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BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 6/9
SSI upgrades stock board and order services for Web Trading
SSI Web Trading, an online trading service from Saigon Securities, has upgraded its online stock board and updated two more conditional orders for derivative trading.
The two new orders, namely OCO and Bull & Bear, are the two most useful orders in derivative trading.
With this upgrade, all market data displayed on the board and order screen will be updated consecutively and immediately, helping investors track stock prices and follow transactions quickly and accurately.
In June, SSI also upgraded its Web Trading by adding four more types of conditional orders. The continuous upgrades to the platform demonstrates SSI’s efforts in providing diversified, efficient trading tools for profit maximisation and risk prevention for clients when practicing derivative trading.
With two new conditional orders, OCO and Bull & Bear, SSI has six types of conditional orders, including Up, Down, Trance Up, Trailing Down, OCO and Bull & Bear. The combination of conditional orders will help investors apply flexible and diversified orders to create investment advantages and prevent risks when practicing derivative trading.
SSI Web Trading is an online trading service by SSI. With Web Trading, you can place orders directly on the web interface without any installation. The Web Trading interface is designed to provide easy access anywhere with many useful functions.
BIDV issues bonds worth over $24 million
The Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV) has recently issued 7-year and 12 year-bonds worth a total of VND580 billion (US$24.68 million) to increase capital.
The interest rate on 7-year bonds, which totalled VND500 billion, is floating and determined by the reference interest rate (the 12-month saving deposit rate of Agribank, Vietcombank, BIDV and VietinBank) plus 0.8 per cent per year.
Twelve-year bonds have a fixed interest rate of 7.7 per cent in the first seven years. After that time, the rate will rise to 8.2 per cent providing BIDV doesn’t repurchase the bonds.
These are all non-convertible bonds unsecured by property.
BIDV has so far this year made four bond issues totalling VND1.01 trillion ($42.97 million). The proceeds will be used to supplement BIDV’s capital and improve its financial capacity
Increasing capital is one of the most urgent tasks for banks at the moment, especially State-owned banks like BIDV, because if they cannot do so before 2020, their capital adequacy ratio (CAR) will fall below the minimum level stipulated by the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) and under Basel II norms – a set of banking laws and regulations issued by the Basel Committee on banking supervision to enhance competition and transparency in the banking system and make banks more resistant to market changes.
However, raising capital has not been easy as banks are struggling to find foreign investors while they are not allowed to hold on to dividends to increase capital, so some banks have decided to issue bonds.
VN’s industrial production expands 11.2% in 8 months
Nghi Son Oil Refinery and Petrochemical complex in the central province of Thanh Hoa. — Photo cafeF
Viet Nam’s industrial production index (IIP) rose 11.2 per cent on-year in the first eight months of this year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has announced.
The growth, higher than the 8.2 per cent in the same period last year, was mainly fuelled by crude oil production, which expanded by 510 per cent and 520 per cent in June and July respectively, compared to last year’s corresponding period.
GSO statisticians attributed the oil sector’s strong IIP rise to the opening of the Nghi Son Oil Refinery and Petrochemical complex – the country’s largest of its kind – in the central province of Thanh Hoa in June and another, Binh Son, in the central Quang Ngai Province – which resumed operations in the same month after annual maintenance.
Some sectors in the secondary industry (dominated by the manufacturing of finished products) also saw high growth, such as coal production, up 120 per cent; refined oil production (up 60 per cent), mineral mining support services (up 39 per cent ), electronics, computers and optical products (up 18 per cent) and pharmaceuticals (up 17.5 per cent).
Many primary products rose substantially against the same period last year, including oil and gas (up 51 per cent); handsets components (up 37 per cent); liquefied petroleum gas (up 25 per cent) and televisions (up 22 per cent). Other items included synthetic fibres (up 21 per cent); refined sugar (up 18 per cent) and seafood feed (up 17.6 per cent).
However, some products saw slight declines in production due to lower demand, such as mobile phones (down 2.3 per cent) and urea fertiliser (down 3 per cent).
Among localities recording higher growth in industrial production against 2017’s corresponding period, the northern port city of Hai Phong led with growth of 24 per cent. It was followed by four other northern provinces of Bac Ninh, Vinh Phuc, Thai Nguyen and Hai Duong with respective rises of 20 per cent, 14 per cent, 12 per cent and 9.3 per cent. Meanwhile, Ha Noi and HCM City witnessed a modest IIP increase of 7.5 per cent.
As of August 1, the number of labourers in the industrial sector increased 3 per cent from the same period last year, with a 1 per cent rise in the State-owned sector, 3.2 per cent in the non-State-owned sector and 3.5 per cent in the foreign-invested sector, the GSO said.
Earlier, the GSO predicted the IIP may slow down in the rest of this year, reflecting the increasing importance of sustainable development.
The office recommended strengthening connectivity among businesses and the enhancement of their capacity to join supply chains, thus making industry grow more sustainably.
It is necessary to continue reducing business conditions, simplifying administrative procedures, enhancing the quality of online public services and using advanced technology to boost the growth of industry.
The office also stressed the need to handle stagnant and ineffective projects by the end of 2018, thus giving more resources to the development of industry.
VN spends $5.71 billion on petro imports in first eight months
In the first seven months of 2018, Malaysia was the country’s largest source of oil and petroleum with 2.23 million tonnes worth $1.38 billion, accounting for 28.6 per cent of the country’s total imports. — Photo baophapluat.vn
Viet Nam imported more than 8.6 million tonnes of oil and petroleum products worth US$5.71 billion in the first eight months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 26.4 per cent.
The information was revealed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Statistics show that in the first seven months of 2018, Malaysia was the country’s largest source of oil and petroleum shipping 2.23 million tonnes worth $1.38 billion to Viet Nam, accounting for 28.6 per cent of the country’s total imports. This represented increases of 49.3 per cent and 102.3 per cent in terms of quantity and value from the corresponding period last year.
It was followed by the Republic of Korea with 1.97 million tonnes worth $1.42 billion, an increase of 14.5 per cent in volume and 37.5 per cent in value.
Viet Nam imported 1.81 million tonnes of oil and petroleum from Singapore, equivalent to $1.15 billion, a sharp decline of 40.8 per cent in volume and 22.7 per cent in turnover.
In addition, the country also imported 895,197 tonnes from China, 619,739 tonnes from Thailand and 60,361 tonnes from Russia.
Ha Tinh revokes licenses from six projects
Authorities in the central province of Ha Tinh have withdrawn the investment licences from six delayed projects in the Vung Ang Economic Zone.
The projects had a combined value of US$100 million and included one foreign-invested venture.
They included a a storage centre for Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group’s Drilling Mud Corporation, a kindergarten project and an apartment project for workers at the Hung Nghiep Formosa Steel Corporation.
According to Dang Van Thanh, deputy chairman of the zone’s management unit, investors for three of the projects had asked for their licences to be revoked due to delays caused by capital shortages.
Thanh said the other three projects had been delayed for years and the investors had ignored warnings from the economic zone. He added that local authorities had tried to stop incompetent investors from gaining access to land in order to create a healthy investment environment.
Authorities have withdrawn licences from 38 projects registered in the economic zone since 2009.
Export price of Vietnamese pepper down 62 per cent
The average export price of Vietnamese pepper fell by 62 per cent year-on-year in the first eight months of 2018 to around US$3,330 per tonne following a dip in the global market, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The ministry forecast the export price of Vietnamese pepper as well as global pepper prices were unlikely to recover this year due to low demand and upcoming harvests in major pepper producing countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil.
Viet Nam exported 20,000 tonnes of pepper in August, earning $58 million, bringing total pepper export volume to 173,000 tonnes and value to $576 million in the first eight months of this year, reported bnews.vn.
Pepper exports in the first eight months rose 3.2 per cent in volume but dropped 36 per cent in value over the same period last year.
The major export markets for Vietnamese pepper were the US, India, Pakistan, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. Export volume to most markets increased sharply while value declined.
In the domestic market, pepper prices in August dropped close to production costs. The price of black pepper at the end of August ranged from VND47,000 to VND48,000 per kilo, down VND4,000 to VND5,000 per kilo from July. At this price, many farmers are operating at a loss.
PNC decides to quit CGV Vietnam
Phuong Nam Cultural Joint Stock Corporation (PNC) will sell its remaining shares in CJ CGV Vietnam Co Ltd, the country’s largest multiplex cinema operator.
PNC said in a recent resolution, which was approved by its shareholders, that the firm will offload its remaining 7.5 per cent stake in CGV Vietnam to receive an estimated VND101 billion (US$4.5 million).
The initial value of that 7.5 per cent stake was VND11.5 billion.
On June 28, PNC shareholders approved the sale of 12.5 per cent of CGV Vietnam shares to Black Diamond Investment Joint Stock Company for VND160 billion and reduced the former’s holding to 7.5 per cent.
If successful, PNC will completely withdraw from CGV Vietnam, earning VND261 billion and valuing the cinema operator at VND1.3 trillion.
PNC will spend the amount of receivable paying debts to its partners and suppliers, adding to its working capital and making dividend payouts for 2018.
By the end of the second quarter of this year, PNC’s liabilities amounted to VND548.7 billion, 93 per cent of its total capital, of which the short-term loans borrowed from Cross Junction Investment was VND161 billion.
PNC has suffered accumulated losses of more than VND98.3 billion.
PNC is listing more than 11 million shares on the HCM Stock Exchange with ticket PNC.
The firm’s shares have been put on the restricted list since February 27 as it recorded losses in 2016 and 2017.
If the company continues running losses, the ticker could be delisted as accumulated losses exceed equity.
PNC ended Thursday at VND13,800 ($0.61) per share, unchanged from the previous session.
In 2011, the South Korean conglomerate CJ Group bought 92 per cent of Envoy Media, which owned 80 per cent of Megastar (the former name of CGV Vietnam) for $73.6 million.
Megastar at that time owned seven theatres with 54 screens and recorded $23 million worth of revenue in 2010. Megastar was renamed CGV in 2014.
In 2017, CGV reported VND2.8 trillion in revenue and VND140 billion in net profit, accounting for 47 per cent of the market share as the leading film distributor and movie theatre operator in Viet Nam.
Discrepancies in financial reviews
A number of companies have seen their losses increase or profits decline after the review of financial statements. — Photo cafef.vn
Many listed companies have announced reviews of their financial statements for the first half of this year; as usual, the review reports reveal a discrepancy between the internal papers and reviews by auditing companies.
A number of companies have seen their losses increase or profits decline after the independent reviews.
The first-half losses of Truong Thanh Furniture Corporation (HOSE: TTF) rose by VND164 billion (US$7 million) to VND732 billion after the audit. After-tax losses of the parent company also added VND124 billion to reach VND685.2 billion.
The strong increase in losses was attributed to a VND12 billion decline in revenue while the capital costs grew by VND180 billion.
The auditor also noted that TTF incurred an accumulated loss of VND2.09 trillion ending June. Its short-term liabilities also surpassed short-term assets by VND101 billion, reflecting considerable uncertainty about the continued operation of the company.
“King of tra fish” Hung Vuong Joint Stock Corporation (HOSE:HVG) also suffered an additional loss of VND115 billion, lifting semi-annual loss from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 to VND377 billion.
Ending the third quarter of the 2018 fiscal year (April 2017-June 2018), its net profit declined to VND13.6 billion, pushing down the nine-month loss to VND366 billion.
After a semi-annual review, profits of Hoang Anh Gia Lai JSC (HOSE:HAG) shrank by VND40 billion to VND100 billion. Shareholders of the parent company incurred a net loss of VND34.5 billion, VND23.5 billion higher than the previous number.
Housing developer An Duong Thao Dien (HOSE:HAR) also saw its after-tax profit decline by 67 per cent after the review. Most accounting items did not change much but its management expenses increased by 44 per cent, leading to a profit drop.
For the case of mineral company An Truong An JSC (HOSE:ATG), the auditor adjusted the company’s profit of over hundreds of million dong to a loss of VND5.7 billion. According to the auditor, ATG had to make an additional provision for VND4.4 billion in bad receivables for My Xuan Mineral and Trading Co Ltd.
The companies suffering lower profits after the review also included Vietinbank (CTG), Licogi (LIC), Dai Chau Group (DCS), construction firms Coma 18 (CIG) and Red River Construction (ICG).
On the other end of spectrum, shareholders of some companies are happy with growth in their companies’ profits, such as DAP-Vinachem (DDV), Hoang Long Corp, PetroVietnam Drilling Mud (PVC), Vietnam Airlines (HVN) and Yeah1 Group (YEG).
According to a representative of Ernst & Young Viet Nam, it is difficult to conclude whether such discrepancies are intentional or unintentional. In practice, some mistakes may be made due to shallow professional knowledge of accountants or ambiguity in legal regulations on accounting standards.
Nguyen Manh Hien, director of An Viet Accounting Co, said that in some cases, companies may employ popular tricks from developed markets to revamp their financial statements, depending on motivation of the company’s leaders.
Errors related to financial reports may be subject to a fine of between VND40 million and VND50 million ($1,700-$2,140) according to Decree No 41/2018/ND-CP. In case of serious damage, it can be charged with criminal offence.
“However, it is not easy to determine the effect of any damage arising from financial reports, so criminal sanctions are rarely applied,” Hien was quoted as saying on the tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn.
Revenue of retail sales and services up 11.2 per cent in eight months
Viet Nam’s total revenue from retail sales and services had strong growth in the first eight months of this year due to the strong increase in purchasing power of the domestic market, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
The total revenue from retail sales and services reached VND2.86 quadrillion (US$124.3 billion) in the first eight months, a year-on-year increase of 11.2 per cent.
If inflation was excluded, the increase would be 8.53 per cent, a record rate over the past five months. The growth rate was 8.5 per cent in the first four months, 8.3 per cent in both of the first five months and the first six months, and 8.4 per cent in the first seven months, the GSO said.
GSO expert Vu Manh Ha said the high consumption in the first eight months of this year was due to the start of consumption season and continued hot weather pushing up demand for cooling solutions and vacations. In addition, the market saw higher demand for books, notebooks and other items for the new school year in September and demand for essential goods after rain and storms. Revenue from cultural and education services gained a year-on-year growth of 10.8 per cent.
The office said revenue from retail goods accounted for three fourths of total revenue from retail sales and services to reach VND2.15 quadrillion in the first eight months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 11.7 per cent.
Of which, several products recorded strong increases, including food and foodstuffs (12.8 per cent), garments (12.3 per cent) and home appliances (11.6 per cent).
Revenue from tourism in the first eight months marked high growth of 17.6 per cent against the same period last year though it made up a small part of total revenue from retail sales and services.
This was followed by accommodation, restaurant and catering services with a growth rate of about 9 per cent in the first eight months.
Some provinces and cities with high revenue from retail sales and services at between 12-13 per cent in the first eight months included Thai Nguyen, HCM City, Thanh Hoa, Bac Giang and Binh Dinh.
Cement industry records impressive export growth
The domestic cement industry achieved impressive results in exports over the first eight months of this year to reach the target for the whole year.
In August, Viet Nam gained a year-on-year increase of 44 per cent in cement export volume to 2.01 million tones, though the volume dropped slightly by 90,000 tonnes against the volume in July.
During the first eight months of this year, cement exports reached 20.09 million tonnes, exceeding the target of this whole year’s cement exports which was about 18-19 million tonnes, according to the Ministry of Construction’s Building Material Department.
The industry’s total cement consumption in both domestic and export markets stood at 63.85 million tonnes in the first eight months, a year-on-year increase of 30 per cent. Of which, domestic consumption reached 43.76 million tonnes, a year on year surge of 3 per cent, reported chinhphu.vn.
According to the department, the industry is likely to reach its target consumption of 65-66 million tonnes in the domestic market for the whole year.
Nguyen Quang Cung, chairman of the Viet Nam Cement Association, said that growth of cement consumption in the local market reduced from 2015. However, the cement industry expected a slight increase of 3 per cent for the year while the exports of cement would have better business results due to higher demand of importing cement from Viet Nam to some markets like China and the Philippines.
In addition, over supply of cement in the future due to more projects and production lines coming into operation would force cement enterprises to promote cement exports, according to the association.
The Dau tu newspaper quoted Cung as saying that to deal with the situation of over supply in cement, the association has proposed the Prime Minister direct slackening investment into cement projects from now to 2025, while promoting investment in renovation and increasing productivity and quality.
In 2017, the industry put into operation three big production projects, including Long Son 2 Cement in Thanh Hoa Province with a capacity of 2.3 million tonnes per year; Thanh Thang Cement 2 in Ha Nam Province with a capacity of 2.3 million tonnes per year; and Cement of Xuan Thanh 2 also in Ha Nam with an annual capacity of 4.5 million tonnes. Those projects raised the total designed capacity of the industry to 99 million tonnes.
This year, cement production capacity could reach 113 million tonnes.
Just three projects put into operation in 2017 have increased production by 9 million tonnes in total designed capacity, thus increasing competitive pressure on the local market.
Meanwhile, the list of cement projects that are expected to come into operation after 2018 are very large capacity projects, thus increasing the cement consumption pressure.
They include the Song Lam Cement’s production lines 3, 4 in the second phase of the Vissai Group with total capacity of 3.8 million tonnes per year; Thai Nguyen Group’s Ha Tien Cement Project in Binh Phuoc with annual capacity of 4.5 million tonnes; and Tan Thang Cement Project in Nghe An Province with annual capacity of 1.8 million tonnes.
HCM City supermarkets see sales surge during holidays
Supermarkets and shopping malls in Ho Chi Minh City have seen a surge in sales during the three-day National Day holidays this year.
Doan Diep Binh, head of branding and communications at Lotte Mart, told Vietnam News: “Sales increased by 25 percent from last year, with processed products, seafood, beer, and soft drinks being the biggest sellers.”
Its food court and recreation areas were crowded through the three days from September 1 to 3, he said, adding that promotion programmes greatly contributed to the higher sales.
Lotte is offering many promotions until September 4 at its 13 stores nation-wide, including discounts of up to 49 percent on thousands of products and a shock prices programme for its loyal customers, he said.
Customers buying Trung Nguyen coffee products worth 90,000 VND at the supermarket will get a ticket for a lucky draw with total prizes worth 779 million VND (33,482 USD), he said.
Saigon Co.op, the owner of Co.opmart supermarket chain, launched the “Tu hao hang Viet” (Proud of Vietnamese Goods) programme, its largest promotion of the year, with discounts of up to 50 percent on thousands of products, gifts of over 200,000 vouchers and many times higher points than normal between August 16 and September 5.
According to a Saigon Co.op spokesperson, sales were up 20 - 40 percent from normal.
Fresh and processed foodstuffs and beverages were the top sellers, while sales of kitchen utensils and clothes increased slightly.
At Big C supermarkets, the number of shoppers went up sharply during the holidays, said Vu Thanh Tan, media content manager of Central Group Vietnam.
Supply had increased by 50 percent, especially of ready-to-eat foods, bread and fruits and vegetables, he said.
The supermarket also offered discounts of up to 49 percent on more than 1,000 products under its “Celebrate great holiday” programme and on hundreds of Vietnamese products together with gifts under its “Give Vietnamese brands wings” programme until September 5.
Vissan stores, which are offering discounts of up to 10 percent on many processed foods, also attracted a lot of shoppers during the holidays.
Unlike supermarkets, traders at traditional markets like Ba Chieu in Binh Thanh district, Hoang Hoa Tham in Tan Binh district, Go Vap in Go Vap district, and Hoa Binh in district 5 said sales had dipped slightly compared to normal days. With supply being abundant, prices were steady.
A representative of the Hoc Mon wholesale market for farm produce and fresh foods, said usually around 2,800 tonnes of products were received every day, but on September 2 traders reduced their purchase by 20 percent since kitchens at companies and schools and other large customers did not buy.
According to the Binh Dien, Thu Duc and Hoc Mon wholesale markets, the volume of goods would return to normal from September 3.
Mekong Delta region makes up 18 percent of GDP
Mekong Delta localities collected more than 243.2 trillion VND (10.46 billion USD) for the budget in 2016-2018, and made up 18 percent of the country’s GDP, according to an official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).
In the period, the region’s average gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth reached 7.5 percent, while per capita income in 2018 is estimated at 2,217 USD, said Nguyen Tuan of the MPI’s Local and Territorial Economy Department at a recent conference in Can Tho city.
Tuan said that in 2016-2018, the region earned 45.8 billion USD from exports, achieving 47.6 percent of its target for 2016-2020 at 96.3 billion USD.
He said the Mekong Delta has experienced good economic growth and positively transformed its economic structure.
The region is the country’s top group in terms of the provincial competitiveness index (PCI), thanks to its improved investment environment and reformed administrative procedures, he said.
The Mekong Delta comprises Can Tho city and 12 provinces – Long An, Dong Thap, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh, Ben Tre, An Giang, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau and Kien Giang.
Known as the country’s rice bowl, the region has seen low foreign investment, ranking only fourth out of six major economic regions in foreign direct investment attraction, reflecting inefficientsupport policies for enterprises, noted Tuan. He added that only 58 percent of labourersin the region are trained, lower than other regions.
Under the public investment plan for 2016-2020, the Mekong Delta was allocated 184 trillion VND (7.91 billion USD). So far, the region has received 57 percent of the funds, or 105 trillion VND (4.51 billion USD).
In 2019, total capital demand of 19 localities in the Mekong Delta and Southeast Region is estimated at more than 136.5 trillion VND (5.86 billion USD), up 11.4 percent compared to 2018 and equivalent to 69 percent of the capital planned for 2019-2020.
A report by the MPI showed that demand accounts for nearly 32 percent of the total planned investment of the country in 2019.
Forum calls on VN supporting industries to get a move on
Businesses in supporting industries need to further improve their functioning and establish close ties with each other and official agencies to enter multinational supply chains, delegates told a forum held in HCM City recently.
Dinh Thi Bao Linh, deputy director of the Viet Nam Industry and Trade Information Centre, said supporting industry, which refers to making accessories, components and others used in manufacturing, has received special attention from the Government since it is the foundation for development of many other industries.
Yet the rate of locally sourced parts remains modest, she said.
Do Thi Thuy Huong, a member of the executive board of the Viet Nam Electronic Industries Association (VEIA), said the electronics industry has developed strongly in recent years with exports rising every year.
The development of the sector is mainly thanks to the large investments made by multinational companies, especially from Korea and Japan, in the production of both final products and components, she said.
Local firms have a small market share, she said.
Le Nguyen Duy Oanh, deputy director of the HCM City Centre for Supporting Industries Development, spoke about the city’s efforts to back supporting industries, including programmes to connect local suppliers with foreign-owned and local manufacturers and foreign partners.
“Samsung hopes to have 50 Vietnamese suppliers by 2020, so local firms should link up and standardise their production process to participate as the Korean company’s vendors,” she said.
Nguyen Duc Minh, director of Viettronics Phu Tho Hoa, spoke about his company’s experience in seeking businesses partners as well as its process of becoming a Samsung supplier.
Suttisak Wilanan of Thailand-based Reed Tradex Company, one of the forum’s organisers, said: “The global industry is changing to a new era of manufacturing capabilities, the direction of markets will not be the same since the digital technologies are taking over the way we produce and consume a variety of goods.”
The rising demand for integrated and advanced technologies is driving supporting industries to overhaul their manufacturing processes to catch up with the global supply chain, he said.
“We see huge potential in Viet Nam, where a number of major manufacturing bases are located and where skilled engineers, technicians and workers have gathered.
“What’s more, Vietnamese are precise and highly skilled, and, most importantly, perseverance is deep-rooted in their work philosophy. That is the reason I believe Viet Nam will become one of Asian’s manufacturing hubs in years to come.”
The forum was held as part of pre-activities for NEPCON Vietnam, an exhibition on SMT, testing technologies, equipment, and supporting industries for electronics manufacturing to be organised next October.
Held by Reed Tradex and VEIA, the forum was titled “Development of supporting industries – the foundation for the sustainable growth of Viet Nam’s electricity and electronics industry.”
Vietcombank introduces new AI service
Vietcombank launched VCBPAY this week, a new service from the company’s Mobile Banking ecosystem.
The service has a ‘chatbot’ assistant equipped with artificial intelligence to assist transaction requests.
VCBPAY also helps customers pay with QR Codes at stores and websites, and for airplane tickets and hotel bookings.
Customers just have to pay service fees for VCBPAY, VCB-Mobile B@nking and VCB-iB@nking.
Euro Auto faces trade fraud fines
The Ministry of Finance plans to fine Euro Auto JSC, the former official BMW importer in Viet Nam, for trade fraud and issuing false invoices to the customs department.
The ministry has asked Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to fine the firm from VND40 million to VND80 million (US$1,760-3,500) and allow it to confiscate all fake documents and invoices used for customs clearance for the vehicles.
According to regulations, the 133 cars were ineligible for import into Viet Nam. The company could re-export the vehicles out of Vietnamese territory and receive all the tax paid on the shipment.
The ministry said neither it nor the General Department of Customs could reauthorise the firm to start importing BMWs again, and such a move would need the PM’s approval.
Last year, Euro Auto JSC was found to have sold cars without customs clearance and failed to provide certificates of origin (C/O) and import documents. After that all 571 cars were re-exported from the country.
Relevant to this case, the Ministry of Public Security prosecuted three defendants for smuggling, namely CEO Nguyen Dang Thao, Euro Auto official Nguyen Thi Minh Yen, and Tran Hai Dang, deputy director of Viet A Company, which performed customs procedures for Euro Auto.
On June 4, the Supreme People’s Procuracy decided to bring the three defendants to trial.
Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO) is the new official importer of BMW and MINI vehicles in Viet Nam.
Conference discusses global shrimp demand, Vietnam’s supply capacity
There is room for the development of Vietnam’s shrimp sector thanks to favourable farming conditions and increasing global demand, heard a conference held in Ho Chi Minh City recently.
At the event entitled “Global shrimp demand and Vietnam’s supply capacity to 2025”, experts stressed the industry still faces challenges.
Ho Quang Luc, former Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), noted that Vietnam has a large area of 700,000 hectares for shrimp farming.
“Due to favourable weather, Vietnamese farmers can raise shrimp all year round,” he said, adding that local farmers’ skills exceed the global average.
The country also has great processing potential, with nearly 100 shrimp processing factories, generating about 500,000 tonnes of products every year, he added.
Despite its potential and support from the Government and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), shrimp farmers still face poor infrastructure, low-quality shrimp breeders and high farming costs, among others.
“It is necessary to have a detailed farming plan, adequate investment in infrastructure, a national parent-shrimp production programme, and strict control of the shrimp supply system,” he recommended.
Hoang Tung, an expert at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, addressed issues surrounding the Government plan that targets all steps of the value chain and an export turnover target of 10 billion USD in 2025.
He said the government should place emphasis on higher-quality inputs, improvement of farming and harvesting, and innovative business models. This would ensure higher productivity, lower production costs and increased domestic consumption, he said.
Tung hoped that the Lower Mekong Initiative, which aims to transform the livelihoods of 10,000 households via more sustainable shrimp farming between 2019 and 2029, will be carried out efficiently.
The initiative is a collaborative project between CSIRO, MARD and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Experts at the conference also spoke about the world shrimp market and the gap in supply and demand, consumption trends, competitiveness of Vietnamese shrimp in the EU market, and analysis of export competitors.
Can Tho boosts agricultural shake-up towards sustainable development
The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho plans to restructure its agricultural sector towards increasing added value and sustainable development during 2018-2022 under a project launched in the locality recently.
According to Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Ngoc He, the project looks to improve quality and competitiveness of the local farm produce, build key goods groups and concentrated production zones applying advanced technologies, and promote value chain development.
During 2018-2020, the city’s agricultural production value is expected to grow an average of 3.5 percent per year while capital injected into the sector is planned to increase 17 percent per year.
The city targets more than 2.5 percent in the growth of agro-forestry-fishery production for 2018-2020 period. High-tech agriculture will be strongly developed this time.
Building high-quality rice fields and safe vegetable zones meeting market demands as well as branching out urban agricultural models and orchard gardens in combination with eco-tourism are in the first line of the measures to realise the set goals.
The sector will focus on improving productivity and quality of plants and domestic animals as well as raising competitiveness of local farm produce.
By 2020, nearly 100,000 hectares of farming land will be cultivated, with one fifth of which to be applied with high technologies. 25,000 hectares inefficient rice farming land will be shifted to aquaculture and cultivation of other crops.
Besides ensuring appropriate irrigational system, the province will help local farmers improve production capacity and build advanced production models.
Three high-tech agricultural zones will be built at the Agricultural Seed Centre, Hau River Farm, and Co Do Farm. Upon completion, the facilities will be responsible for coordinating high-tech agriculture network, and working with institutes, universities and enterprises to study and apply new technologies.
Also, Can Tho will pilot bio-tech application models and transfer technologies to local farmers.
Due attention has been paid to investment attraction, connection between businesses and local cooperatives and households in producing and selling products, disease prevention for crops and animals, and building and promotion of local agricultural brands.
The agricultural restructuring project was first launched in the city in 2013. After five years of implementation , value of agricultural production increased 3.2 percent per year, and earning from one hectare of crops surges 7 percent to 32.5 million VND (1,440 USD), while that from one hectare of aquaculture picked up 9.2 percent to 99.7 million VND (4,287 USD).
Currently, the city has nine agricultural products granted geographical indication and collective brands. It has established 238 new agricultural cooperatives, as well as lured many investors in production, processing and selling of local farm produce.
Ninh Thuận shrimp products awarded trademark
Shrimp products from the south central province of Ninh Thuận Province on Wednesday received a Certificate of Trademark from the Intellectual Property Department.
The certificate covers tiger prawns species PL 15 and white-legged shrimp species PL 12, both of which are produced in the province.
The certified trademark includes an image of a blue shrimp inside a white circle with the words “Ninh Thuận’s Shrimp”.
The certificate will be valid for 10 years, while the holder will be Ninh Thuận’s Department of Fisheries.
The trademark is expected to enhance the reputation of Ninh Thuận Province’s shrimp in the market and help fight against the production of poor quality shrimp.
Businesses that use the trademark must ensure that their shrimp has clear origin, good quality, is protected by disease, is biologically safe and has had no antibiotics and banned substances used in the production process.
The province has 1.200 shrimp farms with productivity of more than 30 billion shrimp per year (most of which are tiger prawn and white-legged shrimp), meeting 30 per cent of the country’s demand.
The province expects to provide 36 billion shrimp per year by 2020 and to be a centre of high-quality shrimp production area in the country.
Hai Phong’s eight-month FDI surges nearly 100 per cent
More than $1.41 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) was poured into the northern port city of Hai Phong over the past eight months of this year - a year-on-year increase of nearly 100 per cent, the city’s official portal reported.
Of that amount, $1.39 billion was injected into 94 projects, including 64 newly-invested projects and 33 capital adjustment ones, while the remainder of $23 million was spent by overseas players on acquiring shares in Vietnamese companies, it noted.
Since the beginning of the year, Japan and South of Korea continued to be the largest investors in the city.
In the future, the city will continue to speed up administrative reforms, improve its investment and business climates and perfect infrastructure facilities at major industrial economic and industrial zones in order to better attract foreign investment.
Holding frequent talks between the city’s leaders and investors to remove their difficulties and revoking licences of slow-moving projects will be also included.
The city aims to lure $2 billion in FDI by the year-end.
Auto tyre importers required to show conformity certificate
Businesses will have to show certificates of conformity when they conduct customs procedures to import auto tyres into Viet Nam.
The measure was proposed by the Viet Nam National Chemical Group (Vinachem) and sent to the ministries of transport and industry and trade, Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality, and General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Vinachem asks the relevant units to check the quality of imported tyres because conformity certificates were a compulsory requirement for quality control of automobile tyres before entering the Vietnamese market.
According to Vinachem, there are four circulars from the ministries of transport and science and technology stipulating the compulsory announcement of conformity certificates for automobile tire products including imports and domestic production. However, Vinachem affirmed that the automobile importers had not implemented the compulsory regulations. The authorities had not yet checked the certificates when they conducted customs clearance procedures.
"This leads to many unsafe automobile tyres imported into Viet Nam, affecting consumers’ interests and right, creating unequal competition for domestic enterprises," said Vinachem in the document.
The Vietnamese automobile and tyre market includes imported tyres and locally-produced ones. The domestically-produced tires mainly come from Caosumina, SRC and DRC, as well as foreign direct investment businesses such as Bridgestone (Japan) and Kumho Tire (South Korea).
However, there are also automobile tyres imported from China at about 20 per cent cheaper than other manufacturers.
Automobile tyres imported into Viet Nam serve domestically-assembled automobile factories and centres for warranty, maintenance or repair of cars across the country.
Social News In Brief
Khánh Hòa approves ambitious fisheries development plan
Aquaculture in Nha Phu Lagoon in Khánh Hòa Province’s Ninh Hòa District.
The Khánh Hòa Province People’s Committee has approved a fisheries development plan for the period until 2025 focusing on modernising the sector.
The plan targets growing fisheries to 62-63 per cent of the south-central province’s agriculture by 2035, after rising to VNĐ10 trillion (US$439 million) by 2025 and VNĐ13 trillion ($558 million) by 2035.
But the development will not be at the cost of the environment or depletion of fisheries resources, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The plan envisages reducing fishing near shore and increase offshore fishing to improve quantity, quality and efficiency.
For this, the province will enlarge its off-shore fishing fleet from the current 1,365 boats to 1,780 by 2025 and 2,120 by 2035.
The plan targets to reduce the aquaculture area to around 3,575ha by 2020 through a 7.3 per cent reduction every year but increase investment in infrastructure and advanced techniques for better yields.
The province will focus on fostering marine species by releasing fry of endangered species into Nha Trang, Vân Phong and Cam Ranh bays and Nha Phu and Thủy Triều lagoons.
It will also establish marine and island preserves in Cam Ranh City, Ninh Hòa Town and Vạn Ninh and Cam Lâm districts and restore and protect the habitats of freshwater species.
Khánh Hòa has 385km of coastline and more than 200 islands with a diverse range of aquatic species, including lobsters, sweet snails and snout otter clams.
Its Nha Trang Bay marine reserve has more than 350 coral species, 70 kinds of crustaceans, 120 species of molluscs and 70 varieties of seaweed.
Under the country’s fisheries development plan for this decade, Khánh Hòa is one of the country’s five largest fisheries hubs.
Its aquaculture exports are worth around $400 million a year.
Play on Gia Định’s commander to attend Tuồng Festival 2018
Artists of the HCM City Hát Bội Theatre are working on a new historical play, Lê Công Kỳ Án (Tales of Gia Định’s Commander), a production by Meritorious Artist and scriptwriter Hữu Danh. — Photo courtesy of the producer
The HCM City Hát Bội Theatre is working on a new historical play called Lê Công Kỳ Án (Tales of Gia Định’s Commander) by Meritorious Artist and scriptwriter Hữu Danh that will be presented at the National Tuồng (Classical Drama) Festival 2018 in Quảng Ngãi Province in October.
The 90-minute tragedy depicts the controversial life and death of Lê Văn Duyệt, a national hero who contributed to the growth of South Việt Nam in the 19th century.
Duyệt was born in 1764 in Tiền Giang Province’s Cù Lao Hổ (now Hòa Khánh village). He began his career by supporting Emperor Gia Long (Nguyễn Phúc Ánh), founder of the Nguyễn Dynasty, when he was 17.
Besides working to build dyke and irrigation systems, he was known for his military talent and fight against corrupt officials and sycophantic courtiers.
Thanks to Duyệt’s management, Gia Định developed into a populous and prosperous area.
Lê Công Kỳ Án focuses on the period between 1813 and 1820, when Duyệt was the commander of Gia Định Citadel, which included Biên Hòa City and present-day HCM City.
Directed by People’s Artist Trần Ngọc Giàu and Nguyễn Hoàn, the play is staged by veteran artists Đông Hồ and Linh Hiền, who have worked with younger actors Kiều Mi, Thanh Bình and Bảo Châu on the production.
The performance is part of a new drama project called Tôi Yêu Tuồng-Cải Lương (I Love Tuồng - Cải Lương), launched this year by HCM City Theatre Association in co-operation with local traditional theatres, including HCM City Hát Bội Theatre, one of the region’s leading State-owned theatres.
The project offers historical shows at affordable prices, ranging from VNĐ50,000 (US$2.2) to VND100,000 ($4.4) a ticket, to attract audiences, particularly students and labourers.
It has attracted tuồng and cải lương stars such as People’s Artist Kim Cương and Meritorious Artist Minh Vương, top talents who have developed traditional theatre for more than four decades.
“Through our performance, we hope to preserve tuồng or hát bội, a traditional theatre of the central region that consists of singing, dancing with music, and to encourage young people learn more about the art,” said young actor Thanh Bình, who plays a leading role in Lê Công Kỳ Án
“We received more than VNĐ500 million ($21,500) from the city budget to renovate the theatre,” said Bình, adding that he and his colleagues had worked with several organisations and sponsors that invested in the theatre’s activities.
The first show of Lê Công Kỳ Án will take place at National Tuồng Festival 2018, which is organised by Việt Nam Theatre Artists Association and Quảng Ngãi Province in early October.
Book honours scientific-technological innovations
The Việt Nam Golden Book of Innovation 2018, which gathers outstanding innovative projects and solutions in science-technology, made its debut in Hà Nội on Thursday.
The book was released on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of National Day (September 2) at a ceremony with the attendance of President Trần Đại Quang.
In addition to summaries of 73 prize-winning projects in the past year, the book also lists collectives and individuals who won international awards, along with Việt Nam’s policies in support of innovation.
Addressing the ceremony, President Quang stressed that scientific-technological development and application is the country’s top priority and one of the key driving forces of socio-economic development and national defence.
He said the honoured projects and solutions are significant to Việt Nam’s science-technology as they have been effectively applied in high-tech agriculture, public health care, infrastructure development, renewable energy, climate change adaptation, and national defence and security.
The State leader urged the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Việt Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations to continue their close coordination in selecting outstanding works and solutions for the book.
This is to encourage innovation and scientific-technological application among the public, thus helping Việt Nam catch up with advanced countries in the region and the world in the fourth industrial revolution and become an industrialised nation, he said.
Da Nang to build international paediatrics hospital
Patients attend a medical examination at Đà Nẵng city’s Paediatrics and Obstetrics Hospital.
The Da Nang City-based Thành Đạt Group and Czech Future Investment company have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an international peadiatrics hospital in Đà Nẵng.
Chairman of the city’s people’s committee Huỳnh Đức Thơ said the MoU, which was signed in the Czech Republic last week, aimed to build a high-tech hospital.
He said the city would offer the best conditions for the Czech partner if an investor is found.
Petr Mach, Vice chairman of the Future Investment Company, said the firm would transfer technology to the city as well as equipment, facilities and human resources training.
According to the city’s investment and planning department, the city is looking for around US$300 million to build the medical centre.
The new centre aims to ease overcrowding at the city’s Paediatrics and Obstetrics Hospital.
Czech Future Investments specialises in securing funding for medical centres. This would be the first project between Da Nang and Eastern Europe.
Hưng Yên Police awarded for successfully investigating murder case
The Hưng Yên Province Police yesterday declared they have successfully investigated the murder on August 17 in Hồng Châu Ward, Hưng Yên City. — Photo vov.vn
The Hưng Yên Province Police yesterday declared they have successfully investigated the murder on August 17 in Hồng Châu Ward, Hưng Yên City.
Colonel Phạm Thế Tùng, director of the provincial police department, said the investigation showed that the suspect was Đinh Công Tráng, 41.
Searching Tráng’s house in An Tảo Ward, Hưng Yên City, the police found a knife which is believed to be a crucial evidence in the murder.
After further investigation, on Monday Tráng admitted that on the night of August 17 he went to Đặng Văn Trường’s house in Hồng Châu Ward to steal something.
After he was caught, Tráng used the knife to stab Trường, 41, and his wife Nguyễn Thị Hoa, 40 to death.
Also yesterday, the provincial leaders awarded the police VNĐ220 million (US$9,700) for their success in investigating the case.
Speaking at the awarding ceremony, Nguyễn Văn Phóng, chairman of the Hưng Yên People’s Committee, said that the province still saw many problems related to safety and security which need police’s efforts.
Quang Ninh serves 86,000 visitors on National Day occasion
Tourist ships on Ha Long Bay
The northern coastal province of Quang Ninh welcomed 86,000 tourists, including 19,000 foreigners, during the three-day National Day holidays from September 1-3.
The figures represented year-on-years rises of 20 percent and 25 percent, respectively, according to the provincial Tourism Department.
The department attributed the increases to the inauguration of Bach Dang bridge and Ha Long-Quang Ninh Highway, which has helped reduce travel time from Hanoi, Hai Phong city and Thai Binh and Nam Dinh provinces to Quang Ninh.
It also reported that the local tourism sector earned around 170 billion VND (7.28 million USD) during this occasion. The number of tourists staying overnight reached 40,000, and the rate of occupancy at local three- to five-star hotels surpassed 80 percent.
Also during the three-day period, 1,400 ships took more than 30,000 tourists, including 12,000 foreigners, on sight-seeing tours on Ha Long Bay – a UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site in the province.
To lure visitors, hotels and entertainment complexes in the locality launched numerous attractive promotion programmes.
New destinations in Quang Ninh also attracted tourists, such as Van Don, Quan Lan, Minh Chau and Co To islands.
With a range of stunning landscapes, clear turquoise sea and spectacular limestone pillars together with numerous tourism investment projects, Quang Ninh boasts huge potential to develop tourism.
The province has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and over 2,000 islands, two-thirds of the total number in Vietnam. The spectacular stretch of coast connects the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay with majestic natural scenery, Bai Tu Long Bay, Van Don and Co To islands and Tra Co beach with Cat Ba National Park in the northern port city of Hai Phong.
Along with the renowned Ha Long Bay, Quan Lan, Minh Chau, Ngoc Vung, Dai beaches in Van Don island district and Tra Co and Vinh Thuc in Mong Cai city have grown in stature among domestic and international tourists thanks to their breathtaking sea and coral reef.
Together with the Bach Dang bridge and Ha Long-Quang Ninh Highway, Van Don International Airport, which will begin serving commercial flights in late 2018, is also expected to help attract more foreign holidaymakers to the province.
The airport is set to cater for nine air routes and be capable of serving some 7,000 passengers per day. It is hoped to have annual capacity of 2 – 2.5 million passengers by 2020 and 5 million by 2030.
By 2020, Quang Ninh aims to welcome 15-16 million tourists, including 7 million foreigners, and rake in 30 trillion VND - 40 trillion VND (1.3 billion USD - 1.7 billion USD) in revenue. The tourism sector is expected to contribute 14-15 percent to the gross regional domestic product (GRDP).
Last year, Quang Ninh received 9.87 million tourists, including 4.28 million foreigners, up 18 percent and 23 percent respectively. The tourism sector pocketed over 17.88 trillion VND (786.9 million USD), up 30 percent compared to the previous year, and contributed 3.2 trillion VND (140.8 million USD) to the State budget, accounting for 11.9 percent of the local budget collection.
It welcomed 9.2 million tourists during the first eight months of this year, up 25 percent year-on-year and completing 77 percent of its target for the whole year.
The provincial Department of Tourism reported that the number of international holidaymakers to the locality exceeded 3.2 million, a rise of 18 percent against the same period last year, and fulfilling 65 percent of the yearly target.
During the period, the local tourism sector completed 73 percent of the yearly target, earning more than 16 trillion VND (685 million USD), up 29 percent year-on-year.
This year, the province aims to attract over 12 million visitors this year, including 5 million foreigners.
Ngoc Linh ginseng, medical herbs centerpiece of exhibition
Ngoc Linh ginseng
An exhibition focusing on Ngoc Linh ginseng and other medical herbs opened in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum on September 4.
The four-day event features 20 stalls of local enterprises and a number of firms from the Republic of Korea, the country also known far and wide in the world for gingseng.
It is part of activities aiming to develop the herbal medicine sector based on domestically-available materials, offering an opportunity for Kon Tum to popularise its herbal resources, seek partnerships, and exchange experience in the field.
Forest coverage amounts to 62.3 percent of the total area in Kon Tum, creating a diverse source of natural herbs, such as Ngoc Linh gingseng, dang shen, Anoectochilus setaceus, and five-flavor berry.
The Ngoc Linh ginseng (Panax vietnamensis, or Vietnamese ginseng), a rare medical root containing 52 saponin compounds helpful to health, was found on Ngoc Linh Mountain on the boundary between Kon Tum and the central province of Quang Nam in the late 1960s.
In June 2017, Ngoc Linh ginseng was included in the list of national products by the Prime Minister.
Kon Tum built a conservation centre for the Ngoc Linh ginseng in 2004. The province now has more than 400 hectares of the ginseng, of which over 320 ha are managed by the Kon Tum Ngoc Linh ginseng joint stock company. The plantation is for preservation and expansion, with products from local Ngoc Linh ginseng yet to be available in the market.
Thua Thien-Hue spends 1.5 million USD to support fishermen
The People’s Committee of central Thua Thien-Hue province has decided to allocate over 35.8 billion VND (1.5 million USD) to assist local fishermen in offshore fishing.
Accordingly, Phu Vang, Phu Loc districts, Hue city and Huong Tra township will receive 25.97 billion VND, 9.75 billion VND, 425 million VND, and 350 million VND, respectively, to encourage and support aquaculture and offshore fishing.
This is the second time the province has disbursed to assist local fishermen in line with the Government’s Decree 67/2014/ND-CP on policies for fishery development (Decree 67).
The provincial authorities have requested localities to manage and use the money for the right purposes and contents prescribed in the inter-ministerial Circular No. 16/2012/ TTLT-BNN-BQP-BTC dated on April 11, 2012 by the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Finance and National Defence.
Previously, the province spent more than 16 billion VND to encourage aquaculture and offshore fishing activities, and exploitation services in the above-mentioned localities.
In the first phase, Phu Vang and Phu Loc districts received 10.9 billion VND and 4.76 billion VND respectively, while Hue city and Huong Tra township was provided with 500 million VND each to help local fishermen buy fuel for fishing trips.
Implementing Decree 67, Thua Thien-Hue province has actively coordinated with local authorities of coastal communes to support local fishermen in accessing preferential credit, thus building and upgrading 40 vessels, including four steel-hull ships with capacity of 829CV upwards and 36 wood-hull ships with capacity of 400 to 800 CV.
Phu Vang district has the largest number of newly-built fishing boats, bringing its total number of offshore fishing ships to 170.
La Phuc Thanh, Chairman of the district’s People's Committee, said that the implementation of the decree help expand offshore fishing areas in traditional fishing grounds, thus increasing the district’s catch output.
The province now has 40 ships built under Decree 67. Local fishermen are enabled to borrow capital to build big ships for offshore fishing.-
Thua Thien-Hue enhances animal protection in nature reserves
The central province of Thua Thien-Hue has decided to establish a biodiversity corridor connecting the saola reserve with the Phong Dien Natural Reserve (Source: WWF)
The central province of Thua Thien-Hue has decided to establish a biodiversity corridor connecting the saola (an endangered bovine, scientifically known as pseudoryx nghetinhensis) reserve with the Phong Dien Natural Reserve.
The project looks to improve the quality of the local ecological system and maintain the current forest coverage of 83 percent in the biodiversity corridor, as well as protect the natural landscapes and habitats of native creatures.
The biodiversity corridor also seeks to protect various animals aside from the saola, including the red-shanked douc (pygathrix nemaeus), the northern white-cheeked gibbon (nomascus leucogenys), and the pygmy slow loris (nycticebus pygmaeus), and more.
The project also aims to raise public awareness of biodiversity protection and forest development, especially amongst forest owners. Its results are hoped to contribute to new policies on biodiversity corridor management and rational use of natural resources, as well as the potential of local ecosystems.
In addition, it will improve livelihoods to increase incomes for local residents through the implementation of forest protection, poverty reduction, and rural agriculture activities.
Thua Thien-Hue province has also expanded the saola reserve to nearly 15,520ha and linked it with other saola centres in Quang Nam, Bach Ma National Park in Thua Thien-Hue, and Laos’ Xe Sap National Protected Area – altogether creating a large and united forest system in the region.
The province’s saola reserve, with an area of primary forest in central Truong Son, is also home to more than 1,200 fauna and flora species, including many rare ones.
Books by late author Sơn Nam republished
Twenty books by late cultural researcher and author Sơn Nam of Kiên Giang Province, a leading writer of the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta region, have been reprinted by the Trẻ Publishing House.
The publication celebrates the writer’s 10th death anniversary.
The books include collections of short stories, novels and research works selected from many works of the writer. All of the publications feature Mekong Delta cultures, southern people and their lifestyles.
Books on Gia Định-Sài Gòn developments over 300 years are also included.
Highlighted research books are Đình Miễu & Lễ Hội Dân Gian Miền Nam (Temples & Folk Festivals of the South) and Đồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long - Nét Sinh Hoạt Xưa - Văn Minh Miệt Vườn (Cửu Long River Delta - Traditional Lifestyle - Orchard Civilisation).
Readers call Sơn Nam “a living dictionary on the southern land” because his writing features his love for and knowledge of the southern region.
Many of his works recall the process by which people in the past claimed new land.
Some works were adapted to films.
He wrote 60 fiction and non-fiction books, and more than 400 short stories.
Nam was born into a poor farmer family in U Minh Hạ in Rạch Giá Province (now Kiên Giang) in 1926.
He studied in Cần Thơ and took part in the resistance war against the French in 1945.
After the Geneva Agreement in 1954, he moved to Sài Gòn (now HCM City) to write books and articles for local newspapers.
Nam wrote more than 60 fiction and non-fiction books, 400 short stories and many research works. His books have been reprinted several times, attracting millions of readers from different generations.
One of his most famous novels, Hương Rừng Cà Mau (Scent of Forest in Cà Mau), was translated and taught at Paris University Diderot.
Another book, Mùa Len Trâu (Flood Season), was made into a film, titled Buffalo Boy, by Vietnamese-American director Nguyễn Võ Nghiêm Minh in 2003.
Minh’s film portrays the lives of local farmers in Đồng Tháp Province. It also features the delta region’s beauty with picturesque scenes of rivers, forests, boats and buffaloes, and haunting folk songs. Daily life affected by floodwaters is also highlighted.
Impressed by Nam’s Mùa Len Trâu the first time he read it, Minh asked the author for permission to film the book.
Minh, a graduate in cinematography at the University of California, received financial support from two European production companies, France’s 3B Productions and Belgium’s NOVAK.
The film Buffalo Boy was screened in Australia, the Europe and the US, and sent to international festivals and won several awards.
Nam passed away in HCM City in 2008.
Ha Giang retreat on H'mong King Palace land rights dispute
Authorities in Ha Giang Province have admitted wrongdoings in issuing land use rights for the H'mong King Palace to a local authority department.
Vuong Duy Bao, former deputy head of the Culture Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, had sent a letter to PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc to ask for help in returning the palace built by his great grandfather Vuong Chinh Duc who was known as the H'mong King in Ha Giang.
Bao said the family wasn't informed about the fact that the palace was recognised as a national cultural and architectural heritage site in 1993 until officials asked them to move out so that they could turn it into a museum in 2002.
Even though they were apologised to and given the promise that their house would not be used by the public, in 2012, Ha Giang Province People's Committee then granted the land use rights where the palace is situated to Dong Van District's Department of Culture.
"We are still alive and living in this place. It's unacceptable that the land use rights were given to the Dong Van Department of Culture," Bao said. He went on to say that he had never sold or given away the palace to anyone.
On August 23, Vice-chairman of Ha Giang Province People's Committee Tran Duc Quy said they would recall the wrongly-issued certificate, ownership of the palace and other property on the land. "It's wrong to issue the certificate to the Dong Van District's Department of Culture. We'll revoke that decision," he said.
According to Quy, they reviewed state-owned lands in 2012 and issued a certificate of land use rights to a local agency for better management. When Vuong family moved out of the palace in 2002 for renovation, Bao's father was given VND320m (USD13,700) and six other households of the Vuong family living there were given VND30m each to build houses.
However, Quy admitted that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism already agreed not to convert the house for public use. He also denied corruption in this case, citing lack of research and expertise. Quy said the authorities wouldn't give the certificate to Bao yet. "If Bao can prove his legitimate inheritance right then we'll give him the certificate," he said.
Lying some 130 kilometres north of Ha Giang Town, the century-old palace is still the largest construction in the area and a unique special architecture style.
According to a tour guide who is also a woman member of the King's family at the palace, Vuong Chinh Duc (1865 - 1947), known as the king of the H'mong or Meo ethnic minority group in the area, built the palace which cost 150,000 Indochina silver coins equivalent to VND150 billion (USD 6.61 million). Duc earned his fortune from growing and trading opium.
The palace is built from stone, fir wood and terracotta tiling in a combined Chinese, French and H'mong traditional architectural style. Covering a total area of 1,120 square metres, the palace was used as a residence and fortress during the Vuong Dynasty.
Lao Cai border guards maintain sound partnership with Chinese peers
The formation of a “harmonious friendship and twin relationship” between the Border Post of Lao Cai International Border Gate and its Chinese peers in September 25, 2013 marked a milestone in border guard diplomacy along the Vietnam-China shared border.
Colonel Do Ngoc Tuan, Chief Commander of the Lao Cai Border Guard High Command, said that the Border Post of Lao Cai International Border Gate is the only unit that shares twin relations with three Chinese border guard units – namely Hekou Border Police Station, Hekou Border Guard Battalion, and Hekou Border Police Company.
The officer said that following the signing of agreements, the two sides have held regular art, culture, and sport exchange activities to celebrate special events from each country.
The two sides have coordinated closely in controlling entrance and exit activities, as well as in the prevention and combat of cross-border crimes. Each year, Vietnamese and Chinese border guards assisted in freeing and sending home hundreds of trafficked children and women.
The Border Post of Lao Cai International Border Gate and the Hekou Border Police Station have worked together to spread awareness of border and border gate laws and regulations amongst locals living in this area and people crossing the Lao Cai-Hekou international border gate. This has drawn public attention to the consequences of strictly abiding by the law and engaging in criminal prevention; safeguarding State security; and building a shared border of peace, stability, and development.
Colonel Tuan said that since the first quarter of 2016, the two sides have developed their “friendship envoy” model, a title honoring an official of the Border Post of Lao Cai International Border Gate voted by Chinese people and an official of Hekou Border Police Station chosen by Vietnamese people.
The model has helped improve officials’ serving attitude and build the serving culture for officials of both sides, he said.
He added that the two sides have also organised a contest to study three legal documents relating to border control, drawing a large number of border guards and locals from both sides.
Major Nguyen Dinh Quang, Commissar of the Border Post of Lao Cai International Border Gate, said that a campaign to find excellent Party members has been launched by the Vietnamese Border Post and Hekou Border Police Station, contributing to enhancing the quality of services on both sides.
On July 25, the two units also held their second political exchange this year in Hekou, in China’s Yunnan province.
Close friendship and partnership with Chinese counterparts have helped the Lao Cai border guards show strong performance in managing and safeguarding the national sovereignty and building a shared borderline of peace, friendship, stability, cooperation, and common development, Quang added.
VNA to host 44th OANA Executive Board meeting in early 2019
At the 43rd meeting of the OANA Executive Board in Tehran, Iran.
Delegates to the 43rd meeting of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) Executive Board have agreed on Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s proposal to host the 44th meeting in early 2019 while highly evaluating VNA’s active contributions to the organisation over the past time.
The agreement was reached at the 43rd meeting of the OANA Executive Board which opened in Tehran, Iran, on September 3, where the delegates discussed solutions to enhance the organisation’s operations in the current situation.
On behalf of the Iranian government, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Abbas Salehi attended the opening ceremony. The Vietnamese delegation to the meeting was led by VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi, who is also a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee.
In his opening remarks, Managing Director of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) of Iran Zia Hashemi said after 57 years of development, OANA has now become the provider of two-thirds of information in the globe but it has failed to gain influence on the international arena as expected.
OANA needs to restructure and renovate itself by mobilising the capacity of all members in a bid to become a more active organisation, he said.
OANA President Aslan Aslanov, who is General Director of the Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC), suggested holding a conference or a workshop as part of the Executive Board meetings bringing together all member agencies in order to exchange experience.
He also proposed establishing a training academy for professional staff and recommended OANA members to equip themselves with ideas and technological knowledge to cope with new challenges.
Speaking at the meeting, VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi emphasised the importance of sharing information among OANA member agencies as it will help improve connections, narrow the gap of awareness of events and issues, and enhance mutual understanding.
The information of each agency has its own features, creating its values and strength, hence the cooperation and sharing of news will bring a more comprehensive and profound view about the same event or matter, Loi said.
The VNA General Director also highlighted the importance of diversifying communication platforms to increase the spread of news in line with the development of technology as well as changes in the way of accessing information of the public in the digital era.
Loi affirmed that the development of technology and the public’s increasing demand for information have forced each agency and OANA in general to continuously innovate and improve the efficiency so that voices from the Asia-Pacific region could play a decisive role in the global cooperation and development process.
At the meeting, the delegates also agreed upon a number of basic contents of the 17th OANA General Assembly which is scheduled to be held in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, in November 2019.
On the sidelines of the meeting, VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi had working sessions with OANA President Aslan Aslanov, OANA Secretary General Vulgar Seidov, and IRNA Managing Director Zia Hashemi to discuss preparations for the upcoming meeting of the OANA Executive Board in Vietnam.
The VNA General Director also granted an interview to IRNA about relations between Vietnam and Iran as well as between the two news agencies.
Sa Pa welcomes nearly 50,000 visitors during National Day holiday
Sa Pa district in the northwestern province of Lao Cai welcomed 47,000 visitors from August 30 to September 2 during the National Day holiday, 15,000 more than the same period last year.
According to Do Trong Nguyen, head of the Office of Culture and Information of Sa Pa district, of the total, 3,100 were foreigners and 43,900 were Vietnamese.
Nguyen attributed the rise to the ongoing Sa Pa Autumn Festival that runs from September 1 until October 30 with various activities, including a photo exhibition, a street festival and activities to explore the culture of Mong, Tay and Xa Pho ethnic minority groups.
Located 350km northwest of Hanoi, Sa Pa is 1,600m above sea level, with average temperatures of 15-18°C. The town is dominated by the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, which is home to Indochina’s highest mountain of Fansipan at a height of 3,142m above sea level.
Sa Pa has many natural scenic sites such as Ham Rong Mountain, Thac Bac (Silver Waterfall), Cau May (Rattan Bridge), Bamboo Forest and Ta Phin Cave. The hill town is home to six main ethnic minority groups, including Kinh, Hmong, Dao, Tay, Day and Xa Pho with various traditional festivals and unique cultural practices.
Currently, Sa Pa has nearly 500 accommodation facilities with some 6,000 rooms for about 13,000 tourists. Homestays in villages have also become attractive to visitors.
HCM City cooperates with Osaka to build low-carbon society
Authorities in HCM City and Osaka in Japan yesterday vowed to promote cooperation among the two localities in low-carbon city development at a meeting held in HCM City.
Speaking at the Mayor’s Policy on Low Carbon City Development conference, Huynh Cach Mang, vice chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said Osaka had many effective solutions on the environment, climate change adaptation, water management and solid waste classification at the source.
Osaka has provided HCM City with environmental consultancy services and solutions such as water management techniques, classification of solid waste at the source, and response to climate change.
Mang also sent his condolences to the Japanese people, especially the people and authorities of Osaka affected by the recent typhoon Jebi.
Mang praised the investors of Osaka who have chosen the environment as a priority in its work with HCM City, saying that he hopes the two sides will also cooperate in climate change adaptation and flood prevention.
He encouraged enterprises from Osaka to invest in HCM City’s healthcare, transportation, high-quality human resources, and smart city activities, and to help raise public awareness about global warming.
At the same time, the two cities will continue the annual policy dialogue at mayor level.
Seigo Tanaka, deputy mayor of Osaka, thanked HCM City authorities for the condolences about the recent natural disaster in Japan, which he attributed to climate change.
Vietnam and Japan, as well as HCM City and Osaka, have many similarities in culture and geography, and both face subsidence, inundation and salinity intrusion.
The Osaka Deputy Mayor also said he hoped HCM City would attend the G20 meeting on climate change in Osaka in June next year.
HCM City and Osaka signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in low-carbon city development in 2013.
Under the MoU, which has been extended to 2021, the two cities have stepped up cooperation in building a low-carbon society in HCM City.
The two cities have organised various dialogues and meetings to promote public-private partnerships (PPP) to realise the plan.
Under the Paris Climate Change Agreement, between 2021 and 2030, Vietnam has committed to reduce 8 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, or nearly 62 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, with only domestic support, and to cut emissions by 25 per cent with global support in the fields of energy, transport, agriculture and waste.
Under the greenhouse gas emission scenario, Vietnam is expected to emit 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2018, 500 million tonnes by 2020, 600 million tonnes by 2025, and 800 million tonnes by 2030, according to MONRE.
HCM City now emits 38.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, accounting for nearly 13 per cent of the country’s total, the ministry said.
By 2025, the country wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent, increase use of renewable energy to 44 per cent, and increase forest coverage by more than 50 per cent.
BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 10/9
Vietnam-WEF cooperation in agriculture becomes fruitful: official
Vietnam has been an important partner and worked closely with the WEF in various spheres, including the New Vision for Agriculture, according to Deputy Minister of Agriculture Le Quoc Doanh
Ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN to be opened in Hanoi on September 11, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Le Quoc Doanh has noted the outcomes of agricultural ties between Vietnam and the WEF and future cooperation prospects.
Doanh said over the years, Vietnam has been an important partner and worked closely with the WEF in various spheres, including the New Vision for Agriculture (NVA).
Joining this initiative in 2010, the country has promoted partnerships between the State and the private sector through public-private partnership (PPP) commodity-based working groups in the Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture in Vietnam (PSAV), aiming to achieve sustainable growth in local agriculture.
So far, the PSAV has successfully implemented seven PPP working groups for coffee, tea, vegetables and fruits, aquatic products, pepper and spices, rice and agricultural chemicals, the official said.
These commodity-based working groups have also piloted farming models and expanded the cultivation of new varieties and the application of environmentally friendly techniques.
Nearly 220,000 farmers have been assisted to take part in demonstration farm models, received training and applied advanced farming measures that meet sustainability standards.
Danh noted these models have satisfied socio-economic and environmental criteria of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
The WEF has recognised that PPP commodity-based working groups in Vietnam have generated good outcomes and are one of the most successful models of its NVA in Asia, he added.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is pressing on with an agricultural restructuring plan to improve agricultural products’ added values and step up sustainable development.
It is working to develop value chains in three groups: the national key group with 10 commodities with export turnover of more than 1 billion USD each, provincial key products and regional specialties. Promoting these value chains aims to increase the quality and competitiveness of Vietnamese farm produce, ensure inclusive growth and protect the environment.
It is necessary to boost PPP-based production and investment models in agriculture, the Deputy Minister said.
Doanh added the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development wants the WEF, through the Grow Asia initiative, to continue assisting Vietnam’s agriculture to restructure.
Vietcombank sells entire OCB stake
Vietcombank sold all 1.47 million shares of Orient Commercial Bank (OCB) at an auction on Thursday.
According to the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, two individual investors bought the shares at a total cost of more than VND30 billion (US$1.27 million).
The winning price averaged VND20,501 per share, of which the highest winning price was VND22,200 and the lowest was VND20,500. The price was higher than the starting price of VND18,876 set by Vietcombank, but some 20 per cent lower than a sale in April this year.
In April, Vietcombank also sold 6.67 million OCB shares to 128 investors at an average price of VND25,771 per share, compared with the starting price of VND13,000 set by Vietcombank, helping the bank earn VND171.96 billion.
Offloading holdings at OCB is one of Vietcombank’s moves to comply with the central bank’s Circular 36, which allows commercial banks to hold shares in a maximum of two other credit institutions, with the stake in each not exceeding 5 per cent of the total equity of that institution.
Apart from OCB, Vietcombank also plans to divest from Eximbank and Military Bank, where it holds stakes of 8.19 per cent and 6.97 per cent, respectively.
The northern bourse said OCB’s charter capital had reached VND5 trillion, with more than 122 branches and transaction offices nationwide.
OCB reported impressive business performance in the first half of this year with pre-tax profit of more than VND1.3 trillion, rising 163.5 per cent year-on-year and meeting 65 per cent of the bank’s target set for 2018.
OCB plans to list 750 million shares on the HCM Stock Exchange during the late third quarter or early fourth quarter to increase in the bank’s market capitalisation to $1 billion.
HCMC textile industry on the rise
The HCM City textile and garment industry has achieved growth of 10.5 per cent in the first eight months.
According to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, a raw materials supply chain consisting of textile, dyeing and garment companies has been successfully set up, helping reduce imports and even export to some foreign markets.
Exports of feedstock during the period were worth US$125.5 million, a year-on-year increase of 10.4 per cent while imports fell by nearly 1.1 per cent to $485 million.
The city’s Garment Textile Embroidery and Knitting Association said design is the most important aspect in creating value for the textile and garment industry, and city’s companies are focusing on design and distribution while production is being shifted to neighbouring provinces.
This has enabled companies to take advantage of low-cost labour in neighbouring provinces and focus on increasing their competitiveness.
Many textile and garment enterprises have taken advantage of free trade agreements (FTAs) with Japan, South Korea and Australia to increase their exports, while other important trade deals like the CPTPP and Viet Nam-Europe FTA are set to come into effect soon, Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper quoted Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, chief representative of the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association in HCM City, as saying.
Viet Nam is one of world’s top 10 exporters of biggest textile and garment products.
The Vietnamese textile and garment industry has achieved a strong foothold in international markets, but has not paid attention to building brands, analysts said.
Mai said: “Many Vietnamese textile and garment products are sold in the international market under the brand names of Thai, Chinese and European companies. Therefore, the value added by the industry is not high.”
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said to improve the situation it is working with relevant agencies to set up an export capability support project for local enterprises.
It would assist enterprises that do not have export experience export their products under their own brand names through foreign retailers in Viet Nam like Aucham, Lotte, Aeonmall, and Metro, the ministry said.
This would allow them to become familiar with international quality, design and safety standards, it said.
For those with experience, it would instruct commercial counselors abroad to provide up-to-date information and support, it said.
It is also making plans to advertise Vietnamese products, changing the focus, which used to be on price, to upmarket segments, it said.
Nguyen Phuong Dong, director of the industry and trade department said his department has identified three key textile and garments products.
It has also identified three locations for building fashion centres in District 9, two in Truong Thanh Ward and one in Long Thanh My Ward, and the city’s administration will choose one of them.
“This fashion centre will help add value to the textile and garment sector,” Dong added.
Petrol prices rise after stable two months
The retail price of biofuel E5 RON 92 rose VND300 to VND19,911 (85 US cent) per litre on Thursday after two months remaining unchanged, the ministries of industry and trade and finance have announced.
The price of RON 95 also rose by VND300 to VND21.477 per litre, while the prices of diesel and kerosene went up by VND383 and VND296 to VND18,069 and VND16,559 per litre, respectively.
The price of mazut increased by VND173 to VND14,916 per kilo.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the two ministries review fuel prices every 15 days to adjust the prices in accordance with fluctuations on the world market.
The global price for RON92, which is the base for the production of E5 petrol, stood at $85 per barrel in the 15-day period prior to September 5, increasing $3.22 a barrel. RON95 was sold at $87.2 per barrel, up $4.8 from the previous adjustment.
The two ministries also decided to increase the use of the petrol price stabilisation fund for E5 RON 92 from VND1,272 to VND1,563; RON 95 from VND697 to VND960; diesel VND400 and kerosene VND300 per litre. Kerosene and diesel did not use the fund in the previous adjustment.
The price of ethanol E100, which is used as the basis for the calculation of the price of biofuel E5 RON 92 after the elimination of petrol RON 92, stands at VND14,874 per litre without value added tax.
VN-Russia trade booms, but there’s room to grow
Viet Nam and Russia have enjoyed booming bilateral trade, but more efforts are needed to match potential.
According to the General Department of Viet Nam Customs’ data, Viet Nam has recorded a trade surplus each year with Russia since 2011. Two-way trade turnover has risen and hit a record US$5.23 billion in 2017, up 36 per cent on-year.
In the first seven months of this year, the trade surplus reached $265 million, down 39 per cent against the same period last year.
The decline was thanks to stronger growth in imports compared to exports.
Ending July, Viet Nam sold goods worth almost $1.47 billion to Russia while spending $1.2 billion on imports from the country. These figures represented growth of 21 per cent in exports and 55 per cent in imports year-on-year.
Russia was the 19th largest trading partner of Viet Nam in the first seven months.
It is a key market for Viet Nam’s key export products such as telephones and components ($710 million, up 15.6 per cent), computers and electronic devices ($120.6 million, up 81 per cent) and coffee ($113 million, up 64 per cent).
On the opposite side, wheat was Viet Nam’s top import product with value of $358.4 million, 32 times more than the same period of last year and accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the total import value.
In the first seven months, Viet Nam imported coal from Russia for the first time with value of $145 million, being the second highest import value item. Besides, iron and steel, fertiliser, machinery and spare parts and petroleum were among the main import items.
These six products accounted for 75 per cent of the total value of Viet Nam’s imports from this market.
According to Vladimir Buianov, chairman of the Russia-Vietnam Friendship Association, the two countries still have a lot of co-operation potential.
“The current results are clearly too low. I think the $10 billion trade value target will be achieved within 2-3 years, with just one kick,” Buianov told Vietnam News Agency.
More discussion and agreements have been made by the two countries but they still need to be put into action, he said, suggesting co-operation expansion among small and medium enterprises.
Russia currently ranks 23rd among countries and territories investing in Viet Nam with total registered capital of $931.6 million (including projects valid as of August 20), according to the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Russia’s projects are mostly in oil and gas, manufacturing, mining, transport, telecommunications and aquaculture and fishing.
Meanwhile, Viet Nam has invested in 18 projects in Russia, with combined registered and added capital of $2.4 billion by the end of March 2018.
Most of the investment comes from projects invested by Rusvietpetro joint venture, Hanoi-Moscow Trade Centre Investment JSC and a dairy cow breeding and milk processing in Moscow of TH Group.
To date, 17 projects are among Viet Nam-Russia prioritised projects, which were approved at the 20th session of the Viet Nam-Russia Intergovernmental Committee for Economic-Commercial and Scientific-Technological Cooperation in September 2017.
These projects are in oil and gas, transport, agriculture, electricity, construction, industry and high technology. The two sides are working on a plan to implement the projects.
Start-ups need to think for themseves
Start-ups in the field of hi-tech agriculture must think for themselves and not follow previous models.
This was the message that came out of a discussion panel yesterday which urged new businesses to research and fully understand the market.
Hoang Minh Ngoc Hai, CEO of Value Commerce Hub, said hi-tech agriculture offers solutions to consumers and businesses’ demand for clean, high-quality produce, improving farming productivity and creating reliable databases.
But the use of technology in agriculture remains limited since it is still relatively new in Viet Nam and many farmers are still used to traditional methods and mindsets, he said.
Huynh Kim Tuoc, CEO of Saigon Innovation Hub, said despite lots of interests from investors, many start-ups lack longevity and innovation, which reduces their competitiveness, since they merely try to emulate successful examples.
Nguyen Viet Duc, CEO of Innovation Capital Management, said the rate of businesses investing in hi-tech agriculture is still relatively small.
“Many young entrepreneurs often copy ideas from other businesses or provinces they deem applicable without really analysing their local markets or whether they can actually successfully execute the ideas.”
Careful research into markets and technologies, seeking consultancy and having innovative solutions are crucial to attracting investments, and many investors are indeed keen on investing in hi-tech agricultural start-ups, he said.
Hai said encouraging the use of technology would require raising awareness of its benefits as well as highlighting current local and societal problems.
Start-ups need to have a thorough understanding of the Viet Nam market, culture and climate and network with professionals from various fields to succeed.
The discussion was part of a conference organised by Saigon Times newspaper’s Saigon Times Club, which also launched the Saigon Times Start-ups Assistance Club to foster entrepreneurship.
Vietnamese Entrepreneurs Abroad association to open office in Can Tho
The Association of Vietnamese Entrepreneurs Abroad (BAOOV) and the People’s Committee of Can Tho City will jointly speed up the establishment of BAOOV’s representative office in the Mekong Delta region’s Can Tho City at a meeting held in the city on Thursday.
According to Peter Hong, vice chairman of BAOOV, the association has branches in more than 50 countries. The mission of the association in general and branches in particular is to create a network to connect Vietnamese enterprises around the world together; provide legal advice as well as information to help businesses increase competitive advantages in the market, building a strong brand for products exported from Viet Nam.
Particularly for the Mekong Delta, there are advantages in export of agricultural and fishery products, but it is only advantagous in quantity instead of value of products and turnover.
Therefore, the establishment of BAOOV’s representative office of the Mekong Delta region Can Tho is expected to help agro-forestry export enterprises in the region reduce losses due to lack of import market information and increase profits through the building of strong brands.
The office will also act as a bridge between local authorities and Vietnamese businessmen around the world, attracting them to invest in Viet Nam; sending the voice of overseas Vietnamese businessmen to the authorities, thereby contributing to the promotion of multinational trade more effectively.
Truong Quang Hoai Nam, vice chairman of Can Tho City People’s Commitee, said the city is ready to create favourable conditions for members of the association to set up branches in the city.
At the meeting, Nam also introduced and connected the association with focal points in Can Tho such as the Young Businessmen Association, City Business Association, Centre for Student Development and Support and Department of Industry and Trade in order to promote the establishment of the office as well as plan for trade promotion activities.
Biggest livestock trade show to open in HCM City in October
As many as 350 businesses will take part in Vietstock 2018, the biggest livestock trade show in Viet Nam, in HCM City.
Speaking at the press conference, Nguyen Xuan Duong, acting director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s Animal Husbandry department, said processing and market connectivity are the two weakest points in the domestic livestock industry. He aims to improve these areas through concentrated slaughter and processing.
“The livestock and seafood industries are on a path towards enhanced processing and market connectivity,” said Duong.
“When we have met the country’s demand, it is time for us to focus on potential export markets.”
He said this exhibition, that runs on October 17-19, is also an opportunity for animal husbandry businesses to seek partners in order to meet both domestic and export demands.
More than 350 leading companies from all over the world will showcase their new products and technologies. Twelve thousand visitors and trade delegates are expected to attend.
The international conference will offer seminars on environmental law, the latest industry innovations, market trends and other issues. Dialogue sessions between Viet Nam and China, South Korea and Brazil will also take place.
"It is not simply a regular exhibition; VIETSTOCK 2018 will connect farmers, households, cooperatives and businesses in Viet Nam, moving them towards sustainable and effective animal husbandry," said Duong.
VIETSTOCK 2018 Expo and Forum continues to include VIETFEED 2018, VIETMEAT 2018 and the Aquaculture Vietnam 2018 Conference, providing a one-stop venue to all who are involved in livestock, feed, meat and aquaculture.
It is jointly organised by MARD’s Animal Husbandry Department and UBM Asia.
HCM City’s innovation district, a launch pad for 4th industrial revolution
By merging districts 2, 9 and Thu Duc into a single innovation district, HCM City wants to create a new driving force for economic prosperity in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.
According to Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the city’s Party Committee, the city, the country’s economic hub, accounts for just 0.6 per cent of the land area and 10 per cent of the population but 22 per cent of the GDP and 27 per cent of the Government’s revenues.
The number of university graduates in its workforce and labour productivity are, respectively, 2.3 and 2.7 times the country’s average.
But the city has encountered challenges amid increasing globalisation and rapid development of technologies, while its rapid economic development and urbanisation have put pressure on socio-economic infrastructure.
Nhan said: "In the coming decade the city wants to achieve rapid and sustainable economic growth, increase labour productivity, contribute 30 per cent of the country’s GDP, and become Viet Nam’s ’core’ during the fourth industrial revolution."
So it has identified breakthrough solutions, including establishment of the “innovation district” in the east of the city to enable it to achieve the targets.
Explaining the reason for choosing the three districts, he said Thu Duc has a high concentration of educational institutions, research centres and four large universities with more than 10,000 lecturers, including over 1,000 professors and doctors, and over 100,000 students.
"So it would serve as a place for training high-quality human resources."
"District 2 with the new Thu Thiem Urban and Financial Centre would provide infrastructure and international exhibition and financial centres for the innovation urban area and the city as a whole," he said.
District 9 with the Saigon Hi-Tech Park would be a "hub for research and incubating innovative technologies", he said.
The eastern area also has convenient and modern infrastructure, including Metro Line 1 from Ben Thanh in District 1 to Suoi Tien in District 9, the expressway from HCM City to Long Thanh-Dau Giay in Dong Nai Province and Cat Lai Port, the largest in Viet Nam.
"Creating the innovation district is aimed at creating close interaction between research centres, training schools and hi-tech factories, and at the same time provide a good working and studying environment for experts, scientists and skilled human resources," city deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said.
"Governance of the innovation hub would be done online and be transparent and without red tape. Once in place, these areas will be the launch pad for the city’s fourth industrial revolution," he said.
Prof Phan Van Truong, an expert on the urban economy and planning, hailed the idea of building an innovation urban area.
“We must think that HCM City will spearhead the nation’s economic development, and the eastern districts have a solid foundation to develop further.”
"But to make this plan work, the city has to start with the basics, namely traffic infrastructure," he said.
“We must build a fully new urban area where priority is given to pedestrians, buses and metro and no longer motorcycles and private cars.”
Former director of the HCM City Institute for Research and Development, Prof Dr Nguyen Trong Hoa, said: “The policy of creating an innovative district in the east of HCM City has revolutionised the urban management task of the city, lessening the gap between Viet Nam and other modern developed metros around the world.”
Many experts have thrown their weight behind this initiative, but some expressed concern.
Pham Chanh Truc, former deputy secretary of the municipal Party Committee, said: "The city should carry out the plan step by step by first designating a smaller area as the innovation district and then expanding it because it would involve huge expenditure."
Pham Thai Son of the Viet Nam-Germany University agreed saying the city’s resources would be insufficient.
Pointing out the possible obstacles the city could face in creating the innovation district, Dr Nguyen Cao Tri of Van Lang University said: "It is difficult for the city to change the management mechanism immediately. So it must find creative ways based on current policies."
He and other experts suggested the city should "prioritise the role of the private sector in the innovation district” because “the private sector … will immediately make investments when they see efficiency”.
Many experts said the city needs "specific policies and mechanisms for the development" of an innovative urban area.
Speaking at a recent forum to discuss the vision for the innovation district, Ousmane Dione, the World Bank’s country director in Viet Nam, said: “A clear vision, good planning and well-skilled workforce are keys to a successful innovation district.”
"Global experience shows that to successfully create an innovation district, a city needs to have a clear vision from the outset. Sound urban planning, policies and management of the innovation district and integration of the district with the rest of the city are crucial.
“It is important to know that since we are planning for innovation districts, we need to think beyond innovation districts and consider regional and global factors, trends and incentives which influence the outcome of these initiatives.”
Therefore, when cities adopt urban plans and management policies, "harmonisation between innovation districts and the rest of the city’s economy and development needs to be considered", he said.
“Innovation districts, if developed successfully, contribute to job creation and inclusive economic development of a city.”
The city has said it will continue to involve international and local advisory agencies to draft a master plan for the innovative district.
Dong Nai trade surplus makes up 64 per cent of country’s total
The southeastern province of Dong Nai achieved a record trade surplus of US$1.8 billion in the first eight months of the year, the highest in the country, according to the provincial statistics office.
In the first eight months of the year, total exports reached $12.2 billion in the province, up by nearly 12 per cent compared with same period last year, while the total import value for the period was $10.4 billion.
According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), the country gained a trade surplus of $2.8 billion in the first eight months of this year, making up 64 per cent of the country’s total.
The province has around 50 products with high export turnover, including textiles and garments, footwear, wooden products, and steel, exported to around 170 countries and territories. The products are highly regarded by foreign businesses.
For the first eight months of the year, the province’s footwear exports reached more than $2.4 billion, up by 11 per cent compared with same period last year, while garment and textile value reached $1.3 billion, up by seven per cent, and textile fibres rose to $1.1 billion, up by 17 per cent.
Dong Nai’s main export markets are the US, the EU, South Korea, China and Japan.
Businesses in Dong Nai are increasingly taking advantage of trading blocs and free trade agreements that Viet Nam has inked with other countries, as well as the ASEAN Economic Community.
The Dong Nai Province’s Department of Industry and Trade said the province’s trade surplus would reach more than $2.5 billion this year.
Last year, the trade surplus of Dong Nai reached $2.2 billion, making up 77 per cent of the country’s surplus of $2.7 billion.
HCMC tech companies get licences
Duc Thanh Investment and Technology Joint Stock Company on Friday received an investment licence from the Saigon Hi-tech Park in HCM City for a high-tech factory to produce building materials.
The company has invested more than VND269 billion (US$11.8 million) in a production line to make unbaked bricks with fully automated transportation, loading and unloading and packing using robots.
It will recycle products from coal ash to reduce pollution.
The factory is expected to become operational in the first quarter of next year.
Nguyen Quoc Huy, chairman of the company, said the plant would produce eco-building materials to replace imports.
On the same day Misan Electronics Co Ltd also received the certificate for a plant that will produce components for electronic devices for companies in the Hi-tech Park.
The total investment of the project is $1.1 million.
WWF report warns ASEAN banks
A new World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) report finds that ASEAN’s biggest banks are increasingly aware of the impact their businesses have on the environment and society, but are slow to act on the huge potential they hold in addressing climate change and financing sustainable food, energy and infrastructure systems in the region.
The report, published in collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School’s Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations, found that ASEAN banks were not disclosing how they managed climate risks in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
The region is particularly vulnerable to climate change, which exacerbates food and water insecurity. By not considering these issues, banks stand to miss out on ‘game changing’ opportunities for the region’s sustainable development and may face unmitigated climate risks in their own balance sheets, according to the report.
Of the 34 banks assessed in six Southeast nations, including Viet Nam, only four disclosed that senior managers have oversight of climate change risks and opportunities, a key recommendation of the TCFD.
Meanwhile, none of the banks disclosed whether they had reviewed their portfolio exposure to climate risks. They had also not disclosed their portfolio alignment with the Paris Climate Change Agreement or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Although some progress on Environment – Society – Governance (ESG) integration has been made, particularly on the part of Singaporean banks and a few Malaysian and Thai banks, disclosure of specific ESG requirements of banks across ASEAN remains limited.
Nineteen banks disclosed they have a standardised framework for ESG risk assessment, but only seven disclosed that they have specific policies for high ESG risk sectors.
Even then, disclosure of the policies themselves is limited, with just three banks disclosing one or two of their key policies.
Regarding specific environmental and social risks, only five banks in ASEAN recognised deforestation risks - a key contributor to climate change - in their clients’ activities and only two recognised water risks. Given these are key risks for the food and agriculture sector highlighted by the TCFD, the implications for regional food and water security are worrying.
Vietnamese banks have shown slight progress, with more banks understanding that their impact lies in their portfolios rather than their own direct operations.
However, they have not disclosed ESG policies and processes, indicating that disclosure is not yet a mainstream practice.
The report finds that ASEAN banks are capitalising on opportunities in response to climate change and the need for sustainable development with 22 banks disclosing they have developed green financial products such as green bonds and sustainability-linked loans.
However, these niche products will not be sufficient on their own for the huge investments required to meet the Paris Agreement and the SDGs by 2030.
In order to properly capitalise on this opportunity, banks must set science-based targets to align their portfolios to a resource- and carbon-constrained world.
The report finds that banks in ASEAN have not yet done this, and may be missing out on opportunities while continuing to be vulnerable to the impending transition and physical risks of climate change.
If the ASEAN region is to experience resilient and sustainable development, banks must accelerate the rate at which they fully integrate ESG, including climate, deforestation and water risks, into core business strategies.
Banks play a crucial role in financing the transition to sustainable food, energy and transport systems in ASEAN and must be part of the solution.
Responsible investors, as stewards of capital, need to ensure that their portfolio banks are making timely progress on this, and engage actively with them to support the transition.
Khanh Hoa works to attract more tourists from ASEAN nations
Authorities of the south central province of Khanh Hoa see the need to attract more tourists, especially from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Many measures have been devised, focusing on promoting the province’s images and developing its infrastructure.
Khanh Hoa, with a coastline of more than 380 km and hundreds of islands and islets, and mild and sunny year-long climate, has many advantages for tourism, especially sea-island tourism.
Besides Nha Trang Bay, Khanh Hoa also boasts Cam Ranh and Van Phong bays, both being natural masterpieces.
Khanh Hoa’s tourism sector has experienced a breakthrough in recent years. The number of tourists visiting the province has enjoyed average expansion of 15 percent - 17 per year in recent years.
In 2010 - 2016, the number of tourists to Khanh Hoa reached 21.5 million, including more than 5.1 million foreigners. In 2017, 5.5 million domestic and international holiday-makers visited and stayed overnight in the locality.
In the first eight months of this year, Khanh Hoa welcomed 4.4 million visitors, including nearly 1.9 million foreigners.
However, Khanh Hoa has not focused on attracting tourists from ASEAN countries. With nearly 1.9 million visitors to Khanh Hoa from the beginning of the year, the number of visitors from ASEAN countries is less than 100,000.
In September last year, low-cost airlines AirAsia of Malaysia opened a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Cam Ranh International Airport of Khanh Hoa and vice versa.
According to Spencer Lee, Commercial Director of AirAsia, the new route helps not only bring more holiday-makers from Malaysia to Khanh Hoa, but also makes it easy for Khanh Hoa people and those from adjacent localities to access 120 destinations in the airline’s Asian network.
A number of international travel agencies in Khanh Hoa’s Nha Trang city have taken advantages of the new route to run tours to Malaysia and Singapore. After a year, the number of visitors from Malaysia to Khanh Hoa has increased tenfold. In the first eight months of 2018, Khanh Hoa received more than 30,000 visitors from Malaysia, up 15 times compared to the same period last year.
Khanh Hoa aims to welcome 8.5 million tourists by 2020, with 3.5 million international visitors, raking in 70 trillion VND (more than 2.98 billion USD).
The province’s tourism industry is hoped to become a spearhead economic sector, creating momentum for its development.
Renewable energy integration faces challenges
Power drawn from renewable energy is expected to soar in the future, although the country’s capacity to integrate this source of energy into the national power grid is still limited, possibly causing throttling on the network, heard attendants at a seminar held in Hanoi last week.
The seminar, entitled ‘Renewable Energy Integration: Challenges and Technology,’ co-organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) and ABB Vietnam, aimed to explore the challenges in achieving Vietnam’s ambition to increase the generation and consumption of renewable energy, and how technology can help resolve them.
Nguyen Van Thanh, Deputy Director of the Electric and Renewable Energy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said Vietnam has seen rapid development of power plants which posed great challenges to transmission networks.
According to Vietnam’s Power Development Master Plan for the 2016-2020 period (PDP VII), the demand for electricity consumption in Vietnam will increase by about 10-11 percent annually, which exceeds the annual GDP growth rate.
As one of the fastest growing economies in the region, Vietnam is experiencing rapid industrialisation. In parallel with the industrialisation process, people tend to move to cities and vast urbanisation is taking place. To support socio-economic development sustainably, the country is encouraging renewable energy development to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel based energy.
Under the plan, the total designed capacity of solar power generation must amount to 850MW in 2020 and 4,000MW by 2025. Meanwhile, the total capacity of solar and wind power set for 2030 are 12,000MW and 6,000MW, respectively.
“However, fossil fuel accounted for more than half the country’s power in 2017 according to an annual report by Electricity of Vietnam (EVN),” he said.
The PDP VII outlines active steps that Vietnam is taking to develop renewable energy resources in order to meet the country’s electricity demand, in which renewable energy will account for 10 percent of the country’s power generation by 2030 (12 GW).
The plan also outlines the need to invest in a power transmission grid with flexible operation and high automation capabilities from electricity transmission to distribution; as well as developing unmanned substations and substations.
In addition, it highlights the need to accelerate electrification in rural and mountainous areas to ensure access to electricity of households by 2020.
Sharing the opinions, Nguyen Minh Quang from Power System Analysis and Planning under the EVN’s National Load Dispatch Centre, said Vietnam produces more than 170 billion kWh from fossil fuel based energies such as coal and gas.
“Vietnam has had to import coal for power generation since 2017. The investment for thermal power plants faces difficulties due to capital shortage as banks have not encouraged lending to coal-fired electricity plants but renewable energies,” Quang said.
However, power grid conditions are not prepared to adopt this kind of energy, he added.
It takes three years, on average, to build a power grid project, while a solar power project needs only one year to be put in place. As a result, electric grid development cannot catch up with the proliferation of solar and wind power projects.
Brian Hull, General Director of ABB Vietnam, noted that Vietnam should apply advanced technology to cope with challenges in its power system. Simultaneously, the country should upgrade electric load and controlling systems, to ensure it can promptly tackle potential incidents.
Venu Nuguri, Group Senior Vice President for ABB’s Power Grids Division in South Asia, Middle East and Africa, said as the country moves towards clean energy, the power grid will need to adapt to the influx of renewable energy, which is intermittent and also characterised by distributed generation.
“Not only does this call for wider industry collaboration and policy discussions, it is also important to make the right technology choices. Technology will enable the grid to be flexible and adapt to the new realities of distributed generation and multi-directional power flow. Digitalisation is key to create the power grid of the future,” he added.
WEF ASEAN 2018: Chances for Quang Ninh to draw capital from Northeast Asia
The northern province of Quang Ninh will be the destination for a two-day field-trip of delegates to the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) 2018, which it considers a good chance to attract more investment from the Northeast Asian region.
Many of Quang Ninh’s important investment, trade and tourism partners are located in the Northeast Asian region. Out of the 120 valid foreign-invested projects in the province, 79 are run by firms from Northeast Asia with total investment capital of 2.1 billion USD.
China has 66 projects capitalised at 1.7 billion USD in Quang Ninh, mostly involving tourism-hospitality, service, industry, mining, construction materials and fiber production.
Japanese investors have poured more than 380 million USD in 7 projects in Quang Ninh, focusing on industry-construction and agriculture.
Investors from the Republic of Korea have 6 projects with 33 million USD operating in agriculture, trade and service.
Since 2012, nearly half of 127 investor delegations visiting Quang Ninh to look for investment opportunities are from the Northeast Asian region.
In the field of tourism, Quang Ninh set up ties with several Chinese localities such as Guangxi, Fujian, Yunnan and Hainan in as early as 1995. The province became a member of the East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum (EATOF) in 2006, which gave a boost to linkages in tours, tourism promotion, product development, brand building and experience sharing between Quang Ninh and 12 provinces in East Asian countries which are members of the forum.
Total trade turnover between Quang Ninh and the three Northeast Asian countries of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea surpassed 1 billion USD in the first half of 2018, with Quang Ninh’s exports valued at 537 million USD.
Pham Ngoc Thuy, Director of the province’s Tourism Department said the Northeast Asian region is the most important market for Quang Ninh’s tourism, accounting for two thirds of the number of foreign visitors to the province. Arrivals from this region during 2013-2017 increased by 48 percent compared to the previous five–year period.
Despite such figures, economic experts are of the opinion that Quang Ninh has not fully optimised available opportunities.
They pointed out that investment into the province mainly concentrated in tourism, service and industry, with only a small fraction going into agriculture and forestry even though those two sectors have great potential and offer many incentives for investors. Agriculture and forestry have so far attracted only 6 out of 79 projects of Northeast Asian investors with 61.7 million USD, which caused an imbalance in the economic structure.
While Japan and the RoK are the two leading investors in Vietnam, Quang Ninh has so far failed to catch the attention of companies from those two Northeast Asian economic powers. In the first six months of this year, Japanese investment in Quang Ninh stood at only 43.4 million USD, and that from the RoK 31.4 million USD.
In addition, a majority of projects by Northeast Asian investors in the province are of medium and small scale. Among the 79 investment projects by investors from the region, only 10.1 percent have registered capital exceeding 50 million USD.
Deputy Director of Quang Ninh’s External Affairs Department Vu Dinh Xung said the province will work to intensify its partnership with localities in the Northeast Asian region in trade, investment and tourism promotion.
The province has reviewed its investment promotion in order to find shortcomings and seek suitable solutions.
Xung added that a series of major transport projects have been or will be put into operation soon, such as the Hai Phong-Ha Long-Van Don highway, the Van Don international airport and the Hon Gai international port, greatly improving Quang Ninh’s connection with the world. He said Quang Ninh will optimise its advantages to create a breakthrough in wooing partners over the world in general and in the Northeast Asian region in particular.
The WEF ASEAN 2018 will receive more than 1,000 delegates, including high-ranking government representatives and executives of regional and world-leading corporations.
It is scheduled to take place in Hanoi from September 11 to 13 under the theme of “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
The forum will feature an open forum on ASEAN 4.0 for people’s benefits, an opening ceremony of the plenary session on September 12, and 60 in-depth sessions and discussions.
On the sidelines, an innovative startup forum is scheduled for September 11, the Vietnam Business Summit 2018 on September 13, and a two-day field trip to Quang Ninh province and its world-famous Ha Long bay starting September 13.
Rural incomes see strong gains: Report
HÀ NỘI — Over the past ten years, rural areas in Việt Nam have been thriving as households’ income and per capita income all witnessed a marked increase, helping to reduce poverty and improve quality of life in the countryside.
Farmers in the northern province of Hưng Yên sort through harvested longan, a popular Vietnamese agricultural export. — VNA/VNS Photo
HCM City shames late tax payers
The Ho Chi Minh City Taxation Department has published the names of 333 firms that owe over VND299bn (USD12.7m) of tax in the area in August.
Van Phat Hung Company was in the second place with VND35.1bn
According to the department, they have tried several measures such as subtracting the tax from the firms' accounts and revoking business licenses. SIDC Company was the biggest defaulter in August with VND35.7bn (USD1.5m) of tax arrears and had their business licence withdrawn.
Van Phat Hung Company was in the second place with VND35.1bn and Cotec Construction Company followed with VND29bn (USD1.2m). The Taxation Department withdrew Cotec Construction Company’s business licence.
Many other companies are also owing tens of billions of VND of tax arrears such as Khai Hoan Land Real Estate Company with VND27.3bn (USD1.1m) and Nhut Thanh Company with VND17.4bn.
This is the third time HCM City Taxation Department has publicly shamed defaulters this year. They previously published the name of nearly 2,000 companies who owed nearly VND1.5trn (USD64m).
In July, Hanoi Taxation Department also publicly named 331 firms owing taxes and land rental fees for a total of VND2.48trn (USD107m). Since early 2018, it has publicly named 690 companies who owned and still owe tax arrears. As of now, 198 companies have paid nearly VND47.60bn (USD2m) of VND1.47trn.
Social News 10/9
Music festival marks 45 years of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties
A performance at the music festival (Source: vtvgo.vn)
A music festival celebrating the 45th founding anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Japan took place in Hanoi on September 9 night.
The festival was co-organised by Vietnam Television (VTV), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung and Vietnam-Japan and Japan-Vietnam Special Ambassador Ryotaro Sugi talked about the bilateral friendship and cultural exchange that date back to nearly 1,300 years ago.
Cultural similarities and links between the two nations throughout history have laid a firm foundation for the current extensive strategic partnership, they said.
A series of myriad activities, including the music festival, have been held in Vietnam and Japan to mark 45 years of diplomatic relations, thus boosting mutual trust and understanding between the two nations.
VTV General Director Tran Binh Minh said the idea of organising the music festival began a year ago in preparation for the celebration.
“Through music, we honour the cultural beauty of the two nations. They share similarities but each has its own identity,” he said.
The highlight of the festival is the song Gap Toi Hoa No (Flowers Blooming When I Meet You) exclusively written for the event. Popular songs from the two countries will also be performed, including Doraemon no Uta and songs written by Vietnamese musician Trinh Cong Son.
The cmusic festival gathered Vietnamese and Japanese leading artists, including My Linh, Dong Nhi, Trong Hieu, The Wings band, Maius Philharmonic, and Sine dance group of Vietnam; and Pikotaro, Godai Natsuko, w-inds. band, Exile Atsushi and especially Ambassador Sugi from Japan.
The stage was designed with special effects highlighting the traditional culture of the two countries.
Grassroots-level healthcare network needs better performance
Medical workers treat residents in Hai Chanh commune in the central province of Quang Tri.
The quality of grassroots-level healthcare facilities nationwide has yet to meet expectation and patients’ demand, said Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.
It is not necessary for most patients to go to central hospitals when their illnesses can be treated at lower-level health facilities, she said at a meeting last weekend on improving ward-level clinics.
“Up to 35.4 percent of patients who go to central-level hospitals can be treated at provincial and district level hospitals. As many as 41.5 percent who go to provincial hospitals can be treated at district-level health facilities and 11 percent can be treated at ward clinics,” she said.
Grassroots-level healthcare facilities have not fulfilled their tasks of taking care of people’s health. Local health facilities are able to conduct an average of only 68.3 percent of medical techniques among 76 services. Facilities of the lowest quality can perform less than 20 percent of the services.
There are a limited number of medicines covered by health insurance at the grassroots level. Some types of medicines are not even available, she said.
Doctors at ward clinics are not allowed to prescribe medicine for high blood pressure and diabetes. Only district and provincial level hospitals can do so. A number of clinics do not have doctors. For these reasons, patients do not choose grassroots healthcare services, she said.
Twenty-six clinics in wards and towns of eight cities and provinces have been selected to implement a pilot programme by the health ministry on improving the quality of grassroots-level healthcare. However, most of the clinics need to upgrade their infrastructure and medical equipment to effectively implement the programme.
Tien said that among those selected clinics for the trial period, only healthcare facilities in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and northern Yen Bai province have enough doctors. Other localities suffer a shortage of doctors and traditional physicians.
The health minister said that the key healthcare facilities in the programme will be equipped with beds, drug cabinets, X-ray machines, ultrasound and testing machines if necessary.
To address the shortage of doctors, staff will be rotated to work at each clinic for two to three days a week. Nurses and physicians will be moved to balance the numbers while administrators at the local clinics will be professionally trained, she said.
In the 2018-20 period, the health minister will send professional healthcare workers from central hospitals and grassroots-level healthcare facilities in Hanoi and HCM City to assist ward and town clinics in disadvantaged areas including Lao Cai province’s Bat Xat district, Yen Bai province’s Tran Yen district, Ha Tinh province’s Huong Son district and clinics in the capital city’s suburban areas like Ba Vi, Dan Phuong, Ha Dong, Nam Tu Liem districts.
Cooperation agreement signed on sustainable poverty reduction
Representatives of poor and near-poor households and families facing difficulties received new motorbikes to help escape from poverty.
The Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committee in HCM City and five political-social organisations and associations have signed a cooperation agreement on a sustainable poverty reduction programme.
The city’s Labour Union, Farmers Association, Women’s Union, War Veteran Association and Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union all signed the agreement.
Speaking at the signing ceremony on September 8, vice chairwoman of the city’s Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committee, Triệu Lệ Khánh, said the two sides would implement a coordinated plan and disseminate information about the State’s policies and guidelines on its sustainable poverty reduction programme in the 2016-20 period to departments, agencies and sectors at all levels.
The aim is to find more resources to help poor households, near-poor households and households facing difficulties.
Scholarships and learning tools for children, health insurance cards, vocational training, and monthly allowances for households in special difficulties will be provided, as well as new houses for disadvantegeous families.
The use and management of State and social capital will be more closely supervised and evaluated at all levels.
At the ceremony, a total of 100 poor households, near-poor households, and policy beneficiary families in HCM City were given equipment and tools to help them increase their incomes.
Among the items were industrial sewing machines, overlock sewing machines, motorbikes, electric bicycles, motorbike repair kits, clock repair tool kits, manicure kits, and vending carts for selling lottery tickets, food and drinks.
Lượng Thị Oanh, 36, who lives in Bình Chánh District, said she must stay home and take care of her children aged 8 and 2, while her disabled husband tries to sell lottery tickets to earn income for the family.
“I was given a lock machine that will help me work at home and earn more money,” she said.
Immediate reporting system to inspect food violations in Hà Nội
Clean vegetables are sold at a supermarket in Hà Nội.
An immediate food violation reporting system will be launched in Hà Nội by 2020 to ensure food safety, according to the municipal People’s Committee.
The inter-sector system allows health, industry-trade, agriculture-rural development sectors and authorities at district, ward and town levels to receive food-related reports and issue warnings.
The first level warning station is located at the Food Safety and Hygiene Division under the city’s Health Department.
The second level warning station is located at district level’s clinics, with the third at ward’s clinics.
The second and third levels are in charge of receiving food problem reports, inspecting them and reporting them to higher levels.
According to the city’s Market Surveillance Division, the reports can be received through phones, text messages and emails.
Officials must report incidents to the system within two hours of the incidents being discovered. Urgent food safety incidents must be inspected and addressed within 24 hours.
The sectors will mobilise forces to deal with incidents and respond to food poisoning. Punishments for violations will be publicised widely.
In the first half of this year, some 1,600 food business facilities were subjected to fines for food safety violations worth a total of more than VNĐ4.4 billion (US$191,300).
In late August, the city’s centre of investment, commerce and tourism promotion and the Japan International Co-operation Agency launched nongsanantoanhanoi.gov.vn to introduce safe farm produce addresses to the city’s residents.
The city has 65 safe food chains. 128 supermarkets, 454 markets and 600 convenience stores selling safe farm produce.
Thăng Long Bridge repair must ensure durability: transport minister
The uneven road surface on Thăng Long Bridge. — Photo news.zing.vn
Repairs on Thăng Long Bridge must be durable for at least ten years and only measures that meet this requirement will be considered. Pilot proposals will be rejected, said transport minister Nguyễn Văn Thể.
The 33-year-old bridge was repaired for the first time in 2009 with total expenditure of up to VNĐ100 billion (US$4.3 million). However, the new layer of concrete soon degraded. Despite several other repairs, a number of cracks and pot holes have appeared on the surface of the bridge.
According to the latest inspection, over 8,700 sq.m of road surface are cracked, while pot holes distort traffic markings painted on the road surface and endanger drivers.
Drivers said that the repaired areas easily sink, erode or crack just after torrential rain.
The increased vehicle load is one reason behind the degradation of the bridge.
Dr Tô Giang Lam from the University of Transport said that maintenance of Thăng Long Bridge will be difficult without undertaking general repair first.
Without proper technical solutions, the quality and durability of the bridge will not be ensured, he said.
To repair the bridge, the transport minister asked consultation agencies to select accountable and experienced contractors.
Nguyễn Văn Huyện, head of the Directorate for Roads of Viet Nam said that Russian experts have been invited to provide consultations on bridge surface repair and will come to Việt Nam from September 17 to 21.
Transport minister Thể ordered the establishment of a working group led by a transport deputy minister to meet with the Russian experts.
Thăng Long Bridge is a key transport project connecting the capital city centre with suburban areas and northern localities.
Before the Nhật Tân Bridge opened to traffic, Thăng Long Bridge crossing the Hồng (Red) River was the only route to travel from Nội Bài International Airport to the city centre.
It was opened to traffic in 1985 as a symbol of Việt Nam-Russia friendship.
Central province successfully keeps environment clean
Green trees are planted along the Hương (Perfume) River in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế. The city has developed a number of activities to keep the environment clean.
A campaign to build clear, clean and green areas without rampant littering is being conducted by organisations, enterprises, hotels, restaurants and households in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế.
Every Friday afternoon, organisations cut grass, clean up and look after gardens and ornamental trees around their offices.
The provincial Department of Industry and Trade works with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to call on supermarkets, malls and markets to use environmentally friendly bags.
Every weekend, households and residential quarters tidy up and clear sewage from their living areas and public places. The work is guided by local people’s committees and youth unions.
The provincial Department of Tourism instructs tourism ships and transport ships to collect rubbish around their anchoring places and to educate tourists not to litter.
Hotels and restaurants along the Hương (Perfume) River also collect rubbish weekly.
The province has many models of organisations working to clean the environment, like Quảng Điền District Women’s Association’s campaign to collect rubbish and keep roads clean.
Up to now, more than 4,500 households in the district separate rubbish at the source. Members of the association tidy up the environment every month.
The association also conducts the campaign ‘five no and three clean’. Five No means no poverty, no violence, no social evils, no law violations and no children quitting school. Three clean means clean house, clean kitchen and clean alley.
The Thừa Thiên-Huế Department of Science and Technology conducts projects to treat rural rubbish in several districts. Local residents are more aware of protecting the environment and littering has been reduced sharply. Many markets in rural areas in the province do not stink of rubbish anymore.
Hương Chữ Ward in Hương Trà Town classifies rubbish and makes it into fertiliser. Every five cubic metres of rubbish can make about one tonne of fertiliser.
New “portable” health insurance policy declared a success in provincial district
A consultant speaks about the benefits and importance of health insurance.
Cao Lãnh District is the first locality in Đồng Tháp Province to pilot a new "portable" health insurance policy, which has had positive results after five months of implementation.
By the end of August, nearly 81 per cent of the district’s total population was covered by health insurance.
The social insurance agency in the district set up portable communication sites for consultation and issuing of health insurance cards for people living in hamlets and villages.
Most consultation sites received a positive response from locals, with a large number of people coming to hear social insurance’s officials speak about the significant benefits of health insurance, as well as procedures and payment methods by insurance services.
Dương Kim Loan, a resident in District’s Nhị Mỹ Commune, said she did not know much about health insurance payments, or treatment and referral services, but now has a better understanding of health insurance policy and benefits.
Under the programme, problems are resolved and new cards are issued more quickly than before.
Lê Trọng Nhân from Gáo Giồng Commune, for example, said he had bought a health insurance card with the wrong name in July.
Instead of taking nearly a month to correct the problem at health insurance agencies, he only needed to bring the card to the communication sites where the problem was resolved in a short time.
“I was very satisfied with this approach,” he said.
As a result, the social insurance agency in the district has renewed about 100 health insurance cards and issued more than 30 new cards.
Đoàn Văn Đông, director of social insurance in Cao Lãnh District, said that more communication activities would take place in Gáo Giồng, Nhị Mỹ and Phong Mỹ communes, which have a low rate of insurance coverage.
By the end of June, nearly 1.3 million people in the province had received health insurance cards, an increase of more than 91,000 participants compared to the same period last year.
Nguyễn Thị Kim Thu, deputy director of the province’s social insurance agency, said rural residents have less access to health insurance agents at communes’ people’s committees and post offices.
She said the portable communication model in the district would be expanded to other districts in the province.
Delta takes steps to protect children in flooded areas
Flood inundates rice fields in Kiên Giang Province.
Authorities in the Mekong Delta are setting up safe sites for children in flooded areas and ensuring the safety of students going to school.
The annual flooding in the delta, caused by the rising level of the Mekong River, is threatening the safety of children in flooded areas.
In An Giang Province’s An Phú District, which has suffered from severe flooding as compared to most other districts, more than 1,000 primary school students are taken to school and back to their homes by family members and volunteers.
They live in deeply flooded communes like Phú Hội, Nhơn Hội, Vĩnh Hội Đông and Vĩnh Hậu.
The district has set up five sites that provide day care and free meals for more than 200 children aged between three and five in deeply flooded communes of Phú Hội, Vĩnh Hội Đông and Khánh An.
The district’s People’s Committee plans to set up a total of 35 sites to look after more than 1,000 children a day when their parents go to work.
The district has helped children go to school during floods for more than 10 years.
In Đồng Tháp Province, local authorities have been giving children swimming lessons to prevent drowning. For instance, more than 90 swimming classes for around 2,300 children in the province’s Hồng Ngự District.
Hồng Ngự has seven sites that look after children during the flood season.
Mai An Nhịn, deputy chairman of the Kiên Giang Province’s People’s Committee, has asked localities to carry out measures to prevent drowning and ensure safety of children going to school.
Kiên Giang, which has set up special sites that look after children, has also asked parents to keep children at home when flood levels are high.
Flooding has caused damage to thousands of hectares of rice, vegetables and fruit in the delta’s low-lying areas.
In Kiên Giang Province, floods have caused damage to 1,100ha of summer-autumn rice planted outside embankments, according to the province’s Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Search and Rescue.
About 1,130 households in Kiên Giang Province living along flood-prone canals and areas have moved to safe areas.
The flood level is estimated to rise to four metres at Châu Đốc Station and 4.5 metres at Tân Châu Station by the middle of this month, according to Nguyễn Huỳnh Trung, head of the office of the natural disaster steering committee.
In Kiên Giang’s Long Xuyên Quadrangle, floods are rising and may inundate 20,000ha of summer - autumn rice in Giang Thành, Kiên Lương and Hòn Đất districts and 11,500ha of autumn-winter rice in Tân Hiệp District.
In Đồng Tháp Province, flood water has caused damage to more than 50ha of rice in Thanh Bình, Lấp Vò and Hồng Ngự districts and Cao Lãnh City, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Floods have also inundated dozens of hectares of fruit in the province, with farmers being forced to pump water out of orchards.
Nguyễn Thanh Hùng, deputy chairman of the Đồng Tháp Province’s People’s Committee, said that fruit orchard owners would be asked to consolidate embankments to avoid damage to their fruit trees.
Farmers should update information about flood waters regularly, he said.
In Đồng Tháp, flooding is predicted to affect more than 13,000ha of autumn-winter rice, mostly in Tam Nông and Tháp Mười districts and Hồng Ngự Town.
Vietnam wants to scale up its bond market
The current scale of the Vietnamese bond market is only one-third of South Korea’s and one-half of Malaysia’s, while its trading value in the government bond secondary market is equal to Thailand’s, but much lower than South Korea’s and Singapore’s.
Despite big leaps in recent years, the Vietnamese bond market remains small compared with other regional countries. As of July 2018, the bond market balance had reached 39.9 percent of GDP in 2017, while the figures were 124.6 percent GDP for South Korea, 95 percent for Malaysia and 81.1 percent for Singapore.
The bond market is considered an important channel that helps mobilize capital for the national economy. However, despite legal solutions, the market still faced big problems until 2015.
A report of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) showed that the government bond market was small in 2014, equal to 13.84 percent of GDP, while 79.7 percent of bonds were held by commercial banks.
In that period, the government mostly issued short-term bonds (less than five years), a factor that affected the stability of public debt.
Meanwhile, in recent years, the market expanded with diverse investors and decreased holding ratios of commercial banks.
According to Phan Thi Thu Hien, director of the MOF’s Banks and Finance Institution Department, by the end of July 2018, the ratio of bonds held by commercial banks had reduced from 79.7 percent in 2014 to 51.1 percent, equal to other regional countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, and lower than China (68 percent) and Thailand (60 percent).
In late 2017, government bond investments accounted for 7.28 percent of the banking system’s total assets, while outstanding loans accounted for 65 percent, or 130 percent of GDP.
The remaining was held by Vietnam Social Insurance, insurance companies (mostly life insurers), Deposit Insurance of Vietnam, foreign investors and other investors.
Analysts noted that some offshore investors have begun showing interest in the Vietnam’s government bond market.
In 2017, MOF successfully issued VND11 trillion worth of government 20- and 30-year bonds to offshore investors.
Besides traditional bonds with fixed interest rates, MOF developed many other bond products, including flexible payment periods with maturity terms of 5-30 years.
The diversification helped scale up the transaction value in the secondary market to VND9 trillion per trading session in 2017 from VND1-2 trillion in 2011-2013.
In the first seven months of 2018, the average transaction value reached VND10.4 trillion per trading session.
Hien said the Vietnamese bond market is still small compared with other regional countries because of Vietnam’s low level of economic development, which limits long-term savings of insurance companies and retirement funds.
Vietnam to bear long-term impact from US-China trade war: report
Economists have expressed concern about the impact on Vietnam’s economy if the second US tariff package of $200 billion is ratified after September 6, saying that Vietnam’s GDP may decrease by 0.03 percent because of the trade war.
The VCCI’s (Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry) latest report on the US-China trade war says the war will have a long-term impact on Vietnam’s trade and investment.
On one hand, Vietnam will be able to take advantage of the high tariffs that the US and China impose on each other’s goods to boost its exports to both countries. The tension between the two countries may also offer opportunity for Vietnam to lure more investments from the US.
The trade war, however, would also cause a negative impact. Chinese goods, which would find it more difficult to enter the US market, will head for other markets, including Vietnam. Vietnam may see the trade deficit become even more serious with China.
VCCI commented that in the long run, if the war is widespread, things may become unpredictable. The shift of trade flows to alternative markets would have both negative and positive impacts on small economies like Vietnam’s.
It is estimated that Vietnam would see its GDP decrease by 0.03 percent this year, and by VND6 trillion each year.
Meanwhile, Tran Toan Thang from the National center for Socio-economic information and forecast (NCIF) showed his concern about the impact on Vietnam’s foreign investment.
Thang said the US adjustment of the tax law may make American companies investing in Vietnam reconsider their investment strategies, or prompt them to transfer profits made in Vietnam to the US instead of expanding investment in Vietnam.
If so, the foreign invested enterprises in Vietnam will also be affected, which means that the competitiveness of the investment environment would decline.
Pham Chi Lan, a respected economist, believes that the trade war between the US and China will escalate, especially if the US wants to prevent China’s plan on hi-tech exports that would compete directly with the US by 2025.
Vietnam is the biggest importer of Chinese goods, while the US is the biggest export market for Vietnam. When conflicts occur with the two biggest markets, this will cause a negative impact.
“Vietnam is the fifth biggest market which enjoys a surplus in trade with the US. Therefore, if Vietnam becomes a country for Chinese products to transit before going to the US, it is very likely to bear economic sanctions,” Lan warned.
BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 11/9
AEON ends tie-up with Fivimart after four years of no success
Retail giant AEON has judged that its partnership with Fivimart will yield no fruits and is terminating the tie-up after four years of cooperation.
In AEON’s Japanese-language press release, AEON Co., Ltd said that it has dissolved its partnership with Hanoi-based Fivimart, getting rid of its 30 per cent stake in Fivimart.However, there is no information about who will take over this stake yet.
With the aim to help AEON set up a distribution network of goods and reduce the amount of initial capital outlay while laying the groundwork for its plan to construct a series of shopping malls in Vietnam in the future, AEON acquired 30 per cent of Fivimart and 49 per cent of Citimart.
AEON decided to terminate the partnership believing that it will not prove fruitful due to the stark differences in their management strategies, including ways to open outlets. This means AEON will withdraw from 23 Fivimart stores, while maintaining its partnership with Ho Chi Minh City-based Citimart.
AEON said that this movement will not affect its operations in Vietnam.
AEON Group is preparing to open more small stores in emerging Asian markets like Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam. In particular, it aims to raise the number of its stores in Vietnam almost nine-fold to 500 by 2025.
AEON Group has four shopping malls in Hanoi, Binh Duong, and Ho Chi Minh City and is regarded as a major competitor on the Vietnamese retail scene. It plans to build a new mall in Hanoi and another in Haiphong in the short run, and have 20 malls across the country by 2020.
Meanwhile, AEON Group has been in partnership with Japan’s Sojitz Corporation to develop Ministop convenience stores. The two firms aim to raise the number of their joint outlets to 800 in the next eight years.
WEF puts focus on ideas for ASEAN
With Industry 4.0 on the rise, Vietnam is emerging as a dynamic economy with high growth potential. The World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 in Hanoi next week will put a spotlight on this perspective, with vast opportunities for businesses and investors to meet and exchange business and investment ideas. Khoi Nguyen reports.
For years, Truong Gia Binh, chairman of FPT Group – Vietnam’s IT leader – has participated at almost all events within the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is considered a global forum for great ideas by global economic leaders.
“More accurately, the WEF should be regarded as a market of ideas, in which FPT can look for partners who are global corporations with new products and novel ideas like Airbus. FPT have seen lots of opportunities from the WEF,” Binh said.
Last month, FPT and Intellinet, a US-based purpose-driven management consulting and technology services firm, reached an agreement for FPT to become its major shareholder, expanding FPT’s footprint in the US.
This partnership enables both firms to deliver end-to-end strategic IT services on a global scale, helping clients to accelerate their digital transformation journey. With a team of 150 Intellinet consultants joining FPT’s taskforce, the two companies can provide a full range of technology solutions to clients worldwide, including consultancy, requirement definition, system design, development, implementation, and maintenance.
“Becoming a technology partner of global enterprises in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we realise that there exists a huge demand for digital transformation consultancy and implementation services. By making a strategic investment in Intellinet, FPT is now more than ready to provide comprehensive digital transformation solutions for top companies, elevating Vietnam’s position on the global technology map,” Binh said.
Currently, FPT is preparing to partake in the WEF on ASEAN 2018 (WEF ASEAN 2018) scheduled to take place in Hanoi on September 11-13.
“This event will be like a big market where investment and business ideas are exchanged, which will help FPT seek new partners,” Binh said.
“Businesses and investors in Vietnam can learn from the experience of global companies. In some cases, your company can change its business strategy completely thanks to a single word of wisdom from a foreign partner. Then your company’s future will be quite different from what you currently envisage,” he said.
At a press conference on the WEF ASEAN 2018 held late last month in Hanoi, the WEF’s president Borge Brende stressed that the Vietnamese economy has grown from strength to strength over the past few years, making the country one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
“Vietnam grew by nearly 7 per cent last year, which is an impressive achievement,” Brende said. “Vietnam has been highly valued by many international organisations thanks to its unceasing efforts in improving its business climate.”
Justin Wood, head of Asia Pacific and member of the executive committee at the WEF, told VIR that Vietnam has been opening up and engaging in the international community on many fronts, but particularly from an economic perspective.
“If you look at the country’s trade, you’ll see that Vietnam’s trade volume has grown significantly. The Vietnamese government is also pursuing many free trade agreements, which have and will give many opportunities to Vietnam,” Wood said.
“Also, if you look at foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam, it has increased to a record level. So I think it’s clear that over recent years, Vietnam’s position in the world has become much more integrated and much more connected.”
Vietnam’s total export-import turnover hit a record figure of $425 billion last year, and $308.07 billion in in the first eight months of this year, when the country enjoyed a trade surplus of $2.75 billion. As of August 20, 129 nations and territories invested in Vietnam, with the total registered capital of over $333.83 billion.
Vietnam’s position has been improving in the international arena. Vietnam has made steady progress in improving its investment climate, as evidenced by higher scores on the WEF’s competitiveness index (up five points to 55th in the world), and the 2018 World Bank ease of doing business ranking (68th in the world, up 31 places since 2014).
“All of this shows that Vietnam’s business and investment climate is improving,” Wood said.
“I believe that by bringing the global business community to Vietnam, it provides a fantastic opportunity for the country to talk about its reform process, the way to steer the economy in a new direction, and efforts by the government on improving the business and investment landscape,” he continued.
The Vietnamese government and the WEF will jointly organise the WEF ASEAN 2018, which will welcome eight ASEAN heads of state or government and top public figures from South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The event will take place under the theme “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
According to WEF leaders, there will be lots of strong, positive stories about Vietnam at this event, and the global business community will have an opportunity to hear these stories and share them with the world.
“There are many startup businesses in Vietnam, and we will have opportunities to meet and connect them with global companies at the WEF ASEAN 2018,” Brende said. “We will bring more than 100 successful ASEAN businesses to the event this time. Hopefully, this will inspire all startup businesses there.”
Issues to be discussed at the meeting include Asia’s new balance of power, Asia’s next frontier, the future of jobs in ASEAN, Asia’s economic outlook, accelerating the ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN pluralism, and designing cities 4.0.
Topics surrounding Industry 4.0, including emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles, blockchain, drones, and fintech, will also be highlighted. The meeting will also include workplace sessions on topics such as sexual harassment at work, and workplace 4.0.
“Vietnam has become one of the strong points of interest at the WEF ASEAN 2018 event, because the global business community has recognised the rising influence and importance of Vietnam. They want to come here. They want to understand what the country is doing. They want to understand how Vietnam is integrating into the ASEAN region and the world,” Wood said.
One of the ideas the WEF leaders want to share with Vietnam is the need for the country to invest more into education and training, and application of technologies related to artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, the Internet of Things, and blockchain, in a bid to develop itself into a digital economy in line with Industry 4.0.
“If you want to visualise everything in the 21st century, you would need all these technologies, which means adequate research and development resources have to be provided. Please invest more in students, universities, and technology,” Brende said.
Binh of FPT said that the group, along with hundreds of thousands of other Vietnamese companies, wishes to play a bigger role on the global playing field. “One of the most important things is that we need a spirit of innovation and big thinking. The WEF ASEAN 2018 will offer great opportunities not only to FPT, but to all businesses in Vietnam,” Binh said.
Vietjet to open daily service to Japan
Budget airline Vietjet Air will begin operating three daily flights to Osaka and Tokyo in Japan late this year and early next year, said an official at a Vietnam-Japan tourism seminar, on the sidelines of the International Tourism Fair in HCMC.
Nguyen Duong Binh, deputy general director of Vietjet Air, said that since 2014 the airline has teamed up with a number of tourism firms to operate flights to ten Japanese cities. These flights have got positive responses and Vietjet now regards Japan as a key market to open daily service.
The flights from Hanoi and HCMC to Osaka will be launched on November 8 and December 14, respectively, while service between Hanoi and Tokyo will be opened on January 11, 2019.
He said the airline is willing to arrange separate flights to carry large Japanese parties of tourists, such as those with some 200 people.
Experts from the ASEAN Promotion Center on Trade, Investment and Tourism (ASEAN-Japan Center) and the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) said Vietnam is a favored destination among Japanese tourists. However, the local tourism sector should pay special attention to working out marketing strategies, creating specific products for each customer segment, improving the quality of services, as well as forging close relationships with Japanese partners.
Hideaki Murai, deputy head of the Outbound Travel Promotion Division at JATA, named three main segments – family tourists, middle-aged tourists, and tourists belonging to F1-F2 generations.
Among these, the segment of middle-aged tourists is vital, as they have high incomes and time to travel, while family tourists have great potential, as they seek increasing demand for overseas travel. The final segment could create powerful promotional opportunities for their destinations.
Data from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam shows that, as of August, more than 545,000 Japanese tourists had come to Vietnam in 2018, up 5.3% from a year earlier.
HCM City to host innovation and startup week
The 2018 Ho Chi Minh City Innovation, Startup and Entrepreneurship Week (WHISE 2017), the city’s biggest startup event of the year, will be held from October 15-19, with the aim of promoting innovation and startups in the city.
During the course of the week, HCM City will summarize contests for Startup Wheel initiatives, startup transaction floor and investment, Internet of Things (IOT) solutions for smart cities, and Creative Idea Contest (CiC) startup initiatives.
In addition, it will present awards to the winners of AIOT and Smart Cities contests, connect students through an “innovation and startup in the digital era” program, as well as reviewing an “innovation in high-tech agricultural production” contest and the activities of Vietnam Silicon Valley 2018 while organizing a final round and an exhibition of STEM contests.
Furthermore, a series of seminars, a technology exhibition, and a technology, equipment and environment solutions for the health sector fair will be held within the framework of the week.
Vietnam software industry sees robust growth
Vietnam's software industry is growing strongly with revenues of existing companies surging and Vingroup announcing its entry into the sector.
Quang Trung Software City in Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s top information and technology hub, reported revenues of VND3.3 trillion (US$142 million) in the first half this year for the 155 businesses operating inside.
This figure, which was up 25.5% year-on-year, included US$93.4 million worth of software exports, up 36.5%.
Revenues of Quang Trung Software City last year were worth over VND8 trillion (US$344 million), a 25% rise over 2016.
These growth rates are common for top software companies, including giant FPT Software, which has been reporting them since 2010.
Last year FPT’s exports were worth VND6.2 trillion (US$266 million). It plans to increase that number to VND7.7 trillion (US$331 million) this year, and to US$1 billion by 2020.
The high growth rates obviously mean increasing job creation by the sector.
Data from VietnamWorks, a leading recruitment company, shows there were 15,000 new jobs in the information technology sector last year, 1.5 times the 2015 number.
More than half of them were in HCMC, the country’s largest technology hub.
Last month realty and retail behemoth Vingroup announced plans to focus intensively on the technology sector by establishing VinTech, which will focus on AI, software and new materials.
Vietnam’s software exports last year were worth VND58.5 trillion (US$2.5 billion), up 4.4% from 2016, according to the Ministry of Information and Technology.
Vietnam offers new equity prospects for Japanese businesses
The equitisation of State-owned enterprises, public-private partnerships (PPP) in infrastructure development and startups in the Revolution 4.0 are present new opportunities for Japanese businesses as they seek to penetrate Vietnam.
The information was shared by participants at a Vietnam-Japan Investment Cooperation Forum held in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan on September 7. The event saw the presence of more than 200 businesses and leaders from Yokohama, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment (MoPI), the Vietnamese Embassy and Hung Yen, Long An and Ha Nam provinces.
At the forum, Kanagawa Governor Kuroiwa Yuji said this is the fourth such event to be held under the framework of Vietnam Festa in Kanagawa, showing the due care and support of the Vietnamese Government and Yokohama authorities for businesses from the two countries.
To date, six Vietnamese businesses have invested in Yokohama while the Kanagawa prefecture has poured investments into four industrial parks in Vietnam, Mr Yuji said.
MoIP Deputy Minister Vu Dai Thang emphasized the advantages of Vietnam’s business environment such as its huge market with nearly 100 million customers, competitive labour costs, political and macroeconomic stability, and an increasingly transparent legal institution in line with international standards. Vietnam has signed 12 free trade agreements, been an active member of ASEAN and APEC and established ties with many countries and regions, especially G7 and G20.
Regarding new opportunities in Vietnam, Mr Thang said the country is attracting foreign investors in the equitisation of State-owned enterprises and infrastructure development such as transport, electricity and seaports through the PPP model. The country is accelerating the delivery of Industrial Revolution 4.0 innovations and developing a startup ecosystem, which will offer a plethora of opportunities for Japanese businesses.
At the forum, the provinces of Hung Yen, Long An and Ha Nam presented their strengths and foreign investment attraction policies.
The forum serves as a platform for Japanese and Vietnamese businesses to expand investment cooperation, contributing to the further development of Vietnam-Japan ties.
Korean financial firms make beeline for Vietnam
Recent expansion plans and stake acquisitions reflect keen Korean interest in Vietnam's banking and finance sectors.
Korean giant KB Financial Group is completing procedures to open a branch of its Kookmin Bank in Hanoi.
The lender’s first branch has opened in Ho Chi Minh City, and KB Financial Group’s chairman and CEO Yoon Jong Kyoo has told Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue at a recent meeting the company plans to invest a further US$110 million in Vietnam.
In 2017 KB Securities, a subsidiary of KB Financial Group, sealed a deal to take over 99.4% of Vietnam’s Maritime Securities for US$33.2 million.
Yoon said he was impressed by Vietnam’s development and prospects, and the group’s business here is profitable. “So we want to expand our banking and finance business in Vietnam.”
Hue told Yoon the government has agreed in principle for the State Bank of Vietnam to go ahead with procedures to license the bank’s Hanoi branch.
Lotte Card’s CEO Kim Chang-kwon, at a meeting with Hue on September 6, also spoke about the firm’s expansion trajectory in Vietnam.
Last March the company signed a deal with one of Vietnam’s biggest private lenders, Techcombank, to buy out its subsidiary, Techcom Finance.
The acquisition made Lotte Card the first Korean credit card company to enter the Vietnamese market.
Neither party has disclosed the value of the deal, but Korean newswire The Investor estimated it at VND1.7 trillion (US$74.67 million).
Kim said the buyout would enable Lotte Card to expand its business in Vietnam, where it now has 1.5 million clients.
Lotte Card, a subsidiary of Lotte Group, is focusing on non-cash consumer finance and application of fintech in Vietnam.
Since last year there has been an influx into Vietnam by Korean financial institutions with a string of acquisitions.
Shinhan Bank Vietnam acquired ANZ Vietnam’s retail business for an undisclosed sum, and there was the KB Securities-Maritime Securities deal.
Last January Shinhan Card bought out Prudential Vietnam Finance for US$151 million, while the Lotte Card-Techcom Finance deal happened a couple of months later.
The Republic of Korea (RoK) is more or less a maturing economy with relatively low GDP growth rate of 2%-3%. Its companies including financial institutions are looking for growth opportunities and Vietnam is one of their first options.
More Korean financial institutions are eyeing Vietnam to cater to the needs of Korean manufacturers who entered the country earlier.
RoK is the largest foreign investor in Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. As of August 20 it had registered to invest US$61.08 billion, or 18.3% of the country’s total FDI pledges, followed by Japan with US$55.84 billion.
Apart from catering to the needs of Korean manufacturers in Vietnam like Samsung and LG and their hundreds of parts suppliers, Korean financial institutions also see a potentially huge consumer market in the country’s quickly expanding higher- and middle-income groups.
Hue told Yoon that, given the country’s improved economic conditions, the government wants to expand the financial market, especially amid the fourth industrial revolution and digitization.
“The government will accelerate equitization, state equity divestment and stock market listing, and consider launching derivatives in the stock markets.”
The government has also tasked the central bank with speeding up the restructuring of credit institutions including non-banking entities, he said.
At the meeting with Kim, he said his government is keen on developing consumer finance via fintech and mobile payment solutions.
It encourages and supports Lotte Card’s investment in non-cash consumer finance, he said.
ETF trading to shake markets
The latest announcement from UK-based FTSE Russell’s exchange-traded fund FTSE Vietnam ETF to add Vinhomes shares to its quarterly-reviewed investment portfolio is expected to shake the Vietnamese stock market in the coming week.
The benchmark VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange on Friday gained 1.12 per cent to end at 968.90 points after having fallen total 3.17 per cent since the beginning of the week.
The HNX Index on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange was up 1.11 per cent to finish last week at 111.70 points.
The VN-Index fell 2.08 per cent week-on-week and the HNX Index dropped nearly 1 per cent.
An average of more than 216.3 million shares was traded on the two local exchanges in each session, worth VND4.36 trillion (US$193.8 million).
After the VN-Index approached its old peak of 1,000 points, the stock market was on the downtrend for four consecutive sessions starting from Friday (August 31), as stocks ran out of momentum under pressure from international trade tensions, the possibility of a Fed rate hike this month and the quarterly portfolio reviews of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
A strong market rebound on Friday gave investors confidence about the VN-Index having consolidated around the range of 960 points, Viet Capital Securities Corp (VCSC) analyst Chau Thien Truc Quynh told online newspaper tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn.
However, there was still uncertainty about that as some investors assumed the VN-Index may continue rising and consolidate in higher ranges, for example, 972-977 points, Quynh said.
According to Quynh, one of the main factors that could have an impact on the stock market this week is the trading of FTSE Vietnam ETF.
FTSE Vietnam ETF on Friday announced it would buy in shares of high-end property developer Vinhomes and the Vietnam Electrical Equipment Joint Stock Corporation (Gelex) while removing shares of Binh Minh Plastic JSC from its portfolio.
Trading of the FTSE Vietnam ETF will complete by the end of September 21, which will have a big impact on the stock market as Vinhomes (VNM) is a blue-chip stock with significant influence on the local market, Quynh said.
Vinhomes is listing nearly 2.68 billion shares on the HCM Stock Exchange with ticket VHM and market capitalisation of VND280.8 trillion ($12.5 billion). VHM is the second-largest stock by market capitalisation behind its own parent firm Vingroup (HoSE: VIC).
Gelex is listing 338.8 million shares on the HCM Stock Exchange with ticket GEX and market capitalisation of VND9.43 trillion.
According to BIDV Securities JSC (BSC), FTSE Vietnam ETF will buy in $47 million worth of 10.5 million Vinhomes shares and $4.4 million worth of 3.67 million Gelex shares.
Therefore, the UK-based ETF will have to sell some blue-chip stocks in its portfolio to afford the purchase of VHM and GEX, Quynh said.
The trading of ETFs from now to the end of September will create more pressure on the stock market and there will be more falling sessions until the ETFs complete their portfolio shake-ups, Vietinbank Securities JSC (VietinbankSC) analyst Nguyen Nhat Cuong said.
On Friday, US president Donald Trump threatened his government will impose tariffs on all Chinese imports, shaking global markets about the escalation of the China-US trade war.
The US Federal Reserve (Fed) is also expected to hike lending rates this month after keeping them stable in early August.
According to VietinbankSC analyst Cuong, those are the macro-economic factors that could drive market sentiment either in a positive or negative way.
Foreign capital will remain a problem despite foreign investors scoring a net buy value of VND156.7 billion. “Our data shows that foreign investors have generally net-sold in the last 10 sessions” and “it proves foreign capital has not completely returned to the Vietnamese market,” he said.
Deal signed to provide training for startups
The HCM City Institute for Development Studies (HIDS) and the Institute of Startup Success on Saturday signed an agreement to conduct research and organise start-up training programmes in the 2018-23 period.
Hang Nhat Quang, director of the HCM City branch of the Institute of Startup Success, said that starting a business was never easy, and that nine out of 10 new startups have to close or declare bankruptcy in one to three years.
Problems facing startups include lack of business knowledge and strategies, or poorly researched strategies, he said.
With the current business environment, mapping and implementing a business strategy consistently is vital for success of start-ups.
Dang Duc Thanh, director of the Institute for Start-up Success and deputy chairman of the Advisory Council for Start-ups and Enterprise Development in Ben Tre Province, said to succeed, business executives should have a strategic mindset and be able to predict customer and market trends and demand.
Many businesses operating in the same market succeed but others fail. Those that succeed have identified market trends and the development potential of business sectors, he said.
Thousands of new enterprises are set up each year, but only about 10 per cent of them survive, he said. “If we want to start a business, we have to learn how to start it first.”
Professor Nguyen Van Trinh, HIDS deputy director, said his institute had organised many training courses for the local business community to help them adjust to a fast-changing environment, but the number of business executives participating in such courses was modest, and most businesses sent staff to attend the courses.
Through cooperation with the Institute of Startup Success, HIDS expects to expand business support programmes and create a robust environment for young people to develop start-ups, especially in the technology sector.
The aim is to upgrade the position of Viet Nam in the region and world as well as enable the city to have 500,000 businesses by 2020, according to Trinh.
Qatar Airways to launch direct flights to Da Nang this December
Qatar Airways will launch direct flights to Da Nang starting December 19 as the third Vietnamese destination on the award-winning airline’s rapidly expanding global network.
The airline said in a statement on September 6 that it will offer four-times weekly flights with a Boeing 787-8 aircraft, featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of our newest gateway to Vietnam, the beautiful city of Da Nang. This new direct route demonstrates our commitment to expanding our presence in the Far East, a highly-important market for Qatar Airways."
Qatar Airways began direct services to HCM City in 2007, and launched its Hanoi service in 2010. Currently, the airline provides twice-daily direct flights to Vietnam’s capital city and 10 times weekly flights to HCM City.
The launch of direct flights to Da Nang followed the newly announced service to Gothenburg, Sweden. As part of its continued expansion plans, Qatar Airways plans a host of new destinations throughout 2018, including Gothenburg, Tallinn (Estonia) and Valletta (Malta).
In October 2017, Qatar Airways announced its interline partnership with Vietnam-based Vietjet Air, allowing Qatar Airways’ passengers to travel to and from points in Vietnam not served directly by Qatar Airways using a single reservation across both airlines’ networks.
Da Nang, one of the major cities in Vietnam, hosted 6.6 million tourists including 1.67 million foreigners in 2017.
The city expects the new air route will help promote trade, investment and tourism between the central region and the Middle East.
Sound investment climate makes Tra Vinh more attractive
Improvements in investment climate have made the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh more magnetic to investors, said a local official.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Dong Van Lam said that the province lured 66 projects with total investment of 233 million USD in the first eight months of the year, up 17 projects as compared to the same time last year.
The province is currently housing 274 valid projects, 236 of which have been invested by domestic investors with total capital of more than 101.6 trillion VND (4.37 billion USD), and 38 projects worth nearly 3.3 billion USD by foreigners.
Most of the projects are in agricultural processing, wind power, and ship building.
According to Lam, the province has accelerated administrative procedure reforms to invite investors to land high-tech projects, and inject money into the fields of its strength.
Tra Vinh has announced preferential treatment for projects on high-tech shrimp farming, eco-shrimp cultivation, processing and selling coconut-based products, fruit processing, ship building, and cultural and tourism site development, among others.
Accordingly, those who invest in these fields will enjoy various preferences in land policy, compensation, land clearance, infrastructure, recruitment and labour training.
VinFast, LG Chem cooperate in battery production
VinFast Trading & Production Ltd. and LG Chem Ltd., a subsidiary of LG Corporation of the Republic of Korea (RoK), on September 7 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the production of batteries that meet international standards and environmentally friendly criteria.
The partnership will provide batteries for all products in the ecosystem of VinFast – a subsidiary of Vingroup, including scooters, electric cars and buses, smart phones and other products in the future. In the short term, the cooperation will focus on producing batteries for VinFast’s e-scooters.
Accordingly, VinFast will be responsible for building workshop and installing production lines at the company’s Supplier Park located in the northern port city of Hai Phong, ensuring that the facility will be operational in the second quarter of 2019.
Meanwhile, LG Chem will provide technologies for battery production and personnel training.
Vo Quang Hue, Deputy CEO of Vingroup, said the partnership is an important initial step for VinFast in particular and Vingroup in general to grasp global advanced technologies in order to produce premium products and contribute to the development of Vietnam’s support industry.
LG Chem Ltd. is the RoK’s largest multi-sector chemical company which specialises in petrochemical, IT and electronic materials, and energy solution.
With over 20 years’ experience in battery production, LG Chem has affirmed itself as one of the world’s leading Lithium-ion manufacturers. The company is the primary supplier of lithium batteries throughout the world for mobile phone and hybrid/electric vehicle industries and energy storage system.
Vietnamese dairy producer expands operation in Russia
Vietnam’s dairy group TH True Milk recently began construction on a milk processing plant at Kaluga Special Economic Zone in Borovsk district, Kaluga province of Russia.
The plant is part of the group’s ten-year investment worth 2.7 billion USD in Russia. Equipped with automatic systems from the world’s prestigious suppliers, it will produce milk and dairy products such as pasteurised milk, ultra-high temperature processing milk, yogurt, drinking yogurt, butter, kefir, ryazhenka, and ice cream.
Capable of producing 1,500 tonnes of milk per day, it will become the plant with largest production capacity in Russia, with materials from TH cow farms in Moscow and Kaluga.
According to leaders of Kaluga province, the project is the most important one in the locality. Once becoming operational, it will help settle milk insufficiency in Russia while boosting exports to international markets like China and the Asia-Pacific.
The group is considering building farm and milk processing plant complexes in Tyumen province and Bashkortostan.
Also, it will carry out a cow breeding and milk processing project in Primorye province of Russia’s Far East. Up to 350,000 head of cow are expected to be raised in an area of 140,000 hectares during the three-phase project. Nearly 1.8 million tonnes of milk will be produced per year.
TH plans to set up a distribution chain with 300 True Mart stores across Russia.
Last year, Vietnam and Kaluga province enjoyed a trade revenue of 30 million USD, 7.6 times higher than 2015. In the first six months of this year, the figure was 22.3 million USD.
Derivatives market not alluring to institutional investors yet
Although derivatives market has proved its role as an effective investment channel, it is still not much attractive to institutional investors.
According to the Hanoi Stock Exchange, 98.7 percent of the trading volume came from domestic individuals in August while the participation of institutional players just accounted for a small percentage of 0.76.
Foreign transactions in August rose 12.4 percent from July; however, they only made up 0.13 percent of the total trading volume.
More than 1.8 million futures contracts were traded in the month, a month-on-month drop of 35.67 percent. The average trading volume of the market was 79,539 contracts per section, down 38.47 percent from the previous month.
However, trading account number rose 9.64 percent to 43,453 accounts.
Total Open Interests (OI) declined 9.12 percent to 15,320 contracts.
With the participation of Rong Viet Securities Corporation, the derivatives market had ten members as of August 31.
The Hanoi Stock Exchange said that after one year of operation, the derivatives market has enjoyed stable growth, and become an effective risk-management tool, helping stabilise investors’ sentiment and anticipate market trends.
HCM City maintains leading position in FDI attraction
Since policies to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) were applied from January 1, 1988, Ho Chi Minh City has led the way in luring investment.
Statistics from the municipal People’s Committee show that after 30 years of FDI attraction, the city has hosted 7,700 FDI projects with a total capital of 44.87 billion USD, clinching the first position in the field.
In 2016-2018 (as of June 2018), the city lured 14.4 billion USD in new projects and through deals with domestic ones, along with 2.14 billion USD injected into 525 underway projects. The city also approved
6,340 investors to contribute capital and buy shares of Vietnamese firms to the tune of 7.27 billion USD.
Commenting on the role of FDI to the city, Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee said the city highly values the important contributions of foreign firms to its development.
From only 11.3 percent of Ho Chi Minh City’s GDP in 1995, FDI enterprises’ contributions rose to 22.9 percent of the city’s GDP in 2010 and sit at 17 percent currently, he noted.
In 1995, FDI made up 8.8 percent of the city’s total export revenue, but the figure increased to 23.9 percent in 2010 and 55.9 percent currently, said Phong.
The city leader said that along with helping the city transform its economic structure and create new production, distribution and consumption methods, FDI firms have also created jobs for 270,000 direct
labourers and millions of indirect ones. They have also contributed to transforming a low-income workforce to a qualified and high-income one.
According to the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, FDI in the city has continued to rise in terms of capital and investment methods. The most attractive areas for foreign investors include real estate, wholesale and retail, science-technology service and tourism.
As land rental demand is rising, real estate services continue to see big investment at more than 40 percent of total FDI.
Su Ngoc Anh, Director of the Department of Planning and Investment of the city attributed the city’s success in FDI attraction to the fast growth of the economy and improved investment environment.
Anh said the city’s priorities to the development of science-technology, tourism and investment improvement as well as equal competition also make it more attractive for foreign investors.
Two Vietnamese hotels sparkle as Asian heritage gems
Two colonial-era hotels in Vietnam have charmed their way into international broadcaster CNN's list of Asia's best heritage gems.
The Hotel Continental Saigon in HCM City's Dong Khoi Street and Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi's Ngo Quyen Street have showed up on the list of Asia’s most beautiful heritage hotels compiled by CNN.
Just a short walk from Saigon’s Notre Dame Cathedral, Hotel Continental Saigon was built in 1880 and was the place to be for many high-ranking French colonial officials. It was shut down in 1980 and resumed operations in 1989.
Despite the ups and down of the history, it has retained much of its classic charms from “candlelit street-side dining, wrought iron balconies, a frangipani-filled courtyard, wood-paneled rooms to excellent French cuisine,” CNN says.
Founded in 1901, the Sofitel Legend Metropole is a “beautiful example of colonial architecture” in the heart of the capital city.
The hotel is home to a two-meter-high wartime bomb shelter which was discovered by chance in 2011. It was where many famous figures of the Vietnam War, including actress Jane Fonda and anti-war activist Tom Hayden, took refugee as bombs rained down on Hanoi.
Other heritages in CNN’s list include Raffles in Singapore, Yabshi Phunkhang Heritage hotel in China, Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Cambodia, the Majestic Malacca in Malaysia and Manila Hotel in the Philippines.
E-procurement underpins adaptation to Industry 4.0
E-procurement is considered an emerging and inevitable trend which will assist with Vietnam’s participation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In the era of Industry 4.0, the impacts of geographical boundaries and space on industry will be mostly eliminated. Instead, innovation in automation, digitalisation, and connection between real and virtual worlds is creating the starting point for the replacement of traditional trade and business with Industry 4.0. E-procurement is gradually replacing traditional procurement, and is becoming part of Industry 4.0, enhancing transparency and efficiency in state budget management.
According to the Vietnam National e-Procurement Centre, in 2017, the number of e-procurement packages more than doubled compared to 2016, reaching 8,200 packages with the total value of approximately VND9 trillion ($398.23 million). In just the first seven months of 2018, about 8,900 packages were procured online, exceeding the total for the entirety of 2017. Notably, the largest package was worth VND194 billion ($8.6 million).
Established in 2009, the Vietnam National e–Procurement System (VNEPS) is managed by the Vietnam National e-Procurement Centre under the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Public Procurement Agency. The system supports enterprises and bidders to approach thousands of business opportunities from publicly funded projects in all categories – goods, civil works, consulting, and non-consulting services. VNEPS meets the four requirements established by Forbes for Industry 4.0, and opens up precious opportunities for enterprises to participate in public procurement.
One major challenge for enterprises wanting to expand into public procurement is information access. VNEPS is the solution for this challenge.
Simply put, VNEPS is an e-commerce intermediary platform helping to connect enterprises with procuring entities in public-funded projects. These projects will be opened for competitive procurement
on the VNEPS website: http://muasamcong.mpi.gov.vn. By registering a membership profile, bidders are able to access all information about the projects and procurement opportunities, and participate in the bids easily and conveniently. The system brings an advantage of removing geographical obstacles. With only an internet-connected laptop, every bidder, anytime, anywhere, is able to participate in procurement packages on the system. All trading and information exchange processes between bidders and procuring entities during bid preparation and bid evaluation are conducted completely online via the system.
All procurement information, including procurement plan, invitation for prequalification, invitation for bids, bidding documents, and bidder selection results, is made public on the system. Users can easily access this information on the VNEPS website. Besides, an e-procurement mobile application, named “Mua Sam Cong: Dau thau”, is now available on the iOS and Android mobile platforms. Users can access information about bidding packages with this app anytime, anywhere.
VNEPS helps to reduce the risk of collusion by keeping the quantity and identities of participating bidders confidential until opening of bids. Specifically, no entity – not even the system administrator – is able to know that information before the bid opening. Therefore, an equal and competitive environment exists for all bidders participating in e-procurement.
Bidding documents (request for proposals) can be downloaded free of charge via VNEPS, and the bid participation fee is only VND330,000 or $14.6 (including VAT). Thanks to the system, bidders can also save transportation, printing, and accommodation costs to participate in bidding. Human resources and time spent on procurement are reduced significantly when many steps can be done online. For firms, e-procurement helps reduce expenses and increase efficiency. For procuring entities, the reduced cost can enhance the effectiveness of state budget usage. According to estimates, bidding packages average 9.23 per cent cost-saving ratings, approximately VND475 billion ($21 million). Taking the northern province of Son La as an example, 53 e-procurement packages in 2017 had cost-saving rates of 9.5 per cent compared to 1.2 per cent in traditional procurement conducted in this province. E-procurement also helped cut down human resources costs to open a bid, from 10-12 people to fewer than three people when conducing e-procurement.
The whole e-procurement process on the system is simplified and optimised throughout: from preparing and advertising procurement plans and bidding documents, preparing and submitting bids, and opening bids, to evaluating and announcing bidder selection results. Information on the system can be saved and used for multiple actions. For procuring entities, bidding information submitted on the system such as bidder selection plans, invitations for tenders, and bidder selection results are linked with each other. The system automatically fills those information in relevant forms. Bid prices are automatically calculated and updated from priced bill of quantities or price schedules, so that the system can prevent distortion and adjust mathematical mistakes in every package. For bidders, information like business information, financial capacity, implemented contracts – can be prepared in advance in the bidder’s profile and then those can be used when preparing bids. In 2018’s last quarter, the Ministry of Planning and Investment plans to issue a circular regarding sample for bid evaluation report forms for e-procurement, in which the examination of bidder’s qualification can be done automatically by the system. The system is being continuously upgraded to improve transfer speed and file upload size. As more and more steps are done online, more time and money will be saved.
Social News 11/9
Tightening controls over Vietnamese apprentices in Japan
Tighter controls are needed for businesses that have sent workers to Japan to ensure interns are working in the best possible conditions while in the country, according to Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep.
At the same time, there should be appropriate punishments for companies with a high rate of apprentices absconding while working abroad in Japan, by forbidding these companies from participating in the Technical Intern Training Program.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the number of Vietnamese people residing in Japan has reached 260,000. The steady rise in numbers has seen Vietnam surpass Brazil in 2016 and the Philippines in 2017, to now rank third among countries with the highest number of people living in this Asian nation.
The number of Vietnamese interns and alumni has increased rapidly over the years rising by 16 and 14 fold, respectively, since 2010. The number of interns from China saw a decline, while the number of interns from Vietnam increased sharply. In 2016, Vietnam surpassed China to take the lead in the number of technical interns.
The rate of job abandonment and crime remains high
In his assessment of the Technical Intern Training Program in Japan, Deputy Minister Diep emphasized that the program has helped to solve the workforce shortage in Japan and has also offered lucrative opportunities for young Vietnamese employees. It has helped apprentices increase their incomes, develop skills to further their career, and improve their labour productivity when they return home.
He noted that the rate of apprentices quitting their jobs and continuing to reside illegally in Japan remains high. The crime rate among Vietnamese apprentices and alumni is higher than in those from China and the Republic of Korea. The situation has forced the Japanese Government to ask Vietnam to closely supervise apprentices in order MoLISA and the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam exchanged information on the situation of Vietnamese apprentices in Japan at their recent meeting pointed outing shortcomings in sending apprentices to Japan.
For example, the rate of Vietnamese apprentices absconding from work, residing illegally, and committing crimes remains concerningly high compared to those from China and ROK.
Both sides put the situation down to salary opportunism Migrant workers are fleeing their contracted jobs in the hope of finding work with higher pay. In absconding, they are also avoiding the burden of paying back the fees required to secure a position abroad in the first place. Most of them do not have the necessary funds and have to borrow from banks or other sources. As a result, many migrant workers are under the impression that they must earn money by any means in order to pay off their debts and flee their jobs when before their contract has run its course.
The frequency of low quality labour companies is also attributed to this situation. These companies often paint an unrealistic picture of life in Japan for migrant workers but the work they end up doing bears a grim difference to that defined in the contracts. With unstable pay and unsatisfactory conditions, many workers have to find other means to earn money in order to pay their debts and return home.
To minimize the negative aspects will require action from both sides, the Japanese side needs to devise a set of solutions for the skilled apprentices. For example, the Japanese side has advised other parties to make use of the new technical intern training mechanism based on the Technical Intern Training Act, promote the enforcement of the act, collect information and request nations to cooperate through representative offices abroad for information sharing among relevant ministries and agencies.
The Japanese Embassy has also asked the Vietnamese Government tighten the management of poor quality companies sending migrant workers abroad, and to give a widespread announcement on fees, prohibit deposits and warn of the risks from brokers for those wishing to go abroad or taking internships in Japan through the embassy’s website and Facebook page.The embassy also supports the establishment of a consultancy desk for alumni and apprentices at private law offices.
Mr Diep said the Prime Minister urged the MoLISA to tighten controls on all labour businesses to ensure that apprentices are provided with the best working conditions while in Japan. The Ministry will report to the Prime Minister on increasing punishments for businesses with high rates of worker abscondence and denying these companies participation in this program. For businesses which fail to control the number of absconders, the Japanese side will cease all cooperation with them, he added.
Government’s preferential credit aids agricultural development in Ha Giang
At a branch of the Bank for Social Policies in Quang Binh district. (http://baohagiang.vn)
Thanks to preferential credit under a Government resolution on developing animal husbandry, many households in Quang Binh district in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang have expanded their production of tea, oranges, and buffalos, and cows.
By the end of last year, more than 1,000 local households had applied for loans totaling more than US$3.7 million.
Nguyen Van Son’s family in Mac Ha hamlet is a case in point. He spent US$95,000 in March on a farm where he raises a herd of breeding pigs and pigs for market. Now he has expanded the farm to include 5,000 fowl and has hired 2 employees for more than US$200 a month.
Vang Sao Thanh of Yen Thanh hamlet borrowed US$4,300 to raise cattle and poultry. Thanh says in one year the model has helped his family stabilize their life.
“The government’s loan that is interest-free for 3 years has enabled us to raise breeding buffalos. In 3 years, we will be able to repay the loan. Until we have to repay the government, we can buy additional buffalos to increase our capital,” Thanh said.
government’s preferential credit aids agricultural development in ha giang hinh 1
A resident in Ban Ria hamlet, Ha Giang province uses the Government's soft loan to raise breeding buffalos. (Source: baohagiang.vn)
Luong Xuan San, a leader of Yen Ha hamlet, said soft loans have helped many households shift from small and haphazard cattle breeding to commodity-oriented husbandry.
He said the hamlet administration is urging locals to increase grass production and build standard cattle sheds. This will make it easier for them to obtain loans. Coordination has been improved with agencies that can find outputs for local farm produce.
“Over the past 2 years, more than 70 households have received loans worth US$300,000, 56 of which have invested in orange trees grown to VietGAP standards. The preferential loan program has generated jobs and contributed to local socio-economic development and poverty reduction. People have responded positively to the program, hoping it will make their fortune,” Mr. San added.
Quang Tri to mark Fidel’s historical visit to Vietnam
Former Secretary of the Quang Tri Province Party Committee, Ho Sy Than, receives Cuban leader Fidel Castro in September 1973
The central province of Quang Tri is planning to organise various activities to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s historical visit to the province in September 1973.
The activities are due to be held on September 14 and 15 by the province's people's committee and the Cuban Embassy.
According to the plan, a grand ceremony, photography exhibition featuring Fidel's trips to Vietnam, tours to Fidel’s destinations in Quang Tri, and a meeting with witnesses of the visit are due to take place.
The Fidel Castro Park in Dong Ha city will also be opened during the anniversary. As a site to commemorate the Cuban leader’s visit, the park is located at one of the spots Fidel visited during his 1973 trip.
Fidel Castro made three visits to Vietnam in September 1973, December 1995, and February 2003. He was the first foreign leader to visit the newly-liberated area in the south of Vietnam when the American War was still going on in many other areas in the country. He played a central role in the international movement to support Vietnam’s struggle for national independence and reunification.
With all his great contributions, the Cuban leader was presented with the Golden Star Order in 1982 and the Ho Chi Minh Order in 1989.
Exhibition showcases member cities of Council for Promoting Tourism in Asia
An exhibition to show off the member cities of the Council for Promoting Tourism in Asia (CPTA) opened at the Ly Thai To flower garden in Hanoi’s downtown on September 8.
The event attracted the participation of the state tourism management agencies of member cities including Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Manila, Jakarta and Hanoi.
The exhibition introduces famous tourist attractions and landscapes of the cities through posters, photos and cultural experiences. In addition, visitors to the exhibition also have the opportunity to buy air tickets to the member cities at affordable prices.
The event is part of the 16th meeting of CPTA 16, hosted by Hanoi from September 6-9. This is the fourth time that Hanoi has hosted the meeting.
During the four-day event, representatives will review recent activities, discuss new projects, work on tourism development, enhance the responsibilities of state tourism management agencies and strengthen cooperation between municipal governments and tourism agencies, as well as other issues related to the cooperation and promotion of the ‘Welcome to Asia’ campaign.
Grassroots-level healthcare network needs work
Ethnic minority women in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk are trained on reproductive health at a communal clinic.
The quality of grassroots-level healthcare facilities nationwide has yet to meet expectation and patients’ demand, said health minister Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến.
It is not necessary for most patients to go to central hospitals when their illnesses can be treated at lower-level health facilities, she said at a meeting last weekend on improving ward-level clinics.
“Up to 35.4 per cent of patients who go to central-level hospitals can be treated at provincial and district level hospitals. As many as 41.5 per cent who go to provincial hospitals can be treated at district-level health facilities and 11 per cent can be treated at ward clinics,” she said.
Grassroots-level healthcare facilities have not fulfilled their tasks of taking care of people’s health. Local health facilities are able to conduct an average of only 68.3 per cent of medical techniques among 76 services. Facilities of the lowest quality can perform less than 20 per cent of the services.
There are a limited number of medicines covered by health insurance at the grassroots level. Some types of medicines are not even available, she said.
Doctors at ward clinics are not allowed to prescribe medicine for high blood pressure and diabetes. Only district and provincial level hospitals can do so. A number of clinics do not have doctors. For these reasons, patients do not choose grassroots healthcare services, she said.
Twenty six clinics in wards and towns of eight cities and provinces have been selected to implement a pilot programme by the health ministry on improving the quality of grassroots-level healthcare. However, most of the clinics need to upgrade their infrastructure and medical equipment to effectively implement the programme.
Tiến said that among those selected clinics for the trial period, only healthcare facilities in Hà Nội, HCM City and northern Yên Bái Province have enough doctors. Other localities suffer a shortage of doctors and traditional physicians.
The health minister said that the key healthcare facilities in the programme will be equipped with beds, drug cabinets, X-ray machines, ultrasound and testing machines if necessary.
To address the shortage of doctors, staff will be rotated to work at each clinic for two to three days a week. Nurses and physicians will be moved to balance the numbers while administrators at the local clinics will be professionally trained, she said.
In the 2018-20 period, the health minister will send professional healthcare workers from central hospitals and grassroots-level healthcare facilities in Hà Nội and HCM City to assist ward and town clinics in disadvantaged areas including Lào Cai Province’s Bát Xát District, Yên Bái Province’s Trấn Yên District, Hà Tĩnh Province’s Hương Sơn District and clinics in the capital city’s suburban areas like Ba Vì, Đan Phượng, Hà Đông, Nam Từ Liêm districts.
Hai Phong works to prevent lifestyle diseases
Students at Dong My Primary School in Hanoi’s Thanh Tri district attend a swimming lesson
An event aiming to raise public awareness about lifestyle-related disease prevention was held in the northern port city of Hai Phong on September 8.
The event, held by the Centre for Preventive Medicine of Hai Phong city and Kagawa Prefecture of Japan, is part of a project to prevent lifestyle-related diseases in Hai Phong city.
Addressing the event, Director of the municipal Centre for Preventive Medicine Do Manh Cuong said that the project was built with support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and is being implemented along with Kagawa Prefecture and the Department of Education and Training of the city.
The first phase of the project was launched in 2010-2014, which focused on the training and capacity enhancement for health workers of the municipal Centre for Preventive Medicine. Meanwhile, the second phase building of preventive models against lifestyle diseases began in 2016 and runs until 2019.
The project aims to establish a model against lifestyle diseases and disseminate information to all local schools, he noted.
Furthermore, the project will provide training for health workers in schools, as well as work to integrate the model into school curricula and arrange additional refresher courses if needed.
In 2016-2017, the Hai Phong’s Centre for Preventive Medicine held medical examinations and surveyed eating habits and lifestyle to assess nutrition, obesity rate and related factors of students in two local primary schools.
The results showed that the rate of overweight students in Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Hong Phong schools remained high at 48.7 percent and 51.8 percent, while the obesity rate stood at 22.9 percent and 24.1 percent, respectively.
Many students were reported to have high-risk habits that lead to excess weight and obesity, while most of only participate in physical activities at school.
Dong Nai reports one more death from dengue fever
Dong Nai province has recorded more than 3,000 dengue fever cases since early 2018.
The southern province of Dong Nai has reported the second death from dengue fever, Director of the provincial Preventive Medicine Centre Bach Thai Binh said on September 8.
Binh confirmed the death of a woman who resided in Tam Hiep ward, Bien Hoa city.
The Preventive Medicine Centre joined hands with Tam Hiep ward’s health centre to spray chemicals around her house to prevent dengue fever while enhancing communication to raise public awareness of the disease.
Since the outset of the year, Bien Hoa city has been among leading localities in Dong Nai province in the number of dengue fever cases with some 1,000 cases.
Statistics from the Preventive Medicine Centre showed that the province has recorded more than 3,000 dengue fever cases since early 2018, decreasing 20 percent from the same time last year. Most of the patients came from Dinh Quan, Trang Bom and Nhon Trach districts.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease. Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti and to a lesser extent, Ae.albopictus. Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics, with local variations in risk influenced by rainfall, temperature and unplanned rapid urbanisation.
Tram Chim park needs better fire management to conserve eco-system
The Tram Chim National Park in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap
Proper management of water and fires at the Tram Chim National Park in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap holds the key to preserving the Ramsar site’s eco-system, experts have said.
The impounding of floodwater nearly year round to prevent fires in the cajeput forests there has upset the eco-system, resulting in a decline in the number of sarus cranes there in recent years, they said.
Speaking at a recent seminar held in Dong Thap on preserving Tram Chim’s bio-diversity, Dr Duong Van Ni of the Can Tho University said priority should be given to preserving grasslands before cajeput forests.
This practice of floodwater impounding round the year might help prevent forest fires but degrades grassland communities, he said.
When there is waterlogging almost all year, foreign invasive species like golden snail, suckermouth catfish and water hyacinth develop rapidly while co nang (Eleocharis) grasslands shrink and the number of precious sarus cranes plunges, he pointed out.
For the park’s eco-system, the appropriate climate is a cycle of dry season followed by a flooding season.
Eleocharis grasslands are the favourite habitat of sarus cranes.
Nguyen Duc Tu, co-ordinator of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Water and Wetlands Programme, said the number of sarus cranes in the park has fallen sharply from more than 1,000 in 1980 to 11 this year.
Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent expert on the Mekong Delta’s ecology, said Tram Chim officials are trying to protect cajeput forests from fires because they would be punished if forests burn.
But this has caused the park to “suffocate”, he said.
“When a fire occurs, people think everything will die, but this is totally wrong. The world has realised that fires are also a part of the eco-system since it makes the forest vegetation thinner and boosts regeneration.”
Concurring, Nguyen Van Hung, deputy director of the province’s Department of Science and Technology and former director of the park, said: “Prescribed fires are fine. It is necessary to have controlled burning of forests.”
During the burning, fauna can move to nearby forest areas, he said.
After a few days of burning, new grass grows and birds, rodents, snakes, and turtles return in large numbers, he said.
The province People’s Committee should create a mechanism for controlled burning of grass and other vegetation and water management to sustain the park’s eco-system, he said.
Nguyen Van Duong, chairman of the People’s Committee, instructed park officials and other relevant authorities to draft a detailed plan to manage water and fire to sustain the park eco-system.
Nguyen Hoang Minh Hai, head of the park’s science and international co-operation division, said Tram Chim has recovered about 190ha of co nang kim (Eleocharis ochrostachys) and co nang ong (Eleocharis dulcis) plants in recent years.
Officials have released more than 10 rare fish species such as giant barb and black sharkminnow into the park to reproduce, he said.
Tram Chim spreads over an area of 7,313ha in the Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds) region in Tam Nong district.
It is also well-known as a habitat for other rare birds like the white-winged duck, spotted-billed pelican and lesser adjutant as well as many fish species listed in Vietnam’s Red Book like the clown knifefish, Hampala barb, small scade river carp, giant barb, and black sharkminnow.
Vietnamese students invited to attend short-film making contest in Japan
At the award ceremony of the 11th short-film making contest for Vietnamese students in 2017 (source: http://cand.com.vn)
Vietnamese students whose films won high prizes at the 12th short-film making contest for Vietnamese students have been invited to attend another contest to be held in Japan in November.
“Trach nhiem ban than voi gia dinh” (Personal responsibility for family), a short film made by a group of students from Hanoi-based Birla orphanage, won the first prize at the 12th short-film making contest for Vietnamese students.
“Im Lang” (Silent) by pupils from Thang Long secondary school and “Thoi gian” (Time) by students from Viet Duc high school in Hanoi got the second and third prizes, respectively.
The contest, designed for students of secondary and high schools, was initiated by Vietnam-Japan and Japan-Vietnam Special Ambassador Ryotaro Sugi.
By making a three-minutes film, students will pay more attention to society, environment and daily life, thus helping them become more emotional people, and better their understand about their lives.
In addition to these three films, the organisers also gave awards to the films with best contents, techniques, and art.
At the award ceremony in Hanoi on September 8, these films’ makers were invited to attend the film making contest for Asian children IN Kitami, which will be held in Kitami city of Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture on November 24.
Speaking at the event, Ryotaro Sugi expressed his hope that Vietnamese students will have better ideas to make more excellent works in the next contests.
Street football finalists progess
The competition is held to find new talent who currently only play on the streets. — Photo baomoi.com
Opening day finalists of the Hồ Chí Minh City street football held on Saturday will progress to the final round of the competition.
The launching day event was won by Việt Dream who beat Kim Thanh Phát – Tôn Đức Thắng. They will take part in the latter stages of the tournament which will be held at the end of this month.
The competition, which attracted 80 teams and 500 players, is organised by SCG Group Việt Nam, in order to find potential talents who are currently only playing at street level. .
Deputy chairman of SCG Montri Mahaplearkpong said they believe most of young stars of Việt Nam football started their careers from the streets.
He said: “It is on the streets that their love for football and desire to win is nurtured and their spirit encouraged. Following the first successful season, which drew hundreds of potential players and thousands of fans in Hà Nội, we decided to expand the competition to both cities this year.”
In Vietnam, the rich are getting richer at a fast clip
Vietnam is the third fastest growing country in terms of ultra high net worth, a new report says.
The World Ultra Wealth Report 2018, released recently, has ranked Vietnam third with a compound annual growth rate of 12.7% among the ultra high net worth (UHNW) population, behind Bangladesh with 17.3% and China with 13.4%.
Compiled by Wealth-X, a leading global wealth information and insight business, the report defines UHNW population as people with US$30 million or more in net worth.
Vietnam, Bangladesh and India, are expanding at a faster pace and experiencing rapid urbanization, infrastructure investment and manufacturing growth, it added.
“There were substantial increases in net worth in the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia, highlighting the broad improvement across Asia,” it said.
Wealth creation last year was most prevalent in Asia, with a UHNW population of almost 69,000, up 18.5% year-on-year, accounting for 27% of the world’s ultra wealthy population, the report said.
The total net worth of these people reached nearly US$8.37 trillion last year, a growth rate of 26.7% from 2016, it added.
The US remained the country with the most UHNW individuals, with almost 79,600 people, accounting for 31% of UHNW population, the report said.
Hanoi shakes as strong quake hits Chinese border province
Hanoi residents panicked as high-rise buildings felt tremors from a 5.3 magnitude earthquake that struck China's Yunnan province on September 8.
The strong quake with its epicenter at a depth of 10 kilometers, occurred at 9.30 a.m. on September 8 in an area near China’s Yunnan, around 118 kilometers (73 miles) to the north of Muong Te District in the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau, the Institute of Geophysics said.
However, its tremors were felt at some high-rise buildings in Hanoi, around 450 kilometers to northwest of Lai Chau.
Hoang Thi Thanh Hoai, 43, was on the 23rd floor of the Hanoi Tower at around 9.30 a.m. and felt the building shake slightly for around 30 seconds. Light bulbs and other items also trembled.
“I felt as if I was suffering from low blood pressure and felt frightened, I had to lie under the table,” Hoai said.
Many residents living on the 10th floor of the Times City Apartment Complex in Hai Ba Trung District also experienced similar feelings.
Hundreds of construction workers at a 26-storey building on Luong Yen Street in the district screamed and rushed out of the site when the tremors took place.
Several people at nearby buildings rushed out following the screaming.
Police officers were dispatched to the scene and blocked off the area to prevent local residents from approaching the building.
The building’s investor was asked to halt construction to ensure workers’ safety.
Meanwhile, Ha Trong Hai, a senior Lai Chau official, said the province received information about the earthquake and felt some tremors, but Muong Te District suffered no damage.
Another earthquake reaching 4.0 on the Richter scale struck the area near the China-Vietnam border on September 8, around 4 kilometers from Muong Te District.
Seismologists have said that Vietnam’s geographic location near fault lines puts it at risk of moderate earthquakes.
Major banks join race to hike deposit rates
A few large commercial banks have adjusted upward their annual deposit rates following a hike in rates among small banks for call deposits of less than six months since mid-August, according to news website Vietnamplus.
A bank teller counts banknotes. Large commercial banks have adjusted upward their annual deposit rates
At Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam, the deposit rate for 12-month savings has been raised to 6.5% from 6.4%.
Previously, Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade, Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development and Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) had also hiked their deposit rates by 10-20 basis points.
Since September 5, BIDV has encouraged its clients to make deposits at the bank through BIDV SmartBanking, BIDV Online and BIDV Bankplus services by raising the interest rates by 20 basis points for tenors of more than 12 months and by 10 basis points for the remaining tenors.
According to financial expert Nguyen Tri Hieu, large banks are also seeking ways to mobilize capital as the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has applied quantitative restrictions by allowing banks to use only 40% of the short-term capital for long- and medium-term loans from early next year instead of 45% as previously done.
Meanwhile, banks have increased the deposit rates to meet the high demand of enterprises for capital for their operations next year.
Some other banks, on the other hand, have lowered the rates. Vietnam Prosperity Bank, for example, has reduced the deposit rates by 20-50 basis points for most of the tenors.
The bank’s deposit rates for savings of one to six months are now 4.6-4.7%, down by 20 basis points, while the rates for savings of six months or more are 6.2-6.7%, a decline of 50 basis points.
Despite the high capital demand, the credit growth limits set for many banks are low, at 10-11%, while many of them have almost reached the lending cap. Therefore, many banks have no plans to mobilize short-term capital, Hieu noted.
In addition, fluctuations in the interest rate have been triggered by uncertainties in the global economy, especially the United States-China trade war.
The interbank market also saw a high deposit rate of more than 4%. According to a report by Bao Viet Securities JSC, the average annual rates went down to 4.35%, 4.4% and 4.5% for overnight, one-week and two-week tenors, respectively.
Hieu stated that SBV had asked the State Treasury to withdraw the State capital from commercial banks, especially State-owned banks, causing a shortage of capital on the interbank market.
Besides this, SBV had sold a small amount of foreign currencies and withdrawn an equivalent amount in Vietnamese dong, leading to a decline in the liquidity of the banking system.
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