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Articles on this Page
- 05/14/18--02:11: _Article 1
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- 05/15/18--02:22: _Article 3
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- 05/15/18--02:45: _Article 1
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- 05/16/18--01:18: _Article 2
- 05/16/18--01:41: _Article 1
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- 05/17/18--01:18: _Article 0
- 05/18/18--02:44: _Article 1
- 05/18/18--02:56: _Article 0
- 05/20/18--01:01: _Article 5
- 05/20/18--01:24: _Article 4
- 05/20/18--02:10: _Article 3
- 05/21/18--01:58: _Article 2
- 05/21/18--02:08: _Article 1
- 05/21/18--02:32: _Article 0
- 05/22/18--01:48: _Article 4
- 05/22/18--01:55: _Article 3
- 05/22/18--02:02: _Article 2
- 05/22/18--02:11: _Article 1
- 05/22/18--02:30: _Article 0
- 05/14/18--02:11: Article 1
- 05/14/18--02:39: Article 0
- 05/15/18--01:41: Article 5
- 05/15/18--01:53: Article 4
- 05/15/18--02:22: Article 3
- 05/15/18--02:28: Article 2
- 05/15/18--02:45: Article 1
- 05/15/18--02:52: Article 0
- 05/16/18--01:18: Article 2
- 05/16/18--01:41: Article 1
- 05/16/18--01:53: Article 0
- 05/17/18--01:18: Article 0
- 05/18/18--02:44: Article 1
- 05/18/18--02:56: Article 0
- 05/20/18--01:01: Article 5
- 05/20/18--01:24: Article 4
- 05/20/18--02:10: Article 3
- 05/21/18--01:58: Article 2
- 05/21/18--02:08: Article 1
- 05/21/18--02:32: Article 0
- 05/22/18--01:48: Article 4
- 05/22/18--01:55: Article 3
- 05/22/18--02:02: Article 2
- 05/22/18--02:11: Article 1
- 05/22/18--02:30: Article 0
Overseas investment: Vietnam exploring new markets
Besides traditional markets like Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, Vietnamese companies have begun searching for new markets for overseas investment.
There has been noteworthy news from the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment about Vietnamese companies’ overseas investments since the beginning of the year. Reportedly, Cuba has risen among the top three countries receiving Vietnamese investment.
In general, in the first four months of this year, Vietnamese companies invested a total of $153.6 million overseas. This sum included $129 million in newly-registered capital and $24.64 million in added capital. When divided into individual markets, Laos takes first place with $80.12 million, taking up 52.2 per cent of the total. The runner-ups are Cambodia and Cuba, with $25.9 million and $19.9 million, respectively.
The nearly $20 million poured into Cuba is not a big figure, but it shows that Vietnamese companies are ready to invest in a market halfway across the Earth, which is starting to open up for foreign investors with great potential for trade development.
To date, there have been several investment projects by Vietnamese companies in this new market. Examples include PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP)’s oil and gas exploration project, the diaper manufacturing and the washing powder manufacturing projectsinvested by Thai Binh Corporation in Mariel Special Zone.
Apart from the aforementioned projects, many other investment plans are also being prepared, including a five-star hotel and offices project for lease invested by Hanel and a Cuban partner, and Vico’s washing powder manufacturing project. Moreover, Viglacera is aiming for a joint venture in ceramic manufacturing, and Hung Thang Co. is planning to manufacture bottled water.
In reality, information about the promising Cuban market has long been of interest for Vietnamese companies. Several years ago, many reports predicted that following Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, Cuba would emerge as a popular destination for Vietnamese companies, because this country has huge potential as a new market in a period of openness. In fact, the Cuban government has time and again invited Vietnamese companies to invest.
After General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to Cuba in March 2018, many new opportunities for collaboration have sprung up. During the visit, a number of agreements were signed. The most noteworthy event was the closure of the official negotiation of the Trade Agreement between Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment. Accordingly, both parties will commence the legal processing necessary to sign as soon as possible and to put the agreement into practice in order to promote commercial growth and attract foreign investors.
In the framework of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit, Vietjet also reached an agreement to cooperate with Cuba Airlines. Additionally, agreements over hotel and resort development projects were signed.
According to experts, these are crucial steps to foster trade and investment between the two nations.
Overseas investment yielding fruits
After a period of active overseas investment, Vietnamese companies have recently started reaping the benefits of their work.
Most recently, Viettel announced that as of the end of 2017, it transferred $1.3 billion back to Vietnam from its overseas markets. In 2017, the firm reported $1.7 billion in revenue from Viettel Global and the Peruvian market, up 38 per cent on-year and nine times higher than the average growth rate of the global telecommunications sector.
According to the plan, in the second quarter of 2018, Viettel will officially provide telecommunications services in Myanmar, marking its presence in the tenth foreign market, after Cambodia, Laos, East Timor, Haiti, Peru, Mozambique, Cameroon, Burundi, and Tanzania.
Meanwhile, information from TH Corporation indicates that following the introduction of cows from the US and the opening of TH Corp.’s first farm in Russia earlier this year, the corporation is preparing to produce milk in Russia for the first time.
Although it is still in its early stages, this is an important milestone, promising great success for TH Corp. in Russia. Once this project proves successful, TH continue to reap benefits from overseas ops, as FPT has done in America, Japan, and Europe or Vinamilk in America and Cambodia.
Successful overseas business will be a springboard for many Vietnamese companies to continue investing in other countries. Actually, in recent times, Vietnamese companies have not only invested in Cuba, Laos, and Cambodia but have started setting their sights to a whole range of other markets.
ot restricted to Asia, Vietnamese companies have invested in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Haiti, and Cameroon. To prepare for this flow of investment, numerous Vietnamese banks, from BIDV and VietinBank to Sacombank, MB, and SHB, have followed Vietnamese companies overseas.
While outbound Vietnamese investment capital flows seem to be slowing down, many projections predict that it will rise in the foreseeable future. The Foreign Investment Agency said that in the first four months of 2018, the finance and banking sector was in the lead with a total of $105 million in newly registered and additional capitalin foreign markets. This figure accounts for 68.3 per cent of the total investment capital.
Politics News In Brief
New Zealand Governor-General supports cooperation with VN
Governor-General of New Zealand Patsy Reddy (second, right) and Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Viet Dung (second, left) pose for a photo at their recent meeting
Governor-General of New Zealand Patsy Reddy has pledged to support the enhancement of the friendship and multifaceted cooperation with Vietnam, especially in sustainable development.
At a recent reception for outgoing Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand Nguyen Viet Dung, the Governor-General expressed her delight at the strong development of the two countries’ comprehensive partnership.
She praised the ambassador’s contributions to consolidating and strengthening bilateral ties in a wide range of areas, especially politics-diplomacy, economy-trade, education-training, agriculture, tourism and health care.
She said she admires the achievements Vietnam has made in economic development over the past time.
For his part, Dung said that Vietnam and New Zealand have maintained the regular exchange of delegations at all levels and are implementing the action programme for 2017-2020.
The two countries have seen a strong growth of bilateral trade in recent years, with a record rise of 30 percent to 1.6 billion NZD (1.2 billion USD) last year.
These will help develop the bilateral cooperation in an intensive and practical manner, creating a premise for the upgrading of the relations to a strategic partnership in the time to come, he said.
On the occasion, the ambassador conveyed President Tran Dai Quang’s invitation to the Governor-General to visit Vietnam in an appropriate time.
Earlier, Dung came to say goodbye to New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters.
Voters satisfied with anti-corruption outcomes
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong meets with voters in Ba Dinh and Hoan Kiem districts
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong met with voters in Ba Dinh, Tay Ho and Hoan Kiem districts, Hanoi, on May 13 to inform them about the planned agenda of the 14th National Assembly’s fifth session and listen to their opinions on a number of issues.
Tran Quoc Hoan, a voter in Ba Dinh district, said he is delighted with achievements the country has recorded in socio-economic development and external affairs, helping improve the country’s role and position in the international arena.
He said serious corruption cases brought to light over the past time have demonstrated the Party’s drastic actions against corruption and other bad deeds.
Hoan also applauded outcomes of the seventh plenary session of the 12-tenure Party Central Committee Central Committee, which took place from May 7-12, with three important resolutions approved.
He described the ideological, ethical and lifestyle degradation as a disease that has appeared for a long time and been identified as a threat to the existence of the Party and the regime.
The disease must be prevented, he said, citing cases involving Trinh Xuan Thanh and other high-ranking police officers to clarify his view.
Echoing Hoan’s view, Nguyen Huy Yen, a voter in Ba Dinh district, stressed the determination and drastic actions taken by the Party to fight corruption and other bad deeds.
The voter expressed his hope that the Party and State will take more drastic actions to combat corruption in order to create public trust and momentum for socio-economic development.
Nguyen Khac Thinh from Ba Dinh district said voters agreed with a policy that the secretary of a party committee is not a local. It is necessary to have close regulations on the collection of vote of confidence for officials.
Voters also said that officials must be responsible for explaining the origins of their assets, ensuring openness and transparency.
Nguyen Duc Manh from Hoan Kiem district held that officials’ assets should be publicised in their residential areas.
The people wish the Party and State to engage in corruption prevention, he said, stressing the need for effective measures to prevent any acts to revenge corruption denouncers and resolutely reclaim fishy assets.
Another voter from Hoan Kiem district, Pham Van Quang, said it is necessary to build strong and pure party cells in order to make the corruption fight more practical and effective.
The revision of the Anti-corruption Law must be closely supervised and stricter sanctions need to be put into place while heads of agencies and units where corruption acts are detected must take the responsibility, said Nguyen Cong Hoa, another voter from Hoan Kiem district.
At the meetings, Hanoi voters pointed out many pressing issues that need to be addressed thoroughly, including deforestation, fire prevention, food safety, urban planning, and education-training.
Welcoming local residents’ opinions, Party General Secretary Trong exchanged views on each issue mentioned, noting that these opinions are the basis for deputies to report to the NA and make efforts to solve problems.
With regard to voters’ interest in the corruption fight, he said this is a critically important but also complicated work. The combat against corruption has gained initial important outcomes recently, a result unable to be achieved without people’s support, which has consolidated the resolve to continue this fight.
He shared many participants’ view that the corruption fight has become a trend, and no one can be an outsider of this trend.
However, there remains much to be done and stronger, persistent and resolute actions are needed to fight corruption and negative phenomena, especially at grassroots levels.
General Secretary Trong said it is necessary to promote the supervisory role of the NA, People’s Councils and Party members to prevent corruption, he said, adding that firm and careful steps must be made in this work.
He said the corruption fight must be carried out in association with the implementation of the resolution on organising a lean and efficient apparatus, issued at the sixth plenary session of the 12th-tenure Party Central Committee, the resolutions on the salary and social insurance policy reforms, issued at the freshly-concluded seventh plenum of the Party Central Committee, along with the resolution on personnel work.
If the fight against corruption, wastefulness and negative phenomena is successful, the Party will become pure and strong and its combat capability will be strengthened, the leader added.
Hai Phong voters voice trust in Party’s leadership, Gov’t steering role
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (front, second, right) meets with voters of Hai Phong city on May 13
Constituents in Hong Bang district, Hai Phong city, expressed their trust in the Party’s leadership and the Government’s steering role in national socio-economic issues while meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other National Assembly (NA) deputies of the northern city on May 13.
The meeting took place ahead of the fifth session of the 14th-tenure parliament, slated for later this month.
Local people applauded unceasing efforts by the PM and the Cabinet in building an incorruptible Government that acts for the sake of people and businesses.
Do Viet Hung, a resident in Quan Toan ward, voiced his delight at the national development in recent years thanks to the Party and the NA’s leadership and the Government’s drastic and effective actions. He noted that the PM and the Government have done a good job of managing and steering socio-economic aspects, firmly ensuring national defence-security, and enhancing investors’ trust.
Welcoming strong moves to improve the business climate, voter Bui Cong Phu in Pham Hong Thai ward asked for more concrete policies to support start-ups, increase new enterprises and promote domestic firms’ competitiveness.
Meanwhile, many participants spoke highly of the measures taken by the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption, the NA, the Government, and especially Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to fight corruption since 2017.
Dong Xuan Hien, a voter in Hoang Van Thu ward, called on the NA to include more comprehensive and detailed regulations on measures to monitor officials’ assets while revising the anti-corruption law.
At the meeting, PM Phuc appreciated local residents’ opinions on various spheres. He informed about the freshly-concluded seventh plenary session of the 12th-tenure Party Central Committee, with the adoption of three important resolutions on building the cadre contingent, reforming the salary policy, and reforming the social insurance policy.
He said the approaching fifth session of the National Assembly will look into lawmaking, socio-economic affairs and many other important issues.
In the first four months of 2018, the macro-economy remained stable while inflation was under control when it grew by 1.34 percent and the consumer price index rose 2.8 percent year on year.
The PM said the Government is focusing on fine-tuning policies to better meet requirements of the socio-economic management and steering tasks.
Lauding local constituents’ opinions on the anti-corruption determination and the settlement of serious cases, he said he and other NA deputies are also very interested in this matter and committed to conveying voters’ corruption fighting spirit to the NA and the Government so as to better meet people’s aspirations.
On behalf of NA deputies of Hai Phong, PM Phuc also fielded questions and opinions about mechanisms and policies for education, public investment, and funding for some projects, particularly the construction of a coastal road linking Hai Phong city and five northern provinces.
Vietnam attends international symposium on Marxism in Russia
Leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov speaks at the event.
The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV)’s creative application and development of Marxism-Leninism to suit the country’s situation has been introduced at a recent international symposium in Moscow, Russia.
The Vietnamese delegation to the May 11-12 workshop on Karl Marx was led by Nguyen Tuan Phong, deputy head of the CPV Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations.
Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought have become the ideological foundation of the CPV and served as the lodestar for Vietnam’s revolution, the workshop heard.
Representatives from other participating political parties and scientists applauded the leadership role of Marxism to the working class, as well as values of Karl Marx’s ideological heritage.
They underlined the need to employ and develop the Marxism-Leninism in a creative manner to suit the new era and situation in each country, emphasising that Marxism-Leninism has shed light on many present urgent issues in the world.
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation highly valued the active participation of the Vietnamese delegation at the event.
While in Russia, the Vietnamese officials also attended a ceremony marking Marx’s 200th birth anniversary (May 5).
Constitution Day of Poland marked in HCM City
Poland’s Constitution Day (May 3) was marked at a gathering in HCM City on May 11.
Poland’s Constitution Day (May 3) was marked at a gathering in HCM City on May 11 to strengthen solidarity, friendship and cooperation between Vietnamese and Polish people.
The event was held by the Ho Chi Minh City Union of Friendship Organisations (HUFO) and the Vietnam – Poland Friendship Association, with Polish Ambassador to Vietnam Barbara Szymanowska and deputy chairman of Wielkopolska province of Poland Maciej Sytek, who is on a visit to Vietnam, in attendance.
In her remarks, Szymanowska thanked HCM City authority, HUFO and Vietnam – Poland Friendship Association for their support for the Polish Embassy in successfully implementing many projects between Vietnam and Poland, contributing to the enhancement of mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
She expected the strong bilateral relations will further expand and the two countries will continue cooperating to together build a better future for each side.
Congratulating his guests on the Constitution Day, President of the Vietnam – Poland Friendship Organisation Nguyen Dang Cuong highlighted the historic moment when Poland’s Constitution of May 3, 1791, the first constitution of its kind in Europe, was adopted, marking the birth of many political concepts that still exist today.
Cuong recalled Poland’s support for Vietnam in the country’s struggle for national independence as well as today’s development. The traditional ties have been nurtured by the two countries’ leaders and people in multiple areas, including economics, shipbuilding, agriculture, forestry and aquaculture.
Swedish firms’ successes contribute to Vietnam-Sweden ties
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue (R) receives Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Högberg on May 11
Economic and trade ties are a highlight of the growing Vietnam-Sweden relationship in multiple spheres, which is partly attributable to successes of Swedish businesses in Vietnam like Comvik, said Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.
Deputy PM Hue made the statement while receiving Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Högberg and Chairman of Comvik International Vietnam AB M.A. Zaman in Hanoi on May 11.
Ambassador Högberg said the two countries boast fine relations in both partnerships and traditional ties. Sweden was the first Western European nation to set up relations with Vietnam, and the two sides will mark 50 years of their diplomatic ties in 2019.
They have good connections not only between their Governments but also between their people. The Swedish Government is committed to helping Vietnamese people to gain more benefits, he noted.
He added in 2017, bilateral trade surged by a record of 50 percent from the previous year. Swedish companies have come to and operated in Vietnam for a long time. New firms have also poured new investments into Vietnam, including those in telecommunications – a successful cooperation area between the two countries.
For his part, Zaman said Comvik has had a successfully business partnership with the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), and both share the same target of building the best new internet system in Asia.
Regarding the Vietnamese Government’s equitisation of the Vietnam Mobile Telecom Services Company (Mobifone), he said with its existing strength in technology and capital, Comvik is ready to support the Government and take part in this equitisation process.
Comvik is working to shift to 6G technology, and Sweden is the world’s leading country in this digital technology, Zaman said, adding that his firm wishes to have opportunities to invest in this field in Vietnam and turn Vietnam into a leading country in this new technology.
At the meeting, Deputy PM Hue described the business partnership between Comvik and VNPT as a successful cooperation in Vietnam’s development as well as the local posts and telecom sector. Compared to in 1990, the telecom infrastructure in the country now is much different, which is partly thanks to the Comvik – VNPT cooperation, especially in providing technical support and improving governance capacity for VNPT and Mobifone.
Welcoming Comvik’s intention to continue investing in Vietnam and participate in the equitisation of Mobifone, he said the Vietnamese Government has requested the Ministry of Information and Communications and Mobifone to prepare necessary conditions to carry out Mobifone’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2019. This IPO will attract much interest from foreign investors.
The host also took this occasion to ask Ambassador Högberg to help attract more Swedish investments into Vietnam, noting that the Vietnamese Government will create the best possible conditions while unceasingly improving the national competitiveness and the business climate to facilitate enterprises’ operations.
PM hopes for Vingroup’s contributions to domestic auto industry
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (third, left) at the construction site of VinFast automobile and electric motorbike manufacturing complex
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed his hope that Vingroup conglomerate will contribute to the development of the domestic automobile sector with the establishment of its VinFast automobile and electric motorbike manufacturing complex.
During his field trip to the complex located at the Dinh Vu-Cat Hai industrial park in the northern port city of Hai Phong on May 13, the PM said Vingroup’s auto production will help build a self-control economy for the country.
Building a self-control economy is an important orientation set by the Party and the State, the leader stressed, saying he hopes that Vingroup will reap successes in this field as the conglomerate is on a right track.
He lauded the group for breakthroughs it has made during the implementation of the project.
Vingroup is expected to make public the first electronic motorbikes in September 2018. Meanwhile, its SUV and Sedan automobiles are scheduled to be introduced to the market in the second quarter of 2019. VinFast is expected to heat up the local market with electronic automobiles in the end of 2019.
PM Phuc also applauded VinFast’s efforts to build an ecological system for the domestic auto manufacturing sector by zoning off 70 hectares of land for a support industry area to attract factories specialising in producing spare parts, as well as its contributions to training Vietnamese workers.
Eight companies have signed contracts with VinFast to set up factories in the area, with four of them invested by VinFast.
Covering a total area of 335ha, VinFast is projected to be put into operation in June 2018. VinFast has negotiated and signed agreements with the world’s leading companies to provide it with production lines, equipment and machines.
Also on May 13, PM Phuc visited the construction site of Aeon Mall in Le Chan district of Hai Phong. Covering about 93,000 sq.m, the project is expected to be opened in 2020 and attract more than 13 visitors each year from Hai Phong and nearly Quang Ninh, Hai Duong and Thai Binh provinces.
This is the sixth Aeon Mall in Vietnam and the third of its kind in the northern region.
The same day, the Government leader also attended the inauguration of the Hai Phong International Container Terminal (HICT), a joint venture of the Saigon NewPort Corporation, the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Co. Ltd of Japan, the Wan Hai Lines company of Taiwan (China), and Itochu Corporation of Japan.
HICT, located in Cat Hai town of Cat Hai district, is the first deep-water port in the northern key economic region of Vietnam. It is able to accommodate container ships of 14,000 TEUs and general cargo ships of 160,000 DWT, helping export-import goods of the northern region be directly shipped to Europe or America by parent vessels instead of being transited in another port like in the past.
The terminal is set to handle goods equivalent to 1.1 million TEUs each year.
Vietnamese, Cuban embassies in Argentina enhance friendship
Vietnamese Ambassador to Argentina Dang Xuan Dung
The Vietnamese and Cuban Embassies in Argentina held an exchange programme in Buenos Aires on May 12, aiming to help enhance the friendship and close-knit ties between the two nations.
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador Dang Xuan Dung affirmed the support of the Party, Government and people of Vietnam for Cuba’s revolution and socio-economic model update, expressing his hope that Cuba will overcome all difficulties to succeed in socialism building.
He thanked the Cuban Party, Government and people for their valuable support, solidarity and fraternity with Vietnam during the country’s past struggle for national independence as well as its present Doi Moi (Reform) cause and national construction.
Vietnamese people also keep in mind Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s statement that “For Vietnam, Cuba is willing to shed its blood,” the diplomat stressed.
For his part, Cuban Ambassador Orestes Perez Perez highlighted the model relationship between Vietnam and Cuba, which, he said, has been tested over the past decades.
Applauding achievements Vietnam has recorded in economic development, the ambassador said Vietnam and Cuba will continue to stand side by side with each other in the path of socialism building despite changes of the era.
Vietnam hopes for enhanced cooperation with Brazil
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Brazilian Foreign Minister Nunes Ferreira witness the signing of the MoU between the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations and the Alexandre de Gusmao Foundation of Brazil
Vietnam treasures the increasing role of Brazil in the international arena and wishes to further promote comprehensive cooperation with the country, said Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.
Minh made the statement during talks with Brazilian Foreign Minister Nunes Ferreira on May 12, who is on an official visit to Vietnam from May 12-13.
The officials agreed that the Vietnam-Brazil relationship has recorded positive development across fields, especially in their closer political ties, which was showed through regular visits and meetings by senior leaders and ministry and sector officials.
The economic ties between the two countries have also witnessed significant expansion, with two-way trade in 2017 hit 3.87 billion USD, up 12 times in the last decade.
For his part, Nunes affirmed Brazil considers Vietnam as an important partner in Southeast Asia.
He spoke highly Vietnam’s increasing role and position in the region and the world, as well as his country’s determination to strengthen and expand the friendship and all-around cooperation with Vietnam.
Minh and Nunes underlined the need for the two sides to enhance exchange of visits, especially among senior leaders; promote the effective implementation of the Intergovernmental Committee on Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technological Cooperation; as well as maintain regular political consultations at deputy foreign minister level.
They agreed to continue implementing signed cooperation agreement, while completing the legal framework for their bilateral cooperation in the fields of diplomacy, defence industry, trade, investment; and fostering connection and direct partnership among their business communities.
The two sides also pledged to closely cooperate and support each other at international organisations and multilateral forums.
The Vietnamese official took the occasion to urge Brazil to soon recognise Vietnam’s market economy.
The officials witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the two countries’ diplomatic academies, and those between the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations and the Alexandre de Gusmao Foundation of Brazil.
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 15/5
New container port helps shorten way to Europe, Americas
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Sunday attended the grand opening of Hai Phong International Container Terminal, which allows direct shipments to Europe and the Americas.
Present at the ceremony included Japanese Ambassador to Viet Nam Umeda Kunio and representatives of the city local authorities.
The Terminal means exports from North Viet Nam will not have to be transited through other ports before reaching the above markets, thus helping reduce business costs and increase competitiveness of Vietnamese exports.
The Terminal is jointly invested by Sai Gon Newport Corporation (Viet Nam), MITSUI O.S.K Lines and Itochu (Japan) and Wan Hai Lines (Chinese Taipei), in which the Vietnamese corporation holds 51% stake.
Located in Cat Hai district, it is the first deep-water seaport in the Northern region, capable of receiving vessels up to 160,000 DWT.
Construction of the terminal began on May 12, 2016.
Vietjet Air to open Hai Phong-Busan (RoK) direct air route
The low-cost carrier Vietjet Air is finalizing procedures to launch a direct air route between Vietnam’s northern port city of Hai Phong to Busan in the Republic of Korea (RoK), reported the Vietnam Investment Review.
Busan port city is one of the biggest economic centres of the RoK with many tourist destinations.
A market survey of Vietjet Air showed that the Hai Phong-Busan route potential is high, thus the opening of an air route between the two localities is necessary to meet the demand in goods transport, trade and travel of people between the two sides.
The air route is also expected to help facilitate socio-economic development of Hai Phong and the whole northeastern coastal region in general.
As one of the important commercial and industrial hub in northern Vietnam, Hai Phong is striving to make tourism a spearhead economic sector and turn itself into one of the nation’s key tourism destinations.
According to the municipal People’s Committee’s action programme on tourism development from 2017–2020 with a vision through 2030, the city hopes to receive 8 million tourists and earn 3.5 trillion VND (154 million USD) with expected annual average growth rates of between 8.2 percent and 8.9 percent.
With a fleet of 56 aircraft, including A320s and A321s, Vietjet Air operates 385 flights each day. The airline has already transported more than 55 million passengers on a network featuring 82 routes in Vietnam and across the region to international destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia.
The airline plans to operate more than 120,000 flights and serve over 24.1 million passengers by the end of 2018. Additionally, it will provide services on a total of 100 air routes, including 39 domestic and 61 international airways.
Vietjet to offer promotional tickets from zero Vietnamese dong
The low-cost carrier Vietjet will launch the biggest promotion of the year “Free up your summer with Vietjet” from May 9 to July 31, with millions of super promotional tickets priced only from VND0, during the golden hours from 12:00 to 14:00, on their website www.vietjetair.com.
During the first week of the promotional campaign, Vietjet will present 3 golden days from May 9 to 11 with 2,000,000 promotional tickets.
The promotional fares, excluding VAT, airport fees and other surcharges, will be applied on all domestic and international routes from Vietnam to Seoul, Busan, Daegu (the Republic of Korea)/ Hong Kong/ Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung, Tainan (Taiwan - China)/ Singapore/ Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai (Thailand)/ Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)/ Yangon (Myanmar)/ Phnom Penh, Siem Reap (Cambodia).
The tickets are valid for passengers travelling between August 20 and December 31 this year, excluding public holidays.
The promotional tickets are available during the golden hours from 12:00 to 14:00 at www.vietjetair.com (also compatible with smartphones at https://m.vietjetair.com) or at www.facebook.com/vietjetvietnam (just click the “Booking” tab).
Payment can easily be made with Visa/ MasterCard/ AMEX/ JCB/ KCP/ or any ATM card issued by 34 Vietnamese banks that have registered with internet banking.
Aiming to be a “Consumer Airline”, Vietjet is continuously opening new routes, adding more aircraft, investing in modern technology and offering more added-on products and services to serve all of the demands of customers.
Vietnam, UK seek stronger partnership in customs
Director of the General Department of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can and UK Ambassador to Vietnam Giles Lever have agreed to strengthen the Vietnam-UK customs partnership through the signing of a letter of intent on possibilities of cooperation, heading to a governmental-level deal in the field.
The agreement was reached at a meeting of Can and the UK diplomat as well as UK customs representatives in Asia in Hanoi in early May, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
The deal is expected to focus on affiliation in facilitating trade, preventing smuggling and illegally transportation of drugs, wine, cigarette, banned goods, wild animals, as well as in developing human resources, providing technical support, and sharing information and experience.
The two sides concurred to implement a project to assist Vietnam Customs.
Steve Wood, UK customs official for Asia region, said that the project will provide Vietnam with information, experience, human resources training, as well as evaluation on world criminal trends related to land and sea borders, aviation and in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific region that relate to Vietnam, while introducing new measures and equipment serving the detection and fight of customs-related crimes.
At the meeting, the two sides also discussed preparations for a UK visit of the General Department of Vietnam Customs’ Director in August, during which both sides will officially exchange ideas on the possibility of signing a cooperation deal.
The UK ambassador also suggested cooperation with Vietnam in implementing a UK’s programme to facilitate global trade.
Licogi 16 aims for 110 million USD in consolidated revenue in 2018
Licogi 16 Joint Stock Company (Licogi 16) aims to earn 2.5 trillion VND (110 million USD) in consolidated revenue and roughly 1.96 trillion VND (86.2 million USD) in stand-alone revenue in 2018, up 65 percent and 69 percent year on year, respectively.
This year, it expects to achieve 123 billion VND (5.4 million USD) in consolidated after-tax profit and 73 billion VND (3.2 million USD) in stand-alone after-tax profit, year-on-year increases of 58 percent and 90 percent, respectively.
The company’s earnings will come from construction activities in a number of projects across the country, including Bac Giang – Lang Son and Ha Long – Van Don expressways, BOO Phu Ninh water treatment plant, Can Tho water treatment plant, Binh Tien Bridge and Road project, Da Nang - Quang Ngai expressway, Hiep Thanh and Nam Anh residential buildings and several electricity projects.
In addition, it will also collect incomes from 50-hectare and 27-hectare urban area projects in Long Tan commune, Nhon Trach district of southern Dong Nai province alongside the 3.4-hectare Nam Phuong City shopping centre.
The firm will offer a cash dividend of 10 percent, up about 3 percent from 2017.
FDI firms prefer commercial dispute arbitration
As many as 40 percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises choose to use commercial arbitration in cases of disputes, rather than going to court, said Phan Trong Dat, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC).
Speaking at a seminar, entitled, “Commercial Arbitration – Increasing Confidence in Foreign Direct Investment,” held in Hanoi late last week, Dat said the FDI firms chose commercial arbitration for resolving disputes because of its effectiveness, and due to its helping them save time and costs. Meanwhile, court proceedings to settle disputes failed to meet FDI requirements when many of the judgments were unfair, causing lengthy disputes and considerable expenses for enterprises.
Statistics showed that some 24 percent of disputes were resolved at VIAC and involved FDI as one of the parties. Of these, 32 percent were in the purchasing of goods, 24 percent in construction and 20 percent in leasing.
“More than a half of commercial arbitration cases at VIAC are resolved in foreign languages (mainly English),” he said, adding that the rate of disputes in the country has been on the rise in the last three years.
Vu Anh Duong, VIAC’s secretary general, said Vietnam has been considered one of the countries with high and stable economic growth in the region and the world. One of the reasons for the significant momentum for this growth was FDI activities in Vietnam.
Pham Manh Dung, VIAC’s arbitrator and a lawyer from Rajah and Tann LCT Lawyers Company Limited, said that by the end of 2017, Vietnam had 24,700 FDI projects with total registered capital of 318.7 billion USD, accounting for 25 percent of the total investment in the country and more than half of the nation’s total industrial production value.
Dung noted that FDI has had a large impact on Vietnam’s integration into the world economy.
“This has been an important factor for the country’s infrastructure development and in completing legal systems to develop market mechanisms that are suitable with international norms,” he said.
VIAC has striven to become a trusted address to resolve disputes, thus helping ensure the rights and benefits of investors seeking to invest in Vietnam.
Commercial arbitration in Vietnam has been increasingly developed to become a useful tool for foreign investors in the country.
Disputes in investment activities have many mechanisms for resolving conflicts, such as courts, commercial arbitration and foreign affairs. However, the courts have not been an attractive solution, while resolving disputes through foreign affair mechanisms have been used in certain cases.
Commercial arbitration and investment arbitration have been mostly preferred.
The dispute resolving mechanisms of commercial arbitration also faced challenges, said Fan Mingchao, Regional Director of Arbitration and ADR for North Asia at the International Chamber of Commerce.
He said the majority of challenges were concerning competitiveness, as the scale of disputes become larger and more complicated, resulting in prolonged time, which reduces its effectiveness.
The issues relating to security and transparency of arbitration procedures have also been a problem.
Security is a core feature of international arbitration, but transparency requirements are also increasingly high. In order to address this issue, agencies have approved and joined the transparency framework of the United Nations, he said.
The benefit has also been seen in commercial arbitration. He said that governments should build a transparent arbitration procedure to control the quality of arbitration decisions.
The seminar focused on discussing the necessity and efficiency of commercial arbitration methods as one of the most effective ways of resolving disputes related to FDI enterprises.
The seminar is divided into three sessions, with discussions on topics, such as: An update on the situation of commercial arbitration in Vietnam and around the world; Commercial Arbitration - A new element worth noting to attract foreign direct investment; Commercial arbitrage as a useful tool for controlling business risks.
The event is considered to be an important forum for lawyers and leading experts to share knowledge with enterprises and help Vietnamese enterprises to better understand and more effectively use commercial arbitration methods. Commercial arbitration is an effective tool in preserving capital inflows from legal risks in business investments.
More than 100 delegates from FDI enterprises, counterpart enterprises, potential partners with FDI enterprises, many prestigious lawyers, and representatives from State management agencies attended the seminar.
Reference exchange rate down at week’s beginning
The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate on May 14 at 22,550 VND/USD, down 10 VND from the last working day of previous week (May 11).
With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,226 VND/USD and the floor rate 21,874 VND/USD.
The opening hour rates at many commercial banks stayed unchanged from the end of last week.
Vietcombank and BIDV listed their buying rate at 22,735 VND/USD and the selling rate at 22,805 VND/USD, the same as on May 11.
Techcombank also maintained the same rates as on May 11 at 22,715 VND/USD (buying) and 22,815 VND/USD (selling).
During the week from May 7-11, the daily reference exchange rate followed a rising trend from Monday to Thursday, gaining accumulated 24 VND/USD before dropping 18 VND/USD on Friday.
However, the rates at major commercial banks remained stable with only slight fluctuations throughout the week.
Vietcombank and BIDV kept both rates unchanged at 22,735 VND/USD (buying) and 22,805 VND/USD (selling) since the beginning of the week (May 7).
Firms buy goods from distressed farmers
Korean supermarket chain Lotte Mart has bought more than 10 tonnes of pumpkins and five tonnes of watermelons from distressed farmers facing declining prices because of a bumper crop in Dak Lak and Quang Nam provinces.
Lotte Mart plans to increase the purchase volume to 50 tonnes of pumpkins.
To help farmers, the supermarket has paid them more than the price offered by traders.
Big C supermarkets have also bought pumpkins from farmers in Dak Lak District’s Cu Yang Commune.
Last Friday, the supermarket began selling pumpkins bought from farmers in Cu Yang Commune at VND4,900 per kg at its stores in the south.
The supermarket is expected to buy 60 tonnes of pumpkins within a week.
Nguyen Manh Hung, chairman of the Cu Yang People’s Committee, said Cu Yang commune in Eakar District was struggling the most.
Ethnic minority groups account for 42 per cent of the commune’s population. Agriculture is the main source of farmers’ incomes.
The commune has 3,200ha of farmland, with rice, maize, soybean and pumpkin the main crops.
This year, the farmers in the commune grew pumpkin on about 110ha, with productivity estimated at 20 tonnes per hectare.
The price fell to VND800 to VND1,500 per kg, but farmers were still unable to sell their product.
Hung attributed the situation to the shortage of companies specialising in purchasing farm produce in the area.
In Quang Nam Province, watermelon prices fell from VND8,000 per kg earlier this year to VND1,000-VND1,500 per kg, but demand plunged, leaving farmers with huge unsold stocks.
VN firms urged to tap Arab market
The affluent Middle East is a promising market for Vietnamese companies, the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said.
Speaking at the Viet Nam-Middle East Business Forum held in HCM City yesterday, Nguyen The Hung, deputy director of the VCCI’s HCM City office, said: “The Middle East has high demand for farm produce, seafood, garment and textile products, footwear, and wood products from Viet Nam.”
Trade between Viet Nam and the Middle East had gone up sharply in recent years, doubling from 2011 to US$12.8 billion last year, he said.
According to Le Thai Hoa, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Asia-Africa Market Department, Viet Nam enjoys a trade surplus with the Middle East, which consists of 16 countries and has more than 300 million people.
The United Arab Emirates is Viet Nam’s largest partner in the region, with their trade increasing from $4.46 billion in 2013 to $5.6 billion last year.
With a per capita GDP of over $60,000 and a large number of immigrants and tourists, the UAE has large demand for various products.
“Vietnamese goods such as seafood, garment and textile, footwear, farm produce, foodstuff and household appliances have established a firm foothold in the market,” he said.
But despite the increase in trade, Viet Nam’s exports to the Middle East still account for a very small portion of the region’s total imports.
The forum was held to further promote economic, trade and investment ties between the two sides, Hung said.
“Viet Nam hopes to attract more investment from the Middle East in the fields of renewable energy, hospitality, infrastructure, ports, aviation, property, and agriculture.”
Obaid al Dhaheri, the UAE ambassador to Viet Nam, said as the hub of the Middle East and gateway to Europe and Africa, his country could serve as an entry point to the global market for Vietnamese companies.
In turn, "Viet Nam is the gateway to Southeast Asia for UAE firms," he said.
“Thus, more opportunities to enhance co-operation between Viet Nam and UAE are available.”
When doing business with the region, enterprises must always keep a close eye on its unstable political situation, Hoa warned.
They must also understand the regulations of each market and Muslim cultural factors such as not consuming alcohol and requiring food and foodstuffs to have Halal certification, he said.
“Exporters of agro-forestry and fisheries products should focus on improving hygiene and food safety because the market is increasingly adopting trade barriers.”
Sharing his experience in doing business with the Middle East, Do Ha Nam, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Coffee and Cocoa Association and chairman of Intimex Group, which has exported to Dubai for nearly 20 years, said the market had huge demand for Vietnamese pepper, cashew, coffee, and seafood.
“To penetrate the market, enterprises should participate in trade fairs in Dubai, where they will meet potential customers. Finding a right business partner is very important," he said.
Also at the forum, Relam Investment L.L.C, a partnership between Dubai-based Vault Investment L.L.C and Viet Nam’s MIG Holdings, announced the establishment of Trade-Hub (T-Hub), a full-fledged trading and logistics platform, in Viet Nam to help Vietnamese firms promote their exports in Middle East and other markets.
The forum was organised by the VCCI in collaboration with MIG Holdings and Relam Investment.
Pepper output increases sharply but prices fall
Viet Nam’s output and export of pepper increased sharply last year, but their prices and thus turnover from exports fell, according to the industry association
The Viet Nam Pepper Association (VPA) and industry-related authorities attended a meeting on Friday in HCM City to review last year’s performance.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the General Statistic Office, Viet Nam has around 150,000 hectares under pepper and output last year was 240,000 tonnes, or 48 per cent of global production.
According to the VPA there was a decrease in the use of pesticides last year since farmers are more aware these days of better farming techniques.
Prices have been highly volatile: the price of black pepper for instance declined from VND133,000 per kilogramme in January to VND73,000 in December.
The General Department of Vietnam Customs said 215,000 tonnes of the spice were exported for US$1.1 billion, respectively up 20 per cent and down 22 per cent.
The reasons for the falling prices include climate change, a massive spike in the area under pepper, farmers’ inexperience, which have contributed to rising outputs but with poor quality.
In the first quarter of this year prices were around 30 per cent lower than a year ago, the VPA said.
Viet Nam’s exports this year are expected to be comparable to that of last year since the industry will continue to face all the current challenges such as climate change and diseases.
VPA plans to work more closely with farmers and businesses to help them comply with regulations and standards for pepper production and export and provide market information to help them make informed decisions.
The Western Highlands Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute said they were researching into better pepper strains capable of withstanding diseases.
Willem Scato van Walt Meijer, general director of Nedspice Processing Viet Nam Ltd., which has been operating in Binh Phuoc Province for the last five years, said quality control for exports and working closely with farmers were the keys to resolving the problems.
“We have a network of 1,600 farmers and trained them very carefully, and … do 100 per cent tracking and tracing of all our farms, which allows us to help certain farmers improve, monitor the effectiveness of each farmer, and reward outstanding farmers.”
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong had said at a meeting in January that the rapid increase in land under pepper should be addressed quickly and the pepper farming land should be reduced.
Ben Tre seeks more investors in agriculture
Ben Tre Province plans to carry out more public information initiatives and other activities to encourage investment in agriculture, according to Nguyen Huu Lap, the deputy chairman of the province’s People’s Committee.
The province plans to streamline administrative procedures and provide more assistance to projects after they have received approval. Departments have also been urged to provide help with construction procedures and the purchase of certificates.
In addition, more market information will be provided to businesses to help them make decisions about entering new markets and investing in modern technologies.
Ben Tre has provided VND32.6 billion (US$1.4 million) of funds to six agricultural businesses.
Every year, around 300 provincial businesses take part in trade promotion events.
Of the 3,940 businesses in Ben Tre Province; 253 are in the agricultural sector. The province aims to have 1,500 more new companies by 2020.
Thai firms eye business opportunities
More than 210 Thai enterprises are showcasing their products and services at the Top Thai Brands expo which opened on May 10 in HCM City.
The four-day exhibition offers exceptional opportunities to explore the extensive range of internationally-recognised Thai products and services and discover the business potential in various sectors such as automobile and motorcycle parts and accessories, beauty and healthcare products, food and beverages, and fashion.
The fair also features services like education, tourism, franchise businesses, and food services.
Viet Nam has seen strong business expansion and investment by Thai firms in the last few years, Nguyen Van Nga, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Agency for Southern Affairs, said.
Last year Thailand was its largest trade partner among ASEAN members, she said.
Last year bilateral trade topped US$15.11 billion, accounting for 30.5 per cent of Viet Nam’s trade within ASEAN.
The expo has attracted many major Thai brands and firms looking for opportunities to expand their business and franchise, she said.
Ureerat Ratanaprukse, the Thai consul general in HCM City, said Thai investment in just the last 10 months was $9.3 billion.
“This reflects the confidence of the Thai private sector in Viet Nam’s vibrant economy.”
According to her, the event not only creates business opportunities for the Thai private sector but also market access for Vietnamese to top quality products and services, thus benefiting both Thai and Vietnamese entrepreneurs.
Top Thai Brands 2018 is expected to contribute greatly to achieving the bilateral trade target of $20 billion by 2020 as agreed by the two countries, she added.
The fair, on at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7, is being organised by the Thai Trade Centre in HCM City in collaboration with the Viet Nam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company.
SHB profit up 64 per cent in Q1
Sai Gon-Ha Noi Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SHB) reported post-tax profit of VND402 billion (US$17.6 million) in the first quarter of this year, up 64 per cent year-on-year.
However, profit margin remained modest with a return-on-equity (ROE) of 2.6 per cent. Earnings per share was approximately VND332.
The main reason for this quarter’s profit growth came from a drop in provisioning expenses and a 16.1 per cent increase in net profit, which touched over VND1 trillion.
Revenue from the service activities of the bank decreased 24.6 per cent, reaching approximately VND58.4 billion, the lowest level in the past two years.
Revenue from payment activities accounted for the largest portion of total revenue, touching nearly VND42 billion.
Derivatives market records surge in transaction value
The derivatives market proved its attractiveness when the value of its transactions rose threefold in April as the stock market posted a downward trend, reported Saigon Securities Inc (SSI).
An SSI financial and monetary report this week showed that since the beginning of 2018, the stock market experienced two downward periods in February and April when the liquidity of derivatives grew strongly.
The value of transactions in the derivatives market increased three times from the average of over VND2 trillion (US$87.7 million) in the beginning of April to VND6 trillion at the end of the month. It peaked at VND7.1 trillion on May 3, approximating the total transaction value of VND7.3 trillion in the stock market.
The derivatives market attracted a considerable amount of capital from the stock market, mainly from domestic investors.
SSI said Viet Nam’s securities market witnessed a series of widespread nosedives when the number of codes with declines doubled those with increases. All groups of key shares fell sharply, causing a psychological pressure on the overall market.
The benchmark VN Index surged in the first quarter of 2018 to set a record of 1,204.33 points on April 9, up by 220 points or 22.4 per cent from the end of last year and 49 per cent in six months.
However, the market reported continuous plunge since then when the VN Index dropped to 1,050.26 points in late April, losing 154 points or 12.8 per cent of the new record. The total market capitalisation in HCM Stock Exchange, Ha Noi Stock Exchange and the Unlisted Public Company Market decreased by $20 billion to combined $173 billion.
Foreign investors were net buyers last month, which was attributable to a tumble in the global stock market in February, changes in global interest rates when the administration of US President Donald Trump took drastic actions to protect US businesses, possibility of an interest rate hike by FED sooner than expected and risk of a widespread trade war.
That more large-cap stocks carried out initial public offerings and were listed in the market might have also led to foreign funds’ restructuring of their investment items, according to SSI.
Southeast Asia’s e-commerce platform raises new funding round
iPrice Group, Southeast Asia’s product discovery and price comparison platform, raised a new round of funding from messaging app Line’s venture capital arm, Line Ventures.
Its existing backers, including Cento Ventures and Venturra, also took part in this round, the company announced.
The e-commerce website refused to disclose the funding value when contacted by Việt Nam News, but it is estimated at some US$4 million, according to technology website Tech Crunch’s source.
iPrice raised $4 million Series A funding in late 2016. Since then, more than 50 million online shoppers have visited its website, which has expanded its product catalogue from few dozens of millions to over 500 million SKUs (stock keeping units) across seven markets, including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Việt Nam and Hong Kong.
“iPrice, which is driving the explosive growth of e-commerce in Southeast Asia, has the most promising team with the right talents, technology and operational excellence. In turn, they [iPrice] will become the first destination in the online shopping journey in Southeast Asia,” said June Cha, general manager of Line Ventures.
iPrice has set up strategic B2B (business-to-business) partnerships with some large media groups and brands, such as Mediacorp, Thairath and Samsung, by offering them tailored affiliate solutions.
Last year, it introduced an insightful report on the development of e-commerce in Southeast Asia.
More than 1,000 co-operatives to join trade fair
More than 1,000 co-operatives from 63 provinces and cities nationwide will take part in a trade promotion fair for co-operatives, slated to be held at Thong Nhat Park in Ha Noi from May 18-20.
They will showcase farm produce, seafood, fishery, industrial and service goods besides fine arts and handicrafts at nearly 400 booths, organisers said at a press conference to introduce the fair last week.
The forthcoming event will also attract the participation of 40 big businesses and about 100 delegates who are clients, partners and cooperatives from many countries and territories around the world such as South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.
Nguyen Ngoc Bao, chairman of the Viet Nam Cooperative Alliance, described the fair as a good chance for Vietnamese cooperatives to advertise their products and services to domestic consumers and exchange business opportunities with foreign cooperatives and businesses.
Oil firms pile up losses, shares take beating
The first quarter of this year saw the Petroleum Equipment Assembly & Metal Structure Joint Stock Company (PXS)’s revenues plummet to a mere VNĐ18.5 billion (US$815,000), 94.4 per cent down year-on-year.
It had been VNĐ343.6 billion in the comparable period last year.
Gross profit was down 94 per cent to VNĐ2.85 billion, and the company ended VNĐ20.1 billion in the red.
Another oil company, Petrovietnam Drilling and Well Services Joint Stock Company (PV Drilling), reported a gross loss of VNĐ201 billion.
The Drilling Mud Joint Stock Company (DMC) reported a loss of VNĐ12.8 billion.
Market observers said the huge losses run up by the companies sent the prices of their shares plunging on the stock market.
PXS has fallen by 41.1 per cent to VNĐ6,190.
PV Drilling is down 36 per cent to VNĐ14,950.
Petrovietnam –Nghệ An Investment & Trading Joint Stock Company shares have fallen by 43 per cent to current VNĐ800 as compared with the price recorded in sessions in early year.
While several other oil companies like PXT, PSE, PCR, PPY, PBP and PSD did not report losses, their profits were sharply down.
Following their huge losses many of the oil companies have been placed under the Government’s special control, with some even being on the brink of having to delist their shares because their accumulated losses exceed their charter capital.
Petrovietnam –Nghệ An, for instance, saw its accumulated losses exceed its capital as of December 31 last year.
According to current legal provisions, the company would have to delist.
To improve the situation, many of the companies have outlined new plans with measures like restructuring, selling of stakes and recovery of debts.
But analysts said it would be not easy for them to improve their situation because they depend heavily on global oil prices, which show no signs of recovery.
Banks rejig deposit interest rate structure
Many banks have recently reduced deposit interest rates by 0.2-0.4 percentage points.
On March 30 VPBank cut its rates for deposits of less than six months and 12-36 months by 0.2 percentage points.
It also reduced the rates by 0.3 and 0.4 percentage points for 6-7 months and 8-11 months.
VIB cut deposit interest rates twice in March and now its rates for 1-3 month deposits are down by 0.3-0.5 percentage points and for more than six months by 0.2-0.4 percentage points.
Military Bank has reduced the rates for short-term deposits by 0.1-0.2 percentage points.
The rate cutting has been attributed to a credit slowdown and lenders’ excellent liquidity.
But a closer look shows the reason lies elsewhere.
Some banks have reduced interest rates on short-term deposits but hiked the rates on long-term deposits to even up to 8.7 per cent.
This suggests that they have not cut interest rates because of plentiful liquidity but due to their rejigging of deposit terms.
The State Bank of Việt Nam had, last December, issued a circular reducing the ratio of short-term deposits used for funding medium- and long-term loans from 50 per cent to 45 per cent this year and 40 per cent next year.
Thus, to meet this requirement, banks need to increase mobilisation of long-term deposits.
Meanwhile, growth in short-term loans has been low while medium- and long-term loans are increasing quickly.
The National Financial Supervisory Committee reported that in the first quarter of this year long-term credit grew by 4.3 per cent compared to only 2.6 per cent in the case of short-terms loans.
The ratio of medium- and long-term loans to total outstanding loans increased from 52.8 per cent late last year to 53.2 per cent now.
While for obvious reasons banks desire a high ratio of long- and medium-term deposits, in reality 90 per cent of their deposits are short-term.
Meanwhile, 60-70 per cent of their loans are for long terms, especially real estate-related credit.
Analysts said though the banking sector has been making efforts to reduce the ratio of short-term deposits used for funding long- and medium-term loans following the SBV’s diktat, they are not making much headway. Long- and medium-term loans still make up 53 per cent of total outstanding loans as against the 15 per cent long- and medium-term deposits they have mobilised.
Big companies raise profile of OTC market
Recently many sector-leading companies and others with excellent growth potential have seen their shares trade on the over-the-counter (OTC) exchange.
They include Techcombank, Cenland and Hải Phát Invest.
Their presence has significantly raised the profile of the OTC market.
Late last month Techcombank successfully sold more than 164 million shares to foreign institutional investors at a price of VNĐ128,000.
The deal helped raise VNĐ21 trillion (US$922 million) and valued the lender at $6.5 billion.
In the first quarter of this year Techcombank shares have been averaging between VNĐ95,000 and VNĐ100,000 at free transactions. On the OTC, they have been traded at VNĐ113,000-120,000.
Cenland is considered to be the first distributor of real estate products in Việt Nam. The company has already launched an initial public offering of its shares besides selling stakes to Dragon Capital and Vina Capital.
According to Dealstreetasia, Vinacapital paid $10 million for a 12 per cent stake while Dragon Capital owns 13 per cent of the company.
Cenland’s shares are traded on the OTC at around VNĐ50,000.
Also involved in the real estate sector, the Hải Phát Invest Joint Stock Company has legal capital of VNĐ1.5 trillion and sold a 15 per cent stake to Dragon Capital last year.
Its shares are traded on the OTC at around VNĐ30,000.
Last week the OTC market became hotter after information about the listing date of Vinhome, a subsidiary of Vingroup, was released.
Many investors are eagerly awaiting the trading of Vinhomes shares on the OTC market.
Vingroup has announced that Vinhomes and another member company of the group have signed a deal with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC Private Limited.
Under the agreement, GIC will invest US$1.3 billion in two forms: buy Vinhomes shares and provide a debt instrument to Vinhomes (such as loans) to implement its projects. Credit Suisse (Singapore) Limited acted as the consultant for the deal.
Market observers pointed out that the situation on the OTC is in direct contrast to the gloom on the stock markets.
Lazada delivers a damaged-battery laptop, not support client to return or exchange
Lazada delivered a laptop with damaged battery and keyboard and has been delaying refund or exchange for a month now.
Pham Hai Binh (Giap Bat ward, Hoang Mai district, Hanoi) told VIR that he bought a Dell Latitude E6410 laptop on Lazada in early April under the order ID 200613023746147. He spent VND3.89 million ($171.4) on this item, which is VND1 million ($44) cheaper than the selling price in other stores.
However, when he received the laptop, after short use, he realised that the keyboard was stuck and cannot type while the battery has been almost completely dead. A full charge could power the laptop for only 15 minutes and the machine would be very hot throughout the time.
Binh immediately contacted the customer department of Lazada to ask for a refund or exchange, but was not supported, although the website promises to: “Return or exchange items easily within 14 days, even if you simply do not like the product.”
He has tried to return the item in two ways, by contacting Lazada to send an employee to take the laptop and to send it by post. However, Lazada did not send anybody to take the item and did not send him their postal address for delivery to send it via post.
Meanwhile, Lazada’s warehouse is located in Bac Ninh province, 30 kilometres from Hanoi.
“I asked for a refund or exchange nearly a month ago. I talked to them more than ten times by chatting or calling but I have only been told to “Please wait for 48 hours”—and nobody contacted me since then. Now I know this service (return/exchange services) does not work and 48-hour reply is a scam. Are there any other ways to get a refund or an exchange?”
The case is not good at a time when Lazada is celebrating its six years' anniversary in Vietnam.
Looking on the website of Lazada, it can be seen that information on numerous items is very ambiguous, as customers cannot know if they are new or used and how long the warranty period is. There are some comments at the bottom of the website, but the cheap prices draw most customers’ attention.
Thus, the Vietnam Competition Authority should quickly finish its on-going investigations and announce the conclusions so that customers can be in the clear about what they face with Lazada in order to ensure fairness and transparency in online shopping.
The number of complaints making it to news should be a wake up call for Lazada to radically re-invent its business practices, as well as improve the quality of goods and services on its platform if they want to operate in Vietnam for a long time.
Japanese air-conditioning giant Daikin Industries will open its first production base in Vietnam this Friday (May 18), marking its newest step to boost presence in the country.
Located in the northern province of Hung Yen, the $100-million factory has a capacity of 500,000 units a year, which is planned to increase to one million units by 2020, to cash in on the growing demand for residential-use air conditioners in the country, which is predicted to rise to 40 per cent (market penetration) by 2020 from the current 22 per cent.
According to Ly Thi Phuong Trang, president of Daikin Air Conditioning Vietnam JSC, the Asia-Pacific region is among Daikin’s most important investment destinations in the world. In Vietnam, residential-use air conditioner sales were 2.3 million units in 2015 and are forecast to climb to four million units in 2020. Residential-use air conditioners rank fifth in long-lasting consumer products in the country, just behind automobiles, TVs, refrigerators, and washing machines.
Over the past few years, Daikin has been importing air conditioners to Vietnam, mainly from its subsidiary in Thailand. The Thai production facilities have been operating at full capacity since the third quarter of 2015 due to growing demand from Vietnam and other markets. Also, supply have lately failed to keep pace with demand.
With Daikin's move in, competition in the local market is expected to heat up. Other market leaders are now Panasonic, Samsung, Gree, LG, Midea, Mitsubishi, Sharp, Toshiba, and Electrolux.
Currently, Daikin Industries has operations in Japan, China, Australia, India, Southeast Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
Paper factory’s investment certificate to be revoked
The People’s Committee in central Quang Ngai Province has asked the provincial Department of Planning and Investment to revoke the investment certificate of Tan Mai Pulp and Paper Factory.
The committee has requested the department to issue a written termination of investment in accordance with the provisions of the 2014 Investment Law.
The decision was taken after the factory failed to operate in time.
Deputy director of the factory Le Quang Phuc said thousands of tonnes of machinery and equipment had been abandoned and exposed to sunlight for five years because the factory had not operated.
The factory had rented nine workers to maintain and protect the machinery and equipment, he said.
The project was granted an investment certificate in March 2009 and was scheduled for completion in 2011. Construction kicked off in July 2010 but had to be suspended in 2012.
The investor’s identity has not been disclosed.
The factory, which was expected to be the largest project in Vietnam’s paper sector, was designed to produce 130,000 tonnes of pulp and 200,000 tonnes of paper per year. The initial investment was VNĐ1.95 trillion (US$85.43 million), of which 30 per cent came from the investor and the remainder was from loans. After an adjustment of five times, the investment capital was increased to more than VNĐ5 trillion.
AEON MALL Haiphong Le Chan to open in 2020
AEON MALL's sixth commercial centre in Vietnam, AEON MALL Haiphong Le Chan, started construction on May 13, 2018. The facility is expected to be put into operation in 2020.
Yasutsugu Iwamura, general director of AEON MALL Vietnam, told VIR that the project is estimated to cost $190 million.This will be AEON MALL's sixth mall in Vietnam and third in the north. The company is deepening its footprint as a Life Design Developer creating a life for the future.
When put into operation, AEON MALL Haiphong Le Chan is expected to attract more than 13 million customers per year from Haiphong city and neighboring areas such as Quang Ninh, Hai Duong, and Thai Binh.
This will not only be an ideal place for shopping but also a multi-functional complex which will create an exciting environment for social and cultural exchange for customers at all ages with many integrated entertainment and educational facilities.
In addition, with the commencement of Nguyen Van Linh Overpass under the Ho Sen-Cau Rao 2 project, AEON MALL Haiphong Le Chan will play an important role in improving the infrastructure of the area, contributing to the new look of Le Chan district and catering to the city’s need for comprehensive and synchronised urbanisation.
AEON MALL Haiphong Le Chan will follow the consistent design style of environment-friendly space, large parking area, and the philosophy of innovating customer shopping experience with a wide range of business categories, convenient facilities, and exciting entertainment.
Haiphong is the largest international gateway port city in North Vietnam, while it is also the economic, industrial, cultural, medical, educational, scientific, commercial, and technological center of the Northern coastal region.
Over the past years, the city has made remarkable progress in terms of infrastructure, with projects like the Hanoi-Haiphong highway, Lach Huyen International Port, as well as frequently invested and expanded industrial parks (VSIP, Trang Due, Deep C and South Dinh Vu), and as a result, the city has become the leading foreign and domestic investment attraction in Vietnam.
Le Chan district is driven by Haiphong to develop in an open direction with a series of urban renovation and development, infrastructure, and new housing projects.
Nippon Sheet Glass to restart idle thin glass float factory in Vietnam
Japanese glass producer Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG) will pump part of a $365 million investment into upgrading and restarting a currently dormant thin glass float factory in Vietnam, according to the company website.
It is part of the expansion of its production capacity of online TCO (transparent conductive oxide) coated glass to support the growing solar market. Accordingly, the remainder of the $365 million will be used to develop a new glass production facility in the US over the next three years.
According to newswire Nikkei Asian Review, the plant in Vietnam is scheduled to reopen as soon as mid-2019. Meanwhile, the operations at the new US factory will start in the second half of the 2020 fiscal year. A site has not yet been chosen, but is expected to be near major customer First Solar's new plant in the state of Ohio.
Plans call for raising capacity by about 30 per cent for a special glass coated in a transparent conductive film that forms the topmost layer of thin-film solar panels. The glass can also be used for other purposes like construction.
In order to realise this target, Nippon Sheet Glass will sign a long-term supply agreement with First Solar, the world’s leading provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems with holding about 5 per cent of the global solar panel market and rapidly rising output in the US and Asian countries like Malaysia. The completed panels are likely to be used for projects like massive solar power plants in the US and Asia.
Resuming the operations of Nippon Sheet Glass’ plant in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau is considered a motivation for accelerating the construction of the unfinished segment of the First Solar project in Vietnam.
In January 2018, First Solar Vietnam held a career day at Binh Duong’s Mira Hotel to support the recruitment of associates across the company’s operations. The company will be developing local talent in roles that include manufacturing operators, quality engineers, supplier quality engineers, EHS engineers, shift managers, IT staff, and all manner of administrative and support roles—bringing First Solar’s total number of associates to over 950 in the nation.
First Solar has re-affirmed its commitment to Vietnam by injecting an additional $360 million into the construction of a second 1.2GW high-tech factory at South East Industrial Zone in Ho Chi Minh City, bringing the total investment to $830 million.
“First Solar Vietnam is looking forward to gearing up and teaming up for 2018,” said Chan See Chong, First Solar Vietnam’s managing director.
Regarding the Nippon Sheet Glass plant, previously, in June 2014, the company took the $123-million thin glass float factory into operation. The factory was operated by wholly-owned subsidiary NSG Vietnam Glass Industries Limited (VGI) in Ba Ria-Vung Tau’s My Xuan A Industrial Park.
However, two years later, the firm had to suspend the factory. According to the release posted on the company’s website, this was an exit from loss-making businesses, “thus minimising losses, aiming to swiftly eliminate obstacles to a further recovery in Nippon Sheet Glass’ performance.”
Vietnam retail sector is undergoing a dramatic transformation and evolution
Vietnam’s retail sector is undergoing a dramatic transformation and evolution, according to Mr. Troy Griffiths, Deputy Managing Director of Savills Vietnam. He made this statement at the workshop “Next Generation Retail – Embracing Design for Future Opportunities” which was held by Savills Vietnam on May 10 in Hanoi.
Mr. Troy pointed out that in the past, this type of contemporary retail was very rare.
However, a series of new products now are appearing on the market and many shopping centers that have modern designs are sprouting up. Retail is changing everyday, and this also has a big impact on consumer behavior.
“In the future, we will have the chance to witness many new retail models with modern facilities that are entertaining and creative,” he added. “In addition, the e-commerce market in Vietnam is growing rapidly with the development of smart technology. All these changes and evolutions are aimed to serve consumers.”
At the workshop he also said that in addition to the transformation of the traditional retail model, technology investments such as apps, smartphones, and e-commerce make the purchase of goods much easier. The recent cooperation of many traditional retailers and e-commerce platforms is also a response to the adaptation and change towards a retail paradigm that fits with the times and consumers.
Mr. Troy also affirmed that it’s very unfortunate that foreign retailers who want to enter the Vietnam market don’t pay attention to the market potential, the dynamics of the young population, and the habit of using a smartphone. Understanding consumers, especially consumers in Vietnam, is not easy. That’s why the retail market in Vietnam is not suitable for those who just focus on the potential of a rising market. The younger generation also carries a decisive factor that affects the majority of consumer habits and behaviors.
“We have witnessed many successes and failures and the lesson is to learn thoroughly before implementing any plans,” said Mr. Troy. “The Vietnamese market has many factors, including ideal timing, fast expansion, high-income consumers and diverse shopping preferences.”
Also at the workshop, Mr. Trevor Vivian, Managing Director of Benoy Architecture & Master Planning said that shopping centers are changing throughout Asia partly because of the change of consumers and their habits.
The change of the Vietnam retail market is very obvious, especially in HCMC and Hanoi. The change comes from the transformation of the early economic market into an economy that can be called “delicate.” It comes from the retail sector itself. Even design trends have spread to the food industry. In addition to being delicious, Vietnamese food is also extremely beautiful. “The market is changing so fast, so we need to quickly learn more,” Mr. Trevor noted.
Mr. Trevor also mentioned that foreign brands entering the market is a positive sign. “This combination will bring about a change in the retail and consumer environment in Vietnam,” he added.
On the other hand, Mr. Nicholas Bradstreet, Managing Director, Head of Leasing, Savills Hong Kong said that Vietnam's retail sector achieved impressive growth of about $129.6 billion in 2017, up 10.6 per cent from 2016. “Retailers as well as landlords need to be prepared to respond to new trends, such as adding more entertainment value and food for customers in addition to shopping,” he added. “The pop-up store model is also a popular solution as it has a wide range of activities such as product launches, branding, and market testing.”
Renewable energy in Vietnam has great potential yet poor exploitation
The renewable energy in Vietnam possesses great potential, yet exploiting it still quite poor, according to professionals in the international conference ‘Integrating aquaculture and renewable energy system, a driving force for renewable energy development in Vietnam’ held in Ho Chi Minh City on May 11.
When evaluating the importance of energy in aquaculture, Mr. Nhu Van Can, representative of the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that at the moment, the energy cost for raising prawn is around VND50 – 200 million per hectare per crop (around $2,196 – 8,785) depending on the investment scale. This accounts for 10 percent of the total expense cost.
Therefore, according to Deputy Director of the Southern Power Corporation (EVN SPC) Nguyen Phuoc Duc, renewable energy is a very effective solution to reduce the pressure of energy lack.
What is more, thanks to a surplus of sunshine and wind, aquaculture farms in the south-central areas are ideal places to install and make use of solar and windy energy in production.
However, according to Mr. Tran Viet Ngai, Head of the Vietnam Energy Association, the renewable energy in Vietnam has great potential, but due to the poor exploitation, it becomes quite ineffective, especially for the task of aquaculture production.
Analyses from his association estimate that Vietnam can harness about 30GW of wind energy inland and 100GW more offshore.
Vietnam can also produce an ideal amount of solar energy thanks to the long time of sunshine and the large surface area exposed to the sun from North to South. Nevertheless, until the end of 2016, this renewable energy accounted for less than 3 percent of the total 42,341MW of the whole electricity system.
Explanation of the Vietnam Electricity reveals that the low performance of renewable energy is because it is only developed locally. In addition, it is very difficult to have a synchronous growth of the electricity grid since the locations of the building projects are still unidentified.
The unstable capacity of this kind of energy may be due to the dependence on wind force or solar radiation.
However, the most important reason is that there is a serious lack of a specific standard system, construction standard system, or an operation standard system for renewable energy.
In order to effectively exploit this kind of energy, professionals suggested that the government should encourage its development, especially solar energy installed on roofs and wind energy in the Southern area.
It is also recommended that policies and regulations be made to attract investment while local authorities create conditions for the allocation of land for renewable energy projects and introduce tax incentives for those projects.
Banks warn customers over online scamming
The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) and the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) have issued official warnings to customers over online phishing scams.
An user logs onto BIDV’s e-banking platform. - Photo thebank.vn
Both banks have reported information theft through e-banking counterfeiting, with cardholders’ negligence taken advantage of to steal their personal information, card data and passwords by asking them to input these on a fake website programmed to resemble the banks’ authentic online platform.
For example, two fake addresses were listed as homebank247.com/Bidv, or homebank247.com/Vietcombank. These fraud sites used forged interfaces mimicking the two banks’ real online banking services domains.
Vietcombank and BIDV confirmed that their official registered websites are vietcombank.com.vn and bidv.com.vn, respectively.
To protect personal information, Vietcombank said their customers should only use the website provided above and carefully read their safety transaction guide.
BIDV also advised customers not to login to the e-banking system from links sent via emails, which often contain unconfirmed advertising information from unknown sources.
If customers suspect that they have already accessed these fake links, they should change their password and contact BIDV for assistance immediately.
The move is a follow-up action by banks to ensure data thievery incidents, like Agribank’s 12 hacked accounts earlier in May, would not happen again.
The probability of cyber crime happening to banks is low as they have established security systems, so often times customers are a more vulnerable target, according to BIDV.
The majority of bank account thefts occur due to disclosure of personal information, said Ho Duc Dung, an expert in banking security.
According to Dung, cardholders should not deposit too much money in their ATM card accounts, and to set the lowest possible limit for credit cards in case of overcharges due to fraudulent activities.
He advised users to never lend anyone their card, and to change their personal identification number (PIN) often, as hackers could easily capture all personal information such as account numbers, PINs, or even CVV/CVC numbers on the back of the credit card to appropriate funds on the customer’s account.
Previously, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) reported that less than 11 per cent of cardholders in the country are aware that data thievery can occur to them instead of their financial institutions.
The SBV warned that e-banking users should understand their rights and obligations as customers, as well as the risks attached.
Previously, in 2017, the SBV noted a number of new fraudulent domain names registered for the purpose of mimicking banks’ official sites, not only to gain customer information, but also to provide untrustworthy loan services, customised to trick even seasoned users.
The SBV warned local banks about other hazards such as black box attacks and malware attacks, and required these bank branches to regularly inspect and monitor their ATM system to promptly detect suspicious signs, while installing 24/7 high-definition security cameras at withdrawal spots.
Social News In Brief 15/5Police must have plan to protect “street knights”
Chairman Phong visits a street knight in the hospital
In a tour to People’s 115 hospital to visit “street guardians" who were stabbed while trying to stop a gang of four robbers from stealing an expensive scooter, Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong today stressed police in the city must have plan to protect “street knights”.
Chairman Phong added that it is needed to protect these men who are ready to sacrifice for the city people’s safety and property.
The ‘street knights’ yesterday followed the gang of robbers from Tan Binh District to district 3 where they stopped in front of the store and started to steal an SH scooter parked there. Being chased by the street guardians, the gang of robbers took out weapons to aggressively fight back. Consequently, two men died and three men were seriously wounded.
Hospital deputy director Dr. Bui Minh Trang said that the hospital admitted three men who were rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Forty-two year old Nguyen Van Thoi and 29 year old Nguyen Hoang Nam had wound in their heart and their body turned blue. Despite doctors’ efforts to save him, they succumbed to the wound.
Fifty year old man Tran Van Hoang was also taken to the hospital with multiple injuries with his gut hanging out. Surgeons of inter- departments in the hospital worked together to save him.
Three men live in Tan Binh District and are ‘street guardian’ group which voluntarily patrol their neighborhoods to detect and catch criminals who try to take away people’s asset.
Additionally, two 22-year-old students joining in the fight against the thieves were fatally injured by slash.
Grateful for their chivalrous deed of the street guardians, Chairman Phong requested police force to seek for a gang of four robbers and hospitals to take care of wounded knights.
Vietnamese contemporary paintings exhibited in Algeria
An exhibition showcasing paintings by a Vietnamese artist is being organised for the first time in Algeria from May 13-14 by the Vietnamese Embassy in the country in collaboration with the Algerian Ministry of Culture.
The exhibition is one of the activities held in the framework of the cultural exchange and cooperation programme between Vietnam and Algeria.
Oil painting works by Vietnamese painter Nguyen Minh Son displayed at the exhibition help introduce natural landscapes across Vietnam to local viewers, including those spotlighting the beauty of Hoi An ancient city in central Quang Nam province, Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh northeastern province, and Sword Lake in capital city of Hanoi.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Ambassador Pham Quoc Tru highlighted the significance of the event, saying that it aims to promote the painting art of Vietnam, especially modern paintings.
The activity is hoped to help locals get insights into Vietnam’s culture and people, thus contributing to enhancing the Vietnam-Algeria relationship and the friendship between the Vietnamese and Algerian people, he stressed.
Youngsters make fortune on agriculture
Given the high unemployment rate among urban youngsters, Youth Unions in some localities have taken various measures in order to address the issue. Safe vegetables farms in the South Central Coastal province of Quang Ngai are among those initiatives.
Realising the locality’s high unemployment rate and leftover farming land, Đức Chánh communal Youth Union in Quang Ngai province in early 2016 asked the local authorities to deploy safe vegetables farms. Having gained the necessary approval, the Union managed to gather 20 local youngsters and raise sufficient fund to kick off the project.
According to Vo Ngoc Nam, Project Manager, the area was originally allocated for rice farming but it was ineffective. He and his companions saw the land’s untapped potential and asked the locality change it into vegetable farming. Then they called for the help of local youngsters. It has been three years and we are thinking of expanding the model.
The project has proved effective as it makes use of the local unemployed youngsters’ spare time while earning them quite a deal.
The initiative was recognised with a prestigious award by the Central Youth Union in 2017.
Nguyen Van Lam, Secretary of Duc Chanh Communal Youth Union, Mo Duc district, Quang Ngai province told reporters: "The local idle labour force accounts for a large number so we came up with the idea of agricultural restructuring. When carrying out the project, technical issue is also a challenge. The local agricultural promotion centre also helps by organising frequent technical training classes."
Besides the local Youth Union, some individuals have also run their own business of vegetables farming and gained positive achievements.
Le Thi Dat is among such people. Overcoming numerous difficulties at first, now she has a veggie farm of over 5 hectares with more than 20 species. Also her products have received positive feedbacks from customers.
Dat said: "Chronic diseases are common now partly because of unsafe food. So, hygienic vegetables are winning customers. We are planning to open chain stores selling clean vegetables under farm-to-store model so that customers can completely have faith on our products."
According to Tran Van Man, Chairman of Mo Duc district People’s Committee,Quang Ngai province, there have been lots of projects on clean vegetables by youngsters in Mo Duc district in recent years. They are well educated, innovative and bold so they succeeded.
He also pledged to create the most favorable conditions for them to develop.
As start-up movement has been promoted in recent time, many youngsters have taken advantage of their localities’ conditions and made a fortune. Quang Ngai province is now home to 80 economic models owned by youngsters with average income of over 3,000 USD a year.
National vocational contest honours skilled workers
Contestants at the 9th National Skills Competition in 2016
Contestants from across Vietnam are showing off their vocational skills in 26 professions at the ongoing 10th National Skills Competition.
As many as 520 competitors in 56 teams from ministries, sectors and localities nationwide registered to participate in the biennial event, which are being organised in Hanoi and the northern province of Ha Nam from May 13-20.
The activity aims to honour young workers with high vocational skills, and encourage emulation movements in enterprises and vocational training institutions, thus improving the quality of young labourers and increasing labour productivity.
The competitors will compete in 24 official professions including electro mechanics, mechanical technical design; welding; industrial automation; mobile robotics; electronics, hi-tech machine maintenance; website designing; IT software solutions; graphic design, fashion technology; automobile technology; hairstyling; cooking; restaurant services and civil carpentry.
Demonstrations will be held for two other professions which are automobile paint and Internet of Things.
The three best performers at the event will be awarded with gold, silver and bronze medals, while all contestants will receive certificates from the organising board.
The most excellent contestants will represent Vietnam at the 12th ASEAN Skills Competition in Thailand from August 26 - September 4, 2018 and the 44th World Skills Competition in Russia from August 22-27, 2018.
Vietnamese language class opens in Algeria
The Vietnamese language class held at the Embassy of Vietnam in Algiers, Algeria
A Vietnamese language class opened at the Embassy of Vietnam in Algeria’s capital city of Algiers on May 12, meeting the demand to learn the language and explore Vietnamese culture of students in Algiers and neighbouring localities.
The language class, taught by staff members of the embassy, attracts about 30 learners aged 10-50, including members from one family.
In his opening remark, Vietnamese Ambassador to Algeria Pham Quoc Tru said the class aims to help children of overseas Vietnamese (OVs) in Algeria and students learning Vietnamese martial arts in the country speak the language and understand more about Vietnamese culture, spirit and martial arts.
He also voiced his hope that the class will strengthen the bond between the Vietnamese community and Algerian people who love Vietnam.
Moluk, Vice President of the Vietnamese traditional martial arts Son Long Quyen Thuat league in Algeria, also a student of the class, said the Vietnamese language and traditional martial arts will bring people of Vietnam and Algeria closer.
A student of the class, Serine Rahile, 20, is attending the class along with her two siblings. They are among the third generation of OVs in Algeria and currently living in Boufarik province, more than 30km away from Algiers.
Rahile expressed her hope that thanks to the class, she will be able to speak the language with her relatives in Vietnam and Vietnamese people in Algeria.
Deputy PM orders probe into traffic accident
Representatives of the National Committee for Traffic Safety visit a victim yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình has ordered chairman of the People’s Committee of Khánh Hòa Province to quickly investigate the cause of an traffic accident that killed two people and injured 21 others on Saturday morning.
The accident occurred when a coach, carrying 31 people, was travelling on a stretch of National Highway No 27C, running through Khánh Lê Pass in the province’s Vĩnh Khánh District. The passengers were retired civil servants from northern Yên Bái Province, on a vacation trip.
Under initial investigation, the coach driver allegedly lost control of the vehicle while driving through the pass, causing the coach to overturn. Local police are conducting further investigations.
The victims were taken to Khánh Hòa General Hospital for treatment.
Bình, chairman of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, also sent his condolences to the victims’ families.
The committee yesterday visited and gave VNĐ5 million (US$220) to each dead victim’s family and VNĐ3 million ($132) to each injured victim’s family.Police arrest two in huge heroin bust
The bricks of heroin displayed at the police station.
Police in the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai have arrested two suspects and seized 329 bricks of heroin, worth over VNĐ69 billion (US$3 million).
The police said the two suspects were arrested while driving their car loaded with the heroin on Friday afternoon in Nậm Pản Village of Mường Khương District.
The two suspects admitted that they were transporting the drugs from the central province of Nghệ An to sell in Lào Cai.
Colonel Đinh Tiến Quân, director of Lào Cai Police Department, said this is the biggest heroin bust they have dealt with. Police are investigating the case.
Junior Kendo Tourney to be held in City
The 4th RMIT Việt Nam Junior Kendo Tournament will be held at RMIT Saigon South Kendo Club from 3pm to 6pm on May 19-20 in 702 Nguyễn Văn Linh Str, District 7.
Established in 2015, the tournament offers young kenshi a fair competition so they can learn and express their skills in the best environment. It also offers roles as referees to the more experienced.
Bình Dương Province and Penang to promote tourism
Hội Khánh Pagoda is one of the most attractive destinations in Bình Dương Province. Photo from dulichbinhduong.org.vn
Vietnamese and Malaysian scholars have predicted an increase in tourism between Bình Dương Province and Penang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia, following a conference held in the province on Saturday.
The conference was organised by the province’s Thủ Dầu Một University and the University of Science in Malaysia.
Professor Badaruddin Mohamed, who manages the Tourism Research Circle unit at the School of Housing, Building and Planning at the University of Science, said that city tourism would be promoted through bilateral understanding of culture and communities.
Malaysian participants at the event described the special traits of Penang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including traditional craft villages, entertainment zones, and Muslim architecture and community.
They also provided information to local tourism authorities and agencies on how to welcome Muslim tourists, mostly from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East.
In 2017, Việt Nam welcomed more than 400,000 visitors from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The tourists prefer to visit the Mekong Delta and HCM City.
However, Bình Dương, despite being only 30 kilometres from HCM City, has attracted a small number of Muslim tourists.
Professor Nguyễn Văn Hiệp, council chairman of Thủ Dầu Một University, said: “Bình Dương is part of the Southern Focal Economic Zone and is becoming a rapidly growing city in the southeast region of Việt Nam. In 2018, the province ranked No 2 in foreign direct investment.”
Although the province’s economy is strong, its culture, education, health, and tourism sectors have not developed as quickly, he said, adding that in 2017, only 200,000 foreign tourists visited Bình Dương.
At the conference, Vietnamese participants presented information about Bình Dương to Malaysian delegates, including its Buddhism architecture, craft villages and fruit gardens.
The event also included a signing ceremony between the Tourism Research Circle unit and Thủ Dầu Một’s Strategic Development Institute on cooperation in scientific research, event organising, and scientific book publishing.
Seminar talks ways to preserve folk music of northern minorities
Teaching and studying ethnic music is one of the best ways to preserve its traditions, a seminar has heard.
The scientific seminar took place in the northern mountain province of Điện Biên on Thursday.
It is part of a grand plan to preserve and uphold values of the folk music of Vietnamese ethnic minorities up to 2020.
One suggestion was to raise awareness by teaching people to play instruments and offering incentives to artists who preserve the music around the country.
Co-hosted by the Việt Nam National Academy of Music (VNAM) and the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the event is aimed at assessing and recognising the values of traditional musical heritages and process of implementation of policies supporting the preservation of folk music of ethnic minorities in the region.
It was also a chance for management authority officials at local levels to intensify their work of management and development in the sector of traditional culture in the northern mountain areas.
Cultural authorities heard opinions of experts, scientists, researchers and folk music artists on various related issues in preserving the values of traditional musical heritages in the areas.
Nguyễn Thuỷ Tiên, a representative of VNAM, said the academy had collected and recorded various genres of folk music of ethnic minorities in the northern mountainous region over the past two decades.
In particular, at the seminar, researchers and cultural artisans from Điện Biên, Lai Châu, Hòa Bình, Cao Bằng provinces talked about socio-cultural and artistic values of folk music genres in the region, their role in the spiritual lives, and measures to preserve and uphold them in the current life.
Reports at the event mentioned practising Then singing in 11 northern mountainous provinces, folk music in ethnic groups in Điện Biên and preservation measures.
Huế receives 1.9 million visitors in last 4 months
Natural ambiance at Alba Wellness Resort, which the local tourism department introduced as a new product for the tourism sector.
The former imperial capital city of Huế received almost 1.9 million visitors in the past four months, marking an increase of 12.7 per cent over the same period last year, according to the Thừa Thiên Huế Province People’s Committee.
The total number of international visitors was 757,000. However, the remarkable factor was an increase of 15.9 per cent in the number of visitors staying the night in Huế, which had been known as the city that slept early, making tourists leave for Đà Nẵng, Hội An and Quảng Bình after daytime tour programmes in Huế.
According to the local Department of Tourism, efforts by local authorities in creating more recreation options at night, including lighting up the citadel and night walking streets, have worked out well.
The past four months of the year comprised two long holidays of the Lunar New Year over nine days and Reunification and May Day of four days. Those accounted for the rising of number of visitors to the city.
The department said April alone brought 400,000 visitors to the city. The four day holiday of Reunification Day coincided with the biennial cultural event Huế Festival 2018, making the city one of the top destinations in the country.
During the five-day event, from April 27 to May 2, the city accommodated 1,000 Vietnamese and 388 foreign performers from art troupes participating in the Huế Festival. However, it is unclear whether the performers were included in the total number of visitors to the city or not.
Nguyễn Văn Phúc, deputy director of the local Department of Tourism said the city expected to welcome more tourists in the remaining months of the year thanks to innovation efforts made by local tourism authorities.
In April, the sector introduced new wellness services in a new resort built on natural hot mineral springs, Phúc said.
Đại wins fourth stage of Return to the Countryside Cycling Tournament
Young talent Hà Kiều Tấn Đại (middle). — Photo sggp.org.vn
Young talent Hà Kiều Tấn Đại won the fourth stage of the Return to the Countryside Cycling Tournament of the Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời Cup yesterday.
Đại of BTV Đại Nam Bình Dương took the lead in the 112km race from Cà Mau to Sóc Trăng Province.
Đại also won the green jersey award as the best sprinter with 47 points, followed by Jay Lampawog of the Go for Gold team who earned 40 points.
Quách Tiến Dũng of the Military Zone 7 won the yellow jersey award for the best overall time after four stages.
Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang topped the team rankings. Bike Life Đồng Nai and the Philippines were the runners-up.
Today, cyclists will compete in the 50km fifth stage around Sóc Trăng City.
Sports experts to participate in safe swimming programme
Students take part in a game show about safe swimming aimed at protecting children from drowning in Hà Nội on Thursday. — Photo of the organisers
The National Sports Administration will cooperate with the Ministry of Education and local communities to implement a project on safe swimming aimed at protecting children from drowning.
The programme will include different activities in all 63 cities and provinces across the country from this month to August under the sponsorship of Nestle Milo.
“Thousands of children die from downing every year. The number was some 2,000 in 2017. The main reason is their inability to swim. Less than 30 per cent of Vietnamese children know swimming. This is alarming, so we decided to solve the problem this year,” said Nguyễn Ngọc Anh, head of the Administration’s Amateur Sports Department, which will be in charge of the programme.
According to Anh, the Administration has been working closely with different agencies to produce documents, brochures, leaflets, videos and clips and game shows specialising in safe swimming.
Experts have been sent to localities to improve the swimming skills of native teachers, rescuers and staffs.
A national swimming competition for children and students will be organised in July in Đà Nẵng. A contest for rescuers will also be held in Đồng Tháp province in August. These two activities are aimed at encouraging people to get involved in the project.
“Hundred per cent of the cities and provinces have pledged to take part in the programme as they recognise its importance, especially as it is summer now, a time for storms and floods. We have set a target of reducing the number of deaths by drowning compared to last year,” Anh said.
An official ceremony to launch the programme will be organised in Ninh Bình Province on May 20.Students to compete in self-driving contest final
Le Hong Viet, FPT CTO, at the meeting.
During the final round, the teams will have to use knowledge in the fields of programming, image processing and artificial intelligence to make vehicles move at the highest speed on complex terrain; identify and avoid obstacles; and identify and follow the direction of traffic signs.
The first prize winner will receive a total of VND450 million (US$19,000), including a one-week trip to Japan. The winners will also get a chance to work for FPT Software.
The competition took place from October last year to May this year.
The contest attracted more than 200 teams from 30 universities nationwide, increasing from 145 teams from 26 universities last year.
Automobiles would be one sector undergoing the biggest changes in the fourth industrial revolution, Le Hong Viet, FPT chief technology officer, said at a meeting on Friday.
Regarding that trend, FPT had invested in self-driving technology and set goals to become one of the world’s leading companies in software technology for automobiles, he said.
Currently, FPT is implementing a number of projects related to self-driving technology in particular and automotives in general for about 40 major customers around the world.
Not only pioneering in research and development of technology for automobiles, FPT also pushes the research, creative activities and experience of the latest technology in the field for the young people in Viet Nam through the Digital Race competition.
FPT expects that with the competition and similar events there will be more advanced products in the world developed from Vietnamese wisdom.
The saddest day ever: goodbye to love and dogs
One fateful evening, a young lady returned home to find that her boyfriend had vanished. Far worse, he had absconded with her four precious Husky babies.
In a Facebook post, a girl with the account name M.T desperately sought help from the community of netizens to find her dogs—a mother and three puppies—which the new boyfriend had apparently stolen.
She wrote: “My boyfriend is an asshole. When I went to work, he called a taxi to take the whole pack to his house.”
M.T immediately texted her boyfriend asking him to bring the dogs back, a request which he bluntly rejected. The girl could not come to his home to find him as she had only known him for about a month and did not know where he lived. She did know, however, that his hometown is in Bắc Ninh Province and his occupation is in animal trading (a fact which seems to bode poorly for the Huskies).
She later discovered an even more shocking truth: her now ex-boyfriend used a fake name during the short relationship with her.
The disgusting man even threatened to publicise a sensitive video if she kept posting about him on the internet.
M.T said that she was not afraid and would report to the police if he did not show up. All the best for the poor girl, and don’t let your boyfriend babysit your Huskies, especially if he is an animal trader.
Vietnam-Australia ICT Education Showcase to bring expertise and innovative ideas for partnerships
The Vietnam-Australia Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Education Showcase 2018 is offering a platform for Australian and Vietnamese institutions, research and business organisations to exchange expertise and build innovative partnerships.
Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is partnering with the Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications to deliver the Vietnam-Australia ICT Education Showcase 2018, promoting Australia’s expertise and capability in information communications technology.
The Showcase will be held in Hanoi on May 16 and in Ho Chi Minh City on May 18.
Seven leading Australian institutions will showcase their expertise and excellence in ICT education and training as well as their international projects in this event.
This showcase is highlighted by a panel discussion on “Innovative solutions to quality human resources in digital age in Vietnam” followed by networking and one-on-one meetings between Vietnamese and Australian training providers to discuss potential institutional links and commercial partnerships.
Australia is known for the reputation of high-quality education, research capability, advanced digital economy and strong commitment to innovation and science through the National Innovation and Science Agenda. Those are backed by world-class academic institutions internationally recognised for providing quality ICT education and training and research excellence.
With the fast digital adoption across all sectors in Vietnam, the IT sector is growing rapidly with a focus on hardware, software, e-commerce and IT services. It is expected that Vietnam will require 400,000 IT workers from 2016-2020. As part of its Strategy for Science and Technology Development 2011-2020, the Vietnamese Government is seeking to increase the number of skilled engineers, research organisations, hi-tech incubators and hi-tech enterprise to support this expanding sector.
English centre found pirating teaching programmes
Nguyen Tien Dung, chairman of Langmaster English Centre, issued public apology on May 10 after it was discovered that the centre had been reproducing teaching programmes and methods from various sources without credit.
The centre was found to have been using teaching programmes and methods on the BBC and from a university in Japan in their free videos. The authors and sources aren't asked for permission or given credit.
Langmaster also lied about their co-operation with AJ Hoge, the author of the Effortless English Course. According to Hoge, many centres in Vietnam have stolen his teaching method but Langmaster is the most disappointing case since he and Langmaster have held many conferences together. Not only Langmaster lied about the co-operation, it also claimed that it held exclusive rights over the effortless English teaching method in Vietnam.
Nguyen Tien Dung, the founder and chairman of Langmaster, held a live stream on the Facebook fan page of the centre to apologise about the violations. They had taken down the reported violating video clips and were reviewing other clips on YouTube.
Dung said the centre's reputation had been severely damaged. He apologised to the partners and students of the centre while saying that he would take all of the responsibility for releasing copyright violated contents to the public. He said they had learned from this case to be better and promised that such violation will not be repeated and they will follow the laws on copyrights in the future.
"We hope we'll be given a chance to right this wrong and be able to continue contributing to the community," he said. "As the head of the centre, I apologise again and will take responsibility."
The United States helps Vietnam combat wildlife crime
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on Friday officially launched the USAID Saving Species project.
U.S. Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink, Permanent Deputy Minister of MARD Dr. Ha Cong Tuan, representatives of the MARD Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Management Authority of Vietnam, and other government and NGO stakeholders attended the launch.
“USAID Saving Species is not just a commitment between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments, it will also link to the efforts of other organizations, within Vietnam and beyond, who are committed to combating wildlife trafficking. Only by working together can we solve this global issue,” said Ambassador Kritenbrink.
With a budget of approximately USD10 million, USAID Saving Species supports the Government of Vietnam to combat wildlife trafficking through three integrated and mutually reinforcing objectives: harmonizing and improving the legal framework for wildlife crime; strengthening and improving law enforcement and prosecution of wildlife crime; and reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife products. The project’s focal species are rhinos, elephants, and pangolins, and targeted geographic locations include major cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang, as well as transit points for the illegal trade, such as border crossings, ports, and airports.
"Clean Water for Schools 2018" program launched
The Ho Chi Minh City Sponsoring Association recently implemented the “Clean Water for Schools” program for Poor Patient (SAPP), in corporation with Novaland Group. Before the 2018 - 2019 school year, 52 schools at Thanh Phu District in the Mekong Delta’s Ben Tre provinces and 27 schools in Long An province’s Tan Tru District are expected to be equipped with a direct drinking water filter system that satisfies the standards of the Pasteur Institute. The budget for this program is estimated at nearly $265,000.
Following a sustainable development strategy, Novaland Group is currently the pioneer in the project of “Developing Sustainable Strategy for Mekong Delta Tourism.” The Prime Minister, government agencies, and localities have been paying special attention to the project. It will create a new motivation for the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta, help adapt to the growing threat of climate change, and create new jobs for the local people.
The partnership in the “Clean Water for Schools” project is also a demonstration of Novaland’s efforts towards the community, especially the areas affected by climate change.
“Thanh Phu district has 26 km of coastline so climate change is a major obstacle to its local economic development, which is primarily agricultural,” said Mr. Nguyen Truc Son, Party Committee Secretary of Thanh Phu District in Ben Tre. “For about 3-6 months per year, the district is affected by salinity intrusion. The district has only one water plant and can only meet the needs of one third of the 150,000 people.”
“Only three schools have water tanks and filters but they only temporarily meet the needs of students and teachers. 52 proposed schools in the program are still in difficult circumstances with no clean water. That’s why we are very pleased that the delegation of the SAPP, Novaland Group and the technical units have visited, researched and funded Thanh Phu district in the “Clean Water for Schools” program this year.”
Within three months after the signing date, about 516 water filters will be installed in 52 schools at Thanh Phu district in Ben Tre province to provide direct drinking water for nearly 20,000 students and teachers. After Ben Tre, the “Clean Water for Schools” program will also be implemented in other provinces.
The “Clean Water for Schools” program will bring water to tens of thousands of students and teachers before the new school year.
According to a UNICEF report, there are currently 17 million children in Vietnam who don’t have access to clean water. The Preventive Medicine Department also announced that 30 per cent of schools still don’t have enough water for students and teachers. In particular, many reports show that the Mekong Delta is the area that is most affected by climate change and lacks clean water. In addition, the use of unsafe water from wells, rain, ponds, lake, rivers, and streams are causing serious consequences to people’s health, especially children. Some of these health problems include gastrointestinal disease, malnutrition, oral disease, helminthiasis, lead poisoning and arsenic which leads to high cancer risk.
Social insurance reform for sustainable development
Social insurance is considered as the main pillar of the social welfare system and one of the most important social achievements of mankind since the early 20th century. To achieve this "position", social insurance policy itself and the implementation of social insurance policies must make appropriate adjustments to adapt to the real situation.
In the past 30 years, the world has witnessed a number of social insurance reforms, with the focus on pension reform implemented in dozens of Latin American, Central and Eastern European countries, the United States, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, and others. At present, the reform roadmap is still underway in many countries.
These reforms have many similarities. First, it derives from the challenges facing each country, including the increasing pressure on the budget and the social insurance fund, as well as an aging population, and low social insurance coverage, among others.
The reforms also aim to fulfil the objectives set out by social insurance policies including ensuring better interests for participants, increasing the coverage of social insurance, and effectively using the labour resources to serve development needs, and so forth.
As a nation that always pays due attention to the development and happiness of the people, the Party and the State of Vietnam have soon given heed to implementing the social insurance policy for workers, defining it as the target and motivation for national sustainable development, as well as the good nature of the socialist regime.
In each period in the history of the country, the social insurance policy system has been adjusted many times to meet the objective requirements. In particular, after the country's Doi Moi (reform) policy, Vietnam implemented important reforms in its social insurance policy in 1995, such as establishing a system of agencies specialising in implementing social insurance policy at three levels; establishing a social insurance fund independent from the state budget which is formed on the contributions of both employers and employees; in addition to expanding the scope of subjects participating in compulsory social insurance and implementing voluntary social insurance; among others.
Thanks to these important reforms, the social insurance fund has become the largest welfare fund; the organisational model of the social insurance system has promoted its effectiveness in policy implementation; and the number of employees participating in compulsory and voluntary social insurance has continuously increased (reaching 13.9 million people by the end of 2017, an increase of seven times compared to 1995).
The number of beneficiaries of pension and monthly social insurance allowances comes to more than three million people and, each year, more than nine million people are provided with short-term allowances such as sickness, maternity, health rehabilitation, and unemployment, among others. The total spending from the social insurance fund for these interests has increased to more than VND130 trillion (US$5.72 billion) per year, while the expenditure from the budget has been decreasing.
However, besides these important achievements, the implementation of social insurance in Vietnam also shows inadequacies, including the low coverage of social insurance; the social insurance system being designed in a single-stage manner with loose connections to other social policies; and compulsory social insurance also omits some groups of people with the demand and ability to participate in it.
In addition, the retirement and death benefits fund are at risk of long-term imbalances; the social insurance evasion and debts have yet to be resolved thoroughly; and a lack of full awareness on the part of employers and employees of social insurance.
In particular, the social insurance system also has to face high pressures in the population aging trend and the impacts from the industrial revolution 4.0 which will create changes in labour structure and relations.
Thus, it is an objective and necessity to effectively solve the existing problems to ensure the sustainable development of the social welfare system in particular and the goal of national sustainable development in general.
President praises natural disaster prevention and rescue forces
Armed forces help farmers in Ha Lan commune, Bim Son town (Thanh Hoa province) to harvest flooded rice.
President Tran Dai Quang warmly praised the prevention and rescue forces who have embraced hardships and made every effort in natural calamity prevention and control over the past year.
He also sent his best wishes to all fellow soldiers and those working in the natural disaster rescue forces, as well as the Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, in his letter on the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of Vietnam’s Natural Disaster Prevention and Control Day (May 22, 1946 – 2018).
He recalled that, over the past year, natural disasters occurred continuously which posed significant impacts on localities. Heavy rain poured on a large scale and serious floods and landslides were observed in the mountainous provinces, together with storms and tropical depressions over the East Sea, leading to many losses of life and property.
The President noted with pleasure that, thanks to the drastic directions and prompt actions of sectors, departments, rescue forces, and armed forces, as well as the positive participation of people from all walks of life, the damage caused by natural disasters has been minimised.
He also warned that the natural disaster situation will get more complicated due to the impact of global climate change, posing great challenges for the country in the future.
Therefore, he asked the Party committees at all levels, as well as the local authorities, agencies, organisations, armed forces and entire people to raise a higher sense of responsibility, solidarity and consensus in accordance with the “four-on-the-spot” principle; improve people’s preparedness and readiness to reduce loss of life and property, in order to build a society resilient to natural disasters and facilitate the country’s sustainable development.
Awards presented for promoting President Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts, morals and style
Eight A, 34 B, 67 C and 55 consolation prizes were awarded at the ceremony.
As many as 164 of the top admissions that entered into the contest on ‘Studying and Following President Ho Chi Minh’s Thoughts, Morals and Style’, phase 1 (2016-2018), were honoured at an awards ceremony in Hanoi on May 13.
The ceremony was attended by Politburo members: permanent member of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC) Secretariat Tran Quoc Vuong, Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh; Secretary of the CPVCC and Head of CPVCC Commission for Communication and Education Vo Van Thuong; and Secretary of the CPVCC and Head of CPVCC Commission for Economic Affairs Nguyen Van Binh.
Ever since the contest was launched two years ago, the steering committee and organising boards have received thousands of literary, artistic and journalistic works from artists and journalists both at home and abroad.
The entries included a variety of media formats including prose, poetry, plays and literary criticism, paintings, photography, music, cinematography and dance.
A wide range of journalistic works from print newspapers, radio and television were also entered in the contest.
Eight A, 34 B, 67 C and 55 consolation prizes were awarded at the ceremony.
The event was held as part of the activities to celebrate the 128th birth anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh.
Outstanding young workers honoured for innovative solutions in production
Sixty-five young workers honoured with the 9th Outstanding Young Workers’ Award 2018.
Sixty-five young workers with innovative solutions in production and outstanding work results have been honoured with the 9th Outstanding Young Workers’ Award 2018.
The award ceremony was held by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union in Hanoi yesterday evening, aiming to honour and encourage young workers who have demonstrated high skills and creative solutions that provide socio-economic efficiency.
This year, the Youth Union Central Committee received 215 nominees for the award, from 57 provinces, cities and units nationwide. The organisers selected the 65 best individuals to award the noble title to in 2018. They are typical examples, representing over 4.5 million young workers, artisans and students at vocational schools across the country, who are doing their best for the cause of national industrialisation.
Speaking at the ceremony, Politburo member Truong Thi Mai affirmed that youngsters are the leading force in the cause of building and developing the country, with the ability to master science and technology alongside their enthusiasm, endurance and desire to assert themselves in new and hard work. In the Doi Moi (renovation) period, they have shown dynamic, sensitive and active preparation towards setting up their career.
Emphasising the challenges that will be faced during international integration, Politburo member Mai, who is also Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation, expressed her wish that the winners would continue to hone their skills to become the core force in leading the country to overcome the challenges related to labour productivity, economic restructuring, climate change and the aging population.
She also urged the authorities and localities concerned to focus on training and improving the skills for young workers, while regularly praising and honouring teachers, administrators and artisans in job training. She also asked the Youth Union to promote revolutionary movements among its members to promote creativeness for each youth group, especially the young workers.
Earlier the same day, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the German Agency for International Cooperation co-organised a photo exhibition featuring examples of outstanding young workers.
Also on Sunday, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union organised a forum on promoting creativity among young workers. At the event, leaders from the relevant units and the 65 young workers discussed solutions to promote creative activities among young workers and shared their experience on effective models in localities and their units. Delegates also proposed solutions to improve the responsibility and the role of the Youth Union’s organisations in creating a creative environment for the Vietnamese youth.
Private company grants US$ 19 million for upgrading public hospital
Representatives of the Ministry of Health, city’s Department of Health, An Binh Hospital and sponsor participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for upgrading An Binh Hospital.
HCMC’s leading investment group Van Thinh Phat (VTP Group) yesterday announced an unconditional and non-refundable aid package of over VND 451 billion (US$ 19 million) for upgrading An Binh Hospital, the first financed project in HCMC under this kind of aid.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of An Binh Hospital upgrading construction yesterday, Permanent Deputy Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Nguyen Viet Tien said that on behalf of the health sector he would like to say thanks to Van Thinh Phat Group Joint for the aid package of upgrading An Binh Hospital and requested the hospital and contractors to use the fund responsibly.
This is a big sum of money that the group had to save in its business, hence, beneficiaries must use the source of financial support most efficiently, the project must be on schedule and have quality assurance, said the Permanent Deputy Minister of Health.
He said that the health factor has overcome many difficulties to complete the mission of taking care of people health, to which many individuals and organizations including businesses have contributed so much.
The aid from VTP Group for rebuilding An Binh Hospial is a good example for the contribution of private partners and it is treasurable because the aid is an unconditional and non-refundable, he added.
Director of HCMC Department of Health Nguyen Tan Binh said that the upgrade of facilities and improvement of equipment in the hospital are aiming to raise quality of health examination and treatment.
HCMC has set up target of good facilities and high quality of healthcare services in all its hospitals by 2020.
An Binh Hospital located in an area of 15,000 square meter on An Binh Street in District 5 is a level 2 general hospital including 23 medical departments and 10 supportive service departments with 700 employees. It receives 2,000 patients everyday.
Initially, the hospital was a temple built by the Vietnamese Chinese community in 1892, aiming at providing free treatment to poor patients with traditional Chinese medicine.
Ass Prof. Dr. Bui Manh Con who is the hospital director said that the hospital is seriously degraded, often flooded during tides and rainfalls, causing dificulties for patients and affecting badly medical examination and treatment.
With the sponsor from VTP Group, the hospital will be built into a green, high-tech medical center which is expected not only to meet demand of healthcare of city inhabitants but also to provide high quality medical services at resasonable prices, he said.
The hospital is designed to have 500 standard beds. The aid from Van Thinh Phat will be used to build 200 standard beds and the main building of 12 floors and 1 base with the using square of 23,000 m2 in the first phase.
It is planned to set up funtional areas including polyclinic, outpatient treatment, technical, inpatient treatment, administration, logistics and auxiliary, parking areas.
The hospital will also be equipped with advanced medical instruments, aiming to increase quality of healthcare services. The 300 remaining beds are scheduled to build in the second phase and funded by the state budget.
The hospital is planned to set up new speciality fields, enhance specialized medical treatment, raise quality of medical care services, cut down the mortality rate. The hospital strives to meet the Health Ministry’s space standard of 9m2 per bed. After being upgraded the hospital is expected to reach the standard of level 1 hospital.
HCMC- based VTP Group found in 1991 is a Vietnam’s leading private multifield company that invests mainly in the real estate, construction, hotels, restaurants, financial services… The company has contributed to the social and economic development by charity activities and financial aids.
The non-refundable investment package for An Binh Hospital is the real support by the group to help HCMC to deal with the overloaded situation in public hospitals. The group chose An Binh Hospital because it is the oldest one in the city and had been a charity medical facility. In addition, the hospital is being damaged while the demand for medical treatment is increasing.
Permanent Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said that city residents will have more chances to access high quality healthcare services with reasonable prices if more and more private partners join hands with the Government, provide unconditional and non-refundable aids to upgrade public hospitals that are facing overcapacity and degrading situation.
Surgeons reattach amputated forefinger, thumb
Surgeons of the Department of Trauma- Burn of the General Hospital in the central province of Binh Dinh succeeded in reattaching a carpenter’s thumb and forefinger, said the hospital on May 12.
Working in the carpentry workshop, 27 year-old Nguyen Huu Kh. accidentally cut his thumb and index finger clean off of his hand on April 21.
Immediately, the workmates preserved both of Kh.’s fingers. Then he was taken to Binh Dinh General Hospital for emergency treatment.
After 5 hours of surgery, doctors had successfully reattached the carpenter’s fingers.
After 20-day treatment, Kh.’s reattached fingers were “alive” and movable.
Health agencies distribute rabies vaccine to curb shortage
People who were bitten by cats or dogs should be vaccinated at health centers
More people succumbed to rabies because there was shortage of the vaccine against the disease in some localities.
The National Tropical Disease Hospital admitted several cases of rabies in recent months, medical workers could not save their lives because they had not vaccinated after being bitten by mad dogs and cats.
Since the beginning of the year, there has been an escalation of deaths due to rabies. Fretting that more people will succumb to the disease because the hot weather is conducive to rabies virus development, the health sector has planned to add more vaccine against rabies in several localities that have reported the shortage of the vaccine.
Lately, the National Tropical Disease Hospital has admitted a 40 year old woman from the northern province of Bac Giang had rabies after she was bitten by a dog one month before. Doctors’ efforts to save her were unrewarded at last.
The Pasteur Institute and the Tropical Disease Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City announced a crowd of people flock to the hospital for vaccination against rabies. Since the beginning of the year, the hospital monthly receives 170 – 270 people who were bitten by dogs and cats averagely. They were given anti-rabies serum (SAR) and around 200 - 800 people were injected vaccine Verorab against rabies.
Pasteur Institute daily admits 800 – 1,200 people who arrived at the institute for hearing consultation and injection. The number has more than doubled compared to before.
By the Preventative Health Department’s statistic, in first four months of 2018, 18 people succumbed to the disease nationwide, an increase of 10 percent compared to the same period last year. Medical experts said that rabies cases usually hike in hot weather from May to August in all ages. Deaths result from not vaccination.
Rabies attacks the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals and humans. Zoonosis that can be transmitted to humans via bites or scratches or can be wound through the saliva of animals affected with rabies-infected animal can turn into more aggressive / violent and may attack human and ends with death. Head of the hospital’s Emergency Department Dr. Nguyen Trung Cap advised people to inject the vaccine right after they are bitten.
The Department of Preventive Medicine pointed out there has been no specific drug for rabies except anti-rabies serum and vaccine. Timely vaccination is an effective way to prevent rabies in human.
According to the Drug Administration of Vietnam under the Ministry of Health, rabies vaccines are allowed to circulate in Vietnam including French-made Verorab and Indian-made vaccine Abhayrab, Indirab, Speeda, Rabipur. Around 700 medical facilities give rabies vaccination nationwide.
Annually, approximately 400,000 – 500,000 vaccinated against rabies. Deputy Head of the Drug Administration Do Van Dong said that demand of vaccine depends on the number of victims of animal bite. Therefore, planning and prediction of vaccine demand is quite difficult especially in the time when demand increased drastically.
Following shortage of the vaccine in early 2081, the administration contacted with importers to provide more vaccine to localities which reported the shortage. The administration also checked suppliers’ document to provide more rabies vaccine in circulation.
As per the plan, in May, there will be 273,000 doze of vaccine imported into Vietnam, double that in one month in 2017 with the hope to solve the shortage in some districts.
According to the Department of Animal Health in HCMC, in first two months of 2018 , about 3,177 inhabitants bitten by animals were vaccinated.
Ministries run disaster prevention program
The Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have just signed a program together in preventing and alleviating natural disaster for schools in the period 2018-2023.
The aim of the program is to focus the role of education in preparing for and preventing natural disaster helping reduce halts in teaching and learning activities when natural disaster hit localities.
Moreover, it also is to curb deaths of students because of drowning in flood season.
Accordingly, the two ministries will expand the model of schools adapting to disaster in each regions. Additionally, the two ministries will build piloted models in districts identified as being highly vulnerable to disasters. Moreover, these facilities will turn to be safe shelters for locals.
The ministries proposed to qualify safe school as a criteria in the child injury prevention programs. Relevant agencies are assigned to compile guidance documents on disaster prevention which are suitable for each localities and ages of students.
Lessons in these educational kits on natural disaster risks will be taught in extra-activities.
Social contributions in building smart swimming pools, making life-jacket, and providing swimming classes are encouraged.
Education sector calls for help for disadvantaged districts
Teachers, students in Kbang commune in the highland province of Gia Lai are on the way to school
The Department of Education and Training in Ho Chi Minh City in coordination with the Labor Union called for help for teaching staffs and students in disadvantaged districts.
Teachers, students and staffs in private and public preschools, primary, junior and senior high schools, colleges in Ho Chi Minh City were encouraged to help for their peers in mountainous, distant and disadvantaged districts.
Teachers and students are also encouraged to support their peers in these regions.
Teachers and students can contribute to the call for to May 31, 2018.
New method for deposit treatment in boilers introduced
Ewater Engineering Co. Ltd. has just received a science-technology business certificate from the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology thanks to its innovative water treatment solution named ‘Ionization technology to treat deposits in boilers without chemicals’.
The mentioned technology exercises physics and electromagnetic laws to create one specific electromagnetic induction field inside a tube. Using continuously alternative wave frequencies from 1.2 – 48kHz, it provides proper energy to ionize water as well as deposits and rust, reducing their ability to gum up the surface of the tube.
This new technology is used for water treatment in industrial boilers in certain industries such as clothing, textile, food processing, hard and soft drink manufacturing, aquaculture, paper manufacturing, and cashew manufacturing. It can even be implemented in boilers of military kitchens.
Until now, this solution of Ewater Engineering has been installed in many factories nationwide with very positive results. Report shows that after three months, deposits in those boilers have been completely removed, greatly increasing the performance of the boilers while significantly reducing energy use.
A product introduction show is going to be co-held by the Center for Science and Technology Information (under the HCMC Department of Science and Technology) and Ewater Engineering Co. Ltd. on May 18 at the address of 79 Truong Dinh Street of District 1, HCMC.
Comvik ignores AVG scandal and still wants strategic piece in MobiFone
Sweden-based Comvik Group has for the third time showed interest in becoming MobiFone’s strategic partner as the Vietnamese telecom company is in the process of equitisation. However, with the long-term difficulties of MobiFone’s value assessment as well as its controversial acquisition of AVG Group, it remains questionable whether Comvik could close the deal.
At the May 11 afternoon meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue at the Government Office, chairman of Comvik expressed interest in Vietnam Mobile Telecom Services One Member Ltd. (MobiFone)’s equitisation and a hope to co-operate with the firm.
Accordingly, with the strong technological foundations, including 90 per cent of Sweden’s non-cash transactions and Comvik’s research to develop a 6G network programme and non-cash transaction applications, Comvik believes the firm could successfully support the Vietnamese government to equitise MobiFone.
This is the third time Comvik offered to participate in the equitisation. At the meeting with the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) in August 2014, a representative of Comvik Group expressed the desire to become MobiFone’s strategic partner through the equitisation.
The representative also added that Comvik was particularly interested in investing in MobiFone and affirmed that with the long-term co-operation with VNPT (MobiFone was under VNPT Group until late 2014), Comvik has much better odds of success than other investors.
Newswire ScandAsia stated that since the government’s policy to equitise MobiFone in 2006, Marc Beuls, managing director of Millicom International Cellular SA Group—the parent company of Comvik—talked about potentially buying into MobiFone on the stock market.
Not only Comvik, but many other foreign investors, including Singapore-based Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (Singtel), Norway-based Telenor Group, and Australia-based Telstra Co., Ltd. expressed interests in buying MobiFone’s stocks. Even VNPT itself wants to own 20 per cent of the shares, according to vietnamnet.vn.
What are Comvik’s chances of success?
With long-term difficulties in MobiFone’s value assessment as well as its controversial acquisition of 95 per cent of Audio Visual Global JSC (AVG)’s shares, Comvik Group may once again be thwarted in becoming MobiFone’s strategic partner.
In 2008, Credit Suisse was chosen as an equitisation consultant for MobiFone and set the telecom network’s valuation at $2 billion in 2009. However, the equitisation process was delayed to 2011 because MobiFone was forced to separate from its parent company VNPT Group in accordance with Decree No.25/2011/ND-CP.
In June 2014, Ho Chi Minh City Securities Corporation (HSC) estimated MobiFone’s value at about $3.4 billion, which could increase to even $4 billion if its revenue and profit continued to increase after the initial publicly offering in 2016-2017.
According to the Vnexpress, AVG has been running accumulated losses since its initial establishment. However, MobiFone used AVG’s valuation result ($729.7 million) of AMAX Valuation & Investment Consultancy Co., Ltd. as a basis to buy its shares. The Government Inspectorate stated this figure was off by a great deal.
Currently, despite terminating the acquisition, MobiFone’s violations may hugely affect its equitisation in the future.
Online tourism businesses thrive in Vietnam
Many travel firms, after making heavy investments in online tourism, are earning increasingly high revenue.
Nguyen Duy Vi, marketing and media director of Vietnam Adventure Tours (tugo.com.vn), said when setting up Tugo four years ago, the founder of the firm could see many problems in the traditional tourism model, especially in marketing the staff.
The traditional firms have to spend big money on marketing, but could not measure the effects of the marketing campaigns. To access more clients, the firms have set up more offices and increased the number of workers, leading to higher operation costs.
Therefore, Tugo decided to use technology to fix the problems of the traditional tourism model. Vi said that the company’s business performance wouldn’t be good if it did not develop online booking services.
Online tourism has made a great contribution to the revenue growth of Saigontourist. Vo Anh Tai, CEO of Saigontourist, said revenue from travel was VND4.25 trillion in 2017 and from online tourism in the last 10 months VND130 billion.
The statistics shown at the 2018 Vietnam Online Tourism Forum (VOTF) showed that some tourism companies were gaining high growth rates even among stiff competition in the market because they can attract high numbers of tourists through online sales.
Le Tuan Anh, deputy director of the VNAT’s International Cooperation Department, said 71 percent of foreign travelers to Vietnam in 2018 checked information about the destinations on internet, and 64 percent booked services online for their trips to Vietnam.
He cited Google’s Consumer Barometer in 2016 as saying that the number of smartphone users in Vietnam was just equal to 72 percent of the US, but 48 percent of Vietnamese used smartphones to look for hotels, while the figure was 18 percent in the US.
While 42 percent of Vietnamese searched for tourism information at the destination, only 25 percent of Americans did. Around 37 percent of Vietnamese searched for information about flights, but the proportion was 18 percent for Americans.
At the forum, Truong Sy Vinh, deputy director of the Tourism Development Research Institute, said Google and Temasek Holdings predicted a sharp increase in the value of the SE Asian online tourism market from $21.6 billion in 2015 to $89.6 billion by 2025. Of this, Vietnam’s online tourism accounted for 10 percent, or $9 billion.
Euromonitor International predicted that revenue from online tour sales would maintain a 12 percent growth rate in 2015-2020.
Vietnam’s online tourism grew by 50 percent in 2017, according to the Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM), twice as much as the growth rate of the entire e-commerce sector.
Fish rules perfected, hook, line and sinker
HÀ NỘI - Việt Nam has perfected the legal framework of nine recommendations issued by the European Commission (EC) to ensure responsible and sustainable fishing.
A corner of Incomap Port in the southern province of Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu. — Photo Hoàng Nhị
This was revealed by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường in Hà Nội on Monday.
The contents of the nine recommendations were incorporated into the Fisheries Law and passed by the National Assembly, said Cường at a meeting with the Directorate of Fishieries (DF) to re-evaluate the results achieved by Việt Nam in overcoming the EU’s illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) yellow card on Vietnamese fisheries, as well as to welcome the EU inspection team visiting Việt Nam today (May 15) to check the country’s efforts against IUU fishing.
"This is a great step that Việt Nam has done so far to confirm to the EC that it is building sustainable and responsible fisheries and raising the incomes of fishermen," said Cường.
On October 23, 2017, the EU officially issued the yellow card against Vietnamese seafood exported to this market because of insufficient efforts to meet the EU regulation to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU. At the same time, the EU recommended that Việt Nam make sufficient efforts for the withdrawal of the “yellow card” by revising its legal framework and ensure compliance with international and regional rules applicable to the conservation and management of fisheries resources.
EU wanted Việt Nam to ensure the implementation and enforcement of the revised national legislation and enhance the implementation of international rules and management measures through a full sanctioning regime and an enforcing and monitoring system.
It also required Việt Nam to address deficiencies identified in the monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) related to the requirements of international and regional regulations, as well as within the framework of the fishing certification system, in addition to strengthening the management and improvement of the registration and licensing system for fishing.
General Director of DF Nguyễn Ngọc Oai said the EU inspection delegations would work with MARD, some coastal provinces and export aquatic products today. The delegation would also work with the Department of Animal Health, Department of Quality Management of agro-forestry and fisheries.
Finally, the EU team will synthesise the results achieved in Việt Nam and report to the Minister of MARD, said Oai.
To serve the EU’s inspection team visiting Việt Nam, Oai said the DF had opened an IUU office, which had sufficient documents to serve the EU. In particular, the DF has also set up a fishery database system, including a system of fishing ports and fishing vessels and the fishing vessel monitoring system on the fishing grounds, which are important for the management of fishing vessels on the sea.
"The MARD’s view is that the units under the ministry, when working with the EU team, will have the highest responsibility, transparency and openness. It’s needed to verify what we have done for EU to check,” Cường said.
We have nothing to hide. We need to record EU what we have done and what are inadequacies needed to be overcome in the next time,” he added.
In term of management, Cường said it’s necessary to re-assess the facilities for sustainable development of fisheries such as ports and anchorage areas to issue recommendations to the Government.
“In the next period, it is necessary to further invest in the sector to create a responsible and effective fishery. We also need to review the application of high technologies, information technology application to manage vessels and fishing grounds so as to ensure the development of modern fisheries,” Cường said.
To date, Việt Nam has made great efforts in overcoming the "yellow card" of the EU. It has directed drastically from central to local grassroots to implement more comprehensive solutions to overcome nine recommendations that the EU put forward to remove the "yellow card" as well as reaching a responsible fishery.
PM Phúc ordered HCM City authorities to quickly settle Thủ Thiêm’s protracted land disputes
Hanoi -Vietnam’s industrial real estate sector stands ready to take off after the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) comes into effect, experts have said.
Vietnam’s industrial real estate sector stands ready to take off after the CPTPP takes effect. (Photo: cafef.vn)
France’s FM Logistic, a leading group in international supply of warehouse, transport, and packaging, has been successful in renting and purchasing land in the northern region with the advice from real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield.
As part of the firm “Ambition 2022” plan to expand geographical coverage to support customer growth, FM Logistic launched a 5,000 square-metre tri-temperature logistics warehouse in Bac Ninh province while purchasing an additional 50,000 square metres in the northern region to build the first European-standard storage in Vietnam.
According to Director of Operations in Asia for FM Logistic Stéphane Descarpentries, FM Logistic is striving to become one of the leading logistics providers in Vietnam by 2020.
While holding that Vietnam’s logistics sector is enjoying thriving development, with vast expansions of leased space by many famous names in the world, Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield Vietnam Alex Crane, said that it’s fantastic time for the industrial and logistics businesses.
Meanwhile, Stephen Wyatt, Country Head for Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Vietnam, believed that Vietnam is grasping the attention of foreign investors with 80 percent of the investments poured into the industrial and manufacturing sectors.
Many investors are shifting their capital from China to Vietnam as Vietnam has sound planning for industrial parks and the Government is considering the establishment of specialised economic zones which offer preferential taxes for corporations, he stressed.
According to the JLL’s latest report, more than 18,000 hectares of industrial land in the north will be put into use by the end of 2020.
Currently, Hai Phong city and Bac Ninh province are the two localities that have the highest number of industrial parks in the country. They are also the largest attractors of industrial investment in the northern key economic region.
Meanwhile, the central region is expected to be an emerging playground that will attract a large pool of investors in 2018.
Strong growth of manufacturing and consumption will spur the surge of demands for warehouses in the country, according to the CBRE Vietnam. Warehouse rental fees are said to rise 1.5 percent to 4 percent per year in the coming time.
Good transport infrastructure also makes the southern localities like Ho Chi Minh City, and Binh Duong, Long An and Dong Nai provinces, become a magnet for foreign investors. Land rental fees at the southern industrial parks have picked up 3 percent from the same time last year.
Vietnamese depot market will be thriving thanks to the expanded operation of e-commerce giants like Alibaba, JD.com and Tencent together with strong growth of convenience stores and retail models developed by such large firms as Lotte and Aeon.
Economists optimistic about Vietnam’s economic outlook
Positive socio-economic signs in the first months of 2018 have made economist optimistic about the Vietnamese economy’s outlook for the whole year as well as until 2020.
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung speaks at the event
At a conference in Hanoi on May 15 on the Vietnamese economy’s outlook for 2018 and to 2020, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung highlighted the good socio-economic performance in the first months of 2018, especially a GDP growth of 7.38 percent, the highest rise of the first quarter in 10 years. The macro-economy was kept stable, and inflation was under control.
The average consumer price index (CPI) in the first four months of 2018 rose 2.8 percent. The monetary market and the banking system remained stable with the system’s liquidity ensured, he said.
The Minister added that disbursement of foreign direct investment was estimated at 5.1 billion USD, up 6.3 percent. The number of newly-established enterprises was over 41,200 with combined capital of about 412 trillion VND.
Total import-export revenue in the period was estimated to hit 73.76 billion USD, a rise of 19 percent year on year, with a trade surplus of about 3.39 billion USD.
The country also saw its ranking enhanced in many fields, including business environment, competitiveness and innovation.
“These are good signs, especially when the domestic and world economic situations have posed positive impacts on the country’s economy,” stated the minister.
He added that domestic reform policies have begun to show their good effects, while free trade agreements and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) are expected to bring positive effects.
“There are many reasons for us to believe in the growth prospects of the Vietnamese economy in the rest of the years and the years to come,” stressed Dung.
President of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIE) Nguyen Mai held that foreign investment (FDI) has played an important role in the Vietnamese economy. Last year, the FDI disbursement reached a record figure of 17.5 billion USD.
He predicted that FDI disbursement this year may hit 19 billion USD.
Meanwhile, Warrick Cleine, President and General Director of KPMG Vietnam asserted that foreign investors are becoming more confident in the Vietnamese economy.
A number of forecasts of international organisations put the country’s average GDP growth in the 2018-2020 at around 6.85 percent and even 7 percent in some years.
However, Minister Dung said the Vietnamese Government has been highly aware of the possible impacts by the economy’s internal problems and outside influence.
The country aims for fast and sustainable economic growth on the basis of making full use of humankind’s science-technology advances, especially from the 4.0 industrial revolution, towards the goal of a modern industrialized country with an advanced market economy.
Minister Dung also highlighted the need for joint efforts of all sectors at all levels as well as all economic players in maintaining the growth trend not only in 2018 but in following years.
Social News 16/5
Meeting looks to improve legal aid provision at citizen reception centres
Vice President of the VFF Central Committee Ngo Sach Thuc speaks at the meeting (Photo: daidoanket.vn)
A meeting was held in Hanoi on May 14 for lawyers to share experience in providing legal aid at citizen reception centres of the Party Central Committee and the State.
The event was organised by the standing board of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee, the Government Inspectorate, the Ministry of Justice, the Vietnam Bar Federation and the Vietnam Lawyers Association. About 170 lawyers from across the nation attended.
Vice President of the VFF Central Committee Ngo Sach Thuc said when providing legal aid at the centres, lawyers are performing political and legal tasks as members of the VFF. Accordingly, they give legal advice to ensure citizens’ interests while helping citizens fulfill their obligations and protecting the law.
Chairman of the Vietnam Bar Federation Do Ngoc Thinh said in 2017, the citizen reception centres received 1,500 arrivals who came to seek advice in many different fields such as land seizure, granting of land use rights certificates, site clearance, compensation and resettlement and benefits for national contributors. More than 70 percent of the cases related to land issues.
Most citizens had a better understanding of their rights and obligations after receiving legal aid, he noted.
On difficulties facing lawyers while providing legal aid, Nguyen Hong Diep, head of the central citizen board of the Government Inspectorate, mentioned the increase of citizens coming to the reception centres to file complaints and denunciations before each session of the National Assembly. Therefore, legal aid given by lawyers is considerably useful to them.
He asked each lawyer to offer thorough advice and analysis to help citizens understand relevant circulars, decrees and legal basis so they can choose suitable ways to have their issues solved.
At the meeting, participants shared experience in handling cases and suggested ways to improve people’s legal awareness.
More than 500 youths join Vietnam-China border friendship exchange
At the third border youth friendship exchange programme betweem Vietnamese and Chinese children
Some 500 youths of the northern mountainous province of Lang Son and 54 others from China’s Guangxi province joined in the third border youth friendship exchange programme which began at Huu Nghi (friendship) International Border Gate on May 14.
The two-day event aims to enhance friendship between the two Parties and States as well as authorities of the two provinces, said Deputy Secretary of the provincial Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Dinh Thi Anh at the opening ceremony.
The programme offers opportunities to youths of both sides to bolster mutual understanding, Anh said, noting that the programme also helps local children popularise their hometown’s land and people.
Meanwhile, secretary of the communist youth league of Guangxi province’s Chongzuo city Yang Zhi Ling hoped that the youths will continue to treasure and contribute to Vietnam-China ties.
Art performances, talks on the friendship between border youths and incense offering at the statue of President Ho Chi Minh will be held during the programme.
Also, the youths will visit Hoang Van Thu relic site, Phai Ve historic relic site and Lang Son Children’s Palace.
200 photos featuring Quang Ninh tourism on display
Visitors to the exhibition
Up to 200 photos by 20 photographers were on display in the northern province of Quang Ninh from May 4-14.
Co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Agency of Art, Photography and Exhibition, the provincial Tourism Department, the provincial Department of Culture and Sports and the provincial Association of Literature and Arts, the exhibition was in response to the National Tourism Year 2018 Ha Long – Quang Ninh.
After a 10-day fact-finding trip to all 14 localities in the province, photographers vividly depicted portraits of mining workers, the lives and beauty of local people, culture, landscapes and tourism in ethnic minorities groups as well as the world natural wonder Ha Long Bay.
The closing ceremony was held on May 14.
German-funded project on smart power network development approved
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has signed Decision 519/QD-TTg approving the proposal on a German-funded project to apply smart power network to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency in Vietnam.
The project, which will use non-refundable Official Development Assistance (ODA) capital of the German Government, aims to complete legal framework related to promoting and supporting the development of various sources of renewable energy in the power system as well as a smart energy network in Vietnam.
It is expected to help the country fulfill the Government’s targets set in the national power development programme, the green growth strategy, and the green growth action plan, towards ensuring reliable supply of energy and improving power quality along with sustainable development of the power and energy sector.
The project will enhance partnership and technology transfer among universities, research institutes and enterprises of Vietnam and Germany in renewable energy and energy efficiency, while establishing networks for cooperation and experience sharing among policy-makers, management officials as well as other project development units.
Research affiliation will focus on latest technologies and technology products and software for energy efficiency for application in building smart houses and smart cities.
To be implemented from 2018 to 2022 nationwide, the project will have total investment of nearly 5.3 million EUR, of which 5 million EUR is sourced by non-refundable ODA of the German Government, while 297,980 USD is Vietnam’s corresponding capital.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment to send an official notice to the German side on this decision. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade was asked to gather ideas of relevant agencies to complete, verify and ratify the project’s document in order to issue a decision on the project.
Fishing boats requested to turn on positioning devices round the clock
Ship owners and captains are requested to turn on satellite-positioning devices (Movimar) round the clock when going fishing offshore.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has sent a document to People’s Committees of coastal provinces and cities, requesting ship owners and captains to turn on satellite-positioning devices (Movimar) round the clock when going fishing offshore.
It was the latest move by the MARD to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in an effort to have European Commission (EC)’s “yellow card” lifted on Vietnamese seafood.
All fishing boats with a total length of 15 metres or above must be equipped with a satellite-positioning device which must be switched on for 24 hours a day and connected to monitoring centres run by local Fisheries Departments, according to the MARD.
The ship owners and captains who fail to comply with this regulation will get strict penalties.
The ministry also asked the municipal and provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development to review and record the number of Movimar devices being used by fishing vessels and those being damaged or lost. The fishing vessels will have their devices repaired or replaced if necessary.
On October 23, 2017, the EC issued a "yellow card" warning to Vietnam, after the country failed to demonstrate sufficient progress in the fight against fishing worldwide. Though the measure was considered a warning, which would not technically affect the EC trade policy, the Vietnamese fishing industry was concerned that the yellow card would seriously harm the reputation of Vietnamese seafood worldwide, thus weakening sales.
According to EC’s requirement, the Vietnamese seafood sector had to implement nine recommendations in six months from October 23, 2017, to April 23, 2018.
The nine recommendations included revision of the legal framework to ensure compliance with international and regional rules applicable to the conservation and management of fisheries resources, ensuring the effective implementation and enforcement of the country’s revised laws, and strengthening the effective implementation of international rules and management measures.
As the yellow card could affect the reputation and trade of Vietnamese seafood in the European and global markets, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) and businesses have also made every effort to cooperate with authorised agencies and with one another to fight IUU fishing over the last six months.
“Thanks to such drastic measures, the number of fishing boats and fishermen caught fishing illegally on foreign waters reduced sharply. Particularly, zero case of boats going illegal fishing in foreign waters of Pacific island nations was reported,” said Deputy Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan, adding that breaches are only found at disputed waters as the boundaries in these areas have yet to be fixed.
A working delegation from the EC Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries will visit Vietnam from May 16 to 23 to inspect the country’s implementation of the EC’s nine recommendations related to the fight against IUU fishing.
After the inspection, the EU will give its final decision over whether it seeks to withdraw the “yellow card” from Vietnamese offshore seafood.
HCM City needs 27,000 labourers in May
Ho Chi Minh City has more than 27,000 job vacancies in May, according to Tran Anh Tuan, Vice Director of the municipal Centre of Forecasting Manpower Needs and Labour Market Information.
Of the total, 19.93 percent are in sale sector, while 15.09 percent are in the service sector, and 18.94 percent in the garment-textile and footwear industry. The rest are jobs related to transportation, storage, mechanics and import-export.
Tuan said that to satisfy the demand, the Ho Chi Minh City Employment Service Centre will organise a second mobile job fair in District 4, which expects to draw 25 enterprises who will recruit 1,000 labourers.
Meanwhile, more than 4,800 labourers of the central province of Thua Thien Hue found jobs in the first quarter of 2018, equivalent to 30.46 percent of the area’s yearly target. Of the total, 168 local labourers were sent abroad, mostly to Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China).
According to the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, in April, an event was held to recruit labourers for vocational training courses under the province’s manpower contracts.
In the first quarter of this year, the province also recruited 3,016 trainees for vocational training courses at different levels.
Road to hilltop unfinished for 6 years
The bumpy road that leads to a local temple in Vĩnh Phúc Province’s Bồ Lý Commune. The road remains inaccessible for motorbikes despite the commune’s decision to upgrade it in 2012. — Photo vietnamnet.vn
A road in the mountainous Vĩnh Phúc Province has remained under construction for the past six years despite receiving a fund of VNĐ9 billion (US$395,300).
The 1km road was sanctioned to help local residents travel easily to a temple located on top of a hill in Bồ Lý Commune in Tam Đảo District, some 100km northwest of Hà Nội.
The temple was constructed to honour the seven Lỗ brothers who fought against the Mongol enemy in 1258.
It has been accessible only through a bumpy road, which filled with mud every time it rains. In such conditions, commuters take half an hour to reach the temple from the base of the hill.
In February 2012, the People’s Committee of Bồ Lý Commune decided to upgrade the road and planned a two-phase road expansion project, which was funded by Vĩnh Phúc’s People’s Committee, Vietnamnet online newspaper reported.
According to the plan, the first phase involved levelling the road, creating drainage ditches and installing some 200 stone steps, while the entire road would be concretised in the second phase.
But to the surprise of the local people, the road looks pretty much the same after the completion of the first phase. It is still covered with rocks and was inaccessible for motorbikes.
Residents living in adjacent areas have to manually fill the holes on the road caused by landslides and erosion whenever it rains.
“We were so excited when the project started. But now we feel disappointed that nothing has changed,” said a resident of Bồ Lý Commune.
Nguyễn Trọng Dân, chairman of Bồ Lý People’s Committee, attributed the unfinished road to lack of funds.
Some VNĐ7 billion ($307,400), or 78 per cent, of the total funds were spent on the first phase of the project, he said, adding that the second phase could not be implemented with the remaining funds.
“We had requested financial support from the province’s People’s Committee but have not received any,” he said.
Gót ferry terminal to remain open 24 hours
Vehicles and visitors used to be stuck at Gót ferry terminal earlier. Now, they can ferry from Hải Phòng to Cát Bà Island 24 hours a day, throughout the week.
Hải Phòng City’s Department of Transport has decided to allow the Gót ferry terminal to operate for 24 hours throughout the week.
According to the decision on May 12, 2018 on the temporary traffic flow at Gót ferry terminal in Cát Hải District, the ferry terminal will operate round the clock every day from May 12 to serve the increasing tourist demand during the summer vacation, director of the city’s Department of Transport Vũ Duy Tùng confirmed to vietnamplus.vn online newspaper.
The terminal from Tân Vũ Bridge across the island will ferry tourists to Cát Bà tourim island 24 hours a day, so there are no time constraints for visitors to get back to the mainland.
However, two-way trucks passing through the terminal are prohibited from 2pm to 9pm on Fridays and from 5am to 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Tân Vũ-Lạch Huyện Bridge has shortened the travel time from Hải Phòng City centre to Cát Bà Island to two hours from the previous three hours.
It took 15 minutes for vehicles to go to Cát Bà Island, Cát Hải District from Gót ferry terminal but the ferry-awaiting time was up to several hours because there were many vehicles as long queues.
This is good news for visitors to Cát Bà Island as well as for residents living on the island district. The route from Hải Phòng to Cát Bà is now officially connected 24x7, said an official of the city’s Transport Department.
Previously, the ferry terminal was closed at 17h every day, so many vehicles and visitors were stuck on the island if they didn’t timely present at the terminal before 17h to come back land.
The ferry terminal remains crowded on weekends and holidays, especially summer. Such loss of time, besides causing inconvenience, affects tourism as well as socio-economic development of Cát Hải Island District.
The number of people and means of transport going to Cát Hải District and Cát Bà Island through Gót ferry has increased significantly, especially in the peak times, from 1,000 to 2,000 cars; from 1,000 to 2,500 motorcycles and about 7,000 to 14,000 people, according to the city’s Department of Transport.
Kiệt takes cycling tour’s fifth stage
Cyclists at the fifth stage of the Return to the Countryside tournament.
Trần Tuấn Kiệt of Domesco Đồng Tháp won the fifth stage of the Return to the Countryside cycling tournament yesterday.
Kiệt completed the 50.4km stage in Sóc Trăng City with a time of 1 hour, 20.02 minutes.
He was followed by Nguyễn Hoàng Giang of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời-An Giang and Joshua Mari Bonifacio of the Philippines’ team Go for Gold.
The overall ranking remained the same after the fifth stage.
Quách Tiến Dũng of Military Zone 7 was on top with a total time of 10:48.56.
Nguyễn Phạm Quốc Khang from Bike Life Đồng Nai and Phạm Minh Triết of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời-An Giang were second and third, respectively.
Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời-AN Giang took the lead in the team ranking. Bike Life Đồng Nai and Team Go For Gold were close behind.
The sixth stage today will be 30 laps around Hoà Bình Boulevard in Cần Thơ City totalling 42km.
Giang starts with a win at F3 Futures
Trịnh Linh Giang of Việt Nam wins first round match at the F3 Futures event in Huế. — Photo VTF
Trịnh Linh Giang defeated Nguyễn Đắc Tiến in the first round all-Vietnamese match at the Vietnam F3 Futures tennis tournament yesterday in Huế.
Giang won the singles match 6-4, 6-1 within 80 minutes and set up a rendezvous with No 2 seed Karunuday Singh of India in the second round. Singh overcame his countryman Nitin Kumar Sinha 6-3, 6-2 in another match yesterday.
In another match, Vietnamese player Trần Quang Trường lost 1-6, 1-6 to No 8 Song Min-kyung of South Korea.
Takashi Saito of Japan beat Australian Matthew Romios 7-6 (2), 6-1; No 4 Alexios Halebia from the US won 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-5 over Adrian Andrzejczuk of Poland.
No 1 seed Lý Hoàng Nam of Việt Nam will play today against Son Ji-hoon of South Korea. His partner in the F1 Futures’ doubles win Phạm Văn Phương will face Japan’s Gengo Kikuchi.
According to latest world ranking release, Nam has jumped to No 433—his highest position ever and the highest spot ever held by a Vietnamese player.
Phương is No 1,430, a leap of 153 spots.
In the doubles event, Giang paired with Phương lost 5-7, 6-2, 7-10 to the Thai team Chantha Thanapet and Rakpuangchon Vorachon. Lê Quốc Khánh and Trần Ngọc Quốc Vinh were beaten 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-10 by mixed pair Jayden Court from Australia and Nguyễn Bùi Trí of Việt Nam.
Hải Phương Nam Gia Định University beat veteran Sanna Khánh Hoà
Hải Phương Nam Gia Định University (in white) win 3-2 over Sanna Khánh Hoà in the first-round match of the National Futsal HDBank Championship in Đà Nẵng on Sunday. — Photo vov.vn
Hải Phương Nam Gia Định University fought back to win 3-2 over Sanna Khánh Hoà in the first-round match of the National Futsal HDBank Championship in Đà Nẵng on Sunday.
As one of the senior clubs, Sanna Khánh Hoà had no difficulty in dominating the young team since the beginning of the match.
They quickly made a 2-0 lead, thanks to goals by Khắc Chí and Quốc Hiền in the first set. But they underestimated their rivals, who bounced back with three goals by Tấn Phát, Quốc Hưng and Tấn Tiếp in the second half.
“I told my players to keep playing while fixing our mistakes. We had better ball procession in the second half (and scored goals). My players competed with great spirit to win this match,” said coach Nguyễn Tuấn Anh of Hải Phương Nam Gia Định University.
In an earlier match, runner-up Sanatech-Sanest Khánh Hoà lost 0-1 to Sài Gòn FC.
The only goal belonged to Bá Tiến with a close-range finish.
Speaking about their shocking loss, head of Sanatech-Sanest Khánh Hoà football delegation Trần Duy Hiếu said it was an unlucky match.
“Sanatech-Sanest Khánh Hoà had a good start, but there were times when the players lost focus in defending, while strikers did not finish well, leading to the goal for Sài Gòn. I do not understand why we could not score a single goal. We regret this match,” Hiếu said.
Coach assistant Phan Trần Tuấn Anh of Sài Gòn said the key reason for their win was the high performance of goalkeeper Châu Bảo Giang, whose skills have improved a lot. Other players are also at their peak owing to careful preparation months ahead of the tournament.
In another match, Hoàng Thư Đà Nẵng drew 1-1 with Cao Bằng.
The championship will officially begin this afternoon at Tiên Sơn Sports Palace.
Defending champions Thái Sơn Nam will begin the tournament against Thái Sơn Bắc. Tân Hiệp Hưng will play Kim Toàn Đà Nẵng in the second match of the day today.
Bad luck after bad luck
Phạm Duy Hưng, 32, of the northern province of Hà Nam’s fell into deep distress when he learned he’d been cuckolded last Friday, as he learned his girlfriend was having a sexual relationship with another man.
Hưng was so angry that he grabbed a shotgun, a scimitar and then drove his car to the hotel his girlfriend was staying in with her new partner to punish the man and win his lover back.
Luckily, fortune doesn’t always favour the bold or potentially murderous.
Hưng was arrested on the way to go to the hotel by local police for illegal possession of weapons.
Losing your lover and liberty on the same day has to be a bitter pill to swallow!
Dance and music show celebrate President Hồ Chí Minh’s birthday
Contemporary Còn Mãi Bản Hùng Ca (The Legends Live On) will be staged at HCM City Opera House on May 19 to celebrate the 128th birthday of President Hồ Chí Minh. — Photo courtesy of HBSO
Còn Mãi Bản Hùng Ca (The Legends Live On), a special music and dance show to celebrate the 128th birthday of President Hồ Chí Minh (May 19), will be staged at the city’s Opera House on May 19.
The show will open with composer Nguyễn Mạnh Duy Linh’s latest symphony Huyền Thoại Mùa Xuân (Legend of the Spring), which will be performed by the HCM City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO).
Linh studied composing at Magnitogorsk State Conservatory in Russia from 2000 and graduated in 2008 with a Master of Arts degree.
In 2007, he won the Best Composer prize at the 4th International Festival of Music in Chelyabinsk in Russia for his concerto for violin and chamber orchestra.
Linh’s compositions have been performed by famous Vietnamese and foreign soloists like Bùi Công Duy and Sergei Sivolgin.
He has also composed music for HBSO’s ballets, HCM City Television’s serials and a few movies.
In 2013, he won the Best Composer award at the Golden Kite Film Festival for his score for the movie Đường Đua (The Race).
He now works as a manager of the performing arts department and a stage manager at HBSO, and as a lecturer at the HCM City Conservatory of Music.
The show will continue with the ballet Còn Mãi Bản Hùng Ca, which portrays soldiers and people in Southern Việt Nam in the resistance war against the Americans.
The play was choreographed by People’s Artists Vũ Việt Cường and Kim Quy, and their students Phúc Hùng and Phúc Hải. Its music was composed by Meritorious Artist Trần Vương Thạch
Cường and Quy have made a great contributions to the development of HBSO and the country’s dance sector.
Hùng and Hải have choreographed many contemporary ballets, such as Ru Đêm (Night Lullaby), Chạm Tay Vào Quá Khứ (Touching the Past) and Những Mảnh Ghép Của Giấc Mơ (Dream Puzzles). All have received high praise from critics and audiences.
The 60-minute ballet will feature HBSO’s dancers and orchestra.
The show will begin at 8pm at 7 Lam Sơn Square in District 1. Tickets are available at the venue and at www.ticketbox.vn.
Sixth GEF Assembly to be held in Da Nang
The Sixth Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will take place from June 27-28, 2018 at the Furama International Conference Center in Da Nang, Vietnam. This assembly was set up to tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental problems.
Held every four years, the GEF Assembly brings together environment ministers and other senior officials from its 183 member countries, along with heads of UN agencies, regional development backs, civil society organizations and business leaders to share ideas, solutions and actions needed to protect the global environment.
“A clear majority of donors have stepped up their support for the GEF, signaling the urgency of the global environmental agenda, and trust in the GEF to help tackle the problem and achieve even greater results,” said Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson.
Last month, close to 30 countries jointly pledged $4.1 billion to the GEF for its new four-year investment cycle, (known as GEF-7), to better protect the future of the planet and its inhabitants.
With the health of the global environment worsening, the GEF received strong support in its efforts to help safeguard the world’s forests, land, water, climate, and oceans in order to build green cities, protect threatened wildlife, and tackle new environmental threats like marine plastic pollution.
These issues and more will be on the agenda of the GEF Assembly.
The GEF Assembly, with all sessions open to the media unless otherwise indicated, will include statements from current and former heads of state, expert presentations and a series of interactive roundtables on the new themes of GEF-7.
The opening plenary sessions on June 27 will cover the state of the global environment, the ambition needed to help transform the systems that support how we live, how we eat, how we move, how we produce and consume, and how implementation of GEF-7 can contribute to the necessary systems change.
Fourteen interactive high-level round tables will dig deeper into new themes in GEF-7 and other global environment issues. Each round table will feature well-known speakers and interventions from ministers, to discuss the challenge, what needs to be done, and how the GEF and others can address the problem.
The GEF Assembly will be preceded by the 54th GEF Council Meeting on June 24-26 and the 24th Least Developed Countries Fund/Special Climate Change Fund Council Meeting and a Civil Society Forum on June 26. There is an opportunity to visit GEF projects surrounding Da Nang on June 29. The week will also feature numerous side events and exhibitions.
Ten teams vie for trophy at National Futsal Championship
At the opening ceremony of the 2018 National Futsal Championship.
The 2018 National Futsal Championship officially opened at the Tien Son Sports Palace, in the central coastal city of Da Nang on May 14, with a total of ten teams battling it out for the overall trophy.
The participants include the top six finishers at last year’s tournament, including reigning champions Thai Son Nam, defending runners-up Sanatech Khanh Hoa, Hai Phuong Nam Phu Nhuan, Sanna Khanh Hoa, Saigon FC, and Thai Son Bac, and the four qualifiers, namely Cao Bang, Tan Hiep Hung, Hoang Thu Da Nang, and Kim Toan Da Nang.
According to the regulations, the teams will be competing in a double round robin format, both at home and away, to decide the title holders. Those finishing from first to sixth place will receive automatic byes to the second stage of next year’s championship, while the others will have to play in the qualification round.
The overall champions will represent Vietnam at the AFC Futsal Clubs Championship, while the second-place team will represent the country in the AFF Futsal Clubs Championship, if they fully meet the requirements, in terms of finance and other criteria, from the AFC or the AFF.
The first leg of the 2018 National Futsal Championship will take place from May 13 to June 3 at Da Nang’s Tien Son Sports Palace, while the second leg is scheduled for September 7-29 at the Lanh Binh Thang Gymnasium in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam’s northern, central provinces hit by heat wave
The temperatures could reach over 38C in some areas.
The first heat wave of 2018, with highest temperatures recorded at 35-37C, is spreading to provinces and cities in the northern and central regions, the national weather service has stated.
The mercury could reach over 38C in some areas, the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting has forecast.
The heat wave is the result of a phenomenon known as foehn caused by a low pressure expanding eastwards and southwest winds.
In the capital Hanoi, the highest temperatures hit 36C on May 15, up 2C from the previous day, and will rise to 37C the next day, remaining until May 20.
The heat wave, which has arrived late compared with previous years, is forecast to let up after May 20 in the northern region and after May 21 in the central region.
Heavy showers and thunderstorms, coupled with whirlwinds and strong gusts, are expected in the late afternoon and evenings after a day of hot weather.
Work begins on flyover at Nguyen Van Linh intersection in Hai Phong
Delegates at the ground-breaking ceremony
The northern port city of Hai Phong kick started the construction of a flyover at the Nguyen Van Linh intersection on May 14.
The flyover features seven lanes measuring 288.2 metres in length and 19 metres in width, and is built at a total investment of VND360 billion (US$16.9 million) sourced from the city’s budget.
The construction of the project is expected to be completed and opened to traffic by 2020.
The facility will be built as an important arterial part of the construction of the Ho Sen - Cau Rao 2 route, which has a total investment of VND1,405 billion (US$61.5 million).
The Ho Sen Cau Rao 2 - Nguyen Van Linh intersection project is designed to complete the city’s traffic system, creating a main road connecting the city centre with Highway No 5, Pham Van Dong Street and the city’s southern area.
It will also help to reduce heavy traffic on the Cau Dat – Lach Tray – Cau Rao route.
Germany provides EUR5 million for Vietnam’s smart grids
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has approved a project in which Germany will provide EUR5 million to help Vietnam develop smart grids for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The project will be implemented over four years from 2018.
The project, known as SGRE-EE, costs nearly EUR5.3 million and will be implemented during the 2018-2022 period.
The remainder of the cost will be accounted for by Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.
SGRE-EE is designed to perfect the legal framework for promoting and supporting the development of renewable energy sources and smart grids in Vietnam, thereby helping to achieve the goals of the national power development plan and the green growth strategy.
The project will focus on the application of information technology in managing renewable energy sources and optimising energy use.
Professional staff at state management agencies and power experts will also have their capacities enhanced as part of the project to form a network of experts with knowledge in the area of smart power grids.
At the same time, cooperation and technology transfer in the field between Vietnam and Germany will be increased.
Seas, islands week 2018 to be held in Quang Ninh
The Viet Nam Seas and Islands Week 2018 will be held in the northern province of Quang Ninh in June in response to World Oceans Day (June 8).
In the framework of the launch ceremony on June 2, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will organize a live performance to keep the ocean clean, followed by a “Clean up the sea” movement and a song contest for the maritime environment.
In addition, there will be art performances and a seminar on youth’s role in the sustainable development and protection of the country’s seas and islands sovereignty, along with the launch of a contest to compose songs for national seas and islands protection.
The event aims to raise public awareness of the importance of seas and islands in national building and protection, encouraging organisations and individuals to take action to protect marine resources and the environment for the country’s growth, and its seas and islands sovereignty.
Tay Ninh, Cambodian Prey Veng province strengthen cooperation
The signing ceremony of cooperation agreement between Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province and Prey Veng province of Cambodia was held at the head office of the Military High Command of the southern Tay Ninh province on May 14.
Under the agreement, the two sides will strengthen diplomatic relations in fields of trade and investment, agriculture, forestry, fishery, culture and society, environment, border security management, planting of border pillars; and cooperate to implement targets and projects to develop the economy, society, security and public order, as well as protect the border area between the two provinces.
On this occasion, Vice Governor of Prey Veng province Chhan Tha conferred Friendship Medals of the Kingdom of Cambodia on Secretary of Party Committee of Tay Ninh province Tran Luu Quang, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham Van Tan and former Chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy for their outstanding contribution to the promotion of friendship and solidarity between the two countries and two provinces.
HCM City dweller grateful for chivalrous deed of “street knights”: Party Chief
Politburo member, Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan yesterday paid a visit to “street guardians” who were injured while trying to stop a gang of robbers in the night of May 13 in district 3.
Street knights Nguyen Duc Huy and Dinh Phu Quy both born in 1996 are being treated in the Heart Department in Thong Nhat Hospital. Nguyen Duc Huy was stabbed in the lung and Dinh Phu Quy’s right hand was slashed.
Medical workers tried their best to save the two men. Their health condition is stable.
Visiting the two young men at their beds in the hospital, Party Chief Nhan said city inhabitants were grateful for their chivalrous deed of the street guardians, wishing they will be soon better.
He asked medical workers to take best care of the street guardians and promissed the city leaders would call for financial assistance for their best treatment. Mr. Nhan stressed all HCMC dwellers are indignant at cruel acts of robbers.
He added that the police have detained a suspect in the robbery, promising that these robbers would incur a punishment appropriate to their cruelties as per the law.
Street knight Nguyen Duc Huy expected that city residents would join in the fight against crimes to keep the city safe and peaceful.
"Street knights" are the name city inhabitants call the volunteers who often prevent or catch robbers in the street. They are bike drivers, bike mechanics, students, greengrocers, construction workers, carpenters…
Foot-mouth disease in cattle spreading in nine central districts
Since the beginning of the year, 22 communes in districts in the central provinces of Quang Ngai reported foot-mouth disease amongst cattle.
The disease affected 415 local cattle including 150 buffaloes, 244 oxen and 21 pigs.
People’s Committee in Quang Ngai directed relevant agencies and local administrations to enhance measures against the disease amongst cattle. Though the disease was under control, it is likely to spread to other communes in the current seasonal transaction.
To curb fresh outbreaks of the disease, Quang Ngai People’s Committee sent its document to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asking for supplying chemicals to prevent the disease.
Traffic safety committee gives helmets to all first graders
The National Traffic Safety Committee, the Ministry of Education and Training and Honda Vietnam will give helmets to all first graders, aiming to help all first graders to protect their life.
The Committee will preside the kick-off helmet giving meeting to publicize the helmet program for first graders in the academic year 2018-2019.
The program will start after June 15 with the theme “ Giu tron uoc mo” (Acquitting oneself of a promise) contributing to increasing public awareness of child helmet legislation when on motorbikes and electric bikes.
Historical plays celebrate 100th anniversary of Cai Luong Stage
More than 60 cai luong actors and actresses of the Vietnam Cai Luong Theater in Hanoi and Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theater of Ho Chi Minh City will join in a play titled Thay Ba Doi (Musician Ba Doi) celebrating the 100th anniversary of Cai Luong Stage.
The 150-minute play will take place at Hanoi Opera House on May 27-28 with the participation of artists, such as People’s Artists Vuong Ha, Hoang Dat, Meritorious Artists Xuan Vinh, Que Tran, Le Tu, Huu Quoc, Quynh Huong and others.
The play honors musician Nguyen Quang Dai who made outstanding contribution to the development of southern amateur traditional music.
Musician Nguyen Quang Dai was a mandarin under Nguyen dynasty. He moved from his birthplace, Hue ancient city, to Sai Gon (HCM City now) to promote Hue royal music and teach tai tu amateur traditional music.
In addition, Cai Luong devotees had a chance to enjoy one of the most popular historical cai luong plays, Thai hau Duong Van Nga (Empress Dowager Duong Van Nga) at Ben Thanh Theater in Ho Chi Minh City on May 6 and 13.
The play was a cooperation of veteran artists, director Hoa Ha and Kim Ngan with the participation of famous cai luong artists, such as Phuong Loan, Le Tu, Quynh Huong, Chi Linh, Kim Ngan, Hong To, Dai Nghia, singer Phuong Thanh, musician Thai An and others. The performance also aims to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cai Luong Stage.
Chaotic urban plan
Compensation and relocation have long been a painful process in the course of development, but rarely has there been any project that has stoked agony, protests and social chaos like the scheme surrounding Thu Thiem New Urban Area in HCMC’s District 2. Such distress erupted into multiple layers of indignation at a meeting on May 9 between the city’s National Assembly deputies and affected residents. The meeting, as covered in local media, was awash with numerous accusations of wrongdoing by local authorities that have stripped local residents of their properties and their livelihoods. And that ordeal has been two decades long.
In fact, the saga started shortly after the Prime Minister issued Decision 367/TTg in 1996 to develop Thu Thiem Peninsula into a new urban area. Under the decision alongside a map of scale 1/5000 for the area, the new town would cover 930 hectares, inclusive of a resettlement area of 160 hectares for residents affected by the project.
Then came zoning plans and detailed maps of scale 1/2000, and site clearance and relocation accordingly. Under such zoning plans penned by the city government, the new town was zoned bigger, and thus the resettlement area of 160 hectares was annexed into the future town, while the affected people would be relocated farther afield in different clusters, not in a concentrated zone next to the new town as originally planned, according to the news site at cand.com.vn. Such a change was deliberately conducted by the city, and contradicted the original plan approved by the Prime Minister, says the news site.
In late 2005, according to the online newspaper Vietnamnet.vn, the city government issued its own Decision No. 6565/QD-UBND adjusting the zoning plan for Thu Thiem of scale 1/5000. The municipal government clarifies that its new decision replaces Decision 367/TTg of the Prime Minister, an act experts say overstepped the bounds of the city’s authority. Another controversial point is that the new decision does not mention the resettlement zone in its scope, says Vietnamnet.vn.
Throngs of Thu Thiem residents have ever since strongly protested against plans commanded by the city government, insisting that their properties – land and houses – were not affected by the original master plan.
In many encounters, residents demanded that the city’s authorities show the original map as the basis for site clearance, but such a plea has never been met. Even during a meeting between the people and HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong last June, according to Nguoi Lao Dong, the residents continued to challenge the municipal government, stressing their land had been illegally seized. The city leader at the time explained there remained differences in comprehending the map and supporting documents between relevant agencies on one side and the residents on the other.
The protests have never died out over the years, but the latest move by local government to proceed with development is seen as the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.
At a news briefing on May 2, the city announced plans to invite bidders for plots of land covering 7.8 hectares in Thu Thiem. And at the event, the drama reached a new twist when HCMC People’s Committee office manager Vo Van Hoan told reporters that the original map of scale 1/5000 was missing, and relevant agencies had failed to find it over the years, according to local media.
Municipal authorities also said they had asked central agencies for help to look for copies of the map, but to no avail. Nguyen Hong Diep, a senior official at the Government Inspectorate, even said that such a map has never existed, according to Dan Tri.
However, a resident in District 2 shortly after that showed the map with all the seals, casting doubt on the authorities’ claim that the map is nowhere to be found. And, to add to the city government’s confusion, former chairman of the city government Vo Viet Thanh asserted he was holding a set of 13 original maps.
In an interview with Tuoi Tre, the former city chairman says a lot of changes – for the worse – have been made to the original plan, separating native residents from their land, while the Prime Minister’s decision was to help them settle down right next to the new town. “In legal terms, any changes to the original plan must be approved by the Prime Minister… In terms of morality, any zoning plan must benefit the native people; they cannot be rendered destitute due to any zoning plans,” he stresses.
Thanh, who on behalf of the city government presented the original plan to the Prime Minister, says he suggested that pagoda, temple, church and seminary be retained, but to date, almost all have been leveled to the ground, according to Tuoi Tre.
Back to the meeting this Wednesday, many residents took turns to assert their properties were not affected by the original plan, showing the maps to back their claims. However, they were still coercively relocated, their houses being demolished.
Le Thi Ngoc Nga of Binh Khanh Ward told the meeting her house was torn down and her family was forced out though authorities did not issue any decision redeeming the land, according to Thanh Nien. Nga has for over 10 years now sent numerous complaints and letters of accusations to various agencies, but no answer was given.
Even those residents whose properties are inside the zoning plans also made strong protests at the meeting over the compensation rate. A woman named Nguyen Ngoc Thanh said she had paid nearly 50 taels of gold, or some VND1.8 billion at the current price, to acquire a house on Luong Dinh Cua Street, but she was given only VND94 million in clearance compensation, Tuoi Tre reports. Another claimed she got VND18 million a square meter of her house in an area where the luxury Sala housing complex has taken shape, but land there is now sold at a whopping VND350 million (over US$15,000) per square meter.
The key aim of rezoning Thu Thiem and forcing the people out, said a resident identified as Tran Thi My at the meeting, is to have land for sale to investors to develop luxury housing projects whose prices are hundreds of times higher than compensation rates, according to Tuoi Tre. Another said it is money that has distorted the original plan for Thu Thiem.
At the aforesaid meeting, Thu Thiem’s residents said that given the injustice they have incurred, they no longer have confidence in local authorities. All the issues related to Thu Thiem “must be handed over to central authorities and the National Assembly for oversight, not just NA deputies of HCMC, because of serious wrongdoing here,” a resident of Binh Khanh Ward is quoted in Thanh Nien as saying at the meeting.
Revival of dead lands
An exhibition on explosive and toxic remnants of war as well as efforts made by the authorities and non-governmental organizations in clearance to make Vietnam a safe and peaceful country is running at the War Remnants Museum in HCMC.
Themed “Revival of dead lands”, the exhibition features 190 items, documents and images related to the U.S. army’s use of bombs and toxic chemicals during the Vietnam War and how the contaminated areas have been treated.
Although the war ended more than 40 years ago, its consequences are still putting adverse impacts on Vietnamese people and environment.
During the Vietnam War, three million people were killed, two million others were injured and nearly five million people were exposed to toxic chemicals.
Most cities and provinces across the country, especially in the central region, are littered with roughly 800,000 tons of bombs, mines and unexploded ordnances left by wars.
Between 1961 and 1971, the U.S. army sprayed nearly 80 million liters of toxic chemicals, 61% of which was dioxin, onto central and southern Vietnam, destroying more than three million hectares of forest.
The exhibition, opened to visitors until August 20, seeks to apprise the public of the consequences of wars and call on the people to join hands to restore the environment, bring life back the dead lands and support war victims.
Tours to Jeju get cheaper
Jeju tour operators in South Korea will financially support Vietnamese travel firms in a bid to bring more visitors from Vietnam to Jeju Island.
Companies chartering flights to carry tourists to Jeju will get a maximum of US$6,500 per flight. They will benefit from more preferential programs if arranging incentive tours.
According to a source from the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in Vietnam, tourism firms in Vietnam can ask for aid seven days prior to departure date or 14 days after charter flights are conducted. In case firms operate more than five scheduled tours a month, they will be financed US$3,800 per flight, and US$6,500 per flight if there are less than four unscheduled tours a month.
The amount of money will be adjusted depending on the number of passengers on a flight. For instance, it will be raised if 90% of seats are occupied, but reduced if lower than 50%.
The Jeju Tourism Organization, the MICE Jeju Alliance, KTO Vietnam and Vietnamese tour operators Vietravel, Saigontourist, Ben Thanh Tourist, Transviet Travel, and TST Tourist on May 10 signed a memorandum of understanding on promoting and developing Jeju tourism in Vietnam in 2018 and 2019 to attract more travelers to Jeju.
Apart from incentives, the five local travel firms will get more preferential policies such as fees for promoting Jeju tour products, organizing FAM tours to carry out surveys, or partly sponsoring entrance fees for incentive groups to tourist attractions. More visitors, especially Vietnamese, will come to Jeju due to reasonable prices and many attractive policies, said KTO Vietnam.
Korea lured over 118,000 Vietnamese visitors in the first four months of this year, up 33.5% year-on-year, according to KTO Vietnam. With this robust growth, Vietnam continues to be among the top source markets for Korea’s tourism.
Disneylands, golf courses, museums help promote tourism: expert
Vietnam ranks 113rd out of 136 surveyed countries in terms of tourism infrastructure.
The Dragon Bridge in Da Nang City
Luong Hoai Nam, an aviation and tourism expert, said the country urgently needs to enrich tourism products.
He can see potential in the development of theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios in Hanoi and HCMC which serve domestic and foreign travelers.
The state needs program the land use, set up preferential investment policies, and choose experienced and financially capable investors, he said.
Nam estimates that a successful theme park can help retain foreign travelers for 0.5-1 day and increase travelers’ spending in localities by 10 percent. In addition, hotels would also gain higher revenue thanks to travelers’ longer stays.
Some large entertainment complexes such as Ba Na Hills, Asia Park of Sungroup, Vinpearl Land and Safari in Phu Quoc of Vingroup are called ‘Vietnam’s Disneyland’s ’.
However, experts say Vietnamese need more amusement complexes of international stature.
Tran Ngoc Quang, secretary general of the Vietnam Real Estate Association, commented that most resorts in Vietnam serve the demand for accommodations and business but a real resort complex needs to satisfy shopping and entertainment as well.
The Khang Thong Group once announced investment of $2 billion in the Happy Land project in Long An province. However, for many reasons, the investor had to scale down the project.
Like Disneyland, Nam believes that museums will also help persuade travelers to stay for 0.5 day more. There are numerous museums in Vietnam, but the quality is inconsistent.
Nam believes it would be better for private investors to develop ‘war tourism’. Vietnam has former war zones and battle sites that attract travelers interested in history and sightseeing.
He said Vietnam also needs to make heavy investment in golf tourism, because this targets the wealthy.
Vietnam’s golf courses can operate year round and attract golfers from Northeast Asia, Europe, the US and Australia, where golf courses do not operate in winter.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Vietnam welcomed more than 13 million foreign visitors and served 73.2 million domestic tourists to earn US$23 billion in 2017. The country hopes it can receive 15 million foreign travelers in 2018.
In 2017, the Politburo issued Resolution No8 on developing tourism into a spearhead economic industry.
In the latest news, Vietnam has decided to renew visa exemptions for a three-year period for the citizens of five Western European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Kim Chi, VNN
Experts warn of challenges to Vietnam economy despite good prospects
Vietnam’s economy had a good start in 2018 with a 7.38 percent GDP growth in first quarter, but experts warn of challenges and risks ahead in the remaining of the year as well as following years.
Participants at the workshop
At a recent workshop on prospects for the Vietnamese economy in 2018 and to 2020, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said the country will benefit from the recovery of the world economy this year and there are many reasons to be optimistic about domestic economic growth from now to 2020.
The advisory group to the Prime Minister on economic affairs said economic development in the recent past was driven by reform efforts with drastic measures, which improved the business and investment environment, along with flexible and coordinated macro-economic policies and the effect of new policies such as developing the private sector.
The group devised three scenarios for Vietnam’s economic growth in 2018-2020, which envision annual average GDP growth rate at 6.7 percent, 6.83 percent and 7.47 percent, respectively. The group also proposed the target of an average annual growth of 6.85 percent for the next three years (2018 to 2020).
The forecast demonstrates economists’ optimistic viewpoint of the country’s economic prospects.
However, in-depth analysis of Quarter 1 economic performance also revealed potential problems, participants at the workshop said.
It is noteworthy that the high economic growth in Q1 was driven by the manufacturing sector, especially big foreign-invested enterprises such as electronics manufacturer Samsung Vietnam and steel maker Formosa Ha Tinh. The question is whether those enterprises will be able to maintain the high growth rate in following quarters in the context of unforeseeable factors in the world economy such as the trade protection policy of the US and the risk of a US-China trade war.
Economist Le Xuan Nghia said the manufacture sector is currently dominated by foreign-invested enterprises, and the domestic enterprises are saddled with high interest rates, logistic costs and informal expenses.
In particular, the enforcement of laws and policies is not strict enough, many documents guiding the execution of laws and decrees are inconsistent, incomplete and lack transparency, and administrative procedures, especially those related to land and investment in capital construction, reveal many shortcomings.
PHan Duc Hieu, Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, was of the opinion that despite certain results, the pace of institutional reform is still slow and fails to meet expectations of the business community.
The restructuring of the economy also fell short of expectations, Hieu said.
He added that it is necessary to change the way of thinking not only among policy makers but also those who implement the policies.
“Changing the way of thinking throughout the administrative apparatus is an important content of institutional reform,” Hieu said.
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung shared the view on the need to accelerate institutional reform.
“This is the fundamental driving force of economic growth, which is both an urgent need in the context of rapid changes and a requirement for development,” he said.
Speaking on the Government’s reform priorities, the minister also highlighted the need to increase labour productivity, stressing that this is the most important factor in improving growth quality and renewing the growth model.
According to the Minister, the most effective way to enhance labour productivity is to capture opportunities brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution.
“This is one-in-a-thousand-year opportunity,” Dung said.
He also mentioned other factors that can contribute to economic growth, such as infrastructure and human resources.
“There is plenty of room for improvement, and the question is how to improve in the most rapid and effective manner,” the minister said.
He agreed that in spite of the optimism, challenges and difficulties should not be overlooked.
Vietnam and LGBT rights: Making strides
Vietnam has seen a radical change in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) rights over the last decade as the State has made significant steps to protect rights and equality.
A photo on display at an exhibition as part of "Steps for LGBT" event held by iSEE in Hanoi on May 6. The photo shows people wearing wristbands of rainbow, a symbol of LGBT community.
Just more than a decade ago, homosexuality wasn’t accepted widely. There was stigma and discrimination against LGBT people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Things have changed.
Lawmakers slam anti-LGBT discrimination
Public attention turned to homosexuality and the LGBT community in 2012 when Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong became the first senior Vietnamese government official to publicly call for the end of prejudice against homosexual people and mentioned the once-taboo subject of same-sex marriage.
“Personally, I think that the recognition or non-recognition of same-sex marriage should be based on very basic studies, credible assessment of impacts on many social and legal aspects, such as personal freedom, compatibility with cultural practices of Vietnamese families and society, and sensitivity and social consequences of the regulations,” stated Cuong in an online public dialogue in July that year.
He further emphasised the need to protect the rights of gay couples. “The country should adopt a legal mechanism to protect their rights in terms of legal personality, property or children of cohabiting couples.”
For many LGBT people, the minister’s words were a bold step forwards, paving the way for their search for marriage equality, given that the previous Law on Marriage and Family specifically outlawed gay marriage.
The LGBT community did not have to wait long for the next supporter to step up.
“In the angle of human rights, gay people also have the right to live, eat, wear, love, and pursue happiness,” Vice Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said publicly a few months later.
“In terms of citizenship, they have the right to work, study, receive medical check-ups and treatment, and register birth, death and marriage… in line with rights and obligations with the State and society.”
The ban made many homosexuals afraid to come out due to fear of discrimination from families, friends and colleagues and being abandoned, he stressed, calling for the legal recognition of same-sex marriage as it is a human right.
New rules spark hope and motivation
Also in 2012, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) activated a review of the Marriage and Family Law which, for the first time in Vietnamese history, brought up legal consideration of same-sex marriage.
The ministry asked all government agencies for opinions about revising the law again in an official letter sent in May, 2012, concerned that the community of gays and lesbians was expanding in the country but many lived together without registering a marriage.
“From the perspective of individual rights, marriage between people of the same sex should be recognised,” the letter said.
“The cohabitation of same-sex couples is a real social phenomenon, which results in binding relations and issues concerning property ownership and child custody.”
“The current law may not legalise their marriage but there must be a legal framework to address these issues.”
The MoJ launched a number of policy dialogues with LGBT groups during the formation of the bill.
It also engaged several organisations, including the Institute for Studies and Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) and the Women’s Union, in civil society consultation to get insight and relevant expertise in the LGBT community and related issues, and to assess impacts of the bill on the society.
“We worked with the Ministry of Justice in many consultation workshops on this bill… We really appreciated the effort of the government in protecting the rights of LGBT people... and to show its acceptance of alternative lifestyle,” Le Phan Anh Thu, iSEE’s Acting Coordinator of LGBT Rights Programme told Vietnam News Agency.
The draft bill was submitted to the Vietnamese National Assembly for debate in 2013, making Vietnam the first country in Asia where the topic was discussed at parliamentary level.
June 19, 2014 was a special day for LGBT people.
After two years of discussion, the NA passed the revised law, with no clause prohibiting marriage between people of the same sex. The new law allowed same-sex couples to co-habit and have wedding ceremonies, but they are not considered a legal family.
Though the act does not recognise gay marriage, an activist called it “quite amazing change in such a short span of time,” given that the LGBT social movement was said to have only started a decade ago.
Many LGBT activists flock to the streets in Hanoi to applaud the new legislation. They raise flags and boards, some of which read “Cam on Quoc hoi” (Thank you, National Assembly). (Photo courtesy of iSEE)
Despite some disappointments about the outcome, many others felt optimistic. “It may be not completely there yet… but it is good to know it’s moving forward,” said H.H.T, an LGBT activist.
“The new law has positive effects on advocacy to change public awareness as it sends a message that same-sex marriage is not a bad thing.”
“Some were upset, but in return, many others have become more deeply engaged into the community’s activities because they understand if they do not advocate for their own rights, then nobody can,” he added.
“This might be a baby step towards equal marriage, but was an important one that brought us hope and motivation,” Anh Thu added.
“Practically, same-sex couples still are not protected by law but on the other hand, lifting the ban on same-sex marriage reflected a huge change in the mindset of policy makers.”
“LGBT people now can be more confident to not only present their visibility but also to talk about their rights to access services, such as education, legal and medical services”.
Vietnam well ahead in Asia
Vietnam grabbed big attention again in November 2015 when lawmakers took a major step by voting to pass the amended Civil Code that legalises sex reassignment surgery.
Previously, sex reassignment in Vietnam was limited to only those without complete sex organs and those with both male and female sex organs. Now anyone can have sex change surgery and can legally register under a new name and new gender.
The LGBT community is excited for more big changes in the next few years as the new Law on Gender Change is being crafted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to protect the rights of transgender people.
The law is set to be submitted to parliament for review in 2019 at the latest.
“The bill stipulates how to identify a person whose gender identity is different from his/her assigned sex at birth through psychological evaluations... After that, doctors are allowed to perform medical interventions, such as hormone therapy or breast and genital surgeries,” said Nguyen Huy Quang, director of the MoH’s department of legal affairs.
“If passed, the bill will provide a basic and humane legal framework... for transgender people to live true to themselves and set their bodies free,” he said.
“It’s a work in progress and I am pleased to see the efforts that are going in to considering the different aspects of the bill on protecting the rights of transgender people in healthcare,” Ambassador of Canada to Vietnam Ping Kitnikone told Vietnam News Agency.
Ambassador of Canada to Vietnam Ping Kitnikone makes an opening speech in Hanoi Pride 2017. (Photo courtersy of the Embassy of Canada)
“The support of the MoH as well as iSEE clearly shows that the LGBT issue is becoming more and more salient in Vietnam, and that more and more officials and individuals are beginning to see the importance of empowering this community.”
According to H.H.T, his activist peers in the region are impressed with what Vietnam has achieved so far, referring to those from the Asian countries where gay marriage remains outlawed.
“This makes Vietnam one of the leaders in the region”, H.H.T said.
“During our interactions with fellow activists, Vietnam is always being referred to as a beacon of hope with regards LGBT rights in ASEAN,” said Ryan V. Silverio, Regional Coordinator of ASEAN Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression Caucus (ASC), a regional organisation of LGBT human rights activists in Southeast Asia.
“The revision of the civil code and the Vietnamese government's openness to LGBT organisations in crafting a new law on gender recognition was positively welcomed by activists.”
If Vietnam adopts the bill, the country will become the sixth in Asia and the second in Southeast Asia to have specific legislation on gender reassignment.
Anh Thu was convinced that it (the adoption of bill) reflects the government’s consistent view – LGBT rights are basic human rights.
“So protecting them is the right thing to do.”
Economists oppose golf course proposals, say investors are engaging in land speculation
Local authorities have proposed adding tens of golf course projects to the program on golf course development, a move many economists oppose.
Local authorities want to develop more golf courses
Le Cao Doan from the Vietnam Economics Institute said that this is a ‘strange move’ which is contrary to economic laws. Investors still want to build golf courses though golf courses don’t bring high profits as it is very difficult to attract players.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) confirmed that half of 98 projected golf courses have not become operational or have been unprofitable.
This is explained by the fact that golf courses require huge initial investment capital, while it takes investors a long time to recover investment capital.
Doan said that scandals related to golf course development in Phu Yen, Vinh Phuc and Ninh Thuan, in which investors used the land allocated to develop golf courses for other purposes.
“The scandals have posed questions about golf course programming quality,” Doan said.
In some localities, investors were allocated hundreds of hectares of protective forestland or agricultural land to develop golf courses, resorts and villas at dirt-cheap prices.
Doan doubts that the large land plots investors expect to be allocated are what they target when registering to develop golf courses.
They must not expect to earn money from golf club members, who are believed to account for 0.01 percent of the population .
Meanwhile, they can make big money from the land plots where golf courses are located, because the courses increase the value of properties nearby.
Doan warned of a “golf course boom” which would harm the national economy.
“We have to learn a lesson from the ‘seaport and airport boom’. Many of these projects have been left idle and are unprofitable. This must not occur with golf courses,” he said.
Bui Ngoc Son from the World Economics and Politics Research Institute agrees with Doan, saying that investors are targeting large land plots which can bring real estate development opportunities, not golf courses.
“I think registering golf course projects is an intentional move which for private purposes and don’t serve local economic development,” Son said.
“This is just land speculation,” he said, adding that Quang Binh province alone wants to develop up to 10 golf courses, which is described as an ‘unacceptable and arbitrary’.
“One province wants to develop 10 golf courses. How many golf courses will Vietnam have in 63 provinces and cities then?” he said.
Cycling up the mountains with a purpose
Hanoi -The fifth session of the National Assembly (14th tenure) opened in Hanoi at 9 am on May 21.
An overview of the 4th session of the 14th Natinal Assembly (Photo: VNA)
The opening is being broadcast live by the Vietnam Television and Radio The Voice of Vietnam.
Prior to the opening ceremony, Party, State and NA leaders and deputies laid wreaths and paid respect to President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum.
The NA will spend 60 percent of the session’s time to law making work. The legislature plans to consider and approve eight draft laws and one resolution.
The draft laws to be passed are the Law on Denunciation (revised), Law on Special Administrative and Economic Units, Law on Measurement and Maps, Law on Competition (revised), Law on Cyber Security, Law on National Defence (revised), Law on amendments and supplements to several articles of the Law on Physical Activity and Sports, and Law on amendments and supplements to several articles of the Law on Planning.
The NA is expected to adopt the resolution on the NA’s supervision programme and the establishment of a specialised supervision group in 2019.
Eight other bills will also be tabled for discussion at this sitting, which are the Law on Corruption Prevention (revised), Law on the People’s Public Security Force, Law on Husbandry, Law on Cultivation, Law on amendments and supplements to several articles of the Law on Amnesty, Law on Marine Police, Law on amendments and supplements to several articles of the Law on Education, and Law on amendments and supplements to several articles of the Law on Higher Education.
Besides law making, the NA will also devote time to supreme supervision of the implementation of policies and laws on management and use of State capital and asset at enterprises and equitisation of State-owned enterprises during 2011-2016.
The NA will consider and make decisions on several important issues, including a report assessing the implementation of socio-economic development and State budget plans in 2017 and the first months of 2018, the ratification of 2016 State budget balance, and personnel work.
During the fifth session, the legislative body will for the first time introduce a new regulation for question-&-answer activity. Accordingly, each NA deputy can have one minute to put question, and after three questions, the Cabinet member has three minutes to make the answer. The change is designed to increase dialogue and face-to-face debate.
The fifth NA session is slated to conclude on June 15.
Lazada and DeAura the biggest pains for customers in 2017
In 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Competition Authority received a large number of complaint letters related to the quality of goods and services of Lazada, while DeAura has made its name by swindling thousands of customers into debt.
According to the Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA)’s annual report released on its website, the authority processed about 1,000 requirements and feedbacks from customers in 2017 received via its hotline, email, its website, and post. Some of the businesses hit by the most complaints are Recess Co., Ltd. (lazada.vn), Cat Hung Thinh Trading Co., Ltd., and DeAura Vietnam Co., Ltd.
Accordingly, VCA has received a large number of complaint letters on the quality of products and services at lazada.vn, as well as delays in delivery, goods being different from the advertisements, delivering used/old items or the wrong articles, repudiating liability, cancelling orders, fake promotions and wrong prices, selling goods not in inventory, and abandoning customers. By the number of complaints, lazada.vn has made customers very angry this year.
VCA has been working with Recess and asked the company to resolve complaints and explain its business process. The firm has resolved the complaints satisfactorily since then. However, VCA will also inspect and supervise lazada.vn in the time coming.
A week ago, a lazada.vn customer claimed that it delivered a laptop with a damaged battery and keyboard, and then delayed a refund or exchange for over a month, although the website promises to “Return or exchange items easily within 14 days, even if you simply do not like the product.”
Only after vir.com.vn reported this incident was this customer allowed to return the damaged laptop and got his money back.
In addition to Recess, numerous customers complained about purchasing jewellery worth more than VND1 million ($44) after watching an advertisement of Cat Hung Thinh on television. The item was very bad, stained, and crude.
After feedbacks from customers, the company has taken back the jewellery for warranty, but the new goods were even worse than the ones before. Customers contacted Cat Hung Thinh but the calls were not received.
Numerous customers also complained about free promotional skin care services at DeAura spas in Hanoi, where they were solicited into buying a set of cosmetics worth VND43 million ($1,900) payable in instalments via Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VP Bank) or FE Credit. They have faced many troubles with the quality of these cosmetics and the unclear credit terms.
Vietnamese willing to pay to enjoy World Cup in Russia
Vietnamese tourists are willing to pay as much as US$2,300 for a match at 2018 FIFA World Cup, excluding travel expenses to Russia
Volunteers react near the stadium Mordovia Arena, which will host matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Saransk. Photo: REUTERS
Many Vietnamese football aficionados are ready to travel to Russia this summer to explore the country’s attractions and watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup, local travel agencies said.
Startups in VN need easier capital attraction
Luxstay recently announced it raised an additional $2.5 million through its Pre-Series A Round funding from investors including Genesis Ventures, Founders Capital, Y1 Ventures, and two others. Japan’s Genesis Ventures and the Singapore-based ESP Capital previously provided funding to the startup, founded by Vietnamese entrepreneur Steven Nguyen and incorporated in Singapore, mid-last year.
ELSA, a mobile app founded and managed by Vietnamese Vu Van and that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and speech recognition technology to help language learners improve their English pronunciation, also announced Pre-Series A Round funding of $3.2 million, led by Monk’s Hill Ventures.
“We are pleased to support ELSA’s team of experts in the fields of AI and speech recognition as they scale their technology to new languages and markets,” said Monk’s Hill Ventures’ Managing Partner Peng T. Ong.
“ELSA has achieved exceptional organic growth over the past two years and we’re excited to help grow their business and partnership efforts in 2018 and beyond.”
Luxstay and ELSA are among the notable cases of startups attracting handsome funding and were highlights of investment flows into startups in 2017 and the opening months of 2018.
Vietnam witnessed another year of robust startup funding activities in 2017, marked by major rounds and also the entry of new regional venture capital (VC) players.
According to a report from Vietnam-based accelerator Topica Founder Institute (TFI). The total number of deals shot up to 92, nearly double the 50 in 2016.
Thanks to foreign investments, the total collective startup deal value soared to $291 million last year, representing 44 per cent growth against the $205 million in 2016.
The NYSE-listed Sea Group (formerly Garena) was a particularly voracious foreign investor, acquiring an 82 per cent stake in restaurant review platform Foody in a deal worth $82 million (the largest for the year), while two fintech and logistics startups closed deals reportedly worth up to $50 million.
Other notable investments were the $54 million Series C investment in e-commerce platform Tiki, jointly made by Chinese internet giant JD.com and South Korea’s STIC Investments, Hendale Capital’s $10 million investment in Vntrip, and TNB Ventures $20 million Series A investment, among others.
The greatest potential for Vietnamese startups is believed to lie in developing technology solutions that resolve problems in emerging markets.
According to Mr. Eddie Thai, General Partner at 500 Startups Vietnam, which had invested in 18 tech startups as at the end of 2017 and had closed 21 deals as at the end of March, Vietnam is one of the rare places in the world where there is a lot of engineering talent. IBM has projected that Vietnam could be in the Top 3 in the world by number of engineers in five years.
“Many of these engineers are uniquely familiar with the challenges that poor people or rural people face, compared with engineers from wealthy places like San Francisco or New York or London,” Mr. Thai said.
“This should mean that Vietnamese engineers are better able to resolve such challenges.”
According to the Topica Founder Institute report, 500 Startups Vietnam was the most active VC fund in Vietnam in 2017.
“We want to be even more active in 2018, perhaps with more than 20 investments this year,” Mr. Thai added.
Some Vietnamese startups have successfully called for tens of millions of dollars but none have called for hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Vietnamese startups have no history of winning in Southeast Asia,” Founder and CEO of Beeketing, Mr. Quan Truong, acknowledged.
“This is why they find it hard to attract foreign funds compared with startups from elsewhere in the region.”
In principle, capital flows from big to small markets; from the US to Japan, China, India and then to Southeast Asia, for example. Indonesia is the largest market in Southeast Asia, with a GDP 4.5 times higher than Vietnam’s, followed by Thailand.
Regional countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand also have better capital mobilization policies than Vietnam does.
High risks and complex procedures and sub-licenses, which take a long time to disburse for one deal, all make investors hesitate to inject money into Vietnamese startups.
“In Singapore, it takes about one week to fulfill procedures and complete disbursement,” said Mr. Nguyen Hoang Hai, Founder and CEO of Canavi.
“The time needed in Thailand is a month but in Vietnam is at least four to six months.” If this situation continues, he added, more and more Vietnamese startups will move and found in other countries.
Founders are getting better and foreign VC investors are becoming more aware of Vietnam, but there’s still a lot of work to be done and many more people that could become involved.
According to Mr. Thai, before this year, 500 Startups Vietnam spent a lot of time spreading the word internationally about tech in Vietnam. It will now shift its attention to spreading the word in Vietnam.
Many Vietnamese citizens, government officials, and businesspeople are aware of Industry 4.0 but not everyone knows what it means for them or how to take advantage of it.
“So, we want to talk with Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporations about how they can adopt or develop new technology,” Mr. Thai said.
“We want to advise policymakers on how to improve the regulatory environment for innovation. We want to help students gain practical experience in technological innovation and entrepreneurship. And we want to work with wealthy Vietnamese who want to earn money investing in the future of Vietnam as a startup nation.”
VN Economic Times
Dozens of taxes, fees burden VN car users
Vietnam is among the countries with the highest selling price of cars in the world.
Vietnam is among the countries with the highest selling price of cars
There are also many kinds of official taxes and fees on cars. These include the car part import tax for domestically assembled cars (assemblers pay this tax and take it into consideration when setting selling prices), import tax (paid by importers) of 50-150 percent, luxury tax at 40-60 percent, VAT of 10 percent and corporate income tax of 22 percent.
Currently, the imports from ASEAN, including Thailand and Indonesia, don’t bear import tax any more as per Vietnam commitments in FTAs. Meanwhile, the imports from non-ASEAN sources, including Europe, the US, India and Japan, still bear the tax.
To put cars into circulation, car owners will have to pay about 10 kinds of fees. These include the ownership registration fee (10-15 percent), number plate granting fee, vehicle registration fee (VND240,000-560,000), technical safety assurance certification fee (VND50,000-100,000), emission testing fee, fuel consumption testing fee, energy labeling certification fee and others.
As for road maintenance fees, car owners have to pay twice, when they register as owners of the vehicles and when going through BOT fee collection stations.
The car prices in Vietnam are among the highest in the world because of too many kinds of taxes and fees. It is estimated that the taxes and fees make up over 50 percent of the total prices.
Though the tariff on imports from ASEAN has been cut to zero percent, the selling prices still have not decreased as expected by consumers.
Car owners have been warned that they may bear another kind of tax – asset tax. The Ministry of Finance has proposed a tax of 0.3 percent or 0.4 percent on cars valued at VND1.5 billion or more.
An analyst said if the tax takes effect, it will mostly affect luxury car imports, most of which have value of over VND1.5 billion.
Decree 116, with its strict regulations, restricts car imports. And the number of car imports will decrease further if the tax is applied.
Luxury imports are mostly from Japan, the US and Germany, which are taxed 40-150 percent, depending on cylinder capacity.
Nguyen Xuan Thuy from the Ministry of Industry and Trade confirmed that some car models are 60-80 percent more expensive than in Indonesia and Thailand.
In 2017, a total of 272,750 cars were sold, according to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA).
Vietnam sends seven more officers to UN peacekeeping mission
Seven officers from the Vietnam Peacekeeping Centre will be dispatched to the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic and South Sudan in 2018.
Deputy Defence Minister Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh (second from right) presented flowers to officers who fulfilled their missions in Central African Republic
Deputy Defence Minister Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh presented the President’s decision to the officers at a ceremony in Hanoi on May 21.
Accordingly, two officers will be sent to South Sudan as military observers.
Meanwhile, the group of five officers sent to the Central African Republic comprise one military observer and four staff officers.
Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, who is also Head of the Defence Ministry’s Steering Committee for Vietnam’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations, told the officers to adhere to the Party and State’s diplomatic policies, military rules and regulations of the UN and law of the host countries.
He asked them ensure safety while doing the mission.
The officers are also assigned with the task of working with the UN mission to help with the deployment of Vietnam’s level-2 field hospital in South Sudan in late June this year.
The Deputy Defence Minister requested the Vietnam Peacekeeping Centre to assist the officers in carrying out their missions as well as take good care of their family members.
The centre needs to continue selecting and training of capable and virtuous officers to work for the UN peacekeeping mission in the following years, Vinh said.
The dispatched officers pledged to apply military and diplomatic knowledge and promote their responsibility and creativity to fulfil their missions.
Vietnam has sent 20 officers to work at the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Central African Republic and the UN Mission in South Sudan, including a female officer, after nearly four years of joining the UN peacekeeping operations.
Vietnam’s leading mobile retailer The Gioi Di Dong shutters six stores in month
The company’s expansion into grocery is said to bring more losses than profits
A The Gioi Di Dong store in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnam’s leading mobile retailer The Gioi Di Dong (Mobile World) has for first time had to close as many as six stores in a row this year, whereas its new business in the grocery sector is struggling.
Life's a breeze for most expats in VN
When he came to Vietnam six years ago to experience life in Asia, Shane McGrath’s plan was stay for six months or so. He did actually leave, after two years, to elsewhere in the region to live and work, but he always found himself missing Vietnam.
It’s now six years he’s lived here and some of his friends and even cousins have come to join him. They are part of the country’s expat community and very much enjoy their new life in Vietnam.
More doors open
Vietnam was recently named among the Top 10 destinations for expats in the InterNations’ 2018 Expat Insider survey, one of the largest surveys worldwide offering an in-depth analysis of expat life around the globe.
Nearly 13,000 expats from 188 countries and territories took part and more than half in Vietnam said they planned to stay in the country for up to five years, which is well above the global average of 35 per cent.
With its rapid development, international and regional integration, and positive changes in policies to welcome foreign investment in recent years, Vietnam is an appealing working environment amid tough times in a lot of Western countries. Many expats agree they have more job opportunities and can earn more in Vietnam than they would at home.
After graduating in Psychology in Ireland, Shane found it difficult to find a job in his chosen field and ended up working as a waiter in a bar. One day he saw English teaching jobs in Vietnam on the internet and decided to take the plunge. After interviews, he got a job at an English center before coming to the country.
His weekly schedule was soon filled with more lessons after he arrived and looked for more work. “There are a lot of jobs teaching English, as demand is high,” he said
Agreeing, his friend Melanie Craddock from South Africa also easily found work teaching English. She received offers just minutes after posting on social network and forums like Hanoi Massive and The New Hanoian seeking work. Her week was soon full.
From France, Clement Vrmin doesn’t teach English like the majority of expats but found a good opportunity to open a business. After visiting Vietnam and recognizing that there are not many companies offering tennis lessons and sports equipment, he decided to return and see if he was right. With less competition than back in France, his company had many customers not long after opening. “I’m always busy and business is good,” he said.
Not only are there more job opportunities but they come with a higher income. At an average of $20-25 an hour for teaching English, an expat usually earns around $1,500-$2,000 for working three to five hours a day. “I easily earn more than at home,” Melanie said.
Higher salaries and cheap living cost makes Vietnam an attractive proposition for foreigners. Expat Insider 2017 voted Vietnam as having the lowest cost of living for expats among 15 other countries, including Thailand and Mexico.
Depending on the location, rents in major cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang run from $200 to $500 for a nice room in a shared house or a one-bedroom apartment. It’s half the price and double the space of the last place Shane lived in in Ireland.
Getting around is easy enough for those who get a motorbike. Most expats can afford $2,000 or so for a good second-hand or new motorbike that will last several years. The traffic looks crazy, the expats agree, “but as soon as you get out there you learn how to adapt and it’s fine,” Melanie said.
Vietnamese food, meanwhile, is diverse and cheap. Many expats said they rarely cook in Vietnam even though they often did back home. In France, Clement said, the choice when going out eat was only expensive restaurants and he could afford it only once a week at a maximum.
Moreover, he had to plan ahead before venturing out as restaurants and eateries are not found everywhere. In Vietnam, though, food is available on nearly every corner. “It’s also really cheap. For $1 you can fill your stomach with a ‘banh mi’ (Vietnamese sandwich), a bowl of pho, or a noodle soup,” he said. “They’re all yummy, and Western food is also cheaper here than at home.”
Melanie also fell into Vietnamese food immediately. As one of many foreign vegans she was surprised to find there were so many places she could eat. One of her favorite places is a “com binh dan” (rice eatery) for vegetarians with a range of dishes served like a buffet and costing just $1-2 for a meal.
Drinks are also bargain basement and add some fun. A glass of “bia hoi” (draft beer) is just 25 cents, a mixed drink $2, and a cocktail $3-$5. “I spend $20-50 on a night out here and do it three or four times a week,” Shane said. “It would be impossible for me to do the same in Ireland. One night out costs at least $150.”
Though enjoying the cheap drinks, many expats find they start drinking too much and notice its effect on their health. The same with cigarettes, which are a tenth of the price back home. They also find the pollution in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City a little hard to deal with, but that’s really the only thing that would make them hesitate to live here for a long time.
One of the things that leaves an impression on most expats living in Vietnam is the friendliness and kindness of Vietnamese people.
They were surprised to get smiles and hear “hello” while walking down the street. “It’s weird when a stranger smiles at you on the street back home,” said Clement. “You would wonder what’s about to happen. Here, it’s normal.”
Shane will never forget watching Vietnam play Qatar in the U/23 Asian Cup at a bia hoi, when strangers came up to him to toast or jump on the table in celebrating Vietnam’s win. He became friends with some of them and was invited to their house to eat and to go to karaoke. “I really missed Vietnam and the people when I left. So I came back,” he said.
Melanie is very much impressed by the level of safety in Hanoi. She can go out late and have no problems, which she wouldn’t dare do in South Africa, where she could easily be mugged. She also appreciates the honesty of the people. When she first arrived and was confused with the value of the currency, with all those zeros, she just opened her purse and allowed the vendor to take out the right money.
“They always took what was right,” she said, adding that she heard about scams in Vietnam but that seemed limited to tourist places. One time she paid VND500,000 ($22) instead of VND20,000 ($0.8) for a beer in a bar by mistake because their color is similar and she wasn’t yet familiar with the different notes. Two weeks later, she returned to the bar and the bartender remembered her and gave her the change.
“I couldn’t believe that - two weeks later and he remembered me, even though that was the first time I went there,” she said. “It would never happen at home. I really fell in love with Vietnamese people.”
VN Economic Times