-on-year increase in 2017, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

    The latest updates revealed that the total retail sale jumped by 10.5 percent over the same period last year, and 9.2 percent if inflation was excluded, with a value touching more than 2.9 quadrillion VND (129.6 billion USD).

    In comparison, the increases were 8.9 percent in the eight-month and 8.7 percent in the seven-month periods, and 8.4 percent in the first half of this year.

    The increase in the retail sale of the service sector contributed significantly to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first nine months of this year, even higher than the contribution of the finance-banking and insurance sector and real estate business, according to GSO.

    In the service sector, accommodation and catering services increased by 12 percent to touch 362.5 trillion VND, largely thanks to the improving tourism revenue.

    The retail sales of the goods totalled 2.18 quadrillion VND, up by 10.5 percent, in which, food and foodstuff was up by 9.8 percent, household appliances sales went up 11.3 percent, garment sales went up 14.9 percent, and the transport means went up 24.9 percent.

    According to Nguyen Bich Lam, GSO’s General Director, the considerable increase in the retail sale of the service sector demonstrated the transition of Vietnam’s economic structure.

    The country’s GDP grew 6.41 percent from January to September.

    Binh Duong: Industrial production index rises 9.48 percent

    The southern province of Binh Duong enjoyed a month-on-month rise of 5.09 percent in index of industrial production (IIP) in September and a 9.48 percent year-on-year increase in the first nine months of this year.

    According to the provincial People’s Committee, the number of workers in local firms in the reviewed period rose 1.76 percent from the previous month. The figure in State-owned enterprises was up 1.88 percent, while that of foreign direct invested firms was up 1.69 percent.

    Since early this year, the processing and manufacturing industry contributed 96 percent of total value of the sector.

    Some sectors recording good growth included food processing with 5.1 percent; garment, 5.7 percent; leather and related products, 11.9 percent; paper and pulp products, 6.2 percent; rubber and plastics, 12.7 percent; electronics, computers and optical products, 18.4 percent.

    The committee also revealed that along with support policies, the province has promptly remove obstacles and created favourable conditions for enterprises to improve competitiveness and expand market.

    The province expects good growth in the local index of industrial production in the rest of the year.

    Toyota technical training centre opens in Vinh Long

    The Vinh Long University of Technology Education and Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) launched a technical training centre in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long on October 2.

    This is the first time TMV has expanded its training programme to the south-western region in order to meet increasing demand for human resources for the automobile industry.

    In the first phase of the programme (2017-2020), TMV will support the university with modern equipment worth 80,000 USD to serve auto repair training.

    Rector of the university Cao Hung Phi said the university is one of the leading auto training facilities in the south, which is tasked to supply hi-tech human resources, particularly for the south-western and southern regions.

    Director General of TMV Toru Kinoshita said the centre is the sixth of its kind of the company in Vietnam. 

    He said he believes that the Vinh Long University of Technology Education will become a key high-quality training centre that is able to provide skilled technicians for TMV in the future.

    The Toyota technical training programme has been carried out by TMV since 2000 with a view to helping students from auto vocational training colleges access Toyota technologies.

    So far, more than 2,500 students have received training under the programme, including 540 recruited to work in TMV agents nationwide.

    WB pledges to help Hanoi launch more BRT routes

    The World Bank (WB) will continue sharing its experience and providing more financial assistance for Hanoi to launch more Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes, a WB specialist has said.

    During his working session with the municipal People’s Committee in Hanoi on October 2, Franz Drees-Gross, Director of the WB’s Transport and ICT Global Practice, highlighted the popularity of BRT in the world, saying that it has resulted in long-term benefits in transport and urban planning.

    He expressed his belief that the BRT model will soon prove effective in Hanoi.

    The World Bank will continue serving as a bridge connecting Hanoi with other cities in the Southeast Asian nations, he pledged.

    For his part, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Quoc Hung said the city will continue gathering comments from international experts and the community to enhance the operation and management of the BRT network to better serve residents.

    He also expressed his hope that the WB will continue providing active support for the city’s transport projects, contributing to the development of the capital city.

    The first BRT route, funded by the World Bank, was launched in Hanoi in late December last year, making Vietnam the eighth country in Southeast Asia to implement BRT.

    The system has helped ease traffic congestion in Hanoi.

    Reference exchange rate up 5 VND

    The daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD was set at 22,473 VND per USD on October 3, up 5 VND from the previous day. 

    With the current trading band of /-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,146 VND and the floor rate 21,800 VND. 

    The opening hour rates at major commercial banks remain stable, with Vietcombank, BIDV and Vietinbank kept their rates unchanged from October 2. 

    The greenback is traded at 22,690 VND (buying) and 22,760 VND (selling) at Vietcombank and 22,695 VND (buying) and 22,765 VND (selling) at BIDV. 

    Vietinbank listed its buying rate at 22,690 VND and selling rate 22,760 VND per USD.

    VinFast announces collection of sedan vehicles, SUVs     

    VinFast, the first Vietnamese automobile manufacturing complex opened by Vingroup, presented 20 sedan and SUV designs and officially launched a public contest to select the most favourite car models in Viet Nam on October 2.

    This is the first time that the Vietnamese people have been asked for their inputs, along with the automaker, to find modern cars matching with the world trend and is suitable with the tastes and demands of the Vietnamese market.

    The 20 vehicles designed specifically for VinFast come from four world renowned car design studios -- Pininfarina, Zagato, Torino and Ital Design -- who have brought to VinFast an impressive collection.

    Interestingly, despite different design styles, the cars have three things in common – luxury, modernity and following the global trend of high-end cars.

    The competition is aimed at understanding the expectations of the majority of domestic customers to find two luxurious and useful models of sedan and SUV that reflect the spirit and philosophy of the Vietnamese people.

    The 20 vehicles designed specifically for VinFast come from four world renowned car design studios including Pininfarina, Zagato, Torino and Ital Design.

    From October 2 to 16, the customers can vote on website http://www.binhchonmauxe.vinfast.vn. Each sample has a variety of images from different angles to showcase the car’s style and parts. Besides this, participants also have the opportunity to win attractive prizes. The first prize is worth up to VND500 million for those who have selected the best models under the two categories of sedan and SUV.

    In addition, VinFast will also host many interesting mini-games on its fanpage so that customers can directly share and comment on the models.

    "We want consumers to put their minds to the question – "What type of VinFast car do you want to own in the future?" The comments will be valuable motivation for us to produce cars which are not only safe and of high quality but also sleek and modern in line with the world trend and suitable for the people and topography of Viet Nam," Vice Chairman of Vingroup Nguyen Viet Quang said.

    With the motto Style - Safety - Innovation - Innovation - Pioneer, VinFast is utilising all its resources to roll out the first car in September 2019. Besides the selection and approval of vehicle designs, the company is also working with its partners, who are leaders in technology and consultancy, and market research companies to realise the dream of making a Vietnamese car that meets international standards. 

    Award winning car model contest

    The prizes of the VinFast car contest will have total value of VND1.1 billion (US$48,298), including the following:

    • First prize goes to the participant who meets both the conditions:

    (i) Selects the right sedan and SUV with the highest ratings.

    (ii) Predicts the correct ratings for the two models.

    • Two second prizes -- for one participant who votes sedan and one participant who votes SUV. The winners will be people who vote the most popular vehicles and mostpredicted the percentage of participants who have made the same selection but not won the first prize (If more people have the same result, the earliest participants cwill win).

    The prize is a voucher worth VND50 million, which can be used to purchase goods and services in the ecosystem of Vingroup.

    • 30 third prizes for 15 participants who voted sedan and 15 participants who voted SUV. The winners will be people who vote the most popular vehicles and mostpredicted the percentage of participants who have made the same selection but not won the second prize (If more people have the same result, the earliest participants cwill win).

    The prize is a voucher worth VND10 million, which can be used to purchase goods and services in the ecosystem of Vingroup.

    • 100 encouragement prizes for all eligible participants (who did not win the first prize, second and third prizes) who have the chance to win the award through random selection. The prize value is one VinID card worth VND2 million.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNEVET



    0 0
  • 10/04/17--00:57: Article 3
  • Vietnam plans to build Hoa Binh-Son La Expressway for US$2.2 billion


    The government has announced plans to build an expressway connecting Vietnam’s two northern provinces of Hoa Binh and Son La, at an estimated cost of VND50.27 trillion (US$2.2 billion). 

     Vietnam plans to build Hoa Binh-Son La Expressway for US$2.2 billion, social news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news

     The new road, which will extend the Hanoi-Hoa Binh Expressway, is expected to boost the socio-economic development in Son La province and other provinces in the north western region.
    Once complete, the expressway will help to form an uninterrupted corridor between the north western region and the Northern Key Economic Region, the north eastern provinces and Lach Huyen Port.

    Tourism potential in the Moc Chau Highlands and the Da Reservoir are also expected to be fully tapped through the construction of the new expressway.

    Currently National Highway 6 is the only major route linking the capital city with the north western provinces but the road has a lot of speed-restricting bends and often suffers from landslides.

    According to the approved plan, the Hoa Binh-Son La Expressway will have a total length of 189.5 kilometres, with construction being divided into two phases.

    The 85.4 kilometre long Hoa Binh-Moc Chau section will be built by 2020 at a cost of VND25 trillion (US$1.1 billion), while the remaining 104.1 kilometres will be constructed after 2020.

    The project will be implemented under a public-private partnership.

    Under the national expressway plan, Vietnam will have an expressway network of more than 6400 kilometres, with around 2,500 kilometres of it to be completed before 2020.

    Nhan Dan



    0 0
  • 10/04/17--01:01: Article 2
  • Social News 3/10


    Former Housing Group General Director stands trial 

     

    Former Housing Group General Director stands trial, Natural forests under Flitch project being destroyed, Doctors removes huge tumor, save 4-year-old’s life, Five crew members saved from sunken vessel
    Chau Thi Thu Nga at the trial  

    The Hanoi People’s Court on October 2 opened the first instance trial on Chau Thi Thu Nga, former Chairwoman and General Director of the Land and Housing Construction and Investment JSC (Housing Group) and her nine accomplices on the charge of swindling to appropriate assets. 

    The accomplices are four former Directors of Housing Group Nguyen Truong Son, Le Hong Cuong, Nguyen Vu Hung and Phan Thanh Tuyen; two former Directors of Housing Group Real Estate Trading Floor Nguyen Thi Tinh and Luu Thi Thuy; former chief accountant of Housing Group Pham Thi Thu Hanh; former Director and chief accountant of Housing Group Dinh Phuc Tieu; and former acting chief accountant of Housing Group Doan Thanh Thuy. 

    The court summoned 521 victims, including Hai Au Company and 68 other companies and individuals with related interests and obligations. 

    According to the indictment, Nga instructed the publishing of false information on the legal status and progress of the B5 Cau Dien housing project on the Housing Group’s website, for the purpose of wooing buyers of future apartments in the project.  

    She also created a model of the project based on the unapproved planning and displayed it at the headquarters of Housing Group. At the same time, Nga also instructed the planting of poles at the B5 Cau Dien project area to win buyers’ trust. 

    Between January 1, 2009 and July 30, 2013, Nga and her accomplices signed 752 contracts worth more than 377 billion VND (16.6 million USD) with apartment buyers at the projects. However, the project has not received approval and not carried out by now.

    After that, Nga returned just nearly 29 billion VND (1.26 million USD) to 43 buyers, and could not pay back the remaining 348 billion VND (15.4 million USD). She had no apartments to hand over to customers, neither.

    Despite being aware of the fact that the project has not been approved and granted construction licence, the nine former company execs helped Nga to cheat buyers.  

    The trial is scheduled to last until October 20.

    Bad weather causes cracks on Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm – Đình Vũ overpass

    The two 15m cracks on the surface of Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm – Đình Vũ overpass in northern Hải Phòng City’s Hải An District may be caused by bad weather and deep excavation.

    This was concluded on Monday, after officials of the city’s Department of Transport, the main investor of the overpass, conducted a field test and met consulting units and contractors to figure out the cause of the two cracks.

    Even though its surface has been carpeted and road lanes have been marked, the overpass has not yet been handed over and operated since some areas are still under construction.

    Lưu Quang Bôn, vice director of Bạch Đằng Construction Corporation and the project’s contractor, said that as soon as they spotted the cracks in the two bridgeheads, they notified the Hải Phòng City Department of Transport. However, at present, they are awaiting solutions from consulting units.

    “We guarantee that the main structure of the overpass is technically correct. We suspect that bad weather and deep excavation under the two sides of the bridge caused the cracks,” said Bôn. The city’s Department of Transport announced that they would collaborate with the contractors and consulting units to fix the cracks within a week, at the latest.

    The Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm - Đình Vũ overpass is aimed at improving the 356 route from Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm intersection to Đình Vũ street. The investment of VNĐ1.3 billion (US$57 million) is mobilised from the state and local budgets as well as other legal capitals.

    The project’s investor is Hải Phòng City Department of Transport and it is being constructed by the Bạch Đằng Construction Corporation and 12 Bridge Corporation.

    The 252.2m overpass is designed with seven arches, using a reinforced concrete girder. Construction on the project began on March 3, 2017, and was supposed to be completed in six months.

    Natural forests under Flitch project being destroyed

    Forests under the Flitch project in Tân Lương Ward, Sơn Hội Commune, Sơn Hòa District, are being destroyed to expand the planting area of acacia trees.

    Forests for Livelihood Improvement in the Central Highlands, also known as Flitch project, aims to improve forest cover; strengthen the capacity of management and utilisation of forests and forest land for organisations, communities and households; and sustainably manage and preserve biodiversity to improve people’s income.

    The project is being implemented in 60 wards of 22 districts in the provinces of Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Đăk Lăk and Lâm Đồng, as well as Phú Yên and Đăk Nông.

    Thanks to the project, Huỳnh Văn Trọng’s family was given 6.69ha of land, while the family of Nguyễn Thanh Hà, deputy head of Sơn Hội Ward People’s Committee, Sơn Hòa Commune, was given 13.327ha of land.

    After being granted land use rights in 2010, the two families started planting trees in 2012. Until September 2017, they proposed to exploit the plantation forests of acacia trees and were granted approval by the Sơn Hội Ward People’s Committee. However, in reality, they cut down hundreds of natural forest trees to expand the area of acacia trees.

    The deforestation has upset several residents.

    “The local authority prohibits people from cutting down trees in natural forests. Now, the destruction is happening publicly. The two families also hired trucks to gather wood along the Xuân Phước-Phú Hải road in Tân Lương Ward,” Nguyễn Văn Quý of Sơn Hội Commune said.

    According to another resident Nguyễn Thành Đáng, several local families have not been given any farming land, while local officials and their relatives are always prioritised. Further, people are also not allowed to enter the woods. Meanwhile, the public deforestation issue has not been resolved.

    On the other hand, Nguyễn Thanh Hà claimed his land was officially given by the authority. “I don’t know whether we cut down trees legally. However, as the document issued by Sơn Hội Ward People’s Committee allows us to exploit the planting area of acacia trees, we do it,” he added.

    Trần Ngọc Tây, head of Sơn Hội Ward People’s Committee, stressed that the ward had never permitted exploitation of natural forests. Additionally, Hà only asked to cut down acacia trees.

    According to Lê Văn Bé, head of Phú Yên Province’s Forest Protection Department, the department is conducting an investigation into the two families.

    About the Flitch project, Nguyễn Lý Nguyên, director of Phú Yên Province’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department, said the department had handed over plantation forest cover under the Flitch project to local authorities. However, some families flouted regulations, cutting down trees in the natural forest besides exploiting the plantation forest area.

    The department asked authorities of Đồng Xuân, Sơn Hòa and Sông Hinh districts where the Flitch project is being implemented to manage and protect the forest area and request people not to cut down trees in the natural forest.

    Trần Hữu Thế, deputy head of Phú Yên Province People’s Committee, ordered the Agriculture and Rural Development Department to collaborate with the provincial Forest Protection Department and Sơn Hội Ward People’s Committee to resolve the deforestation issue.

    Gia Hoét 1 levee breaks

    A portion of the Gia Hoét 1 dyke in Châu Đức District’s Quảng Thành’s Ward broke on Monday, flooding the residential area and sweeping away people’s cattle and assets.

    The levee breach was caused by the rising water level following heavy rainfall on September 30.

    According to funtional forces, at the time the dyke started breaking, the water level was 137.8m, higher than the inital design.

    Bùi Chí Thành, secretary of Châu Đức District People’s Committee, said it moved 25 families in danger to safe areas.

    The levee breach flooded 17ha of farming land in Quảng Thành, Xuân Sơn and Bình Trung communes and submerged people’s assets.

    The Gia Hoét 1 dyke is located behind Quảng Thành Ward’s residential area. Nearly 100 volunteers, troops and policemen collaborated to deal with the levee failure.

    Germany’s vocational training regime ‘good but does not suit’

    The German vocational education and training system, known as the dual training scheme, has proved highly effective it that country, but Vietnam finds it difficult to apply the system.

    Phan Kim Ho from the Supporting Committee for Vietnamese People in Germany said under the dual training scheme, students both learn and work at enterprises and vocational schools. After three years, they will take a graduation exam at the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce, and if qualified they are fir for jobs in the real world.

    Students are often proficient at many employment tasks, able to create value for enterprises after around just two years. Fresh graduates can easily land jobs, and therefore, Germany has a low unemployment rate and highly skilled workers, he said at a conference on vocational training in Dong Nai last Friday.

    The cornerstone of the dual training scheme is that enterprises have to accompany schools during the training process. Enterprises not only accept students for their internship program but also pay them salaries.

    Meanwhile, in Vietnam, it is tough to find internship places for vocational students, due to a slew of reasons. For example, enterprises will have to take a great deal of time to instruct fresh graduates, affecting their jobs without gaining any benefits.

    Trinh Thanh Toan, vice rector of Hoa Binh Xuan Loc Vocational College, said if the school has a close relationship with a certain company, it will be easier for students to take internship there.

    Besides, he said, Vietnamese young people lack curiosity and creativity, and they seem not interested in reading books, showing a low level of self-study.

    Dong Nai Province has an abundant source of workforce, with nearly two million people in the working age. However, the labor quality and structure have not been adequate, according to Mao Quoc Chung, head of Vocational Training Division under the provincial Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

    In particular, he said, around 42% of laborers in the agriculture sector have not undergone any training. The quality of workforce is low, and unskilled laborers make up 32% while trained workers account for 53%.

    Overall, he stressed, the province is facing a shortage of skilled employees and technical workers. Besides, even those workers who have been trained have not met the requirements of enterprises regarding their professional and soft skills.

    At the conference, the committee handed over copies of the book “Co Dien Tu” (mechatronics) to 11 vocational schools in Dong Nai. The book is published by Nhat nghe tinh (Master One Trade) bookcase of the Saigon Times Foundation, an arm of the Saigon Times Group, in partnership with the committee.

    President congratulates children on Mid-Autumn Festival

    President Tran Dai Quang has sent a letter of congratulations to Vietnamese children at home and abroad on the occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on October 4 this year.

    He said the Law on Children took effect from June 1 this year with a number of new and specific regulations on child rights and responsibilities of educational organisations, agencies and institutions as well as families and individuals in implementing the rights of children.

    The President wrote he was very happy to see children in natural disaster and flood areas had overcome difficulties to pursue learning. 

    He welcomed children representing their peers nationwide to attend the fifth National Children’s Forum to discuss the prevention of child abuse and violence.

    The President called on children to make more efforts to become good citizens and contribute to building a beautiful and rich country.

    Held in the 15th of the eighth lunar month, Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important and meaningful festivals in Vietnam.

    Toys and lanterns are an integral part of the mid-autumn festival parade. To the sounds of the drumbeat, children hold colourful lanterns and march on roads, and that is the most interesting part of the mid-autumn festival celebration.

    Traditional games will be played such as carrying rice across a bamboo bridge, see-saw, wooden horse, jumping-in-sack race, tug of war, stick-and-ball, clay crackers, board games and blindfolded drummer.

    Workshop highlights non-violence philosophy of Indian leader

    The Embassy of India in Vietnam and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) jointly held a workshop titled “Mahatma Gandhi: The Saint from Gujarat” in Hanoi on October 2.

    The event aimed to mark the 148th birth anniversary of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi (October 2, 1869), 45th anniversary of Vietnam-India diplomatic ties (1972), and 10 years of the International Day of Non-Violence (October 2).

    It gave an insight into the life of Mahatma Gandhi – a great national leader of India who is famous for the philosophy of “non-violence”.

    Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish said the workshop creates an opportunity for Vietnam and India to honour their friendship as well as commemorate the great father of India.

    On the occasion, the Vietnamese version of the book “The Essence of Hinduism” by Mahatma Gandhi was introduced to local readers.

    The over 400-page book is divided into five main parts highlighting the philosophy of Gandhi. It is part of a project sponsored by the VASS entitled “Knowledge about Hinduism and Hinduism in Vietnam”.

    Football tournament in RoK raises fund for poor students


     Former Housing Group General Director stands trial, Natural forests under Flitch project being destroyed, Doctors removes huge tumor, save 4-year-old’s life, Five crew members saved from sunken vessel  

    A football tournament for Vietnamese people in the Republic of Korea (RoK), the fourth of its kind, was held in Osan city, Gyeonggy province, on October 2 to raise fund for poor students at home.

    Addressing the opening ceremony, First Secretary of the Embassy of Vietnam in the RoK Cao Minh Duc highlighted the significant contributions the Vietnamese expatriates have made to the host country.

    Duc expressed his hope that the Vietnamese community in the RoK will continue enhancing their solidarity in the country while providing practical assistance for disadvantaged people at home, pledging that the embassy will continuously support such activities.

    Chairman of the Council of Osan city Hwan Son-Cheong extended his thanks to the overseas Vietnamese community for their contributions to the city and vowed to continue facilitating their living and working, thus promoting the Vietnam – RoK relationship, particularly in the people-to-people diplomacy.

    Nguyen Ngoc Cam, President of the Association of the overseas Vietnamese people in the RoK, said the event will be annually organised in the coming years.

    Last year’s tournament raised nearly 10,000 USD, which was used to build the Truong Xuan Primary School in Quang Ninh district, the central province of Quang Binh.

    The proceedings of this year’s event will be spent on building a boarding house for students at Tra Don school, Tra My district, the central province of Quang Nam.

    Currently, more than 150,000 Vietnamese people are living and working in the RoK, with one third being guest workers. The number is increasing fast together with strong development of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and the RoK, particularly in people-to-people diplomacy.

    Scholarships given to female students in Ben Tre

    The Ben Tre Women’s Association, on October 2, presented 200 Nguyen Thi Dinh scholarships for outstanding female students across the Mekong Delta province.

    The total value of these scholarships exceeded 200 million VND (8,800 USD). 

    The Nguyen Thi Dinh scholarship has annually been awarded to local female students at the beginning of a school year since 1996. Its recipients have to date amounted to more than 4,000.

    Sponsored by the German organisation Kinderhilfe Hyvong Vietnam eV, the fund aims at helping disadvantaged learners to pursuit education.

    Ingrid Sperling, head of the organisation, said her agency will continue backing the fund in hope of no girls quitting schools due to financial difficulties.-

    Tay Ninh: Tan Nam upgraded to international border gate

    The Prime Minister has approved a proposal to upgrade Tan Nam auxiliary border gate in the southwestern province of Tay Ninh into an international one, a local official has said.

    The Tan Nam border gate in Tan Binh commune, Tan Bien district, is opposite to Mien Chay border gate in Cambodia’s Pray Veng province. The border gates are some 150 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City and 120 kilometres from Phnom Penh.

    The international border gate pair is of significance, facilitating trade and economic activities of local people while shortening time travelling from the Vietnamese southern hub to Phnom Penh as compared to travelling through Moc Bai international border gate.

    Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Tran Luu Quang said at the committee’s meeting on October 2 that the province will recommend the Government to build Tan Nam into an eco-tourism border gate as it is located in Lo Go-Xa Mat national park.

    It is necessary to develop traffic roads and technical infrastructure to meet operation demand of an international border gate, he added.

    Tay Ninh province will house three international border gates, including Moc Bai, Xa Mat and Tan Nam and four major border gates - Ka Tum, Chang Riec, Phuoc Tan and Tong Le Chan and 11 auxiliary border gates along the border with Cambodia.

    Cham people in Ninh Thuan celebrate Kate festival

    The ethnic Cham Brahman people will hold the Kate festival, their most important event in the year, in the central province of Ninh Thuan from October 19-21. 

    Major activities will take place in temples, towers and central areas in villages and towns on October 19 morning. 

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Van Binh said a ceremony to receive a certificate recognising the Kate festival as a national tangible heritage will also be held in Po Klong Garai and Po Rome towers and Po Inungar shrine on October 19 morning. 

    Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Chau Thanh Hai said visitors to the event could witness rituals such as a costume procession, the opening of tower gates, genie statue bathing as well as enjoy Gi Nang drum and Saranai horn sounds.

    Falling on the first day of the seventh month of the Cham calendar, Kate is the most popular Cham festival in Ninh Thuan. It reminds the ethnic Brahman community of their ancient gods and delivers wishes for bumper harvests and the growth of all beings.   

    The Cham people have several distinctive festivals including the Ramuwan, the Rija Nugar, and the Chabun.

    There are about 153,000 Cham people in Vietnam, including approximately 72,500 people in Ninh Thuan. Over 43,000 of them, scattered across 12 communes in seven districts, follow the Brahmin religion.

    Hanoi hosts 321,000 foreign visitors in September

    The capital city of Hanoi welcomed 321,000 foreign visitors in September, representing rises of 5.9 percent compared to the previous month and 89.2 percent year-on-year.

    The September figure brought the total number of foreign holidaymakers in the first nine months of 2017 to almost 2.65 million, up 27.6 percent as compared to the same period last year.

    Meanwhile, the number of domestic tourists to Hanoi was 829,000, rising 0.9 percent year-on-year. In the January-September period, Hanoi served about 7.37 million domestic visitors, up 4.2 percent compared to the corresponding period of 2016.

    Earnings from accommodation, food and travel services in September reached 5.28 trillion VND (232.32 million USD), increasing 12.1 percent year-on-year. Since the start of the year, the total revenue hit 45.32 trillion VND (1.99 billion USD), up 9.6 percent compared to last year.

    Over the years, Hanoi has been chosen among most attractive destinations in Asia and the world by the prestigious travel magazines and websites, including TripAdvisor.

    Fund helps bring joyful Mid-Autumn Festival to disadvantaged children

    The National Fund for Vietnamese Children has supported over 6,600 disadvantaged children nationwide with 2.6 billion VND on the occasion of the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival.

    From September 29 to October 1, the fund held various festive activities to children ahead of the festival. On September 29, it held a festival for 400 children, including 200 from the Dan Lai ethnic minority group in Con Cuong district, the central province of Nghe An.

    During the event, the fund presented 150 scholarships worth 1 million VND each to children with outstanding academic performance, along with 600 gifts, 200 school kits and 50 bicycles to local children.

    On September 30, the fund gave 418 gift packages valuing 300,000 VND each to children in Son Duong district of the northern province of Tuyen Quang and 100 scholarships and 300 gifts to poor children in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.

    Meanwhile, the fund has also organized various activities to give a joyful Mid-Autumn festival to children in various localities, including Hoa Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Ha Nam, Hanoi, Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, Phu Tho and Bac Giang.

    Central Highlands Dak Lak province lures numerous projects

    The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak has attracted numerous projects by domestic and foreign investors in recent years, according to the provincial authorities. 

    In the first nine months this year, the province lured 48 projects with a total registered capital of more than 3 trillion VND (132 million USD), up three projects and marking a 2.4-fold increase in value year-on-year. 

    Most of them focus on farm produce processing, animal feed, commerce, services, industry and renewable energy. 

    The province agreed to present certificates allowing investment to build solar power plants in Buon Don, Ea Sup districts by Xuan Thien Ltd company, TH True Milk and the US’s AES Group. 

    It has provided investors with information about the business climate, incentives, procedures and a list of projects in need of capital while clearing arising barriers. 

    Dak Lak is now home to 12 foreign-invested projects worth 171.448 million USD, mostly in farm produce processing, animal feed, trade and export-driven floriculture.

    Impoverished farmers build homes for those more needy

    For more than a decade, a group of nearly 20 farmers has been travelling through the Đồng Tháp Mười wetland to build houses for those even less advantaged thhan themselves.

    On a scorching hot noon in mid-August, a dozen middle-aged men labored to unload heavy logs of eucalyptus wood from a rumbling truck. The men were drenched in sweat but appeared strangely content. The reason for their satisfaction was simple: "The woodpile we have today will be enough to build several houses for poor people,” explained one.

    Nguyễn Văn Hoàng, the head of the An Hoà Commune’s Red Cross society in the north of Đồng Tháp Province, is also head of the “charitable house group”. He travelled to the Cambodian-border commune of Thường Thới Tiền some 40km away to buy the logs for VNĐ 30 million (US$1,320).

    “The money came solely from donations. People see that we are capable and that the work we do is decent so many have contributed. The only concern is that we won’t have the strength to build houses any more, not the lack of funds,” Hoàng told the Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

    The charitable house group was formed more than ten years ago. When members first solicited donations, many people were visibly hesitant because they were not sure their money would be used for the right people. “When doing charity work like this, money matters must be transparently clear or else people will not be convinced,” Hoàng said.

    The initial group was smaller, but its results drew additional members. At present, the group boasts 18 members, with the oldest in their late 70s and youngest one being 55.

    Every day, the men carry out a "to do" list of tasks – chopping trees, shaving logs, building wooden frames, transporting the material to the needy and starting construction. The group has also asked for donations to build several small bridges – crucial for a region criss-crossed by rivers, canals and other water channels – as well as hundreds of bikes and thousands of notebooks for poor students at the start of the new school year in September.

    Hoàng said after receiving donations from benefactors who live as far as HCM City, the group buys wood from orchards, then carries out a survey before construction. The houses the group builds are mostly stilt houses or one-floor wooden houses, with an area of 30-32 sq.m each, covered with corrugated metal roofs.

    On average, the group builds some 150 charitable houses a year at a total cost of VNĐ 3 billion ($132,000), each costing around VNĐ 20-35 million ($880-1,540).

    Nguyễn Văn Quý, vice chairman of An Hoà People’s Committee, said the group’s efforts in replacing makeshift houses is helping the locality achieve new rural standards.

    The Vietnamese have a saying: “The whole leaf covers the torn ones”. In other words, those with more means help those with fewer. In the case of the charitable house group, the saying could be modified to say “the torn leaves cover the even more torn ones” to more accurately describe the situation.

    According to Hoàng, members of the group are all poor, however, their children are grown up and established, so now they have time to help those even poorer than them.

    Nguyễn Thanh Tâm, 61, doesn’t have any agricultural field to speak of. His three children, already married and working in HCM City, send money back to their parents.

    “We are poor, no doubt about that, but luckily, we do not have to worry about hunger, we still have a decent house. Many others are facing more difficulties than us, so we try to help them as much as we can. This way, we also accumulate good karma for our children,” Tâm said.

    Other members, like Nguyễn Văn Tèo and Dương Văn Tài, are in the same boat, their sole income being from children’s support, but that doesn’t deter them from helping others. “No one lives forever, so just do whatever is useful to society while you still can, and for the younger children to follow,” Tài said.

    According to Tài, none of the group’s members worked professionally in carpentry. “At first, the wood look really ugly, but time has honed our skills. And moreover, this is volunteering, without any training whatsoever, so the recipients of the houses don’t even want to complain, just having a sturdy house to live in is enough for them,” Tài said.

    Over time, word spread and residents from far and wide – even from other provinces like Kiên Giang or Bến Tre – have come to seek the group’s help. The group verifies their status and gets to work.

    Nguyễn Văn Thành from Phú Thành B Commune of Hồng Ngự township is one of the many who have received the group’s help. Thành and his wife don’t own any land, they have four young children and have been living on a decade-old decrepit boat floating on a sedentary nearby river. 

    “Having a house on land is a life-long dream of mine, but after years of working it still remains so distant. I can barely keep my family fed. Now, me and my wife no longer have to worry about our daughter falling into the river or the strong waves sinking the boat,” Thành said. 

    Design contest inspires disadvantaged kids

    Children who live at five social welfare centres and shelters in HCM City and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province took part in a Humpty Dumpty Design and Painting Contest from September 17 to October 1.

    From this contest, five winners were chosen by the contest’s jury and the public, which will vote via social media from October 2 to 9.

    The four centres and shelters represented include Thủ Đức Youth Village, Linh Xuân Children with HIV/AIDS Care and Welfare Centre, HCM City SOS Children’s Village and Vocational Education Centre for Youth in HCM City, and the Children Social Welfare Centre in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province.

    The children were under the mentorship of film director Việt Max, fashion designer Thủy Nguyễn, animation artist Phan Vũ Linh, and Kingsmen Vietnam’s design manager Nique Choo.

    The winning designs will be mass-produced and sold to the public at pop-up stores set up by Kingsmen Vietnam at high-traffic shopping malls in HCM City in November and December to raise funds for the centres and shelters.

    Trần Công Hưng, aged 9, of HCM City SOS Children’s Village in Gò Vấp District, told Việt Nam News: “Through the mentorship, my friends and I were taught how to design and use different colours to paint the concrete statues.”

    Film director Việt Max said the contest was a chance for young people to discover their artistic abilities. “Art helps them show their creativity.”

    Nguyễn Đắc Chiến, who specialises in education for children at the village, agreed, saying that the activities helped the children develop their intelligence and personality.

    Kevin Cheon, executive director at Kingsmen Vietnam, said that everyone should have an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams under any circumstance.

    The contest aims to create a sustainable platform to empower and inspire less privileged youth to nurture their creativity and explore future career opportunities, Cheon said.

    The contest is part of a campaign organised by Kingsmen Vietnam, a communication design and production company headquartered in Singapore, and endorsed by HCM City People’s Committee and the city’s Department of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs.

    The campaign aims to raise VNĐ500 million (US$22,026) from September to December. Humpty Dumpty is Kingsmen’s mascot.

    Doctors removes huge tumor, save 4-year-old’s life

    K (Cancer) Hospital’s doctors have successfully removed a 3kg tumour, saving the life of a four-year-old boy -- one of the hospital’s most successful surgeries, so far.

    The patient is Bá Minh Đức from Hải Bối Commune, Đông Anh District, Hà Nội. Some months ago, his parent found he had developed unusual health symptoms, such as various illnesses and loss of sensation in his feet.

    After visiting several hospitals, doctors detected a huge tumour that was occupying most of his abdomen. Some hospitals refused to perform surgery on him because they felt he was too young to be put under anesthesia for so long.

    On August 30, Đức was sent to K Hospital where doctors decided to remove his tumour to save his life. A 3kg tumor was removed from his abdomen following a six-hour surgery conducted by a team of doctors led by hospital deputy director Nguyễn Đại Bình.

    “The surgery’s result is beyond our expectation. The doctors’ team saved his life,” Bình said.

    Đức is currently under close supervision in the hospital’s ICU although his test results have returned normal.

    Bình said Đức will still have to fight hard to overcome the disease and required huge support from doctors and the community in the future.

    Five crew members saved from sunken vessel

    Five crew members from a sunken vessel were rescued and taken back to the mainland Monday morning, the Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre Zone 3 said.

    The fishing vessel sank off the coast of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province at 6.30pm on Sunday due to strong winds and big waves.

    A rescue ship was mobilised when the centre received information about the sunk vessel. At 7.30pm, all the crew members were saved and sent back to the mainland for treatment.

    Nguyễn Đình Kết, captain of the vessel, said that it sank so quickly that the crew members could do nothing but jump out.

    On the same day, the centre announced that it had found the body of a crew member, who had fallen into the sea on Friday.

    At about 5pm, Võ Hải Biên, captain of a fishing vessel, fell into the sea while anchoring his vessel on Bến Đầm Bay in Côn Đảo District.

    The body was taken to the local authorised agency.

    Hải Phòng ferry port in need of upgrade

    Gót-Cái Viềng Ferry Port in northern Hải Phòng City needs to be expanded and upgraded to ease overloading, local transport experts have said.

    The port is the only port pick up and drop off point for passengers to Cát Bà Island.

    Nguyễn Văn Hiệp, deputy director of Hải Phòng Waterway Transport JSC, said the overloading began after the Tân Vũ-Lạch Huyện Bridge was put into use early last month, connecting Hải Phòng City and Cát Hải Island.

    Previously, residents and tourists had to take two ferries -- from Hải Phòng City to Cát Hải Island and then from Cát Hải Island to Cát Bà Island. Passengers usually had to wait for their turn to get the ferry to the island.

    However, since the bridge was built, a large number of passengers have been visiting Cát Hải Island, causing serious overloading on Gót-Cái Viềng Ferry Port, especially on weekends. The line of cars waiting for their turn to get on the ferry to Cát Bà Island was reportedly one kilometre long.

    Hiệp said the company has mobilised five more ferries, raising the total number of ferries of nine, to curb overloading. However, the situation has not improved.

    Nguyễn Thành Nghiệp, head of Gót-Cái Viềng Ferry Port, said that the number of passengers has significantly increased, therefore the port mobilised all its employees, with co-operation from the local authority and local police, to ensure smooth traffic.

    The distance between ticket booths to the waiting house was only 200m; however, the road was very narrow, causing serious congestion when vehicles entered or left the area.

    Worse, the port’s capacity was only two ferries at a time. Thus, the waiting house was always full, he said.

    The other ferries had to anchor near the port, affecting the waterway traffic.

    Experts said it was necessary to upgrade the road connecting the ticket booths to the waiting house of the port at the earliest. The port was also in need of expansion for more ferries to anchor and pick up/drop off passengers. 

    Book about 18th century VN wins award

    A collection of seven books featuring the history, politics, economy and culture of Việt Nam in the second half of the 18th century by Vietnamese-American researcher Nguyễn Duy Chính has been awarded Best Book for 2017 by the nonprofit group IRED Institute of Education and the Phan Châu Trinh Foundation in Việt Nam.

    The award, first given in 2011, is for books in the fields of research, economics, management, education, self-development or life values, literature and children’s books.

    Chính was born in 1948 in Sơn Tây Province (now Sơn Tây town of Hà Nội), and moved with his family in 1954 to HCM City. In 1979, he studied in the US, and now lives in California.

    He began to conduct research on the history of Việt Nam in 2002, publishing research works Xưa & Nay (Past & Present) and Nghiên Cứu & Phát Triển (Research and Development) under the Thừa Thiên-Huế Province’s Science and Technology Department.

    He has released 10 books on Việt Nam in the 18th century.

    The award for the best book in the education category was given to Nước Đức thế kỷ XIX – Cuộc cách mạng giáo dục khoa học & công nghệ (Germany in the 19th Century – The Revolution of Education, Science and Technology) by Nguyễn Xuân Xanh.

    The 295-page book was published by the Dân Trí (People’s Knowledge) Publishing House last year.   

    Author Trần Mai Anh received an award for her children’s book Hành Trình Yêu Thương – Nhật Ký Thiện Nhân (Love Journey – Diary of Thiện Nhân), while Tình Cát (Love and Sand), a romantic novel by Nguyễn Quang Lập, was recognised as the best book in the literature category.

    The organisers also granted prizes to Phạm Sỹ Thanh and Alan Phan for books on economics and management, respectively.

    The award for books about self-development or life values was shared by authors Nguyễn Vĩnh Nguyên, Huỳnh Trọng Khang and Nguyễn Lân.

    Philosopher Bùi Nam Sơn, a member of the organisation’s board, said at the awards ceremony in HCM City on Sunday that the Best Book Awards introduce readers to “quality and significant publications, as well as promote people’s reading habits and elevate their reading taste.”

    At the ceremony, the organiser launched a special programme called “Books for Prisoners”, which will collect books from the community to donate books to prisons nationwide.

    Books on law, education, vocational guidance, lifestyle, history and culture are encouraged.

    “The programme is expected to create opportunities for prisoners to re-educate themselves,” Sơn said.

    Arts programmes feature Vietnamese culture in Cambodia

    A variety of art performances featuring Vietnamese culture will be presented at Việt Nam’s Cultural Week, which is being held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

    The event is being jointly held by Việt Nam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of diplomatic relation between the two nations.

    According to Vietnam National Music Song and Dance Theatre director Nguyễn Quang Vinh, nearly 40 theatre artists will perform in two grand programmes -- the inauguration of Việt Nam’s Cultural Week and the arts programme for the Vietnamese community in Phnom Penh. The artists will present typical art performances representing the traditional cultural values of Việt Nam to the audience.

    Vinh also said the áo dài, the Vietnamese traditional dress, and the conical hat will serve as typical cultural ambassadors to portray Vietnamese beauty this week.

    The event also features other representative images and traditional values from across the country, such as the lanterns or the collection of traditional musical instruments.

    “If the performances at the inauguration of Việt Nam’s Cultural Week focus on introducing the cultural essence of Việt Nam to both Cambodian and international friends, the programme for the Vietnamese community at the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh is expected to evoke the affection and nostalgia of the Vietnamese living abroad.” Vinh said.

    Addressing rehearsals of the art performances, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vương Duy Biên highly appreciated Vietnam National Music Song and Dance Theatre’s efforts.

    “Việt Nam’s Cultural Week in Cambodia is a meaningful cultural and political event, contributing to improving relations between the two nations. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare and present truly distinctive arts programmes featuring Việt Nam’s colours and soul to introduce to international friends,” he said.

    Việt Nam’s Cultural Week in Cambodia is on until October 6.

    Vietravel wins ‘Best Travel Agency’ at Asia-Pacific’s travel industry awards

    Vietravel was recognised as ‘Việt Nam’s Best Travel Agency’ at the TTG Travel Awards Ceremony in Bangkok on Saturday. The award marks the fifth time the company has received the honour.

    The annual TTG Travel Awards, regarded as the Asia-Pacific’s most prestigious travel industry awards, honours stellar organisations and individuals in four categories: Travel Supplier, Travel Agency, Outstanding Achievement and Travel Hall of Fame.

    At the 28th awards ceremony, Vietravel took home its title after receiving the highest number of votes travel consultants, tour operators and destination management companies.      

    The annual search for Asia Pacific’s most outstanding travel organisations, spanning two months from May to July, calls upon industry professionals to name travel suppliers in the region who have risen above the competition and surpassed expectations.

    For Travel Supplier Awards, only votes cast by travel consultants, tour operators and destination management companies count towards the final result. For Travel Agency Awards, only votes cast by hoteliers, airline staff, car rental companies, cruise operators, national tourism organisations, GDS companies and all other travel professionals count towards the final result.

    During the first nine months of this year, Vietravel offered tours for 550,000 guests, a 125 per cent increase compared with the same time last year. The company reached the significant figure thanks to its diversified tour products and service.

    Vietravel is the company offering the sole transportation service for the Asia Beach Games 5 held in Đà Nẵng last September.

    At present, Vietravel has more than 40 offices and branches nationwide and in some foreign countries including Cambodia, Thailand and the US. The company plans to continue opening representative offices in other countries, aiming to be the first multi-national tourist company of Việt Nam by 2020.

    First photo contest on elderly people launched

    The Health Ministry and General Office for Population- Family Planning have launched an online photo competition on the role of senior citizens in response to International Day for Old Persons (October 1) and the Action Month for the Vietnamese Elderly.

    The contest is set to run from October 2 to 31, with awards to be announced and presented between November 5 and 10.

    All Vietnamese nationals and foreigners living in Vietnam are eligible to send their entries to the email address nguoicaotuoi2017@cpcs.vn. Each person can submit a maximum of 3 entries, with each entry not exceeding 7 photos.

    Submitted photos need to have titles and captions having less than 200 words in Vietnamese. Their contents are recommended to focus on promoting the role of the elderly and communal assistance toward the group.

    Further information can be found on www.cpcs.vn or www.facebook.com/cpcs.vn. 

    Vietnam has about 10.1 million senior citizens, accounting for some 11 percent of the population. The figures are expected to rise to 19 million people and 17 percent by 2030, and 28 million people and 25 percent in 2050.

    UNFPA helps Vietnam in data use for plan, goal implementation

    The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is going to assist Vietnamese agencies to collect and use high-quality data to serve the implementation of development plans and the Sustainable Development Goals until 2021.

    The project has recently been approved in principle by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

    It aims to support in the supply and use of high-quality data and evidence on population and development so as to serve the making and monitoring of the implementation of socio-economic development policies, strategies and plans and the SDGs in Vietnam for 2017-2021.

    It will be funded with more than 5.14 million USD through non-refundable official development assistance, along with nearly 11 billion VND (484,000 USD) of Vietnam.

    Under this project, new technologies will be applied for the 2019 census to improve data collection and census findings provision. 

    The project will help publicise some findings of the national action programme on civil registration and statistics, while building criteria for sustainable development statistics. It will also provide information for Party, National Assembly and Government agencies and propose recommendations to assist the making and enforcement of policies relevant to population and development.

    Diageo donates computers to Ninh Thuận schools

    Diageo Vietnam Company Ltd has donated 108 used computers to schools in Ninh Thuận Province for the 2017-18 academic year.

    The 103 laptops and five desktop computers have been provided so that students and teachers have more tools to improve the quality of learning.

    Diageo has donated hundreds of computers to students and people with disabilities throughout the country, often their first.

    With community support activities part its operational strategy, Diageo has carried out a number of charity programmes, including “Water of Life”, which has since 2011 provided thousands of families and students in schools in remote areas in Ninh Thuận with access to clean water, and “Plan W - Empowering women through learning” in 2013-2017.

    Time stood still for Tuấn Idol

    What do you do when you buy a watch that turns out to be a dud? A man whose Facebook moniker is Tuấn Idol came up with an unusual way to handle the dispute with the watch store, although its effectiveness is in doubt. 

    He went along to the Đăng Quang Watch store on Trần Duy Hưng Street in Hà Nội’s Cầu Giấy District accompanied by a posse of scantily dressed young women. As seen on the video clip that has gone viral in recent days on social media, Tuấn and the women stood outside the shop and used a microphone and loudspeaker to demand justice.

    Tuấn bought an Epos watch at the Đăng Quang Watch store, a famous chain with 86 stores across the country, for VNĐ56 million (US$2,400). He said that after using it for three days, the watch appeared to have tired itself out and the hands stopped moving. Tuấn took the watch to the store and asked to replace it or get his money back.

    However, the store demanded that he pay an additional VNĐ10 million ($440) for a new watch.

    A representative of the store said Tuấn used the watch for 13 days, from September 14 to 27, during which the watch acquired many scratches. The extra charge was for the scratches, he said, a compromise that would ensure the rights of both sides.

    Tuấn was not appeased and appealed to the local police. Resolution of the case is pending.

    Embezzling for cosmetic surgery

    The Cần Thơ City Police intends to prosecute a local woman for embezzling VNĐ8.4 billion (US$373,300) from her employer.

    Võ Thị Hồng Yến, 33, was the head of the Finance Division at the Cần Thơ Vocational Tourism College. According to the police investigation, from September 2010 to July 2016, Yến took advantage of her position to fake salary and allowance reports, receipts for stationery and school upgrades, in order to steal the money.

    Yến, according to police, used some of the money allegedly spent on a school makeover for a different kind of makeover: cosmetic surgery. 

    However, her new look is unlikely to be of much help in jail where she seems headed, proving that corruption is ugly, no matter how you look at it.

    Are animals more equal than humans?

    Quang Hưng Commune has gone to the dogs. Or, more specifically, the pigs, chickens and ducks.

    Many spacious houses in the commune in Phù Cừ District, the northern province of Hưng Yên are now home to these animals instead of people.

    Has the small commune witnessed an Animal Farm style uprising? Have the pigs declared all animals equal?

    Not quite, as shockingly, an administrative cock-up has led to residents of the commune being forced to trade places with their livestock.

    Bureaucratic madness in Việt Nam you say? Surely not! Unfortunately it’s true; Hưng Yên People’s Committee issued an instruction on March 26 last year, asking local residents to destroy their houses that were build on land zoned for agricultural purposes.

    To avoid destroying perfectly good houses, residents of the commune moved their animals into the houses, and started living in the animals’ old cages, meaning the lucky animals now live in houses worth some VNĐ1 billion (US$44,400) each.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development did recently run a campaign to ‘save the pigs’, but no-one said anything about housing the pigs.

    Thanh Hoa shoe workers strike against company's poor treatment

    Nearly 6,000 workers at the Venus Vietnam Shoe Company in the northern central province of Thanh Hoa went on strike on Monday to ask for better treatment and policies. 

    Nearly 6,000 workers at the Venus Vietnam Shoe Company gathered at the company's headquarters in Thanh Hoa Province to ask for better treatment and policies on October 2.

    The strike started right at the morning working hours at 7 am when hundreds of workers gathered at the gate of the company and voiced their demands. The strike soon attracted thousands of other workers who walked out to join the protest.

    According to the workers, they objected to the company's parking ban announced a day earlier which said the parking area would be turned into a restaurant and workers must find a place outside the company to park their vehicles. 

    "Although the company said they would provide VND50,000 (USD2.20) each a month to pay for parking fees, but we don't agree because the factories are very far from parking lots outside and this would affect our working hours," a worker explained.

    Besides the parking problems, the workers also demanded the company to ensure other legitimate rights including providing enough drinking water, increasing meal allowances for workers doing overtime, upgrading the seriously deteriorating canteen, and ensuring unemployment benefits.

    "We have to give three days notice if we want to ask for a sick leave," another worker said. "We often have to work three to four extra hours until 9-10pm but are not provided with an additional meal. And when the company lacks of work, they ask us to stay home and then deduct the days from our annual leave."

    The workers also demanded that the company makes sure that managers will not abuse and insult their staff. 

    A provincial union official Le Van Giang had been sent to work with the company and workers.

     In Vietnam, flight ticket agents sell passenger info to airport transport services

    Several flight ticket agencies in Vietnam have been caught selling passenger information to local taxi and transport services.

    The practice is most noticeable at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, followed by Cam Ranh Airport in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa.

    On the morning of September 20, Tran Hoang Tung got off his flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and received a series of phone calls and text messages advertising taxi services.

    Answering one of the calls, Tung talked to a man who introduced himself as a telephone operator at Noi Bai Connect.

    Noi Bai Connect is designed to link flight passengers at Noi Bai with local taxi services.

    “Did you board the Vietjet flight that took off at 11:45 pm? A car will be picking you up at 1:45 am. Please leave your phone on,” the employee said.

    As per the arrangement, Tung was picked up by a driver named Hoang.

    “Noi Bai Connect is well known in Hanoi as it is able to update passenger information after they book a flight.” Hoang elaborated.

    Ten telephone operators at the company work around the clock to call and send messages to introduce transport services to flyers, he added.

    The cabby said he had to pay VND1 million (US$44) upfront to be granted an account that enables him to access flyer information.

    After being updated on the flight schedules, Hoang and thousands of other cabbies start a ‘reverse auction,’ in which whoever names the lowest fare ‘wins’ a passenger.

    “This ride costs VND280,000 [$12.32], of which I will only get VND190,000 [$8.36] while the rest will be claimed by Noi Bai Connect,” Hoang told his passenger.

    Taxi drivers in Hanoi are also able to obtain flight schedules of passengers via other channels, with Zalo, a Vietnamese mobile-based free texting and calling app, the most common.

    Drivers are required to pay a fee in advance, with 15 percent of their fare sent to the providers of the passenger information.

    Khanh, another cabby, revealed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that he was using the Hanoi-based VG Company.

    Every cabby is required to pay the service provider an upfront fee of between VND300,000 ($13) and VND500,000 ($22).

    The firm receives a commission by deducting the advance payment from drivers.

    Within the months of July and August, Khanh received the information of 55 passengers of Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet flights, including names, phone numbers, flight numbers, and times of arrival.

    The business license of Noi Bai Connect reveals its headquarters are at 352 Buoi Street in Ba Dinh District.

    However, an investigation revealed that the firm is based on the first floor of a building at 45 Nguyen Trai Street, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi, which is actually a pizza shop.

    Trang, an employee of the company, said that it has connected about 2,000 drivers with passengers and been cooperating with local flight ticket agents.

    A typical ride from Noi Bai to downtown Hanoi provided by Noi Bai Connect costs about VND200,000 ($8.8), Trang said.

    The driver will claim VND120,000 ($5.3), while the other VND80,000 ($3.52) is shared equally between the company and its partnered ticket agencies.

    Meanwhile, an employee from VG Company said that all information is only shared internally.

    Several ticket agents have been cooperating with more than one service at a time, meaning passengers are likely to be contacted by multiple phone numbers after getting off their flights.

    According to C., a staff member of SM, a Hanoi-based ticket agency, multiple businesses have proposed deals with them.

    “We pick the firm that names the highest commission,” C. added.

    Fahasa holds German book fair in HCM City

    The HCMC Book Distribution Corporation (Fahasa) in conjunction with the Goethe Institute in Ho Chi Minh City is organizing a German book exhibition on Nguyen Hue Boulevard in District 1.

    The book fair is taking place from now until October 8, featuring more than 10,000 copies of German books in various fields such as literature, textbooks, references and children’s books.

    All book titles are from Germany’s leading publishers such as Cornelsen Verlagskontor GmbH, Hueber Verlag GmbH & Co. KG and Ernst Klett Sprachen GmbH. On the occasion, Fahasa will offer a 10% discount on all German book titles on display at the bookstore.

    The leading book distribution company is preparing to launch the second German book stall at Fahasa bookstore in Hanoi, creating opportunities for those loving the German language and culture to improve language proficiency and boost cultural exchange, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

    Nguyen Hue Fahasa Bookstore is located at 40 Nguyen Hue Boulevard in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1.    

    British Council holds education show in three big cities

    The British Council Vietnam will organize the UK Education Exhibition 2017 at Lotte Hotel in Hanoi on October 7, InterContinental Asiana Saigon in HCMC on October 8 and at Novotel Hotel in Danang on October 12 from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., with around 60 UK universities, colleges and high schools taking part.

    Those interested in UK education can learn more about information on various undergraduate, postgraduate, pathway programs as well as domestic programs leading to UK-accredited degrees aside from looking for scholarship opportunities.

    Visitors can talk with Living Books, known as Vietnamese alumni and students currently studying in the UK, who are willing to share their learning and job-seeking experiences and stories about university life in the UK.

    One of the highlights of the event is the UK cultural corner with its theme “Harry Potter”, allowing exhibition-goers to get a glimpse of the UK culture and lifestyle in celebration of the 20th anniversary since the first book in the Harry Potter series was published.

    Interested people should register and search for scholarships at https://vn.edukexhibition.org/vi-vn.

    VNN



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  • 10/05/17--02:00: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 4/10


    Tra fish prices in Mekong Delta shoot up


     Tra fish prices in Mekong Delta shoot up, Turnover drops to 1-month low, Additional VND6 trillion required for Long Thanh Airport’s site clearance, Lotte to acquire Vietnam’s Techcom Finance

    Tra fish prices in the Mekong Delta have rallied in the past nine months, bringing in more profits to farmers.

    According to Vietnamplus newspaper, the average prices of raw tra fish in the delta in September surged to VND25,000-27,000 (US$1.1-1.2) per kilo depending on the quality.

    Prices of big-sized tra fish weighing more than 1 kilo each increased by VND2,000-2,500 per kilo compared to the previous month to VND24,500-25,000 per kilo, while the standard tra fish is sold at VND24,000-26,500 per kilo, up 19-23% year-on-year. Fingerling prices also increased sharply due to short supply and higher demand.

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the price increase resulted from limited supply of tra fish and higher demand for export processing, especially in the last three months of the year when there are major holidays like Christmas and New Year.

    At present, the Mekong Delta’s total acreage of tra fish farming is 5,140 hectares, down 1.3% year-on-year. However, the delta’s tra fish output in the first nine months of 2017 reached 998,000 tons, up 9.8% compared to the same period last year.

    Localities in the delta that have large-scale tra fish farming include Dong Thap Province with January-September total output of 390,000 tons, up 18.7% year-on-year, and Can Tho City with 134,000 tons, up 13.5% year-on-year.

    Turnover drops to 1-month low

    Turnover on the HCMC market plunged to a one-month low because of investor caution yesterday while the VN-Index extended losses to the second straight session.

    Closing the day, there were 119.4 million shares worth VND2.7 trillion changing hands, down 18.5% and 23.5% against last Friday respectively. Meanwhile, the VN-Index fell a slight 2.19 points, or 0.27%, at 802.23.

    Among four volume leaders on the southern bourse, only steelmaker HPG managed a mild increase while property stocks FLC, HQC and DXG closed in the red. FLC was the most actively traded stock with 7.5 million shares while DXG was the biggest loser, falling 3.5% at VND20,200 a share.

    For speculative stocks, HAI, an agricultural chemical company, closed at the floor price of VND7,610 a share on volume of 3.2 million shares. FIT, which is active in finance and consulting sectors, also plunged to the floor price with 3.7 million shares traded.

    Among brewery stocks, BHN stayed at the ceiling price of VND133,400 a share during the day with more than 44,000 shares exchanged. In contrast, SAB declined nearly 2% at VND258,000 per share on modest turnover.
    On the Hanoi market, the HNX-Index lost 0.13% versus the session earlier at 107.51. Turnover slid 16.9% in volume and 11.4% in value to 51.9 million shares worth VND468 billion.

    KLF, a trading and food service enterprise, again took the lead for liquidity with nine million shares exchanged. The stock gained 2.6% at VND3,900 per share.

    Construction firm PVX led decliners, plunging to the floor price of VND2,500 a share on volume of over eight million shares. HNK, a food and agricultural company, also closed at the floor price of VND2,800 per share with 1.7 million traded.

    Meanwhile, mining firm SPI was among top gainers as it shot up to the upper limit of VND5,900 a share on volume of 1.5 million shares.

    Among large caps, lender SHB and petroleum technical service firm PVS moved sideways on volume of 5.8 million shares and 3.4 million shares respectively. VGC, a building material manufacturer, inched up 0.8% at VND23,000 per share while bank stock ACB declined.

    Foreigners net bought over VND45.8 billion on the southern bourse. However, the investors shifted to the selling side on the northern market, net selling VND17.5 billion worth of shares.

    According to vietstock.vn, the losing streak may extend further today as the cash flow remained weak. Investors should avoid buying new stocks in the following sessions.

    Additional VND6 trillion required for Long Thanh Airport’s site clearance

    An additional VND6 trillion (nearly US$263.5 million) will be needed for site clearance of Long Thanh International Airport project in Dong Nai Province from now till 2020, said Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung at a conference yesterday.

    Resettlement and site clearance compensation for the project will cost over VND23 trillion, according to a report of Dong Nai Province. The National Assembly has allowed the project investor to use VND5 trillion from G-bond sales in the 2017-2020 period for these components.

    However, Dung said this is just the initial estimation. The latest plan indicates that the project will need VND11 trillion for site clearance alone from now until 2020. If the plan is approved, the country will face a shortfall of VND6 trillion, which has not been included in the medium-term public investment plan in 2016-2020.

    Dung said the money for this extra investment will be pooled from State projects that have been canceled.
    Speaking about slow capital disbursement for the project, Dung pointed out several reasons, both subjective and objective, including complicated procedures.

    Dung said disbursement rate in the first nine months of 2017 was just 51% for public investments. However, disbursement is often accelerated in the last months of the year.

    Long Thanh International Airport is a project of national importance, and will have total capacity of 100 million passengers and five million tons of cargo a year.

    The project was approved by the NA in June 2015. Its total cost is estimated at VND336.6 trillion (US$16 billion), with the first stage requiring VND114.45 trillion.

    Lotte to acquire Vietnam’s Techcom Finance

    South Korea’s Lotte Group is in the final stage to take over Vietnam-based TechcomFinance, a subsidiary of private lender Techcombank, according to Korean media reports.

    The buyout will be implemented through Lotte Card Company, a credit card unit of the Korean conglomerate, with the value of Vietnamese company estimated at tens of billions of won (US$8.8 million), the news site nhipcaudautu.vn reports, citing Korean sources.

    If the acquisition is successful, Lotte Card will become the first Korean credit card company to hold a credit card license in Vietnam.

    The move comes at a time when Lotte Group, which is operating 11 Lotte Mart stores in Vietnam, has recently made up its mind to withdraw from its retail business in China by selling off its outlets there.

    TechcomFinance was set up in 2015 when Techcombank acquired a 100% stake in Vietnam Chemical Finance JSC, as the Government restructured the State-owned Vietnam National Chemical Group (Vinachem).

    Vinachem was initially the holding group of the finance company with a 37% stake, while Techcombank was a founding shareholder with a 10% stake.

    GDP in quarter three posts record high of 7.46%

    The national gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter reached a record high of 7.46%, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

    GSO general director Nguyen Bich Lam said at a press conference in Hanoi on September 29 that the economic growth has shown positive signs. Significant breakthroughs have been made in the processing and manufacturing sector and export activities.

    He added the restructuring of agriculture, forestry and fisheries as a whole, as well as the role of an “enabling State” has proven effective. The major balances of the economy have been sustainable, and inflation has been curbed.

    The GDP growth in the year to September grew by 6.41%, driven by a 2.78% pickup in agriculture, forestry and fishery, a 7.17% rise in industry and construction, and a 7.25% improvement in services.

    The speedy recovery and growth of the processing and manufacturing sector, and the impressive result of the services sector are major factors contributing to the economy’s overall growth rate.

    In particular, the processing and manufacturing sector rose by a sharp 16.63% in quarter three, the highest since 2011 thanks to electronics products, computers, phones, metals and metal products.

    The production index of electronic products, computers and phones in quarter three rocketed to 45.5% against the year-ago period, making the January-September period increase to 25.1%, as the Samsung Group expanded its production of high-valued electronic products.

    Vietnam fetched US$154 billion in export revenue in the nine-month period, a year-on-year rise of 19.8%.

    The consumer price index (CPI) last month rose by 0.59% compared to August, expanding 1.83% against December 2016, and 3.04% year-on-year. Overall, the average CPI inched up 3.79% in the year to September.

    As such, the target to curb inflation and keep the all-year CPI of less than 4% is attainable.

    Direct and indirect foreign investments amounted to US$25.5 billion in the nine months, increasing by 34.3% year-on-year.

    The country has had over 93,900 startups with total registered capital of around VND902.7 trillion in the nine-month period, up 15.4% and 43% respectively over the same period last year. Notably, around 21,100 suspended enterprises had resumed operations, rising 2.9% year-on-year and bringing the total number of businesses that have been newly established and resumed business to over 115,000.

    The GSO general director said this year’s 6.7% growth target will come true if the GDP in the last quarter reaches 7.31%. This is an ambitious target, however.

    He stressed the positive results in the past nine months, especially the trend in the third quarter, has created a strong momentum, and thus the GDP growth target for 2017 will likely be met.

    PVN’s nine-month oil production exceeds assigned plan

    The domestic crude oil output of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN), in the first nine months of 2017, has exceeded the Government-assigned plan by 297,000 tonnes, significantly contributing to the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    According to the statistics announced by the PVN on October 3, the total output of oil equivalent reached 19.01 million tonnes, meeting 73.6% of the year’s plan.

    Specifically, oil production during the period hit 11.7 million tonnes, an excess of 2.8% in comparison to the set target, with domestic production at 10.25 million tonnes, exceeding by 3%, equivalent to 297,000 tonnes, and foreign production at 1.46 million tonnes, surpassing the plan by 1.4%.

    In addition to crude oil production, the PVN has also surpassed other output targets, including nitrogenous fertilizer production (1.32 million tonnes, exceeding the plan by 10.1%) and petroleum production (4.46 million tonnes, exceeding the plan by 22.6%).

    Thanks to the finalisation of their business production targets, PVN’s financial targets also surpassed the set plans, with the group earning VND367 trillion (US$16.15 billion) in total revenues between January and September, exceeding their plan by 16%, and contributing VND68 trillion (roughly US$3 billion) to the State budget, 21% above the set plan.

    In the remainder of the year, the PVN will focus on synchronously implementing the necessary measures in order to ensure domestic crude oil production in 2017, in accordance with the plan assigned by the Government.

    In addition, the group will work actively and closely with the relevant agencies in deploying its business production and investment activities, contributing to affirming Vietnam’s sovereignty.

    Ninh Thuan calls for investment in renewable energy

    The southern province of Ninh Thuan is continuing to appeal to enterprises to invest in wind and solar power production to contribute to promoting the local economy and ensure national energy security.

    The province has granted investment certificates to eight wind power projects with a total capacity of 514MW and a total investment capital of approximately VND19.7 trillion (US$866.8 million). Of which, four projects are currently under construction, with a total capacity of 208.1 MW, including Mui Dinh, Cong Hai, Trung Nam and Dam Nai wind power plants.

    In addition, the People's Committee of Ninh Thuan province has also approved the investment policy of three solar power projects, with a total capacity of 150 MW, as well as approving the locations for investment surveys of 30 other solar power projects.

    The province is working to complete the planning of solar power development in the 2016-2020 period with a vision to 2030, before submitting it to the Ministry of Industry and Trade for approval. When the planning is adopted it will create a basis for the province to call on investors in the field, as well as mobilising resources from the Government to invest in the renewable power transmission system in the locality.

    According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, the province will provide investors with the highest incentives possible in accordance with the Government's regulations on land rent, corporate income tax, import tax and infrastructure investment.

    Renewable energy projects in the province will be exempt from land rent for the whole lease term (throughout the lifetime of the project) and will be subject to a 10% corporate income tax rate throughout the lifetime of the project.

    Investors will also be exempt from corporate income tax for four years and enjoy a 50% reduction of tax payments for the subsequent nine years. Furthermore, such projects will be exempt from import duties on goods imported to create the fixed assets of enterprises.

    Director of Ninh Thuan provincial Department of Industry and Trade Pham Dang Thanh said that the province wishes to utilise the advantages of solar and wind energy resources, adding that Ninh Thuan identifies the development of renewable energy as an advantage that will create a breakthrough in order to promote other economic sectors.

    According to the planning vision to 2030, Ninh Thuan province could attract investment to develop wind power projects with a total capacity of 1,429 MW and solar power projects with a total capacity of about 4,848 MW. 

    According to a survey by the World Bank, Ninh Thuan province has the highest wind speed in the country, averaging 7.5 m per second, which is ideal for wind power development. 

    In particular, Ninh Thuan rarely has any storms and winds blow throughout ten months of each year, with a speed of 6.4 to 9.6 m per second, which will ensure the stability of the wind turbines’ output.

    Ninh Thuan also has an average of 7.7 hours of sunshine per day, with high intensity of light and solar radiation of 230 kcal per cm2 per year, which is highly favourable for developing solar power.

    Maritime Bank signs MoU with Dai-ichi Life

    Maritime Bank and Dai-ichi Life Insurance Vietnam held a ceremony recently to sign a comprehensive cooperation agreement on both banking and insurance services.

    Maritime Bank will be a strategic partner and introduce the life insurance solutions of Dai-ichi Life to domestic customers at all branches and transaction offices in the northern region. 

    Dai-ichi Life, meanwhile, will be a customer and strategic partner of the bank in introducing modern and convenient banking services to the company’s employees, customers, and agents in its distribution channels.

    “This is a milestone in enhancing our partnership, creating momentum for the further development of Maritime Bank and Dai-ichi Life in the future,” Mr. Huynh Buu Quang, General Director of Maritime Bank, told the signing ceremony. 

    “In particular, this collaboration will help us unify each side’s advantages in superior products and services to provide our customers and partners with a comprehensive service experience and value.”

    “As one of the leading life insurance companies in the bancassurance sector, we are delighted together with Maritime Bank to step into a collaborative journey to bring customers different values and added benefits,” said Mr. Tran Dinh Quan, CEO of Dai-ichi Life Vietnam. 

    “Maritime Bank has the strength of a leading commercial bank in Vietnam and Dai-ichi Life is one of the four biggest life insurers in the market, so the cooperation between Dai-ichi Life Vietnam and Maritime Bank will have practical resonance, not only improving customer service quality at both parties but also bringing benefits in terms of business operations.”

    Maritime Bank is one of the leading commercial joint stock banks in Vietnam, with a wide network of nearly 300 transaction offices and nearly 500 ATMs nationwide. It currently serves about 1.5 million individual customers and 35,000 corporate clients.

    Dai-ichi Life Vietnam is now one of the four leading life insurance companies in the country, serving over 1.7 million customers with a network of 239 offices and general agents in its 63 cities and provinces.

    It has recently received approval from the Ministry of Finance to raise its charter capital to $117 million to expand its distribution network. 

    With the capital increase, it becomes one of the largest life insurance companies in the market, demonstrating its strong financial capacity as well as its long-term commitment to Vietnamese customers.

    Uber beset by difficulties

    2017 has been something of a tumultuous year for Uber in Vietnam, with it having difficulties in operations and facing ongoing opposition from traditional taxi firms. It also recently lost its CEO.

    In late September, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Taxation issued a decision imposing fines and collecting taxes from Uber, totaling $3 million, after tax inspections were conducted on financials during its more than three years in Vietnam.

    Uber was fined for false declarations that reduced its tax payable by nearly VND10.3 billion ($453,200), and was ordered to pay tax arrears of nearly VND51.48 billion ($2.265 million).

    While Uber Vietnam has not made any official response to the tax department’s decision, information continues to appear on social networks indicating that the company will cease operations in Vietnam until it fulfills its tax obligations.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Dang Viet Dung, CEO of Uber Vietnam for the last three years, has left the company, which may also impact on operations.

    Recently, Mai Linh Mien Bac, a major taxi company in Vietnam owned by the Mai Linh Group, was reported to be preparing to launch motorbike transport services called M.Bike and M.Bike Premium, to compete with uberMoto and GrabBike.

    Vinasun, the leading taxi company in Ho Chi Minh City in terms of market share, recently proposed a series of measures to make Uber and Grab comply with existing law and ensure fair competition.

    According to Vinasun, Uber and Grab have used apps to connect drivers and customers without gaining permission from authorities. And while Vinasun must pay taxes and abide by 13 business conditions, Grab and Uber do not.

    At a workshop entitled “Urban Traffic Regulation Policy in the Digital Era” held by the Vietnam Center for Economic and Policy Research on September 8 in Hanoi, economist Pham The Anh agreed that Uber and Grab are a test of the direction towards promoting science and technology in real life and in economic activities.

    “Policy makers need to make assessments from a variety of perspectives, such as consumers, service providers, and taxi companies, to come up with appropriate policies,” he said.

    Uber entered Vietnam in July 2014 and late last year Vietnam became the first country in Southeast Asia to launch cash payments, and since then a significant proportion of fares have been paid for by cash. uberMOTO was also launched earlier this year, providing motorbike taxis with lower fares.

    Mekong Capital wins private equity international award

    Mekong Capital has been awarded the 2017 Private Equity International Award for Operational Excellence for a small cap investment in Asia, based on the performance of Mobile World.

    This is the fifth year in a row of Mekong Capital winning an award by Private Equity International, after having won the Operational Improvement Firm of the year for the Asian Small Cap category in 2013 and 2015, Frontier Market Firm of the year for 2014 and 2016.

    Mekong Capital is well-known for its ‘Vision Driven Investing’ formula – the secret sauce for its series of consistently successful investments. Mobile World has applied most of the framework and is one of the best performers of Mekong Capital’s investee companies.

    The ‘Vision Driven Investing’ framework seeks to align stakeholders with investee companies to achieve big breakthrough goals. Vision Driven Investing was first introduced in 2009 and includes 14 components which are the key success drivers of Mekong Capital’s ability to add value to investee companies.

    Mekong Capital has supported Mobile World to implement the framework via different initiative from creating a vision, improving management team, building corporate culture and involving outside experts.

    For example, Mekong Capital inspired Mobile World to create and launch its first vision in 2008 and then revised visions in 2011 and 2015. With a clear vision, Mobile World’s team aligned around common goals, and successfully achieved their shared vision.

    Since 2008, Mekong Capital recruited for Mobile World key senior managers and executives who tremendously contributed to the success of the company. Many of them are still with the company and playing critical leadership roles.

    Furthermore, Mekong encouraged and assisted Mobile World to build a strong corporate culture by inviting the retailer’s 35 top people to participate in a nine-month breakthrough leadership programme as well as some follow-on programmes.Once the new culture took root in the top several hundred people, they cascaded it down to others in the company.


    Besides, Mekong Capital has also fostered connections between Mobile World and sector experts and international industry leaders, transformed the company’s incentive system and supported its management in expanding into new business areas such as consumer electronics and grocery sectors.

    As a result, Mobile World has grown into the market leader in Vietnam’s mobile device sector and consumer electronics sector while made a successful start in grocery sector.

    By September 2017, Mobile World operated with 1,057+ mobile phone stores across the nation, controlling more than 42 per cent of the national market share. The company is also operating 535+ electronics stores, controlling more than 22 per cent of the national market share and a small format grocery chain with 190+ stores.

    Since 2013, Mekong Capital has made 18 partial divestments of Mobile World including the most recent one in September 2017 in which it sold shares worth more than $18 million and realised gross IRR of 62.6%+ and gross return multiple of more than 133 times on the shares sold.

    The Vision Driven Investing framework has proven itself as a secret sauce of Mekong’s successful investments over time after effectively adding value to other investee firms that applied the initiative.

    Mekong Capital is a Vietnam-focused private equity firm, specialising in consumer driven businesses. Mekong Capital’s funds have completed 32 private equity investments in Vietnam, of which 22 have been fully exited and one have been partially exited. Mekong Capital manages four funds, with a team of 25+ full-time people in our offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

    The funds invest in fast-growing companies, with ambitious expansion plans, and a commitment to building management teams that will successfully execute on those expansion plans. These companies are typically well-established companies in consumer-driven sectors which operate in fragmented and fast growing markets which provide attractive growth opportunities.

    Mekong Enterprise Fund III has currently made seven investments in pawn firm F88, logistics companies Nhat Tin and ABA, restaurant chain Chao Do, Ben Thanh Jewelry, Yola test prep centres. All investee firms in MEF III are implementing Vision Driven Investing framework.

    Property prices in Vietnam are around 25 higher than average incomes because of high land prices and land taxes.
     
    During a meeting with Party Central Committee's Economic Commission, Le Hoang Chau, chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, said the property prices in South Korea were only seven times higher than average incomes, however, the price for an affordable house in Vietnam was 25 times higher than the average income of local people.

    "That's mean most people can't afford to own a good house," he said.

    Nguyen Hoai An, Head of Market Research and Consultancy at Commercial Real Estate Services in Vietnam, said the price of a property was calculated based on many factors such as the material prices and profit rates to attract investors. She said the interest in Vietnam's real estate market is higher than other countries due to its popularity.

    Nguyen Van Dinh, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Brokers, agreed that property prices in Vietnam were high compared to neighbouring countries.

    According to Dinh, the average income in Vietnam is USD2,112 per year and the average income in Singapore is USD44,352. However, the property prices in Vietnam are nearly as high as the prices in Singapore.

    He went on to say that high land prices and land taxes pushed the property prices up. In addition, the complicated procedures that real estate investors face also boost the investment costs.

    "Some policies about land clearance and related problems are conflicted with each other and several taxes are unreasonable or collected twice," he said.

    Vinh Tan 4 thermal power plant’s second turbine put into operation

    The second turbine of the Vinh Tan 4 thermal power plant began generating electricity for the national grid on October 3, nearly three months after the launch of the first one, according to the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) group.

    The Vinh Tan thermal power plant project is invested by the EVN and was listed in the urgent constructions in 2013-2020 by the Prime Minister.

    It is one of the five thermal power plants of the Vinh Tan Power Station in Tuy Phong district in the southern province of Binh Thuan, 250 km north of Ho Chi Minh City.

    The plant has two turbines with a combined capacity of 1,200 MW and was built at a cost of 36 trillion VND (1.58 billion USD).

    In full operation, it is expected to generate about 7.2 billion kWh each year. It is the first large-scale coal-fueled thermal power plant in Vietnam using the supercritical steam generator.

    The plant is also hoped to contribute to socio-economic development in the South Central Region and raise the stability and economic operation of the national grid.

    Long An to host Mekong Delta industry-trade fair

    Fifteen southern and central provinces and cities have registered to showcased products at 291 booths at the Mekong Delta Industry-Trade Fair 2017 which is slated for October 11-17 in Tan An city in the Mekong Delta province of Long An.

    The event, jointly held by the Agency for Regional Industry Development under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, aims to introduce outstanding rural industrial products and help businesses stabilise production and enlarge consumption markets.

    On the display at the fair will be handicrafts, farm produce, traditionally processed food, beverages, seedlings, cattle feed, aquatic products and equipment used in agricultural production, processing and preservation.

    The fair will include conferences and workshops on the rural industry, new products, advanced technologies and export markets. Excellent booths and standout enterprises will be honored at the event as well.

    The event will also create opportunities for firms in southern localities to exchange experience and grasp customers’ taste to branch out new products and improve competitive capacity.

    According to Nguyen Xuan Hong, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, the organising board will arrange two free-of-charge booths for the localities to exhibit their local products and support 80 percent of costs for pavilions showcasing rural industrial products.

    Can Tho affiliates with Japan in developing model farm

    Chairman of the People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho Vo Thanh Thong had a working session on October 3 with Abe Masayuki, Director of the Vietnam Agricultural Information Centre (VAIO) on the development of the ideal model farm project in the locality.

    Abe Masayuki said that the major objective of the project, which is an idea of former President Truong Tan Sang, is building a training system for agricultural experts and setting up a foundation for the implementation of a synthetic agricultural system that is being implemented by Japanese agricultural businesses.

    The system includes organic cultivation, cooling system, frozen preservation, and harvesting technology.

    The project will be launched in the Mekong Delta region with Can Tho playing the key role.

    Masayuki said that the model farm will have the slogan “Made by Japanese in Vietnam”, adding that the coordination between the two countries will introduce a new trademark in the agricultural market.

    Initially, the project will cover about 2 hectares in the campus of the Can Tho College of Economy and Technology, using capital from the Japanese Government and private firms of both countries. The Japanese side will help train Vietnamese agricultural experts in Japan.

    Along with exporting products to Japan, the model is expected to become a reference for other localities.

    The Can Tho city leader said that the city will support the project with the aim of developing human resources for the agricultural sector and solving the city’s lack of high quality personnel.

    Thong proposed that the model should be multiplied right after it shows success.

    Reference exchange rate stays stable

    The daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD on October was kept unchanged from the previous day at 22,473 VND/USD.

    With the current trading band of /-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,146 VND/USD and the floor rate 21,800 VND/USD.

    The opening hour rates at major commercial stayed stable.

    The greenback is being bought at 22,690 VND and sold at 22,760 VND per USD at Vietcombank and Vietinbank, unchanged from the rates on the previous day.

    Meanwhile, BIDV offered 22,695 VND (buying) and 22,765 VND (selling), per USD, also unchanged from the day ago.

    VN Index falls for third session

    Shares sank again on the HCM Stock Exchange on October 3 as large-cap stocks were hit by low investor optimism.

    The benchmark VN Index on the southern market fell 0.53 percent to close at 798.00 points, recovering slightly from the intraday low of 795.05 points.

    Vietnam’s benchmark index has lost a total of 0.84 percent after the last three sessions, sinking below the supportive level of 800 points.

    Strong investor selling pressure helped push the market trading liquidity up sharply from the previous session.

    More than 162.2 million shares were traded on the southern bourse, worth 3.28 trillion VND (146 million USD).

    October 3’s trading figures were up 35.7 percent in volume and 18 percent in value compared to the previous session.

    On the southern market, losing stocks outnumbered gaining ones by a roughly 2:1 ratio, proving that market trading conditions were quite poor.

    Large-cap stocks traded poorly as 23 of the 30 largest stocks, in terms of market capitalisation and trading liquidity in the VN30 Index, declined while only five others ended higher.

    Declining stocks in the VN30 Index dropped between 3.7 percent and 0.1 percent, with shares of Thanh Thanh Cong Tay Ninh Sugar Co (SBT), PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services (PVD) and Kinh Bac City Development Holding Corp (KBC) coming in as the three worst-performing stocks.

    According to the Hanoi-based brokerage Bao Viet Securities Co (BVSC), October 3’s fall signaled the stock market could keep declining in the coming sessions.

    Investors became pessimistic about the current market trading conditions and they worried the VN Index might suffer a strong downward trend in the short term, BVSC said in its daily report.

    Poor investor confidence was the major factor that pushed market trading liquidity higher and increased the number of declining stocks on the market, it added.

    However, investors’ bottom-fishing instincts showed when the benchmark index touched the level of 795 points during the Tuesday session. That investor behavior could lift the VN Index in the next one or two sessions, BVSC said.

    “In the worst scenario, the VN Index would retreat to the short-term supportive range of 785-790 points and we expect the benchmark to rebound when it hits that range,” the report said.

    On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX Index dipped 0.91 percent to end at 106.53 points. More than 52 million shares were traded on the northern market, worth 581.4 billion VND.

    Over 11.32 billion shares traded on HNX in nine months

    As many as 379 companies have their shares listed on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) in the first nine months of the year with more than 11.32 billion stocks worth 113.4 trillion VND (5 billion USD).

    In the nine-month period, 55 million shares were traded in a trading session on average  on the northern bourse with a average value of 587 billion VND (25.8 million USD) per session, up 15 percent and 6.7 percent year-on-year, respectively.

    The HNX-Index stood at 107.66 points at the end of the September 29 session, up 3.5 percent from one month ago.

    The HNX’s market capitalisation value was over 196.11 trillion VND (8.63 billion USD), an 2.9 percent increase from the previous month.

    In September, 14 companies began offering their shares on the Unlisted Public Company (UPCoM), raising the total number of enterprises trading on the market to 635. UPCoM’s market capitalization value was estimated at 499.77 trillion VND (22 billion USD).

    The UPCoM-Index reached 54.39 points on September 29, decreasing 0.1 percent from the end of August.

    During the January-September period, 10.6 million shares were traded in a trading session on average with a total value of 187 billion VND (8.23 million USD) per session, up 27 percent and 54 percent, respectively.

    A total 440.94 million shares in the HNX30 group were traded at 7.09 trillion VND (311.9 million USD) in the nine-month period, accounting for 38.49 percent of traded amount and 53.58 percent of transaction value of the market.-

    Lao Cai to host 17th Vietnam-China International Trade Fair

    The 17th Vietnam-China International Trade Fair will take place in the north-western border province of Lao Cai from November 10-15 under the theme of “Integration – Cooperation for Mutual Development”.

    The annual event is rotationally held by Vietnam’s Lao Cai province and Hekou district of China’s Yunnan province as part of the national trade promotion programme 2017.

    Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Truong Giang, who is also deputy head of the organising board, said the fair will house 600-800 pavilions of 20 Vietnamese and Chinese cities and provinces.

    Businesses from Taiwan, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand will also showcase their products at 66 booths, he added.

    A wide range of products will be offered for consumers, focusing on the fields of agro-forestry-aquatic products, medicines, equipment and machinery, construction and construction materials, electricity, electronics and information technology, food and beverages, home appliances, healthcare products and services and handicrafts.

    During the trade fair, there will be a trade and economic talk between Lao Cai and Yunnan provinces, a trade conference between Vietnamese and Chinese enterprises, a tour of key tourism destinations in Lao Cai, and a reward ceremony for the design contest of Lao Cai souvenir products.

    The fair aims to evaluate the economic and trade cooperation between Lao Cai and Yunnan and the construction of a cross-border economic cooperation area as well as creates an opportunity for the two sides’ businesses to exchange investment policies and sign economic contracts.

    Programme promotes domestic goods production, consumption

    The “Vietnamese use Vietnamese products” campaign has helped develop consumers’ purchasing habits towards local products after eight years of launching, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai.

    At the opening ceremony of the third “Vietnamese Goods Identification-Proud of Vietnamese Goods” programme in Hanoi on October 3, the Deputy Minister said numerous made-in-Vietnam products have convinced Vietnamese consumers.

    The campaign has also promoted production, enhanced the reputation of local enterprises while contributing to applying measures to ensure stable production, maintaining economic development, society order amid adverse impacts of the world’s economic crisis.

    Communication work continues being strengthened to enhance the awareness among consumers of using Vietnamese products, help enterprises improve their products’ competitiveness, and develop the connection between producers and distributors to bring products to remote and rural areas.

    The Ministry continues working with other ministries, sectors, localities, and associations to strengthen supervision and monitoring of the market to ensure product quality and food safety.

    The Ministry gives advice to the Government on the issuance of legal documents in order to protect Vietnamese products in the domestic market in line with international practices and commitments to the World Trade Organisation.

    In addition to trade promotion events, the Ministry supports enterprises to bring their products to rural areas, industrial parks, processing zones and modern distribution channels.

    The same day, numerous activities in response to the programme were conducted in Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong port city, Bac Ninh.

    Belgian brewer to expand production in Binh Duong

    Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is considering a 7 million USD investment in expanding production in its two factories in Vietnam, the firm’s Vice President for Asia Pacific South Ken Hitchcock said in a meeting with leader of southern Binh Duong province on October 3.

    AB InBev plans to reduce water consumption and increase use of green energy, as part of its goal to protect environment towards sustainable development, Hitchcock told Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Thanh Liem at the meeting.

    The Belgian company sets to have all of its brewers worldwide use clean energy by 2025, and to this end, it will equip the two breweries in Vietnam with new power facilities, he added.

    Welcoming AB InBev’s plan, Chairman Liem said its move fits the province’s development targets and investment policies that facilitate projects in hi-tech, environmentally-friendly and value-added industries and services.

    He later updated his guest on the province’s economic development, saying Binh Duong remains on the top of Vietnam’s attractive investment destinations with 2 billion USD worth of foreign direct investment poured into the province this year.

    He hoped that the firm would expand production and introduce foreign investors to do business in the province.

    HCM City urged to achieve higher growth by year-end

    Ho Chi Minh City needs to continue mobilising all resources to achieve sustainable growth in productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness for the rest of the year, a local official has said.

    Speaking at a conference of the HCM City Party Committee on October 3, its secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan said that HCM City continued playing a leading role as the country’s socio-economic, cultural, education, and science and technology hub.

    He urged the city to closely follow the Party’s resolutions and State strategies in implementing its action plans and to take serious measures to achieve its targets.

    The meeting discussed a range of socio-economic issues in the first nine months as well as the public investment plan for 2017-2020.

    It also focused on assessment of major infrastructure projects that are expected to reduce congestion as well as administrative reform and Party resolutions regarding Party building work, among others.

    Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, reported on socio-economic development in the first nine months, as well as tasks and solutions needed to be carried out for the rest of the year.

    According to Tuyen, the city’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) reached 775.874 trillion VND (34.14 billion USD) or 7.97 percent in the first nine months, compared to 7.76 percent in the same period last year.

    Total export turnover of the city reached more than 26.3 billion USD, a rise of 15.7 percent over the same period last year, while import turnover reached 31.58 billion USD, up 16.9 percent over the same period last year, Tuyen said.

    The number of international visitors to the city reached 4.2 million, a rise of 16 percent compared to the same period last year or 70 percent of the year’s target of 6 million, he added.

    Speaking at the closing session, Nhan, who is also a Politburo member, spoke highly of the city’s efforts in socio-economic development in the first nine months, which delivered outstanding results, including economic growth of 7.97 percent.

    However, the city’s economy also had to deal with long-term constraints, as the business environment and competitiveness had not seen much improvement, Nhan said.

    In addition, the city should continue implementing innovative programmes set by city authorities.

    Nhan also urged the city to continue its emphasis on a one-stop shop for issuance of certificates for investment registration and business registration, and study one-stop mechanisms for construction permits.

    Regarding the mid-term investment plan, the city has achieved certain results, especially for various forms of capital mobilisation, according to Nhan. 

    However, for the 2016-2020 period, the city needs to generate investment and mobilise resources for public investment and create a favourable, effective investment environment.

    In addition, secretary Nhan emphasised the need to improve infrastructure planning for the city, as most of the plans no longer meet the current situation. The plans must ensure efficiency, with a particular focus on transportation, water supply and drainage, waste treatment, and river bank erosion, he said.

    Optimal conditions pledged for ADB-funded urban project in Thua Thien-Hue

    Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of the central province of Thua Thien-Hue Nguyen Van Phuong received a working group from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on October 3, during which he pledged that the province will create optimal conditions for a ADB-funded resilient and sustainable urban development project.

    The project aims to help the Ministry of Construction complete a strategy for national urban development, while supporting the realisation of national targets on urban system development through action plans on urban development.

    It also gives guidelines for improving national urban planning in tandem with climate change response, while applying pilot models and action plans for climate change adaption for some localities.

    In Thua Thien-Hue, the group asked for the province’s support in site surveying and data collection for the project.

    Phuong lauded the objectives of the project and promised to provide all necessary information to the group.

    He also expressed his hope that the group will help the province tackle problems in traffic, climate change warning, as well as preserving and promoting heritage.

    The four-year project was approved at a cost of 2.755 million USD.

    Can Tho attracts Japanese investment

    The third Vietnam-Japan trade and cultural exchange programme and fifth annual Mekong Delta investment forum will be held in Can Tho city in October and November to lure more investment in trade and services from Japanese businesses.

    The information was announced at a press conference on October 3 held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s chapter in Can Tho and the municipal People’s Committee.

    Deputy Director of the VCCI chapter Nguyen Phuong Lam said the trade and cultural exchange programme will take place from November 3-5 and feature 120 pavilions.

    The Japanese national tourism promotion centre is also expected to join the event to increase tourism cooperation with the Mekong Delta.

    Nearly 40 art and cultural performances will be staged during the programme.
    A conference calling for investment in agriculture and another on Asian culture and trade will be held during the programme with the engagement of about 40 Japanese businesses.

    Meanwhile, the fifth Mekong Delta investment forum (MekongInvest 2017), due to be held on October 25, aims to draw investment in infrastructure development, trade services, restaurants and hotels, and entertainment parks.

    In the first six months of 2017, the Mekong Delta welcomed nearly 21 million visitors and grossed more than 6.5 trillion VND (286 million USD) in tourism revenue, year-on-year rises of 17 percent and 22 percent respectively.

    At MekongInvest 2017, thirteen cities and provinces of the delta will invite investment in 24 tourism development projects worth 7.8 trillion VND (343.2 million USD) and 33 real estate projects worth 176 trillion VND (7.74 billion USD).

    As of August 2017, a total of 1,398 foreign direct investment projects worth 19.85 billion USD had entered the Mekong Delta, including 159 projects from Japan worth 2.1 billion USD, mainly in manufacturing, processing, coal, science-technology, and waste treatment.

    Fair competition key to economic progress: forum

    Vietnamese policymakers and businesses should foster fair competition to drive social development and ensure a socialist-oriented market economy, an expert said.

    Nguyen Dinh Cung, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said at a forum on national competition policy in Hanoi on October 3 that there could be no market economy without competition.

    He said the economy would benefit from a domino effect generated by competition, because productivity would improve, at enterprises and among workers.

    The greater the level of competition, the higher the level of market development, Cung said.

    Dau Anh Tuan, Director of the Legal Department of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), noted that when it comes to business competition, State agencies seem to be suffering from a ‘management addiction.’

    Tuan said the prevalence of many licenses and business conditions that are time consuming, lack transparency, suffer from irregular implementation and interfere with a business’s autonomy would slow down economic progress.

    "Regulations that are too strict will also impede enterprises from competing freely," he added.

    Cung suggested that the Law on Competition be amended in order to ensure fair competition, and related laws and policies adjusted to boost competition levels by eliminating barriers, discrimination, and other unreasonable business conditions.

    “It is a general mentality that everyone wants their business or industry to be monopolistic, but it is precisely this way of thinking that holds back national progress. We have to control all kinds of unfair competition, including monopolistic tendencies,’ he said.

    Other experts at the forum agreed that more concrete action was needed to remove business licence barriers causing harm to the enterprise community.

    There should be a mechanism to supervise and deal with agencies tasked by the Government with abolishing business conditions and to supervise implementation of newly improved license regimes, they said

    Phan Duc Hieu, Deputy Director of CIEM, believed that with an enabling Competition Law, anti-competitive behaviour would soon be dealt with effectively, ensuring fair competition,

    A new draft amendment to the 2005 Competition Law stipulates that the national competition authority would be the advisory body assisting the Minister of Industry and Trade (MoIT) in State management of competition, organising investigations and other tasks.

    The draft amendments to the Competition Law are being seen as a new approach that clarifies the nature of and impacts on the nature of business competition.

    However, Cung felt the role of the competition authority in the draft law was almost absent.

    ‘It is necessary to add this function and to task the competition authority with ensuring regulatory control over any malpractice that impedes or distorts fair market competition,’ he said.

    Trinh Anh Tuan, Deputy Director- General of the Vietnam Competition Authority under the MoIT, said the 2005 Competition Law was an important legal document regulating the competitive relationship between businesses in the market.

    It would continue to be an important legal corridor for creating and maintaining a healthy, equal business environment, and for creating favourable conditions for national economic development, effectively allocating social resources and ensuring the interests of consumers, he said.

    The revised Law on Competition is being finalised by the MoIT and will be submitted to the National Assembly for comments at its fourth session later this month.

    As of 2016, after 12 years of enforcement of the Law on Competition, eight cases of anti-competitive behaviour had been dealt with and fines and processing fees of nearly 5.5 billion VND (245,000 USD) imposed in six cases.

    During this period, there were over 330 complaints from consumers and businesses, 182 of which were investigated. Advertising accounted for 62 percent of unhealthy competition, followed by illegal multi-level sales at 17 percent.

    The MoIT handled 32 cases related to unfair hoarding involving 189 related businesses.

    The ministry also actively investigated many important sensitive sectors in the economy in order to enhance its ability to detect micro signs of breaching the Competition Law.

    A total of 87 pre-litigation investigations were conducted during the 12 years.

    Timely handling of trans-boundary anti-competitive behaviour contributed to stability in the domestic economy, especially in key economic sectors, said Hieu.

    Experts, researchers, and business representatives attending the forum presented and proposed policy measures to improve market development, competitiveness and productivity in the country.

    The measures included plans to restructure State-owned enterprises towards promoting competition, access to core infrastructure, and proper use of agricultural land.

    The forum was an opportunity for business professionals, policymakers and economists to exchange views and discuss solutions to enhance the national competitive landscape. It was organised by CIEM in collaboration with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ).

    HCM City urged to achieve higher growth by year-end

    Ho Chi Minh City needs to continue mobilising all resources to achieve sustainable growth in productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness for the rest of the year, a local official has said.

    Speaking at a conference of the HCM City Party Committee on October 3, its secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan said that HCM City continued playing a leading role as the country’s socio-economic, cultural, education, and science and technology hub.

    He urged the city to closely follow the Party’s resolutions and State strategies in implementing its action plans and to take serious measures to achieve its targets.

    The meeting discussed a range of socio-economic issues in the first nine months as well as the public investment plan for 2017-2020.

    It also focused on assessment of major infrastructure projects that are expected to reduce congestion as well as administrative reform and Party resolutions regarding Party building work, among others.

    Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, reported on socio-economic development in the first nine months, as well as tasks and solutions needed to be carried out for the rest of the year.

    According to Tuyen, the city’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) reached 775.874 trillion VND (34.14 billion USD) or 7.97 percent in the first nine months, compared to 7.76 percent in the same period last year.

    Total export turnover of the city reached more than 26.3 billion USD, a rise of 15.7 percent over the same period last year, while import turnover reached 31.58 billion USD, up 16.9 percent over the same period last year, Tuyen said.

    The number of international visitors to the city reached 4.2 million, a rise of 16 percent compared to the same period last year or 70 percent of the year’s target of 6 million, he added.

    Speaking at the closing session, Nhan, who is also a Politburo member, spoke highly of the city’s efforts in socio-economic development in the first nine months, which delivered outstanding results, including economic growth of 7.97 percent.

    However, the city’s economy also had to deal with long-term constraints, as the business environment and competitiveness had not seen much improvement, Nhan said.

    In addition, the city should continue implementing innovative programmes set by city authorities.

    Nhan also urged the city to continue its emphasis on a one-stop shop for issuance of certificates for investment registration and business registration, and study one-stop mechanisms for construction permits.

    Regarding the mid-term investment plan, the city has achieved certain results, especially for various forms of capital mobilisation, according to Nhan. 

    However, for the 2016-2020 period, the city needs to generate investment and mobilise resources for public investment and create a favourable, effective investment environment.

    In addition, secretary Nhan emphasised the need to improve infrastructure planning for the city, as most of the plans no longer meet the current situation. The plans must ensure efficiency, with a particular focus on transportation, water supply and drainage, waste treatment, and river bank erosion, he said.

    Vietsovpetro posts gas output of 50 billion cu.m
       
    Vietsovpetro, a giant oil and gas joint venture, posted gas output of 50 billion cu.m after 30 years of operation on Sunday.

    Of these, 180 billion cu.m of gas was provided through oil extraction using gas compression technology (gaslift) at Bach Ho-Rong, Tho Trang and Nam Rong-Doi Moi oilfields.

    The remaining 32 billion cu. m of gas was compressed by Vietsovpetro ashore, providing for gas and gas industry clusters, such as Phu My Fertilizer Plant, Nhon Trach 1, 2, 3, Ba Ria Power Plant.

    Vietsovpetro and members of the Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) have improved the effectiveness of oil exploitation and usage, contributing to the national energy security.

    It has operated gas exploitation, disposal and safe and effective compression, as well as collected all the associated gas at oilfields in the Mekong basin and a part of Nam Con Son basin.

    The first gas flow from White Tiger oil field was taken to shore on May 3, 1995. The total compressed air reached one billion cu.m on May 15, 1998. The total compressed air was 20 billion cu.m on March 25, 2008, then up to 30 billion cu.m on October 25, 2011. The total output was 45 billion cu.m on April 15, 2015.

    Vietsovpetro was Viet Nam’s first international joint venture to explore oil on the continental shelf and was founded by State-owned Viet Nam Oil and Gas Corporation and Russia’s Zarubezhneft.

    Programme promotes domestic goods production, consumption
       
    The ‘Vietnamese use Vietnamese products’ campaign has helped encourage consumers to purchase local products since it began eight years ago, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai.

    At the opening ceremony of the third “Vietnamese Goods Identification - Proud of Vietnamese Goods” programme in Ha Noi on Tuesday, Hai said many made-in-Viet Nam products had become popular among local consumers.

    The campaign also promoted production, enhanced the reputation of local enterprises, helped ensure stable production and maintained economic development.

    Communication work also helped enhance awareness among consumers of using Vietnamese products, supported enterprises to improve their products’ competitiveness, and developed links between producers and distributors to bring products to remote and rural areas.

    Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade worked with other ministries, sectors, localities, and associations to monitor the market to ensure product quality and food safety.

    It also advised the Government on the issuance of legal documents to protect Vietnamese products in the domestic market in line with international practices and commitments to the World Trade Organisation.

    In addition to trade promotion events, the ministry enabled enterprises to bring their products to rural areas, industrial parks, processing zones and use modern distribution channels.

    Within the framework of the programme, a game show entitled ‘Students identify Vietnamese goods’ was held on the same day with the participation of students from five universities.

    Other provinces and cities nationwide also held activities to support the programme.

    The programme has been held annually across Viet Nam, aiming to develop local market links to the ‘Vietnamese people use Vietnamese goods’ campaign.

    HDBank opens branch in south central province
       
    The HCM City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HDBank) opened a new branch in Tuy Hoa in the south-central province of Phu Yen on September 29, expanding its network to 234 branches.

    On the occasion the bank donated VND80 million (US$3,500) for building houses for two poor local families.

    HDBank is investing heavily in technology to improve its service and increase convenience and safety for customers.

    One of the technologies it is adopting is fingerprint authentication for cash withdrawal and money transfer at the bank to eliminate the risk of forged signatures and fake IDs.

    HDBank is one of the largest lenders in the country with total assets of more than VND152 trillion (US$6.6 billion).

    Gemadept sells majority stake in two subsidiary firms
       
    Gemadept Corporation (GMD) has completed the transfer of capital in its two subsidiary firms to Korean CJ Logistics Corporation, the Vietnamese company has announced.

    In a filing with the HCM Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Gemadept said it sold a 50.9 per cent stake in Gemadept Shipping Holding Co Ltd and 50.9 per cent of its shares in Gemadept Logistics Holding Co Ltd to CJ Logistics on October 1.

    After the sales, its holdings in these two companies shrank to 49.1 per cent each.

    This divestment is part of Gemadept’s restructuring plan, approved at its annual shareholders’ meeting in May, following which Gemadept will sell capital of its affiliate companies to strategic partners.

    Proceeds from divestments will be used to pay dividends to shareholders.

    Meanwhile, CJ Logistics, previously known as CJ Korea Express Corp, is looking for opportunities to acquire logistics firms in Southeast Asia, aiming to be one of five largest logistics firms globally. In the past two years, it has purchased major stakes in logistics firms in Malaysia, China, Dubai and India.

    Gemadept’s CEO Do Van Minh said the company would pay a special dividend rate of 85 per cent this year if it completed the share sales in Gemadept Shipping and Gemadept Logistics.

    The value of the deals has not been disclosed, but HCM Securities Co (HSC) has estimated that a 51 per cent stake in these two companies is valued around US$125 million altogether.

    After paying 85-per-cent dividends, HSC estimated Gemadept could earn cumulative earnings of VND2.4 trillion ($105.7 million) from the two divestments.

    The capital transfers in the two firms do not include Gemadept’s stakes in seven other companies, including Saigon Cargo Service Corp (SCSC), K Line-Gemadept Logistics Co Ltd (KGL), Lien uoc Vietnam Transport Co Ltd (YJC), OOCL Logistics, ISS-Gemadept, VNM General Transportation Service Co Ltd and Pacific Shipping Agency Co Ltd, Gemadept said.

    In a separate filing to the HCM Stock Exchange, Gemadept said it transferred 15 per cent of its capital in CJ Vietnam to CJ O Shopping Co Ltd.

    Gemadept is considered Viet Nam’s biggest logistics firm with consolidated revenues of VND3.74 trillion in 2016, of which 57 per cent came from logistics and 43 per cent from port services.

    In the second half of this year, Gemadept reported net revenues of VND1.87 trillion, up 3.7 per cent year-on-year, while its net profit reached VND196 billion, up 4.3 per cent year-on-year.

    Canon Expo to open in HCM City
       
    Canon Marketing Vietnam on Tuesday announced that imaging products, solutions and technologies will be showcased at its biggest show, Canon Expo 2017, in HCM City from October 26-29.

    Many of them, including EOS sensors of up to 120MP and 250MP resolution, 3D product printers, and 4K color monitors will be showcased for the first time in Viet Nam.

    Visitors will be free to explore the Canon world, with discounts of up to 49 per cent on offer for products on display. In addition, they will have the opportunity to have Canon cameras and lenses checked free of charge, and attend workshops with professional photographers.

    Besides the products on display, there will be bikini and body-paint photo shoots, and free eye examinations with Canon’s top-of-the-line refractometer and ophthalmoscope.

    “Canon has spent 15 years impressing Viet Nam with its full range of imaging solutions, ranging from cameras to printers to photocopiers, as well as various enterprise solutions, including cost management and data security,” said Mr. Hiroshi Yokota, CEO of Canon Marketing Vietnam.

    “We have never stopped innovating, researching and expanding new product lines to bring our customers the best possible imaging experience. Canon EXPO will be showcasing our full range, and offering a load of surprises to our personal and enterprise customers.”

    In addition to Canon EXPO, the Canon’s 12th Canon PhotoMarathon will be back.

    With a record total prize pool of VND1.4 billion (US$61,400), the contest annually attracts close to 10,000 participants.

    In addition to prizes such as cameras and printers worth tens of millions of Vietnamese dong, this year, the winner will receive sponsorship to compete at the Canon PhotoMarathon Asia Championship 2018 with 16 competitors from around the region, vying to win more prizes worth up to $5,000.

    The expo and the photo marathon will be held at Hoa Lu Stadium in District 1 in HCM City.

    Sóc Trăng to host business trade link conference

    Representatives of businesses from across Việt Nam will gather at the “2017 Trade Links Conference VACOD - Sóc Trăng” in the southern province of Sóc Trăng on October 14 and 15.

    The two-day event, themed “Promoting corporate strength in the regional linkage”, is organised by the Việt Nam Association for Consumer Development (VACOD) in collaboration with Sóc Trăng Provincial People’s Committee at the Sóc Trăng Cultural Centre, to celebrate the 13th anniversary of Vietnamese Entrepreneurs Day, which falls on October 13.

    The event is expected to welcome more than 300 delegates representing ministries, organisations and business associations from 11 provinces and cities, and businessmen from the north, central and south regions.

    The event will include a business experience exchange themed “Connecting to succeed”, discussions between firms on solutions to promote the strength of enterprises in the Mekong Delta and discussions on trade exchange between local and foreign businesses.

    On the sidelines of the conference, there will also be exhibitions of commodities and specialities and services of Sóc Trăng and other neighbouring provinces and cities, introducing their development potential, tourist sites and historical relics.

    Lê Thành Thanh, deputy director of Sóc Trăng’s Department of Industry and Trade, said the event is expected to have 16 booths, four of which will be managed by Sóc Trăng Province and 12 others by other provinces and cities.

    Sóc Trăng’s booths will showcase provincial cuisine like bánh pía, a Vietnamese cake filled with durian, shredded lard, salted egg yolk, sweetened bean paste and coconut, Thanh said.

    The conference is set to be an opportunity for businessmen in the three regions to exchange experiences, seek partners, and establish regional links across the country, he added.

    The event is taking place in Sóc Trăng province for the first time, providing opportunities for the province to call for investment and learn the needs and desires of enterprises that invest in the province, Thanh said.

    Chairman of Sóc Trăng Provincial People’s Committee Trần Văn Chuyên said that the province is urgently preparing for the event, aiming to showcase commodities to introduce its strengths, he said.

    Ceramics exports regain growth

    Ceramics exports began rising in August after two consecutive months seeing a decline, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    The export revenue hit US$40.9 million in August (up 17.3% compared to July), bringing the total value in the first eight months of this year to US$299.4 million, up 6.63% against the same period last year.

    Japan is the key consumer of Vietnam ceramic products with US$48.1 million (up 16%), trailed by the US with US$42.5 million (up 35.01%), and Taiwan with US$31.6 million (down 8.22%). Meanwhile, the Vietnam products have also been shipped to Cambodia, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands and the Philippines.

    In general, 67.7% of export markets enjoyed growth in the period, particularly Hong Kong and Iraq saw the highest growth of 116.13% and 113.64%, respectively.

    Vietnam ranks 8th among world furniture manufacturers

    Vietnam currently ranks eighth among furniture producers in the world, accounting for 2% of global production, according to a survey conducted by Italian Centre for Industrial Studies (CSIL).

    China is the world’s largest producer of furniture, followed by the US, Germany, Italy, India, Poland and Japan. The country is also the biggest exporter. However, its exports dropped last year while Vietnam obtained the highest export growth in the world.

    CSIL reported that global furniture production value was around US$420 billion and the US, Germany, the UK, France and Canada are major importers.

    Isuzu Vietnam Auto Care Centre rolls into service

    Isuzu Vietnam, part of Japanese automotive giant Isuzu Motors, officially inaugurated Isuzu Vietnam Auto Car Centre (IAC) on September 29 at Tan Phu Trung Industrial Zone in Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi district.

    After six-month intensive construction that kicked off on March 23, 2017, IAC which is located at lot B6-6, Block B6, Road D2 in Tan Phu Trung IZ, has completed construction and is slated to commence operation from this month.

    IAC is designated to handle three core functions: a training base of repair and maintenance skills for truck and pickup lines for Isuzu agent technicians; a warehouse centre where genuine components and parts are kept in a big volume to meet burgeoning market demands; and providing support to Isuzu sales agents in major overhauls going beyond the agents’ capacity.

    Isuzu Vietnam has been developing by leaps and bounds in the Vietnamese market in recent years, attesting through its strong investment commitments.

    Besides expanding the agent network and promoting commercial and family-oriented vehicle lines, the company has been constantly trying for perfection in the components and after-sales service aspect.

    In addition, with the commitment of Northwest Saigon City Development Corporation (SCD) - the developer of Tan Phu Trung IZ in providing utmost support to the investors, IAC promises to be Isuzu’s strategic step in satisfying Vietnamese customers’ demands.

    Isuzu Vietnam is a joint venture operating in assembling and distributing vehicles with the brand Isuzu, the world leading brand for commercial vehicles and diesel engines.

    The company chose Tan Phu Trung IZ as the location for its auto care centre due to the latter’s convenient location, smart planning and investment incentives that have made the IZ very appealing to both domestic and foreign investors.

    Some investors withdraw from BOT transport projects

    Some investors developing national highway upgrade projects under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format have asked to withdraw from these projects, while the Ministry of Transport also announced the BOT formal from now on will only apply to projects to develop new roads.

    In late September, 36 Corporation under the Ministry of Defense sent a document to the Ministry of Transport seeking to withdraw from phase two of the BOT project to upgrade a 55.7-kilometer section of National Highway 19 from Binh Dinh Province to Gia Lai Province costing an estimated VND391 billion.

    Phase one of the project, which cost nearly VND1.4 trillion, was completed in 2016, and the investor has collected tolls on the route from June 2016.

    There are several reasons for the withdrawal. 36 Corporation said it has been incapable of solving certain problems during over one year implementing the project.

    In fact, the Ministry of Planning and Investment has not issued the investment certificate for the project. Therefore, 36 Corporation has been unable to borrow money from the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) to finance the project.

    Besides, the investor’s roadmap for toll hike has not been approved while the number of vehicles traveling on the route is deemed low, making the project unviable financially.

    According to the initial plan, the investor should be allowed to collect tolls on the route in 18 years and five months. However, the State Audit Office of Vietnam later proposed shortening the toll collection period to 10 years and 10 months.

    With all of the above problems, 36 Corporation said the project would be unprofitable and proposed suspending the project.

    Notably, the corporation has implemented some components on the project. However, the Ministry of Transport said the corporation has not been granted an investment certificate, so it will not be reimbursed for these work items.

    Meanwhile, some other BOT transport projects, including the projects of upgrading national highways 22 and 62, are going to be suspended, possibly due to recent protests of drivers and transport enterprises.

    Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong has confirmed the imminent suspension, adding that only projects to build new roads will be allowed to develop under BOT format from now on.

    In the past few months, public protests against BOT projects have been strong. Drivers have used small change money to pay toll fees at several tollgates, causing severe traffic congestions, as they said the tollgates have been installed at wrong places by the investors to maximize toll collections.

    Drivers and transport enterprises have demanded that such tollgates be dismantled, or relocated to roads developed under the BOT format. These include a tollgate on National Highway 1A in Cai Lay Town in Tien Giang Province, another tollgate also on National Highway 1A in Dong Nai Province, and two on National Highway 5 in the North.

    Cathay Pacific adds more flights to Spain, Tel Aviv

    Cathay Pacific will increase the number of flights to Barcelona, Spain on its peak seasonal routes to a year-round service.

    The service will start on April 15 next year, with three weekly services from Hong Kong. Beginning on July 1, it will offer flights four times weekly, according to the carrier.

    The new flights, which will be on Airbus A350-900 aircraft, will complement Cathay Pacific’s existing four-times weekly service to Madrid which will increase to five times a week from October 29.

    With the new flight schedules, the airline will provide more non-stop flights to Spain from Asia than any other carrier.

    Ronald Lam, Cathay Pacific’s director of commercial and cargo, explained that the popularity of the seasonal route was pivotal in the decision to make Barcelona a year-round destination.

    “Demand on the route has exceeded expectations and customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Growing our reach to destinations not otherwise served from Hong Kong enables us to capture new sources of revenue and solidifies the city’s status as Asia’s largest international hub,” he said.

    The company also announced additional frequencies between the two cities of  Tel Aviv and Hong Kong from next summer. Launched in March 2017 as a four-times-weekly operation, the Airbus A350-900 route will start six times a week on March 25, increasing to daily service in October and November.

    Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific’s regional carrier Cathay Dragon will be increasing the frequency of its services between Hong Kong and Fukuoka, Japan from December 18 this year.

    The airline will initially operate an additional weekly flight to Japan’s fifth largest city, bringing the total number of flights per week to eight, increasing to 11 flights per week between January 14 and March 24 next year.

    North Korea closes restaurants in Vietnam

    Two of three North Korean restaurants in Vietnam have been closed due to alleged losses.

    The Ryu Gyong Restaurant on Le Quy Don Street in HCM City's District 3 last week announced that they temporarily closed for upgrades but local people said that they would not reopen as the facility had been sold as the restaurant was failing to attract customers.

    Ryu Gyong opened in 2014 with 15 North Korean staff.

    Earlier this year, a North Korean restaurant in the central city of Danang also stopped operation in February.

    Although one restaurant run by North Korean people is still operating in Hanoi, it is said to be also facing losses while South Korean restaurants are doing well in Vietnam.

    The business difficulties at North Korean restaurants in foreign countries have come together with more sanctions from the international community which have largely affected the country's foreign revenues.

    Statistics from the South Korea government last year showed that 30 out of 130 North Korean restaurants in 12 countries had been closed as of July 2016 following tighter sanctions imposed by the international community since March, according to the Yonhap Newspaper.

    Despite having a good relationship with North Korean government, the Vietnamese government has still voiced deep concerns about North Korea’s recent ballistic missile tests and launching which seriously violated UN Security Council resolutions and increased tension in the region.

    HCM City microfinance fund for poor gets upgrade
       
    HCM City’s Capital Aid Fund for Employment of the Poor was on Sunday renamed the Capital Aid for Employment of the Poor MicroFinance Institution Ltd (CEP) and brought under the Law On Credit Institutions.

    "The upgrade is very important for us in promoting our activities to serve poor workers in southern provinces," Nguyen Thi Hong Van, general director of the fund, said.

    In 1991 the HCM City Confederation of Labour established the Capital Aid Fund for Employment of the Poor based on the Bangladesh Grameen model to create jobs for unemployed and self-employed workers in the city and eight provinces in the south-east and the Mekong Delta.

    Its mission is to work with, and for, the poor and poorest to realise sustained improvements in well-being, through the provision of financial and complementary non-financial services in an efficient and sustainable manner.

    It seeks to provide microcredit for starting and developing small businesses, reduce poverty by creating income generating activities among the poor to enable a gradual increase in well-being, involve the poor in building solidarity, teamwork, shared responsibilities and a sense of community in maintaining a clean environment and healthy social conditions and expand microfinance to reach as many poor as possible.

    "The most challenge is how to mobilise capital because this is a non-profit institution and we hope HCM City authorities will provide more medium-term loans to the fund," Bui Van Cuong, chairman of the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour, said.

    Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said: "HCM City will provide every support to the CEP and hope the institution continues with its great accomplishments in supporting poor workers."

    By 2016 the fund had gradually expanded its outreach to serve 330,000 people through 34 branches in HCM City and the provinces of Ben Tre, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Long An, Tay Ninh, Tien Giang, and Vinh Long with total loans of around VND3 trillion (US$130 million).

    Start Jerusalem 2017: Drop Deck wins VN challenge
       
    The final round of the contest in Viet Nam took place in Ha Noi on Sunday with dramatic competition among the six best teams from across the country.

    Following nearly two months of competition, the six best teams - Drop Deck, Finsify, Repoto and Putatu, as well as Abby Card and SafeSai - went into the final round.

    Along with Drop Deck, the other five teams also won similar awards and certification from the competition.

    The Embassy of Israel in Viet Nam along with the National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialisation Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Business Studies and Assistance Centre organised the contest.

    Start Jerusalem is a global competition organised by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Jerusalem Development Authority, which brings together startups from different countries to compete for the opportunity to take part in a five-day innovation experience in Jerusalem, Israel -- one of the world’s leading tech ecosystems.

    The startup competition was organised to find a winner for Start Jerusalem 2017, which takes place in November.

    Israeli Ambassador Nadav Eshcar said this year’s teams surprised him with their good quality and useful products.

    The contest affirmed the support of the Israeli government and its startup community for Vietnamese startups.

    Vouchers cannot be converted into cash.

    Việt Nam has become the first country allowed to export star-apple fruit to the United States. The breakthrough follows 10 years of negotiations.

    This follows a report sent by the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to the Việt Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Protection Department.

    The breakthrough was based on the findings of a pest-risk analysis and public reviews and comments that found the fruit could be safely exported into the US.

    Together with litchi, longan, rambutan and dragon fruit, star-apples are the fifth Vietnamese fruit allowed into the American market.

    The requirements for entry are similar to quarantine for the other fruits, including the growing area. The shipments are subject to inspection upon arrival.

    The US requires mandatory pest control for eight pests, mainly fruit flies and aphids.

    In addition, the star-apples must meet requirements for the importation of vegetables and fruits into the US market in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)’s Article 319.56-3.

    Each batch of fruit must have a plant quarantine certificate issued by Việt Nam Plant Protection Department.

    Star-apples are highly valued by US importers for their quality.

    Preliminary statistics show that Việt Nam has about 5,000 hectares of star apples, mainly in the Mekong Delta provinces of Tiền Giang (3,100ha) and Cần Thơ (1,200ha).

    Fruit productivity is about 18-22 tonnes per hectare. Total annual output is more than 60 thousand tonnes. Until now, most of the fruit has been either eaten locally or exported to China and ASEAN nations.

    The successful export of the fruit to the US market opens up great opportunities to develop growing areas.

    Vietsovpetro posts gas output of 50 billion cu.m

    Vietsovpetro, a giant oil and gas joint venture, posted gas output of 50 billion cu.m after 30 years of operation on Sunday.

    Of these, 180 billion cu.m of gas was provided through oil extraction using gas compression technology (gaslift) at Bạch Hổ-Rồng, Thỏ Trắng and Nam Rồng-Đồi Mồi oilfields.

    The remaining 32 billion cu. m of gas was compressed by Vietsovpetro ashore, providing for gas and gas industry clusters, such as Phú Mỹ Fertilizer Plant, Nhơn Trạch 1, 2, 3, Bà Rịa Power Plant.

    Vietsovpetro and members of the Việt Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) have improved the effectiveness of oil exploitation and usage, contributing to the national energy security.

    It has operated gas exploitation, disposal and safe and effective compression, as well as collected all the associated gas at oilfields in the Mekong basin and a part of Nam Côn Sơn basin.

    The first gas flow from White Tiger oil field was taken to shore on May 3, 1995. The total compressed air reached one billion cu.m on May 15, 1998. The total compressed air was 20 billion cu.m on March 25, 2008, then up to 30 billion cu.m on October 25, 2011. The total output was 45 billion cu.m on April 15, 2015.

    Vietsovpetro was Việt Nam’s first international joint venture to explore oil on the continental shelf and was founded by State-owned Việt Nam Oil and Gas Corporation and Russia’s Zarubezhneft.

    Smart urban model applied at Quang Trung Software City

    Quang Trung Software City (QTSC), the first and largest software park in Vietnam, has a total area of 43 hectares as originally designed. To date, QTSC has attracted around 150 information technology (IT) companies, with five of them employing more than 1,000 people. QTSC now has 20 office buildings, five IT training centers, four bank transaction offices, 20 parking lots, apartments for experts, dormitories, underground power lines and wastewater treatment system, a kindergarten, a healthcare center, an incubator, and a business support center, among others. The software park is home to about 20,000 workers and students.

    International consulting group KPMG ranks QTSC third among eight technology parks in Asia based on indicators such as occupancy, incentive policy, and telecommunications infrastructure. QTSC is fourth in terms of size, efficiency of businesses, foreign direct investment (FDI) and human resource quality. All in all, QTSC has emerged as a technology park with outstanding incentives, and investors from a wide range of sectors and with sustainable growth.

    In the development process, QTSC has faced a slew of challenges in maintaining the 24/7 readiness of infrastructure and security, and improving management and service quality to meet the rising demand of enterprises. The software city has been exploring ways to better management and catch up with global integration trends so that it can be comparable to technology parks elsewhere in the world.

    QTSC has actively applied state-of-the-art technology to facilitate internal management since the beginning of 2016. The move is aimed at developing it into a smart city model with three main objectives: improving the quality of administration, raising the satisfaction of the internal community, and developing the brand of Quang Trung Software City.

    Therefore, QTSC will focus on three steps in order to achieve these goals. The first is to build and implement IT applications for internal management, and support and serve the community on the digital platform. The second is to connect technology and data applications on the same platform. The last is to share, analyze and use data, as well as predict future scenarios to map out development policies. These steps will be simultaneously carried out and updated to produce immediate results.

    So far, QTSC has achieved positive results such as:

    - SMS application: shortening the time needed to inform customers from two days (equivalent to 2,880 minutes) to two minutes, and reducing the service fee from VND15,000 to VND3,000 per customer

    - Digitalization of internal technical infrastructure

    - Public lighting: saving 35% of electric power consumption

    - Environment: well managing 11 wastewater parameters such as chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), pH, total suspended solids (TSS), ammonium, nitrate, sulfur, phosphate, and total grease in real time, and instantly issue warnings whenever any parameter exceeds the permissible level.

    - Internal traffic: bike sharing helps shorten travel time by three to seven minutes each commute.

    - Internal safety and security: having detected number plates of four people who caused disturbance and handed them over to the local police station.

    Based on these initial results, QTSC is striving to optimize existing apps and develop new ones, gradually integrate data and apps on the same platform, and build open platforms for third-party customers. The application of smart urban model at QTSC is a long-term process and is one of the primary objectives of turning QTSC into a leading software city in Asia.

    Tien Giang likely to surpass export target

    The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang raked in 1.86 billion USD in the first nine months this year, up 25.4 percent annually and equivalent to 80 percent of the yearly target.

    With such momentum, the province is likely to surpass the export target of 2.35 billion USD, said Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Ngo Van Tuan.

    Foreign-invested enterprises accounted for over 62 percent of the total local export while key local products such as apparel, footwear, handbag and bronze pipe made up 70 percent of total export.

    Tuan said fisheries export topped 282 million USD in the nine-month period, marking a 45 percent increase year-on-year. Processed tra fish accounted for 90 percent of the total agro-fisheries shipments, mostly to European and American markets.

    During the period, the province shipped more than189,000 tonnes of rice abroad, earning 87.6 million USD, up 86 percent in volume and value.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Van Huong said the locality has paid attention to administrative reform and business climate improvement, thereby facilitating business operations.

    Since early this year, the local authorities have held three dialogues with enterprises to acquire their feedback and promptly clear arising obstacles.

    Thanks to common efforts between local administration, sectors and firms, local farm produce export has progressed sustainably.

    Transport connectivity between HCMC and southeastern provinces still weak

    Weak transport connectivity between HCMC and southeastern provinces has led to a waste of potential, heard a conference last Friday.

    According to the Port Authority of Inland Waterway Area No. 3 (PAIW 3), HCMC and southeastern provinces have failed to create a strong transport connectivity to make the most of their economic advantages and potentials.

    Taking Binh Duong Province as an example, a representative of PAIW 3 said the province has numerous industrial zones and has the Saigon River crossing through, but most of its goods are transported to HCMC and other provinces by roads, causing overloading, congestions and high transport fees.

    If the goods are transported by inland waterways, the cost could be reduced significantly. “Inland waterway systems in HCMC and southeastern provinces are underinvested,” he said.

    A representative of the Vietnam Maritime Administration said transport systems of HCMC and southeastern provinces have not been developed synchronously and inland waterway systems are not capable of handling large ships. Besides, ports, wharfs and logistic services are underinvested.

    The administration’s director Nguyen Xuan Sang said these localities have already had planning for a multi-modal transport system but the planning has not been implemented.

    Although having numerous rivers and canals, HCMC and southeastern provinces have mainly relied on maritime and road transport. Therefore, they should invest more in inland waterways to create a uniform and multi-modal transport system for economic development.

    Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the HCMC Department of Transport, said HCMC is striving to develop the inland waterway system by expanding river ports and opening more inland waterway routes connecting it with southeastern as well as southwestern provinces.

    High-tech rate low at industrial zones in HCMC

    Hi-technology production at processing and industrial zones has been still low, with less than ten out of thousands of operational enterprises obtaining hi-tech certificates, heard a dialogue held by the HCMC Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA) last Friday.

    Experts said HCMC used to take the lead in the development of processing and industrial zones for a long time, but the leading role has been on the downturn in recent years.

    The city’s processing and industrial zones have less than 10 enterprises with hi-tech certificates granted, and their hi-tech rate has remained low at around 10%, according to Nguyen Van Kich, former consultant to the Minister of Planning and Investment.

    HEPZA Director Nguyen Hoang Nang said the majority of projects at processing and industrial zones have small scales while the number of projects with advanced and value-added products accounts for a low proportion after 25 years of development.

    Authorities of processing and industrial zones have paid attention to knowledge-intensive, high-tech and competitive industries since 2004, and have focused on four major industries and other supporting ones in line with the city’s guidelines. However, they have yet to attract many large-scale projects.

    The quality of planning has not met the requirements for growth in a timely manner. Especially, zones have small scales and do not create infrastructure connectivity. They do not have enough available land for services and social welfare infrastructure projects.

    Notably, infrastructure projects outside the zones have yet to be planned and built properly. Besides, the zones are mainly developed for a vast area of business sectors so they fail to establish links among enterprises at industrial parks.

    HCMC has 17 operational processing and industrial zones, attracting more than 1,300 projects worth around US$10 billion and creating jobs for about 290,000 people. Their industrial products make up 40% of the city’s industrial export revenue.

    HEPZA Director Nang stressed the major tasks for local processing and industrial zones are to gradually change existing zones into green, clean and hi-tech ones, and develop new industrial parks in line with hi-tech and supporting industries by 2025.

    Trade deficit with South Korea skyrockets to US$23.3 billion

    Although Vietnam’s trade deficit has been narrowed in recent months, but trade deficit with South Korea alone in the year to date surged a staggering 57.7% over the same period last year to US$23.3 billion.

    According to data of Vietnam’s General Statistics Office, the country reported a trade surplus of US$400 million in September, helping reduce January-September trade deficit to US$442 million. This was a sharp decrease as trade deficit in January-July had exceeded US$3 billion.

    The data shows that the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector posted a trade surplus of US$17.64 billion while the domestic sector posted a trade deficit of US$18.08 billion in the first nine months.

    Notably, Vietnam suffered from a big trade deficit with South Korea.

    Vietnam’s exports to Korea in the nine months totaled US$10.6 billion, increasing by 27.3% year on year, but imports from Korea amounted to US$33.9 billion, up a jaw-dropping 46.5% year-on-year, leading to a trade deficit of US$23.3 billion with the northeast Asian country.

    Vietnam’s major products shipped to Korea included electronic products, computers and computer components (up 40.5% year-on-year), phones and phone parts (up 36.6%), and textiles and garments (up 6.1%).

    On the other hand, the country mainly imported machinery, equipment, tools and other components (up 113.3% year-on-year) and electronic products, computers and computer components (up 45.9%) from Korea.

    In January-September, Vietnam also endured a big trade deficit with China, at US$19.7 billion (up 5.6% year-on-year), and with ASEAN countries, at US$4.6 billion.

    Market watchers have predicted that trade deficit with Korea would become bigger in the coming time due to the increasing impact of the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA) which became effective in late 2015. Moreover, the increasing presence of Korean firms in Vietnam will lead to a higher demand for machineries, equipment and materials imported from Korea.

    Overall, Vietnam’s exports in the first nine months of 2017 edged up 19.8% year-on-year to US$154 billion, with US$43.2 billion of it contributed by domestic firms, up 16.8%, and US$110.8 billion by foreign-invested firms, up 21%.

    Meanwhile, imports rose 23.1% year-on-year to US$154.5 billion, of which US$61.3 billion came from the domestic sector, up 18.7%, and US$93.2 billion from the FDI sector, up 26.1%.

    ManpowerGroup Vietnam: number of female leaders remains modest

    The number of women serving in leadership positions remains low with 33% of the total workforce, and even lower at 25% of enterprises’ owners, said Le Thi Kim, Country HR Manager at ManpowerGroup Vietnam.

    At the public – private dialogue on individual action plan for the enhancement of women’s representation in leadership as part of the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum from September 26 to 29 in Hue City, Kim said women make up 47% of Vietnam’s workforce but the gender pay gap remains wide.

    However, women play an important role in economic development, especially in the fourth Industrial Revolution, as 30% of small and medium enterprises which account for 98-99% of enterprises in Vietnam are established by businesswomen.

    Vietnam has obtained major achievements and ranks ninth out of 24 economies in Asia-Pacific region in narrowing the gender gap. To continue promoting gender equality, the Government has set many targets such as increasing the ratio of women in leadership at all levels by 0.3%-3.23%, creating jobs for at least 40% of women and reaching the rate of female entrepreneurs of 35% from 2020.

    Established in 2008 with two representative offices in HCMC and Hanoi City, ManpowerGroup Vietnam is a leading provider of human resource services and a strategic partner of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

    VAMC distrains eight land lots of Hoan Cau Group

    Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC) is seeking experienced units to help with evaluating eight land lots with total area of over 50,000 square meters, which are assets guaranteed for the bad debts of Hoan Cau Khanh Hoa JSC and Hoan Cau Nha Trang Co Ltd (Hoan Cau Group).

    According to Tuoi Tre newspaper, VAMC acquired these land lots from Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank (Sacombank), which are Hoan Cau Group’s assets guaranteed for its loans of VND2,418 billion (nearly US$106.2 million) at the bank.

    The eight land lots, located in Tan Thuan Tay and Binh Thuan wards of District 7, HCMC, were planned for a high-rise residential building combined with a commercial center. Their total value at the time Hoan Cau Group borrowed money from Sacombank was estimated at VND2,418 billion.

    Sacombank lent Hoan Cau Group money to develop the project, but the loan became Sacombank’s bad debts, forcing the bank to sell the bad debts to VAMC for special bonds.

    Hoan Cau Khanh Hoa JSC has total loan principal of VND1.3 trillion and total loan interest of over VND84 billion. VAMC acquired the debts by special bonds worth VND1.3 trillion.

    Meanwhile, VAMC acquired total loan principal of VND1.1 trillion and total loan interest of over VND93 billion of Hoan Cau Nha Trang Co Ltd by special bonds worth VND1.1 trillion.

    Overall, Hoan Cau Group’s total loan principal is VND2.4 trillion and total loan interest is VND177 billion.

    Hoan Cau Khanh Hoa JSC and Hoan Cau Nha Trang Co Ltd are subsidiaries of Hoan Cau Group which was founded in 1993 with charter capital of VND193 billion.

    Hoan Cau Group now has 36 subsidiaries in Khanh Hoa Province, HCMC, Dalat City and Dong Nai Province. The group’s charter capital was raised to VND1,170 billion in 2015.

    Hoan Cau Group is the investor of Diamond City project in District 7, HCMC, which has total investment of US$4 billion and is scheduled for completion in late 2018. 

    Other projects developed by the group include Cantavil Hoan Cau in HCMC’s Binh Thanh District, Diamond Bay City in Nha Trang City and Dalat Palace Golf Club in Dalat City.

    Hoan Cau Khanh Hoa JSC is the investor of Hoan Cau hotel and commercial center project worth VND1.5 trillion in Nha Trang City, while Hoan Cau Nha Trang Co Ltd has invested in several projects like Crown Convention Center, Ba Ho tourism area, Diamond Bay Condotel Resort and Diamond Bay Resort & Spa.

    CPI up 3.79% in Jan-Sep

    The consumer price index (CPI) in September picked up 0.59% against the previous month as many groups of items in the basket of commodities used for CPI calculation marked up, making CPI in the first nine months rise 3.79% over the same period in 2016.

    Data of the General Statistics Office released on September 29 shows the steepest rise of 5% in the education group which resulted from tuition fee hikes in 41 cities and provinces nationwide this month. This group, together with the transport group that recorded a 1.51% increase as a result of fuel price hikes, pushed up the September CPI strongly.

    The group of housing and building materials edged up 0.69% against the previous month, with a rise of 1.18% in building material price, and 5% in cooking gas price and 3.08% in kerosene price.

    Other groups reporting price rise were medicine and healthcare with an increase of 0.25%, and food and catering service with 0.08%.

    Overall, CPI in September edged up 1.83% compared to December 2016 and 3.4% against the same period last year, making the average CPI in the first nine months rise 3.79% year-on-year.

    September core inflation, which is based on the CPI excluding commodities managed by the State, grew 0.08% against August and 1.32% year-on-year.

    The average core inflation in the first nine months of this year grew 1.45% compared to last year’s first-nine-month average.

    The General Statistics Office also noted a strong increase in the retail revenue of consumer goods in September, attributing the rise to numerous promotional programs launched at commercial centers, supermarkets as well as retail stores.

    The country’s total retail sales of goods and services in September amounted to an estimated VND336.6 trillion (over US$14.8 billion), up 1.8% against a month earlier and up 12.1% over the same period last year.

    The figure for the first nine months of this year is estimated at nearly VND2,918 trillion, a year-on-year rise of 10.5%. If the inflation factor was excluded, the growth would be 9.2%, a little bit higher than the same period of last year’s growth of 9%.  

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNEVET


    0 0
  • 10/05/17--02:32: Article 0
  • Vietnam’s economy accelerates in nine months


    Vietnam’s economy witnessed positive changes in the first nine months of 2017 with growth increasing from quarter to quarter, according to Director General of the General Statistics Office (GSO) Nguyen Bich Lam. 

     Vietnam’s economy accelerates in nine months, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news
    Vietnam’s economy accelerates in nine months (Illustrative image. Source: VNA) 

    Gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter expanded by 5.15 percent, the second quarter 6.28 percent, and the third quarter 7.46 percent – the highest level since 2011, Lam said.

    Contributing to the country’s overall economic growth of 6.41 percent in January-September was the processing and manufacturing industry – which posted a growth rate of 12.8 percent, the services sector 7.25 percent, and the agricultural sector 2.78 percent.

    International tourists arrivals in Vietnam in the nine months remained high with more than 9.4 million arrivals, a year-on-year rise of 28.4 percent. The tourism sector hopes to welcome 13 million foreign visitors in 2017.

    January-September growth was also buoyed by exports, which climbed 19.8 percent compared to the same period last year (6.7 percent) to an estimated 154 billion USD, exceeding the year’s target of seven percent.

    In the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 by the World Economic Forum, Vietnam jumped to 55th place, up five spots from last year and 20 from five years ago.

    Vietnam also leapt nine notches to 82nd out of the 190 economies in the “Doing Business 2016: Equal Opportunity for All” report by the World Bank, maintaining fifth position in ASEAN.

    In the first nine months of 2017, Vietnam attracted 25.5 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI), a year-on-year rise of 34.3 percent, while 12.5 billion USD of FDI was disbursed, up 13.4 percent year-on-year.

    As many as 93,967 new enterprises were established with a total registered capital of 902.7 trillion VND (about 39.7 billion USD), up 15.4 percent in number and 43.5 percent in capital. 

    Inflation was held below four percent, while core inflation averaged 1.45 percent up to September and is forecast to approximate 1.5-1.8 percent this year, below the target assigned by the National Assembly.

    VNA


    0 0
  • 10/06/17--01:57: Article 2
  •  Việt Nam has 18m unofficial workers


    HÀ NỘI - Việt Nam has more than 18 million unofficial workers, according to a report released in Hà Nội on Wednesday.


     

    Việt Nam has more than 18 million unofficial workers, according to a report released in Hà Nội on Wednesday. - Photo vnexpress.net


    A joint effort by the General Statistics Office (GSO) of Việt Nam, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs, the report polled nearly 20,000 households each month in 63 cities and provinces nationwide from 2007. Data about unofficial workforce were added into survey questionnaires from 2014.

    Information gathered revealed that about 60 per cent of unofficial workers live in rural areas in the Mekong and Red River Deltas. In the northern mountainous mid-lands and the Central Highlands regions, workers are mainly involved in agriculture and forestry. Unofficial workers in Hà Nội and HCM City make up more than 20 per cent of the total nationwide.

    Most unofficial workers are involved in manufacturing and processing, construction, wholesale-retail and vehicle repair, accounting for about 70 per cent of the total. Lodging and catering services account for another 11 per cent. 

    The monthly wages of these workers averages VNĐ4.4 million (US$192) a head compared to VNĐ6.7 million for the formal sector. Up to 97.9 per cent of unofficial workers lack social insurance compared to the 80.5 per cent of workers in the formal sector who do have social insurance.

    Vulnerable group

    Unofficial workers are known to have unstable jobs, lack labour contracts or are forced to work on verbal contracts to earn low income.

    About 76.7 per cent of unofficial workers have no official labour contracts, according to the report.  

    Particularly, their employers operate on a micro or small scale, lack business registration or fail to pay social and health insurance or other welfare to workers.

    The report shows that up to 43.9 per cent of unofficial workers are classified as being vulnerable. Female workers tend to do jobs that are more vulnerable than male workers. A total of 59.6 per cent of female workers work in vulnerable jobs while the figure is 31.8 per cent for males.

    Director of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs Đào Quang Vinh said unofficial workers always had insecure employment, disadvantages in wage arrangements, inadequate welfare and insufficient employment conditions.

    To reduce their vulnerability, he suggested adopting specific action plans to encourage business households to apply for registration and provide them with support in capital, technology, consumption and workforce training.

    Nguyễn Thị Xuân Mai, head of the GSO’s Population and Labour Statistics Department, said the State should encourage unofficial workers to join voluntary social insurance via aids.

    Director of ILO Việt Nam, Chang Hee Lee, said the unofficial economy was a common challenge in many countries. To reduce unofficial workers, it was necessary to promote official employment by creating opportunities for unofficial workers to work in companies, to have labour contracts and to be paid social and health insurance.

    The report would serve as a basis to help ministries and agencies put forward appropriate policies, he said. - VNS


    0 0
  • 10/06/17--02:04: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 5/10


    Sacombank sells VND2,580 billion deep debt to VAMC 

     Sacombank sells VND2,580 billion deep debt to VAMC, GDP growth rate strongly increases in third quarter, Thua Thien – Hue: offshore fishing fares well, Japanese firm to build 10-mln-USD factory in Vinh Phuc’s IP
    Sacombank and VAMC representatives sign the cooperation agreement  

    Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) has also signed contracts to sell three debts worth VND2,580 billion (US$114 billion) to Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC).

    These bad debts will be purchased according to market value. Their mortgages are real estates, machines and equipment in Da Nang and HCMC.

    The two sides yesterday signed a cooperation agreement on handling bad debts and asset backlog. According to the agreement, Sacombank and VAMC will work together to build a roadmap to handle debts every year.

    Sacombank will propose the list of bad debts which will be sold to VAMC through special bonds and those which will be traded according to market value.

    This year, they have set a target of tackling VND15-20 trillion of deep debts. Of these, at least VND1 trillion will be traded according to market value.     

    Toyota recalls 20,000 Vios, Yaris cars for airbag problem

    The Competition and Consumer Protection Agency has received a report from Toyota Vietnam Company about the recall of 20,000 Vios and Yaris cars to examine and repair the inflator modules of front passenger airbags.

    According to an announcement from the Ministry of Industry and Trade yesterday, 18,138 Vios cars locally assembled and 1,877 imported Yaris cars will be recalled.
    The inflator modules of front passenger airbags will be replaced free of charge to ensure safety for passengers.

    GDP growth rate strongly increases in third quarter

    Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate has been up quarter by quarter this year and reached 7.46 percent in the third quarter, a strong increase compared to 5.15 percent the first and 6.28 percent in the second quarter.

    That was announced at a meeting presided over by deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, chairman of the Advisory Council on National Financial and Monetary Policies, yesterday afternoon.


    The meeting was organized to estimate macroeconomic norms in the third quarter and the first nine months of 2017, aiming at providing the Government with estimations and advises in macroeconomic management at the regular cabinet meeting in September which will take place next week.


    At the event, council members estimated that monetary and fiscal policies have been run stably in a harmonious way contributing in positive changes of macroeconomic norms.
    Inflation rate continued being curbed below 4 percent. It increased 0.59 percent in September mainly because of petrol price adjustments. Core inflation averaged 1.45 percent in nine months, forecast to approximate 1.5-1.8 percent this year, below the assigned norm of the National Assembly.

    In addition, capital mobilization for the economy via Government bonds during the nine months reached VND147 trillion (US$6.47 billion), accounting for 80 percent of plan, thanks to stable interest rates.

    Foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction hit a record high. As of September 20, there was $14.6 billion newly registered capital and $6.8 billion additional capital. Total new and additional funds rebounded 21.7 percent over the same period last year.

    Although the Government has permitted the State Bank of Vietnam to increase the credit growth rate from 18 to 21 percent this year, council members said it is still needed to keep a close eye on the market to prevent fluctuations and pay attention to credit quality to ensure the progress and quality of projects.


    They proposed the Government and the Prime Minister to continue administrative reform, reduce business and investment procedures to create advantageous conditions for enterprises, quickly amend and issue policies to lure investment in agriculture and rural development, require authorized agencies to further cut interest rates and lower costs for production and trading activities.

    Thua Thien – Hue: offshore fishing fares well

    Total seafood output from both fishing and aquaculture in the central province of Thua Thien–Hue reached 40,166 tonnes in January-September, up 15.6 percent, including 28,777 tonnes of wild catch, up  19.7 percent.

    Vice Chairman of the Thuan An town People’s Committee Ngo Van Du attributed the increase to the high-capacity fishing fleet and modern logistic system, which helps lengthen an average fishing trip to at  least 10 days and preserve catch better.

    So far this year, the province has earmarked 13.6 billion VND (599,500 USD) and 1.6 million VND (70,928 USD) for Phu Vang and Phu Loc districts, respectively, to implement policies to support local  offshore fishermen and fish farmers.

    Under Decree 67/2014/ND-CP on policies for fisheries development, the province has collaborated with communal administrations and banks to help local fishermen access preferential credit, thus building  and upgrading 40 vessels.

    Communication work has been strengthened to encourage local fishermen to repair and build high-capacity fishing steel vessels to develop offshore fishing while also contributing to protecting the nation’s  sea and island sovereignty.

    The natural resource and environment sector has focused on monitoring the sea and lagoon environment to ensure stable livelihood for fish farmers and socio-economic development in the locality.

    Reference exchange rate revised down

    The State Bank of Vietnam adjusted the daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD to 22,468 VND on October 5, down 5 VND from the previous day.

    With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,141 VND and the floor rate 21,875 VND per USD.

    The rates listed at major commercial banks in the morning of October 5 continued to stay stable. 

    Both Vietcombank and Vietinbank listed their buying rate at 22,690 VND and selling rate 22,760 VND per USD, unchanged from October 4.

    At BIDV, the greenback is being bought at 22,695 VND and sold at 22,765 VND, the same as on October 4.

    Japanese firm to build 10-mln-USD factory in Vinh Phuc’s IP

    Tsuchiya TSCO Vietnam Co., Ltd has entered a land lease contract with Thang Long Industrial Park (TLIP III) in the northern province of Vinh Phuc to set up a 10-million-USD facility.

    Tsuchiya TSCO, a member of the Japan-based Tsuchiya TSCO Group, is among first companies signing a lease with the industrial park, according to the provincial People’s Committee.

    Founded in 1990, the group manufactures home appliances, electronic and automotive parts. It now has 11 subsidies at home and 14 others overseas.

    Its 4-ha factory in the TLIP III will produce automotive parts and industrial products.

    Construction on the TLIP III started on September 21 this year, covering 213 hectares in Thien Ke and Tam Hop communes, Binh Xuyen district. It is expected to draw about 80 FDI projects from Japan and  create jobs for thousands of labourers once put into service.

    The industrial park gives priority to hi-tech and environmentally-friendly projects, support industries, and spare parts production in service of the auto-motorcycle and precision engineering sectors.

    Thua Thien – Hue: registered capital of new firms doubles

    As many as 491 enterprises were established with total chapter capital of 4.8 trillion VND (211.2 million USD) in the central province of Thua Thien – Hue in the first nine months of the year.

    This was a two-fold increase in registered capital.

    In addition, the province lured 50 domestic investment projects, worth 5,671 billion VND (249.5 million USD) and three foreign investment projects.

    The provincial Department of Planning and Investment has launched its public services portal. One-stop administrative procedure services have benefited local firms.

    In the same period, the provincial industrial production index (IPI) climbed 15.2 percent year-on-year. In which, the processing and manufacturing sector surged 11.19 percent; water supply and waste  collection up 3.56 percent; electricity production and distribution up 66.75 percent.

    An increasing trend was also witnessed in aquatic product processing, paper and paper products, and pharmaceuticals.

    According to Director of the Department Nguyen Thanh, the IPI increase was buoyed by the local power production and enhanced capacity of aluminium factories, and the operation of the Vitto Phu Loc Tile  Company.

    Tetra Pak builds packaging factory in Binh Duong

    Sweden-based food packaging and processing company Tetra Pak started the construction of its plant worth 110 million USD at the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park II in the southern province of Binh  Duong on October 4.

    This is the first factory in Vietnam that will produce packaging for liquid food and will produce 20 billion units per year to serve domestic and export demand.

    The plant will sit on an area of 100,000 sq.m and is scheduled for completion in early 2019.

    Tetra Pak President for South Asia, East Asia and Oceania Chiris Kenneally said the Binh Duong facility will be the company’s fourth packaging factory in the region to meet rising demand for dairy and  beverage packaging in Vietnam and the Asia-Pacific.

    He noted that with a sustainable development strategy, the factory in Vietnam will be the greenest in the Tetra Pak factory system and will use the world’s most advanced technology and equipment, therefore  meeting the highest environmental standards.

    Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Hieu said with an investment of 110 million USD, Tetra Pak’s factory is the biggest among 54 projects undertaken by Swedish investors in Vietnam,  and pledged all possible support to the project.-

    Thailand launches Bangkok – Phu Quoc flight route

    Bangkok Airways recently launched a direct flight between Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok and Phu Quoc International Airport in Vietnam’s Kien Giang province.

    The launch ceremony on October 3 was attended by Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Nguyen Hai Bang and Bangkok Airways President Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, among others.

    The Vietnamese Ambassador highlighted the tourism potential of Phu Quoc, with the island designated a special economic zone.

    The flight route will not only boost tourism, but also facilitate trade links and investment in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.

    For his part, the Bangkok Airways President hailed the beauty of Phu Quoc, saying it’s Bangkok Airways second destination in Vietnam, following the central city of Da Nang.

    The airway’s first flight to Phu Quoc will depart on October 29, he added.

    Known as a tourism paradise, Phu Quoc is endowed with long, white-sand beaches and clear waters, while numerous high-end facilities have been developed to serve tourists.

    In the first seven months this year, Phu Quoc received nearly 1.2 million tourists, accounting for 87.5 percent of the target set for 2017, including 200,000 domestic visitors.

    Vietnam Cycle 2017 to open in Hanoi

    The Vietnam Cycle 2017 expo will take place at the Hanoi International Exhibition Centre from November 16-19.

    The 150-booth exhibition is expected to attract 50 major manufacturers from France, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and Vietnam.

    Organisers noted that the event will give a boost to the trend of riding bicycles and promoting green energy in big cities today.

    It is also an opportunity for Vietnamese manufacturers to promote trade linkages and seek domestic and international partners and distributors while enhancing brand identification and connecting enterprises  and Vietnamese consumers.

    A seminar on bikes and a cycle fashion show will be organised. Visitors can also experience new lines of bicycles during the exhibition.

    Vietnam Cycle 2017 is organised by Vinexad and the Vietnam Auto Motorcycle and Bicycle Association (VAMOBA), under the patronage of the Ministry of Industry and Trade in collaboration with the National  Traffic Safety Committee.

    Last year, the event drew 10,000 foreign and domestic visitors. Over 400 bicycles were sold and 47 contracts were signed during the exhibition.

    Vietnam makes good use of Japan’s ODA: FEC deputy chief

    Vietnam has effectively used Japan’s official development assistance in building infrastructure, said Vice President of the Japanese International Friendship Exchange Council (FEC) Yoshihiko Nakagaki.

    Nakagaki, who has led FEC delegations to visit Vietnam several times over the past 7 years, made the comment at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung in Hanoi on October 4.

    He said the good use of the ODA has contributed significantly to the country’s socio-economic development, but noted that as the Vietnamese economy expands, adjustments to the current usage are  needed for better outcomes.

    Deputy PM Dung said he welcomes FEC member businesses making annual visits to Vietnam to learn about local policies to attract Japanese investors and discuss measures to boost Vietnam – Japan  economic ties.

    Highlighting robust growth of the Vietnam – Japan extensive strategic partnership, Dung said Japan is the top ODA provider and 4th biggest trade partner of Vietnam.

    Japanese investors have made good reputation in Vietnam and contributed to the local development, the official added.

    He underscored the commitment by the Vietnamese Government to complete policies and legal framework that improve business climate and facilitate foreign investors, including those from Japan.

    Both host and guest agreed on untapped potential for Vietnam – Japan trade cooperation thanks to prospects brought about by the formation of ASEAN Community and progressive negotiation of the  Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

    Established in 1983 as a non-profit international exchange organisation, FEC works on promoting friendship and cooperation between Japan and foreign countries.

    Vietnam welcomes Japanese investment: PM

    Vietnam is committed to create favourable conditions for Japanese businesses to invest in the country, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stated while receiving Kanji Hayama, former President of the  Japanese construction contractor Taisei Corp., in Hanoi on October 4.

    Recalling the company’s efforts in handling the collapse of Can Tho Bridge 10 years ago, Phuc lauded Taisei’s contributions to Vietnam’s socio-economic growth via its construction of many large-scale  infrastructure projects.

    He said Vietnam highly values its extensive strategic partnership with Japan, which is the country’s leading ODA provider and 4th biggest trade partner. Japan is also the second biggest foreign investor in  Vietnam.

    The Government leader stressed his hope that Taisei continues its good performance in Vietnam in contribution to Vietnam – Japan ties.

    For his part, Kanji Hayama expressed his gratitude for support from the Vietnamese Government toward his company’s operation in the country, particularly in dealing with the past collapse of Can Tho Bridge.

    He said he visited Vietnam every year to pay tribute to victims of the accident.

    Kanji Hayama said he believes in Taisei’s commitment to support future development of Vietnam.

    Vietnam, German share experience to develop agricultural value chains

    The Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VFU) and German Farmers’ Association (DBV) held a workshop in Hanoi on October 4 to share experience in developing value chains in agricultural production.

    Vice Chairman of the VFU Leu Vu Dieu said Vietnam is modernising agriculture and rural areas while actively promoting integration in the global economy, and the formation of value chains in agriculture will  be the key for success in this task.

    The country has implemented the “New Vision for Agriculture” initiative from 2010 with a view to developing comprehensive and sustainable agricultural value chains in line with global value chains and climate  change response, he added.

    So far over 10,000 farmers have joined technical demonstration models and applied sustainable standards for some agricultural products with the cooperation of multinational groups, according to Dieu.

    Many cooperative groups and cooperatives have been formed, helping farmers connect with each other and with the market, he noted.

    However, the VFU made it clear that the formation of value chains in agriculture has faced many difficulties, the greatest of which is capital shortage, hence the few number of value chains in the country.

    Former Secretary of the DBV Helmut Born stressed that in a value chain, the customer has the decisive voice, so farmers must understand better customers’ needs in order to meet demand.

    Based on opinions raised at the workshop, the VFU will make recommendations to the Party, State and Government to improve policies and mechanisms encouraging farmers to set up cooperative groups  and cooperatives, and businesses to invest in agricultural production value chains.

    Tra fish fair to take place this week in Hanoi

    The Vietnamese tra fish (pangasius) and seafood fair is scheduled to take place at the Hanoi-based Agricultural Exhibition Centre from October 6-8.

    The fair is expected to attract more than 100 booths of domestic and foreign enterprises, according to the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

    Within the framework of the event, there will be a seminar on tra fish production and consumption, and a food court introducing dishes made from tra fish.

    Tra fish is a popular choice of housewives thanks to its high nutritious values, especially its fat which comprises up to 80 percent of polyunsaturated fatty acids and no cholesterol.

    Tran Thi Hoa, from Thanh Xuan district, Hanoi, said she buys tra fish because this kind of fish is good for health and it is already processed, helping her save cooking time.

    Vietnamese tra fish has been shipped to 150 countries and territories nationwide, including choosy markets like the US and the Europe. Vietnam’s tra fish export to China, the Association of Southeast Asian  Nations (ASEAN), the Mideast, Brazil and Mexico has also increased recently.

    The Vietnamese Government has listed tra fish in the National Product Development Programme by 2020.

    Tran Dinh Luan, deputy head of the Directorate of Fisheries, said the MARD has assigned the directorate to establish a public-private partnership group in fisheries, which will coordinate with the Vietnam  Pangasius Association, the Vietnam Fisheries Societies, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, and a number of non-governmental organisations, to organise a club of tra fish  businesses.

    The group will also connect with supermarkets and restaurants to promote tra fish consumption, he said.

    Apart from 60 kinds of tra fish products, there are oil and collagen extracted from tra fish.

    Tien Giang shifts to growing fruit trees with high value

    The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang has replaced rice by fruit trees in over 2,300ha of land since the start of the year, said Cao Van Hoa, Acting Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and  Rural Development.

    The cultivation of fruit trees with high economic value is part of the province’s efforts to restructure agricultural production toward improving products’ quality and values.

    Tien Giang has zoned off more than 7,000ha in Cai Lay district, Cai Lay town and surrounding areas for growing durians. Over 5,000ha of dragon fruit trees have been grown in the districts of Cho Gao, Go  Cong Tay and Tan Phuoc.

    Durian and dragon fruits have become major products of Tien Giang with high export values. Local farmers earned between 800 million and 1 billion VND (35,200-44,000 USD) per hectare in the recent  crop.

    Cho Gao dragon fruits and Ngu Hiep durians of the province have recently been registered for the collective trademark.

    Ngo Van Cung, a farmer in Long Tien commune of Cai Lay district, grows durians on an area of 5,000 sq.m. He harvests about 13 tonnes of the fruit each year, raking in around 400 million VND.

    To date, Tien Giang has expanded its orchard area to nearly 74,000ha, or 98 percent of  the annual plan and a rise of 1.3 percent year-on-year.

    According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the locality reaped more than 1.2 million tonnes of fruits since the beginning of 2017, reaching 86 percent of this year’s plan and  up 4.7 percent compared to the previous year.

    Can Tho to ship first rice batch to Iran

    The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has signed an agreement with Iran to ship 100,000 tonnes of rice to the country, said Huynh Trung Tru, Deputy Director of the Department of Industry and Trade on October  4.

    According to Tru, rice import demand has surged in Bangladesh, the Philippines and Iran.

    Bangladesh needs to import about 500,000 tonnes of rice, with more than half of the volume in October alone, Tru said, adding that local firms have registered with the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) to join  bidding.

    The city hopes to sign a longer contract with Iran next year, Tru said.

    In the first nine months this year, the city shipped more than 638,000 tonnes of rice abroad, worth 262 million USD, up 22 percent in volume and nearly 20 percent in value year on year.

    According to the VFA, a total of nearly 5.16 million tonnes of rice was signed to be shipped abroad up to the end of August.

    The city earned more than one billion USD in export revenue, accounting for 75.8 percent of the yearly target, up 16.9 percent year on year.

    The city also imported 321 million USD worth of goods, accounting for 84.5 percent of the yearly target, up 47.6 percent from the same period last year, driven by increased purchases of equipment and  machines for production.

    PetroVietnam’s 9-month results exceed assigned plans

    Việt Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam)’s financial targets surpassed assigned plans, with the group earning VNĐ367 trillion (US$16.15 billion) in revenue in the first nine months of 2017.

    The revenue exceeded the group’s set plan by 16 per cent, contributing VNĐ68 trillion (some $3 billion) to the State budget, 21 per cent above the target.

    According to statistics announced by PetroVietnam earlier this week, domestic crude oil output of the group exceeded the Government-assigned plan by 297,000 tonnes, significantly contributing to the growth  of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

    Total output of oil reached 19.01 million tonnes, meeting 73.6 per cent of the year’s plan.

    Specifically, oil production during the period hit 11.7 million tonnes, an excess of 2.8 per cent in comparison with the set target. Domestic production was at 10.25 million tonnes, exceeding the plan by three  per cent, or 297,000 tonnes, and foreign production was at 1.46 million tonnes, surpassing the plan by 1.4 per cent.

    In addition to crude oil production, PetroVietnam also surpassed other output targets, including nitrogenous fertiliser production (1.32 million tonnes, exceeding the plan by 10.1 per cent) and petroleum  production (4.46 million tonnes, surpassing the plan by 22.6 per cent).

    PetroVietnam will focus on synchronously implementing necessary measures to ensure domestic crude oil production in 2017, in accordance with the plan assigned by the Government for the year-end  months.

    In addition, the group will work actively and closely with relevant agencies in deploying its business production and investment activities, contributing to affirming Việt Nam’s sovereignty.

    Further fee cuts needed to support firms

    The Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said that the Ministry of Finance’s proposed fee cuts was a positive move, but stronger cuts or even abolishments were needed to support  businesses.

    The VCCI said that many kinds of fees were unnecessary, such as the fee for certifying business information, which was VNĐ20,000 (US$0.9). Although the fee was low, it was unnecessary, VCCI said,  adding that it was compulsory for firms to publish their information on the national portal about business registry.

    So, paying fees to get this information is unreasonable, it said.

    Regarding the fee for verifying the origin of fishery raw materials, the finance ministry proposed a cut by 10 per cent from VNĐ700,000 to VNĐ630,000, which was still high and burdened businesses, the VCCI  noted.

    The VCCI said that a small-sized fishery processing company must have around 220 certificates about the origin of materials for exporting to the European markets per year, which would cost the firm  VNĐ154 million overall.

    The fee remained a burden to businesses, especially exporting firms, the VCCI said, adding that the firms proposed to cut the fee to around VNĐ100,000 to VNĐ350,000 per certificate.

    Đậu Anh Tuấn, head of the VCCI’s Legal Department, expected the Ministry of Finance to implement more fee cuts. “In the short term, fee collection might drop, but in the long term, the fee cuts will promote  the development of businesses, and as a result, tax collection will improve and jobs will be created for the sustainable development of the economy,” Tuấn said.

    It was estimated that the collection of fees and charges accounted for 3 per cent to 5 per cent of the total budget revenue.

    The Vietnamese Government has targeted the year 2017 to reduce the costs of businesses.

    However, the ministry has proposed to increase the value-added tax from 10 per cent to 12 per cent to cope with the shrinking budget revenue and public overspending.

    VNN


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  • 10/06/17--03:09: Article 0
  • Railway forgotten in the last four decades of development


    Outdated technology, monopolies and lack of competitiveness: they all describe Vietnam’s railway system.


    vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, railway, Vietjet, LCC 

    According to the General Statistics office (GSO), in the first six months of 2017, passenger transport served 1.9 billion clients, an increase of 9.3 percent over the same period last year.

    Of these, 1.8 billion passengers traveled by land, up by 9.6 percent, 3.3 million traveled by sea, up by 9.5 percent, and 21.2 million traveled by air, up by 9.8 percent. 

    In the first six months of 2017, passenger transport served 1.9 billion clients, an increase of 9.3 percent over the same period last year. 

    Meanwhile, rail transport only received 5 million passengers, down by 2.9 percent.

    According to the Ministry of Transport (MOT), roads remain the most popular means of transport which serve 95.75 percent of total passengers, while air has 2.05 percent, railway 1.14 percent, domestic waterways 0.19 percent, and maritime 0.01 percent.

    While the number of passengers traveling by rail is on the decrease, the number of passengers traveling by land and air is on the rise.

    Vietnam Railway Corporation’s chair Vu Anh Minh admitted that passengers now are turning their back to rail because of the bad service quality. He said the locomotives and carriages have become outdated, which cannot satisfy passengers’ requirements.

    Meanwhile, passengers have many choices for trips, including budget flights which allow them to travel long distances at reasonable costs.

    Low investment has been blamed for the poor conditions of the railway industry. The capital allocated to railway development in the last 10 years just accounted for 3 percent of the total budget for transport infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, nearly 90 percent of capital has been poured into road development.

    As roads have been developing and railways cannot receive appropriate investments, the railway has lost its important role in the economy.

    Local newspapers have commented that the Hanoi-Lao Cai Highway has taken away 30 percent of the number of passengers from the western railway, and that the Hanoi-Hai Phong railway will be left idle once the highway is put into operation. The same thing will happen with the North-South railway once the North-South Highway is put into traffic.

    After 10 years of implementing the 2005 Railway Law, the railway industry has been lagging behind in technology, equipment and service quality.

    Analysts pointed out that the monopoly in the industry cannot attract investment from non-state economic sectors.

    La Ngoc Khue, former Deputy Minister of Transport, commented that losing the important role of the railroad is an ‘odd ending’ of the transport development period.

    In principle, the railway must be the cornerstone of a country because of its cargo transportation capacity.

    China, which considers the railway a major artery of the economy, now has 140,000km of railways, including 16,000km of high-speed rail, while Malaysia has 1,650km double electrified rail.

    Vietnam still has no double rail, while 85 percent is single-line built by the French 136 years ago.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 10/07/17--06:57: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 7/10


    Da Nang draws up sea-based economic development strategy

    The Da Nang city People’s Committee has recently approved a project on developing sea-based economy by 2025 with vision to 2030, aiming to build the central city into a maritime economic hub with explosive growth in companion with environment protection and sustainable development.

    To implement the project, the city will need over 19 trillion VND (835.9 million USD) for the 2017-2020 period, 13 trillion VND (571.9 million USD) for 2021-2025 and 17 trillion VND (747.9 million USD) for 2026-2030.

    The city targets tourism growth of 13-14 percent during 2016-2025 and 13 percent during 2026-2030, while the output of processed aquatic products for exports would increase by 12-13 percent per year by 2025 and 8-10 percent per year by 2030. Local ports will raise their annual throughput to 12-13 million tonnes of commodities.

    Along with branching out new tourism products, yacht industry and coastal tourism infrastructure, the city will focus resources on developing maritime transport. 

    Accordingly, Tien Sa port will be reserved to serve cruise ships and Lien Chieu is set to become the major cargo port in the city. More inland container ports (ICDs) will be built to facilitate import-export activities as well as commodity transportation through the East-West Economic Corridor that links Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

    The city has formed policy to support training for logistic human resources and arranged experts to research marine economic development policies. Project on container transportation between Tien Sa and Lien Chieu has been set up to improve speed of the boats.

    Regarding seafood exploitation, the city will upgrade Tho Quang fishing port to the top-grade national standard one, aiming to become one of the five fishery hubs in the country. A fleet of high-capacity composite and steel fishing vessels will be developed while equipment, machines and fishing nets will be modernised to improve product quality.

    Connections among fishermen, cooperatives and logistics and distribution businesses will be set up as well.

    The Da Nang College of Food Industry will be upgraded to university level to train high-quality human resource in seafood cultivation and processing.

    The city will pay due attention to enhancing management capacity for fisheries surveillance force, investing in information management system for fishing grounds and communication equipment for fishing vessels to ensure safety for fishermen.

    It also works to build a project on tuna exploitation and exports and ask Japan to support local fishermen with tuna fishing techniques.

    State-of-the art waste water treatment will be built in Tho Quang boat shelter. The city encourages businesses to use green production technology to reduce waste and sewage, save energy and materials as well as effectively handle pollution.

    Vietnam, Algeria promote trade, investment in Biskra workshop

    Over 50 local enterprises in tourism, and palm, rice, beverage, building materials and machinery production and business attended a workshop for Vietnam-Algeria trade and investment promotion in Biskra province on October 5.

    The event was jointly held by the Trade Office of Vietnam in Algeria and the chamber of commerce and industry in Biskra to give local businesses more information about Vietnam’s key export products and boost cooperation in trade and investment between the two countries.

    In his remarks at the conference, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor Hoang Duc Nhuan gave the attendees an overview of Vietnam’s economy and key export earners, including seafood, garment and textiles, footwear, rice, coffee, peppercorns, fruits, cashew nuts and more.

    He invited the local companies to join upcoming expos in Vietnam, such as MTA Vietnam Hanoi 2017 in Hanoi, Aquaculture Vietnam 2017 and Vietnam International Agriculture Fair 2017 in Can Tho, Vietnam Wood 2017 and Vietnam Expo 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City.

    According to Nhuan, in addition to their interest in Vietnam's exports such as rice, coffee, machineries, equipment, companies from Biskra hope to export date palm, a local specialty, to Vietnam

    Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quoc Tru highly spoke of potential for cooperation between Vietnam and Biskra, saying the event will help accelerate the two-way trade and investment in the future.

    Tru later had meetings with head of Biskra province Ahmed Kerroun and mayor of Biskra city Slimani Azzecdine and paid visits to local date palm producers and exporters.

    SME transparency a must for loans: experts     


     Da Nang draws up sea-based economic development strategy, SME transparency a must for loans: experts, Japanese car chair factory launched, Can Tho to begin exporting rice to Iran, MekongInvest 2017 on horizon 

    Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must improve their transparency to enable them to access banking credits, experts said at a conference on Thursday.

    The conference was jointly held by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the State Bank of Viet Nam to discuss credit boosts for SMEs facing long-standing difficulties in accessing loans.

    According to banking and financial expert Can Van Luc, most SMEs have low management capacity and outdated technology, they lack transparency in information and feasible business plans, and do not have adequate assets for mortgages, making them ineligible for banking loans.

    Credit institutions are hesitant to lend SMEs money for the same reasons. Luc noted that these problems were compounded by complex banking procedures and a shortage of appropriate loan packages for SMEs.

    Mac Quoc Anh, vice chairman of the Ha Noi SME Association, said the efficiency of SMEs is low. “Given the increasingly harsh international competition, points which are often regarded as advantages of SMEs, such as flexibility and low operation costs, are no longer advantages,” Quoc Anh said.

    Hoang Thi Hong, director of SME Development Fund under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said improving transparency of SME information was an important solution to enable SMEs to access credit.

    “It is necessary to develop a database about SMEs for credit institutions to use in evaluating lending decisions,” Hong said, adding that the database should include information about total assets, equity capital, revenue, profit and operations.

    Also needed is a credit market for SMEs, with appropriate lending packages based on demand, Hong said. She added that lending should be provided for a group of SMEs which join with each other in a production chain.

    In addition, capital raising channels should be diversified, rather than largely dependent on banks, for instance raising capital from the securities market, Hong said.

    According to Nguyen Quoc Hung, director of the central bank’s Credit Department, SMEs are a driver of the national economy and are among the priorities for banking credits.

    Lam Van Chieu, deputy director of Cuong Tan Company which produces rice variety, said that banks should increase trust-based lending, based on the efficiency of firms.

    Tran Quoc Toan from the Toan Xuan Company said that reasonable interest rates should be provided for SMEs to encourage their investments and expansions.

    Closing the conference, Dao Minh Tu, deputy governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam, said: “If economic conditions allow, the central bank will continue to cut rates.”

    SMEs account for 97 per cent of the total number of firms in Viet Nam, contributed about 45 per cent of gross domestic product, 31 per cent of the budget revenue and create five million jobs. 

    Japanese car chair factory launched     

    Japan’s Ohtsuka Sangyo Material Viet Nam Company Limited officially launched its US$4.4 million car chair components factory in Ha Nam’s Dong Van III Industrial Park on October 5.

    The factory specialises in manufacturing, producing and assembling seat pads and seat trim covers for cars. The plant is expected to manufacture six million products per year and to provide some 200 jobs.

    Otsuka Keiichiro, president of Ohtsuka Sangyo Material Japan Company Limited, said the company has a history of operating over 30 years in the automotive auxiliary field and currently holds 70 per cent of the market share in Japan. The prroducts made in Viet Nam will be exported to Japan and North America.

    Nguyen Xuan Dong, chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee, asked the firm to comply with Viet Nam’s laws and to ensure its workers well being.

    Dong Van III Industrial Park has a favorable location, with preferential policies and technical infrastructure to attract Japanese investors. The new factory is the second Japanese investment in the park. 

    Can Tho to begin exporting rice to Iran     

    Can Tho City expects to export its first batches of rice to Iran in the last quarter of 2017, Huynh Trung Tru, deputy director of the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, said.

    At a meeting to review import-export activities organised by the city’s People’s Committee on Wednesday, Tru said a company in Iran in August directly dealt with a rice firm in Can Tho to finalise a contract to export to Iran 100,000 tonnes of rice from now until the end of the year.

    “Previously, Can Tho did not export rice to this market,” the official said.

    According to Tru, if rice shipment to Iran meets favourable conditions, the city hopes that the partner will sign a longer term contract next year.

    Tru said demand for rice imports has increased in many markets such as Bangladesh, the Philippines and Iran.

    For the Bangladesh market alone, the country needs to import some 500,000 tonnes.

    "Particularly, in October 2017, they demand for 250,000-300,000 tonnes,” Tru said, adding that local firms have probably registered with the Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) to participate in bidding for the shipment of rice.

    In the first nine months of 2017, the city’s total rice export volume reached over 638,000 tonnes, bringing turnover of US$262 million, up 22 and 20 per cent year-on-year, respectively.

    According to reports of the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, the locality’s export revenue from January to September reached over $1 billion, a surge of 16.9 per cent compared with the same period last year.

    The city also imported goods worth $321 million, up 47.6 per cent from the same period last year, driven by the increased purchase of equipment and machines for production.

    According to VFA, in the first nine months of the year, the country exported 4.57 million tonnes of rice, reaping a turnover of $2.02 billion, rising by 20.8 per cent in volume and 18.6 per cent in value against the figures of the corresponding period last year.

    The association forecasts that in 2017, the country’s rice exports will reach some 5.7 million tons, including 1.8 million tonnes in the last quarter, and 800,000 tonnes higher than 2016. 

    Private sector invests in APEC infrastructure     

    Several private companies have invested in building infrastructure for the 2017 APEC forum.

    The Ariyana Da Nang Convention and Exhibition Centre has got investment of VND35 billion (US$1.5 million), mobilised from the socialised fund. The three-story building has a main convention hall which can accomodate more than 2000 people. It is just one of the many event venues to hold events under the framework of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.

    Matthias Wiesmann, director-general of Furama Resort Da Nang which is the main investor of this project, said construction would be completed prior to the start of the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.

    “A momentous event like APEC is a tremendous opportunity for Furama as well as the Ariyana Da Nang Convention and Exhibition Centre to create a new image. Ariyana considers itself the event venue of Da NangCity, and not only of Furama,” Wiesmann said.

    Answering the call for private funding for Da NangCity, many enterprises and companies have invested billions of đồng in building convention halls and hotels.

    The project of Da NangAirport’s International Terminal has attracted more than VND3,500 billion ($154 million) from the Da Nang International Airport Investment and Exploitation Joint Stock Company (AHT). It is the first socialised project in the aviation sector to serve APEC.

    According to Ho The Anh, vice director of AHT, the international terminal is not only the first destination of visitors to Da Nang City, but is also a key construction project of the city.

    “We fully guarantee the project’s schedule, quality and aesthetics. The project has enjoyed generous support from the city’s authority as well as the Ministry of Transport,” Anh said.

    The APEC Economic Leaders’ Week will take place in November with the participation of leaders from 21 member-economies. The main construction facilities serving this event have been completed.

    Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, deputy head of Da Nang City People’s Committee, highly appreciated the contribution of the private sector to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.

    “The reception has to be both professional and economical. On the one hand, the city has mobilised capital from the State budget. On the other hand, it has raised funds from the society. This is Da NangCity’s responsibility and opportunity to promote its image,” Tuan said. 

    Can Tho hosts events to attract Japanese investors     

    Two important events will be held in the southern city of Can Tho, this month and next month, with the aim of luring more investment from Japan.

    This was announced by Trương Quang Hoai Nam, vice chairman of the Can Tho City’s People’s Committee, at a press conference on Tuesday.

    Accordingly, the committee will cooperate with the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (VCCI) Can Tho branch to organise the Viet Nam-Japan Trade and Cultural Exchange Programme and the fifth annual conference on investment promotion in the Mekong Delta region.

    Nam said that the 5th investment conference in the Mekong Delta and the third Vietnam-Japan Trade and Cultural Exchange Programme have been taking place in Can Tho City in the past few years and have achieved results.

    These are just two events in a series of activities aimed at enhancing the understanding, exchanging, promoting of cooperation between Viet Nam and Japan, and attracting investment in trade and tourism from Japanese enterprises in Can Tho City, in particular, and the Cuu Long (Mekong Delta), in general.

    Nguyen Phuong Lam, deputy director of VCCI’s Can Tho branch, the third Viet Nam-Japan Trade and Cultural Exchange Programme will take place from November 3-5. This year, the programme has a larger scale, with 120 booths, 30 booths more, as compared to the last time, with an area reserved to introduce Japan’s new technology.

    The technology centre will have 10 Japanese companies participating in introducing smart technologies, automation and artificial intelligence.

    This year’s programme, for the first time, will see the participation of the Japanese national tourism promotion centre, which will introduce Japan’s tourism sites and promote tourism cooperation between the Mekong Delta region and Japan.

    There are about 40 art and cultural performances that will be staged during the programme, with famous Japanese singers participating in the show.

    Within the framework of the programme will be a conference calling for investment in agriculture, and another specialising in Asian culture and trade. These two meetings will attract around 40 Japanese businesses.

    Relating to the fifth investment conference in the Mekong Delta region to be held on October 25, the theme of this year’s conference is "Attracting Infrastructure Investment - Mekong Tourism Development Platform", with an aim to call for investment in infrastructure development, commercial services, hotels restaurants and entertainment areas to help tourism development.

    At this conference, 13 provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta region will introduce and call for investment in 24 tourism development projects, with a total capital of VND7.8 trillion (US$346 million) and 33 real estate projects, with a total capital of VND176 trillion.

    In the first six months of 2017, tourism in the Mekong Delta attracted nearly 21 million visitors, increasing 17 per cent, bringing a revenue of VND6.5 trillion, up 22 per cent over the same period last year.

    According to Lam, by the end of August 2017, the Mekong Delta region attracted 1,398 FDI projects with a total capital of $19.85 billion. Japan has 159 investment projects with a capital of $2.1 billion, focusing mainly on manufacturing, processing, coal, science and technology and waste water treatment.

    Regional hub for German investors

    With Vietnam’s significantly improved business climate and large consumer demand, Germany’s investment and goods flows into the country – one of their most important markets in Asia– are set to grow. Thanh Dat reports.

    German-backed lighting supplier Osram Vietnam is busy completing a contract for a large project which will provide lighting consultancy and equipment for SalaCity in Ho Chi Minh City’s Thu Thiem New Urban Area over the next few months. SalaCity is one of the biggest property projects in southern Vietnam.

    “Aside from Sala City, Osram is supporting many key projects in Vietnam such as the Saigon Seaport, the Tan Hoang Minh building, Gold Plaza, the InterContinental resort on Phu Quoc, and many factories in Vietnam,” the firm’s CEO Do Huu Hau told VIR.

    Osram Vietnam, which currently accounts for 30 per cent of Vietnam’s LED lamp market, plans to expand its LED product portfolio in the country with several hundred new product types.

    Osram considers Vietnam its key growth driver in Asia as the country is one of the two markets with the highest growth in sales in the region. “We continue to expect a growth rate in the double digits this year, as our growth rate has been over 20 per cent annually over the past 10 years,” Hau said.

    According to Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, thanks to its central location in the Asia-Pacific region and a large number of agreements, Vietnam provides good business opportunities for many German firms wishing to invest, especially in the manufacturing sector and in transport and energy infrastructure.

    The growth potential for exporting companies is particularly great in the fields of machinery, chemical products and pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, and electrical engineering.

    Bosch Vietnam told VIR that it wants to expand its business and investments in Vietnam, which is one of its growth drivers in Southeast Asia. “In the fiscal year 2016, Bosch recorded growth of more than 40 per cent in Vietnam. Bosch will continue to develop new business opportunities and increase its market presence for all business segments within the country,” said Guru Mallikarjuna, newly-appointed managing director of Bosch Vietnam.

    In 2017, Bosch is investing $47 million in our plant in the southern province of Dong Nai, and plans to increase the capacity and competency of its research-and-development workforce.

    “We look forward to joining hands with the local government and businesses to develop tailor-made solutions for smart homes and buildings, smart cities, connected mobility, and Industry 4.0 to improve the quality of life for city-dwellers,” he said.

    Siemens Vietnam president and CEO Pham Thai Lai said that, as one of the fastest-growing markets in the region, Vietnam is strategically important for Siemens – especially given its large population. According to Lai, Vietnam also serves as a regional hub, due to a number of trade agreements between Vietnam and global markets, such as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. These will further boost the economy and make Vietnam an even more attractive investment target in the future.

    In September, Vingroup and Siemens signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote technological co-operation, with both parties agreeing to consider feasible business models for co-operation in order to develop sustainable infrastructure and industries in Vietnam, including the automobile industry.

    In early July, during Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Germany, nearly 300 representatives of German and Vietnamese firms participated in a German-Vietnamese business forum focusing on business opportunities. At the forum, 28 co-operation agreements collectively worth €4 billion ($4.8 billion) were signed.

    Vietnam’s FPT Group, for instance, inked strategic co-operation deals with Siemens and BPCE International. FPT will co-operate with Siemens to utilise MindSphere, an open Internet of Things (IoT) platform based on cloud computing. The two will train some 1,000 workers in Vietnam. FPT will work with BPCE International in developing solutions for digital banking.

    Phuc met with leading German firms including Siemens, BMW, Deutsche Bank, Talanx, Schaeffler, Philips Lighting, and BPCE International.

    The German firms expressed their wishes to co-operate with Vietnam in the areas of healthcare, high-tech agriculture, renewable energy, education and training, and smart power-saving solutions.

    According to these firms, Vietnam has many advantages, such as a workforce very keen on knowledge and development. Additionally, Vietnam’s urbanisation and industrialisation are taking off strongly and the country is envisaging a smart economy.

    These trends offer great opportunities for companies to widen their product offerings, especially in the areas of connected solutions for smart cities and Industry 4.0.

    Bayer Healthcare Pharma chief financial officer Julio Triana said the firm has been operating in Vietnam for 20 years and hopes to make a stronger investment in healthcare and agriculture.

    Philips Lighting DACH’s CEO Karsten Vierke affirmed his company’s wish to invest in human resources training and developing smart cities using its latest technology, which can reduce electricity usage by up to 65 per cent.

    Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank expressed its wish to expand investment in the finance and stock sectors in Vietnam.

    In July, many German packaging and printing firms came to Vietnam in search of investment and business opportunities, especially amid the country’s rising demand for consumer goods and in the pharmaceutical and food sectors. The firms include CGS, Heidelberg, HP, KBA, Kurz, and One Vision.

    In May, executives from 20 firms in Germany came to Vietnam seeking investment opportunities in the sectors of high-tech wastewater treatment, air treatment, and environmental pollution reduction technology.

    Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment reported that, as of August 20, Germany had 288 valid investment projects in Vietnam, registered at nearly $1.7 billion. German investments in Vietnam can be found in many sectors, including automobile production, energy, and machinery.

    Do Huu Hau from Osram Vietnam said that his firm “has great expectations for Vietnam’s economic prospects and investment climate, which are significantly improving”.

    “Next year, Osram will continue implementing many key lighting projects in Vietnam, such as the VietinBank tower in Hanoi, and Tam Truc Temple – the biggest one in Asia – in the northern province of Ha Nam,” Hau said.

    Meanwhile, according to Bosch Vietnam, Vietnam is experiencing a robust urbanisation and industrialisation, with a positive outlook towards a smart economy. “This will help us offer our customers and partners connected cross-domain solutions from a single source. And we are willing to work closely with them,” said Bosch Vietnam’s Guru Mallikarjuna.

    In a bid to facilitate German investment and trade flow into Vietnam, Germany’s Baden-Württemberg state, the GDP of which hit $552 billion in 2015, established a representative office in Vietnam in July. Located in Ho Chi Minh City, the office provides advice to firms about the market, business, and investment environment in Vietnam. It also assists Baden-Württemberg businesses in finding partners and exploring Vietnam’s investment environment.

    According to the AHK World Business Outlook survey released last year by German Industry and Commerce in Vietnam (GIC/AHK Vietnam), more than half of the German firms surveyed are upbeat about Vietnam’s economic prospects. About 60 per cent expect a good business performance this year, while 58 per cent perceive their business outlook as “positive”. Some 54 per cent are considering an increase in their investment in Vietnam.

    “German enterprises are now seeking investment opportunities and further investment in Vietnam, because they see Vietnam as an attractive destination in terms of encouragement by the country’s government and other location advantages,” said GIC/AHK Vietnam’s chief representative Marko Walde.

    EVFTA to bring in Hungarian meats

    Hungarian firms are seeking to intensify their agri-food presence in Vietnam, in response to growing demand and upcoming slashed tariffs under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.

    Executives of 60 Hungarian firms, including nearly 20 agri-food ones, came to Vietnam last week to hunt for investment and business opportunities in the country, which is expected to sign the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) with the EU next year.

    These agri-food firms want to take advantage of EVFTA’s tariff cuts (see box for details) and Vietnam’s growing demand for safe agri-food products, which is rising by 15-20 per cent per year. They met with hundreds of Vietnamese partners at a Vietnam-Hungary business forum last week in Hanoi.

    Sándor Horváth, president and CEO of Integrál Zrt, said Vietnam is a very important market to his firm, which produces and exports goose and duck liver, leg, and breast meat. “We see that Vietnam’s people like these products very much, and that’s our opportunity to export products to Vietnam. First we want to establish a firm network of distributors here, and then we may think about establishing a joint venture or even building a factory in Vietnam,” Horváth said.

    In its business plan, Integrál Zrt will expand its market share in Vietnam by taking advantage of tariff cuts under the EVFTA, which Hungary’s government is pushing other EU nations to ratify as soon as possible.

    In another case, Kometa Co., Ltd. – Hungary’s preeminent pork processor – is seeking Vietnamese partners to distribute its pork products in Vietnam, where the firm sees a huge demand for pork consumption.

    “Under our new business plan, Vietnam is a key market in Southeast Asia. We want to establish long-term partnerships with Vietnamese firms. EVFTA will be a very good tool for us to do this,” said the firm’s export director, Larissza Barakka.

    Kometa has a slaughtering capacity of 800,000 pigs annually and a processing capacity of more than 20,000 tonnes of pork over a wide range of cooked and matured meat products.

    Master Good Kft, a producer of feed, breeds, hatched chicken, broilers, and meat products, is also exploring opportunities in Vietnam.

    “Master Good Group is the largest broiler company in Hungary, accounting for more than one-third of Hungary’s production. In Vietnam we see many supermarkets selling broilers, and we want our products to be consumed in the country,” said the firm’s managing director, Lászlo Bárány.

    According to the Hungarian National Trading House, Vietnam’s rising demand for agri-food products and EVFTA’s tariff reductions are drawing not only Hungarian firms into the country, but also those from other EU markets.

    A representative from the EU Delegation to Vietnam said that many EU firms stand ready to invest in Vietnam’s agri-food sector once EVFTA takes effect in 2018.

    “EVFTA is expected to help Vietnam attract more EU agri-food investment and products thanks to tariff elimination by Vietnam for EU agri-food products,” the representative said.

    The average tariff on agricultural items will drop from the current 67.7 per cent to 31.3 per cent in the third year of EVFTA’s entry into force, then to 17.9 per cent in the fifth year, 4.7 per cent in the seventh year, and down to 2.6-4.6 per cent by the 10th year.

    Meanwhile, the average tariff on fishery items will drop from the current 86.7 per cent to 0.4 per cent in the third year, and 0 per cent in the 10th year.

    Forty-two EU agri-food firms came to Vietnam recently in search of investment and business opportunities. These firms have a total revenue of €170 billion ($188.8 billion) per year, and sought to ink multi-million-euro deals to either establish joint ventures or distribution channels with Vietnamese enterprises. Last year, firms in Vietnam spent nearly $11.4 billion importing goods from the EU, more than $1 billion of which was for buying agri-food items, while the rest was for importing machinery, equipment, services, and other industrial products.

    Putting an end to long-delayed thermal power and port projects

    Tan Tao Investment and Industry Corporation (ITACO)’s $2-billion Kien Luong 1 thermal power plant and $800-million Nam Du deep water seaport projects located in Kien Giang province, will have their investment certificates revoked due to the long delay in construction.

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to collaborate with relevant ministries and the Kien Giang People’s Committee to complete the procedures to revoke the two projects, according to newswire Dantri. 

    Licensed in January 2008, ITACO planned to develop Kien Luong power and port complex under the build-own-operate (BOO) format on an area of 555.9 hectares. The project includes an industrial park, an urban area, a deep water seaport, and a power plant with a total generation capacity of 4,400 megawatts.

    According to plan, the construction of ITACO’s Kien Luong complex was expected to start in 2009 and be completed in 2018. However, ITACO could not keep the plan on track for the deadline to launch commercial operations in 2018 due to the group’s troubles in mobilising funds for the project.

    In 2013, to address the investor’s problem and get the project back up and running again, the Vietnamese government allowed ITACO to modify its investment model from BOO to build-operate-transfer (BOT), so that it could receive government guarantees to realise the project.

    In 2014, ITACO sought partners to establish a consortium to implement the project. Leading French energy company EDF and Korean Samsung and Hyundai groups have expressed to join. Previously, the Kien Luong 1 thermal power project was also considered by UK investor Graham Bell & Associates Limited. However, ITACO declined to disclose the official partner.

    It was not until December 2015 that the silence was finally broken, when ITACO and MoIT signed a memorandum of understanding on developing the BOT project, paving the way for its resurgence, following six years of financing trouble.

    Under the latest MoU, Kien Luong 1 was scheduled to start generating power by February 2025. The plant would have two generators with the combined capacity of 1,200MW, representing a total investment capital of more than $2.4 billion. However, the project has yet to take a single step forward.

    The Kien Giang People’s Committee has proposed the PM to withdraw the license of the project for numerous reasons. Notably, the investor had delayed starting the construction, thus it was withdrawn from the government’s adjusted master plan on electricity development in the 2011-2020 period with orientations to 2030. 

    Besides, the province is concerned about the environmental pollution caused by using coal for its operations, hampering the development of tourism in the province.

    In addition, local residents heavily protested handing over agricultural fields to the investor due to the long delays. They were hoping that they would be provided with jobs once the plant comes into operation. However, the project has yet to be implemented, leaving locals hanging.

    Regarding Nam Du deep water seaport, in July 2010, ITACO and Royal Haskoning Vietnam Co., Ltd. signed an engineering consultancy agreement for the project. Accordingly, the construction of the project with the total investment capital of $800 million would be divided into two phases.

    The first phase was expected to be implemented in 2010-2013, allowing the port to accommodate vessels of up to 80,000DWT. In the second phasebetween 2014-2022, the port could deal with 150,000-200,000DWT vessels.

    However, to date, the port project is still immobile.

    NPL regulations are not enough

    Although Vietnam is struggling under the weight of its bad debts, before others can help, the country must further improve its legal framework and develop its distressed securities market to support the debt trading process.

    When Resolution No.42/2017/ QH14 came into force last month, some mechanisms were put in place to improve the handling of non-performing loans (NPLs) in the system. NPLs can now be traded at market price and the Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC) can sell bad debts to entities including those without a debt trading licence. The transfer of land use rights and ownership of assets to the buyer is also allowed in the new regulation. Shortened court procedures in dealing with collateral should also speed up the process of seizing collateral for NPL holders.

    The  new regulation is supportive, but not enough for Vietnam to deal with its NPLs on its own, or  be attractive enough to entice foreign investors or the private sector to become involved with the NPL trading process.

    As the transfer of the title or ownership of collateral – which often involves real estate – is not allowed in Vietnam for foreign investors, the challenge for them to enter Vietnam’s debt market still remains, according to Alwaleed Fareed Alatabani, lead financial sector specialist for Finance and Markets at the World Bank Group (WB).

    “That’s what kept many foreign investors away, in addition to the issue of the insolvency regime that is incomplete in the case of Vietnam,” he said on the sidelines of a NPL workshop held last week in Hanoi by the State Bank of Vietnam, WB, and IFC. “Domestically, if you look at the track record, most of the loans actually go back to the banks, and these banks are pursuing these loans because they have the relationship with the existing clients that took out these loans in the first place.”

    “And we’re not seeing a significant amount of private asset management companies (AMCs) flourishing to try to tap into this type of business yet, since banks own AMCs and bank staff is to get collection on some of these debts.”

    According to Dao Thi Thien Huong, partner in Deals and Business Restructuring Services at PwC, in more developed markets, the debt trading platform has been put up and accompanied by the diversification of products and the participation of NPLs on both the buy and sell sides. In Vietnam, VAMC and bank-owned AMCs mainly trade debts or collateral assets related to the debts as individual loans themselves.

    “In a developed distressed asset market, NPLs can be sold in batches, in portfolios, or as securitised debt products. Why is it important to have a wide range of products on offer? It’s because the diversification of products will attract a diversified range of investors,” Huong said. 

    Selling NPLs in batches can attract large-scale NPL buyers as each transaction, either small or large, often incurs high costs in terms of valuation and administration. And conversely, these buyers are mainly looking to buy in a batch format.

    Jakub Zalio, country manager of APS Vietnam, a wholly foreign-owned subsidiary of Czech-based debt recovery and investment specialist APS Group, noted that the key enablers for effective NPL treatment in Vietnam include no or limited barriers for investors to enter the market, simple and understandable legislation in terms of collateral seizure, and working legal and bailiff procedures.

    To draw investors’s attention, especially international ones, to Vietnam’s debt market, it comes down to a sound legal framework that can do the job of drawing in NPL investors, according to Sumant Batra, managing partner of India-based corporate and commercial law firm Kesar Dass B & Associates.

    “This is a chicken or egg situation,” Batra told VIR. “For foreign investors to come in and invest in distressed asset markets, what you need is a really reliable insolvency system.

    “Because if you don’t have a good insolvency system, you will not be able to resolve NPLs efficiently and quickly, and therefore no investors would want to come to invest in the economy, in the NPL, if the insolvency law doesn’t enable them to dissolve and turn around those non-performing assets quickly.”

    NPL investors, as he noted, want to make money in the short term of three to five years, and they put in a lot of effort and money to turn around the distressed assets that they bought. “But for that you would need a legal framework. Without that the challenge will always be that you will never attract enough players in the market. So you need a whole ecosystem, you just can’t have one law come up and the others left behind.”

    First Code Academy seeking franchisees in Vietnam

    First Code Academy (FCA), one of Asia’s largest coding schools, is searching for franchisees in Vietnam with the VF Franchise Consulting Company, to provide young Vietnamese learners with digital literacy and computational thinking skills and empowering them to become creators with technology to enter the world’s digital era.

    Founded in Hong Kong in 2013, FCA now has over 5,000 students taking regular semester classes and holiday camps in learning centers in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. Using proprietary curriculum adapted from Silicon Valley high schools, FCA’s after-school learning programs are designed to stimulate inquiry-based learning, logical thinking, and creative problem-solving.

    The ideal partner must share its vision and mission to educate the next generation to be creators with technology. “We are looking for partners with a passion for education and an entrepreneurial spirit, who are eager to drive the next wave of education and technological change in Vietnam,” Ms. Michelle Sun, FCA’s CEO and Founder, told VET. “We see a lot of potential in Vietnam for coding education, and are looking for a partner who is committed long-term to grow and expand the business locally.”

    There is a need to understand the market differences as parents are at different stages of prioritizing coding education and have different perspectives on integrating coding into their children’s development. “That is a major criterion in our selection of a local partner in Vietnam,” Ms. Sun said. “Our ideal partner is someone who has a good understanding and long experience in Vietnam, who will be able to identify needs and concerns unique to parents and education here, so that we can tailor our services to the market.”

    Vietnam has always been education-focused, with rapid growth from education providers offering courses in English and math, according to FCA. With rapid development, economic growth, and a young and growing population, the education sector is set for exponential growth as more young families look to invest in their children’s education.

    “We see this trend as well in other countries in Asia, where after-school programs and academic and non-academic classes are in high demand and continue to grow each year,” Ms. Sun added. “With relatively few market leaders and education subjects, there is a lot of room for more education providers in a range of services, from academic to non-academic subjects in broad and niche areas.”

    Coding education in Vietnam is a relatively new service, with schools only just starting to look into incorporating technology-related education into their programs. In its experience in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, FCA found that in the initial stages, educating the public about the importance of coding literacy is an important first step.

    At the same time, demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and coding education often grows in parallel with various factors such as economic growth and technological improvements and it can be seen that there is rising demand for engineering talent to drive growth in the technology sector. With development in all these areas locally and a global focus on STEM education, demand for coding education is poised to grow rapidly in the next few years as parents and students in Vietnam increasingly prioritize coding literacy as an important skill for the 21st century. 

    MekongInvest 2017 on horizon

    The 5th Annual Mekong Delta Investment Forum 2017 (MekongInvest 2017) will be held at the end of this month and the 3rd Vietnam-Japan Cultural and Business Exchange Program will be held in November, both in the Mekong Delta’s Can Tho city.

    MekongInvest is an annual regional investment promotion forum organized by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Can Tho, in cooperation with the Trade, Investment and Tourism Promotion Centers of the 13 cities and provinces in the Mekong Delta.

    With the theme “Attracting Investment in Infrastructure - A Platform for Mekong Delta Tourism Development”, the forum will see 200 participants, including leaders of the Southwest Steering Committee, the People’s Committees of cities and provinces in the region, representatives from the Foreign Investment Agency at the Ministry of Planning and Investment, diplomatic missions, international promotion organizations and enterprises, and domestic and foreign investors.

    Cities and provinces will invite investment in 24 tourism development projects with total capital of VND7.8 trillion ($343.2 million) and 33 real estate and infrastructure projects with total investment of VND176 trillion ($7.74 billion).

    Mr. Nguyen Phuong Lam, Deputy Director of VCCI Can Tho, said that open mechanisms and policies to attract investors will also be discussed at the forum, with detailed information provided on the projects calling for investment, and domestic and foreign investors will be connected with local authorities.

    Within the framework of calling for investment in the Mekong Delta, the 3rd Vietnam-Japan Cultural and Business Exchange Program will take place in Can Tho from November 3 to 5.

    The event will gather leaders of cities and provinces in the region, the Consulate General of Japan in Ho Chi Minh City, the Japan Trade Promotion Agency (JETRO) in Ho Chi Minh City, the Japan Tourism Promotion Organization (JNTO) in Vietnam, and a Japanese business delegation.

    The event features 15 booths introducing Japanese culture and products, 15 introducing Vietnamese culture and products, and 90 for Vietnamese and Japanese businesses to exhibit products and services, including in agriculture, industry, tourism, logistics, education, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods.

    The Mekong Delta has 159 investment projects with total registered capital of $2.1 billion, mainly focusing on processing, manufacturing, mining, and wastewater treatment. While agriculture is a strength of the region, current investment from Japan in the field is low. The event is therefore expected to be a good opportunity to attract more agriculture investors from the country.

    Hanoi & HCMC retail see no new supply in Q3

    No new shopping centers were completed in Hanoi’s retail market during the third quarter of this year, according to the latest report from JLL.

    Total stock remained unchanged, at nearly 970,000 sq m in 24 projects. In terms of location, Thanh Xuan, Hai Ba Trung and Long Bien districts accounted for 70.9 per cent of the total.

    More than 16,700 sq m of retail space was taken up in the third quarter. The overall occupancy rate continued to increase, from 80.3 per cent in the second quarter to 82 per cent in the third quarter, thanks to promotional programs in new shopping centers and lower rentals in older malls.                                   

    In terms of pricing, the overall gross rental was $28.7 per sq m per month as at the end of the third quarter, a marginal decline of 0.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter, as many promotions and attractive rentals were offered to attract tenants.

    Trang Tien Plaza still achieves the highest rentals, due to its prime location.

    Convenience stores continued to boom in Hanoi’s retail market, with an increasing presence by both international and local brands. The average size of these stores was approximately 40 to 50 sq m in the non-CBD sub-market.

    Total supply in Hanoi’s retail market is likely to increase significantly in 2018, with 322,000 sq m to enter the market. Until the end of 2017, only 2,000 sq m of premium retail space is expected to be put into operation.

    Some international brands will enter the market. In particular, Zara Vietnam will open its first Hanoi store later this year, and two huge projects - AEON Mall Ha Dong and Ciputra Mall Hanoi - expected to enter the market in 2019 and 2020.

    The expected lower-than-average rents in new projects and the abundant supply are likely to result in downward pressure on market rentals in the future.

    Similarly, in the third quarter of 2017, retail supply in Ho Chi Minh City was relatively constant, as there were also no new completions.

    The occupancy rate was down slightly, by around 35 basis points quarter-on-quarter. Occupancy levels at CBD shopping centers were flat, at 87 per cent, while in non-CBD projects they reached 92.8 per cent, down just 0.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter.                                        

    Overall, the gross rental of city malls averaged around $47 per sq m per month, up 2.4 per cent compared to the previous quarter. In the CBD sub-market, rents in prime shopping centers grew notably thanks to the presence of experienced brands such as Zara, H&M, and Old Navy, helping to boost foot traffic.

    Premium retail supply is expected to welcome more than 75,000 sq m, mostly from the non-CBD sub-market, over the remainder of the year. F&B, entertainment, and experience-oriented retailers will be the main drivers of leasing demand.

    Rents will likely move upwards until the end of the year, especially in the CBD, with major advantages from healthy foot traffic driven by anchor tenants.

    The occupancy rate in new suburban projects is projected to face challenges in achieving expected performance, due to the weight of new supply against demand.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNEVET


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  • 10/07/17--07:30: Article 0
  • Vietnam-EAEU free trade agreement reaps positive outcomes


    Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in Russia Duong Hoang Minh highlighted positive outcomes in the one-year implementation of the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in a recent interview granted to Vietnam News Agency in Moscow. 

    Vietnam-EAEU free trade agreement reaps positive outcomes, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news 
    The Vietnam-EAEU free trade agreement reaps positive outcomes (Illustrative image. Source: VNA) 

    Two-way trade reached 2.79 billion USD in the first eight months of 2017, a year-on-year rise of 23.5 percent. Vietnam exported goods to the union worth 1.97 billion USD, up 29.5 percent, while the EAEU exports to the Southeast Asian nation were 825 million USD, up 11.3 percent, according to the EAEU statistics.

    Figures from the Vietnam Customs showed that trade between Vietnam and Russia hit 2.3 billion USD in January-August, up 29 percent against the same period last year, in which Vietnam's exports were valued at 1.43 billion USD, up 36.8 percent, and Russia's shipment was 859 million USD, up 18 percent.

    Vietnam’s main export products include seafood, vegetable and fruits, garment-textile, footwear, electronics and spare parts, Minh said, adding that the optimistic outcomes were attributed to the enforcement of the EVFTA, which reduces and removes up to 90 percent of tax lines.

    Over the past year, Vietnamese and Russian businesses have increased trade promotion activities and actively worked to seek partners in the respective countries, he said.

    However, Vietnam’s exports to Russia still meet some difficulties such as insufficient added value products, payment, and geographical distance, which reduces the competitiveness of made-in-Vietnam goods compared to other countries like India, China and Thailand, Minh said.

    He suggested promoting communications about the Russian and EAEU markets among Vietnamese businesses to create their trust and encourage them to actively seek partners.

    Vietnamese firms should pay attention to human resources speaking Russian, building strong brands, and creating high added value products to increase the export turnover and opportunities to dominate the market, he recommended.

    VNA


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