BUSINESS IN BRIEF 8/10
SmartHome version 2 could become popular as price drops
     
The BKAV Technology Group has launched its SmartHome version 2 at a competitive price.

SmartHome helps owners control the lights, music, air conditioning, curtains, television sets, and security systems through smart phones, tablets and even voice control.

The first version of SmartHome introduced 10 years ago was custom-made for each buyer and cost plenty.

But now this technology has become affordable and so the system costs just VND30 million (US$1,350) and can easily be installed within a few days.

SmartHome version 2 has already been installed in over 1,000 houses in Hà Nội, HCM City and other major cities.

BKAV has a distribution system covering all 63 provinces. 

Vietnam Airlines hits profit of $101.05m



SmartHome version 2 could become popular as price drops, Vietnam Airlines hits profit of $101.05m, Delisted firms queue up to return, MOIT seeks tighter oversight of LPG trading, Japanese firms explore business prospects in south central region



     
The Vietnam Airlines Corporation earned VND2.31 trillion (US$101.05 million) of pre-tax profit in the first nine months of the year, exceeding more than 40 per cent if its yearly target.

The firm’s financial status is considered positive with good payment ability. It made consolidated revenue of more than VND65 trillion, up 20 per cent year on year. It contributed over VND4.3 trillion to the State budget, seven per cent higher than the same period last year.

In the third quarter alone, the firm recorded pre-tax profit of nearly VND1.3 trillion, increasing 57 per cent year on year.

After completing the sale of shares to strategic shareholders and restructuring debt, the debt to equity ratio has been reduced and maintained at approximately three times at the end of 2017. Currently, the carrier has been completely active and does not have to use the Government’s loan guarantee for the development of its fleet.

During the period, Vietnam Airlines carried out nearly 108,000 flights with its rate of On Time Performance (OTP) reaching 90.8 per cent, up 6.7 points over the same period last year, and exceeding its target by 2.8 per cent. It remains the airline in Viet Nam with the highest punctuality index.

The rate of guests making their own online check-in via web/mobile or kiosk check-in at Tan Son Nhat, Noi Bai and Da Nang airports has reached a high level of 42 per cent, 38 per cent and 33 per cent respectively - thereby contributing to improving service quality, improving the OTP index as well as reducing pressure on human resources and infrastructure for airports.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, the corporation will implement its plan to increase charter capital to offer shares to existing shareholders and complete the fleet development plan for 2020-2025, with a vision to 2030.

It will continue to meet market demand, maintain and ensure the absolute safe operation and give priority to delegates and guests travelling to the APEC 2017 High Level Week in Da Nang. 

Delisted firms queue up to return
     
A number of companies that left the stock market several years ago are returning to trade on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange’s Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM).

Viet Nam’s shrimp king, Minh Phu Seafood Corporation (MPC) will start trading on UPCoM on October 16 at the reference price of VND79,000 (US$3.48) per share, lower than its closing price of VND122,000 on March 30, 2015 when it stopped listing on the HCM Stock Exchange.

The seafood firm voluntarily canceled the listing for the purpose of issuing additional shares to strategic shareholders. At that time, the company’s chairman, Le Van Quang, said MPC’s prices did not reflect the real value of the company and it was finding it difficult to sell shares to strategic partners at good prices.

However, the delisting did not help in raising more capital and its business went down, incurring a loss of VND7 billion in 2015. It rebounded with profits of VND82 billion in 2016 on revenues of nearly VND12.1 trillion.

The company’s return to the stock market is part of an ambitious business plan. It has targeted consolidated revenues of VND15.8 trillion and net profit of VND841 billion in 2017, a 10-fold increase over the previous year. It has earned first-half profits of VND159 billion.

Minh Phu is one of the two biggest seafood exporters in Viet Nam. Its total export turnover reached over $530 billion in 2016, with the United States being the major importer ($220 million), followed by Japan with $109 million.

Previously, cement manufacturer Beton 6 Corporation (BT6) also returned to the market after two years and started trading shares on UPCoM on March 6 at the reference price of VND9,000 per share.

Beton had also quit the market of its own accord for restructuring the company. However, its performance has not improved since, with et profit declining 68 per cent year-on-year to around VND8.7 billion in 2016.

Its shares traded at below VND5,000 a share yesterday.

The Tien Tien Plastic Packaging JSC (TTP) had left the stock market in October 2015 at the closing price of VND53,000 per share.

After delisting, the company went through an overhauling with the Dongwon Systems Corporation increasing its holdings to 88.16 per cent in 2016, becoming the parent company.

It seems to have turned a corner since, earning net profits of VND60 billion in 2015 and VND105.5 billion last year. It also began trading on UPCoM in March at VND47,000 per share. However, because Dongwon Systems holds most of its stakes, very little trading happens.

The Mekophar Chemical Pharmaceutical JSC (MKP) is another firm that plans to list on the stock market this year, five years after delisting. The company used to be a favoured stock, paying high cash dividends of 25-30 per year.

The reason Mekophar gave when it quit the market in 2012 was that it was going to implement a business expansion plan. It registered to expand wholesaling and retailing of pharmaceutical products, but, as a principle, foreign-invested firms are not allowed to engage in this business. Mekophar had a 4.47 per cent stake held by foreign investors at that time and it decided to cancel its listing.

From 2014-2016 it did well with net profits crossing VND100 billion every year. Its charter capital increased to VND194 billion last year.

More companies are expected to return to listing in the near future, with Circular 180/2015/TT-BTC stipulating that public companies, including those that cancelled their listing before the effective date of the circular, January 1, 2016, must register for trading on UPCoM.

MOIT seeks tighter oversight of LPG trading
     
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has asked relevant agencies and localities to strengthen management of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production and trading activities to ensure market stability.

Under the plan, the MoIT has requested the provincial and municipal Departments of Industry and Trade nationwide to closely supervise the operation of LPG traders and producers in their areas, including surprise inspections of traders’ and wholesalers’ LPG production facilities, supply stations and retail stores to detect violations.

LPG producers and traders who fail to maintain proper business conditions, regulations on fire prevention, safety, hygiene and labour conditions, risk having their operations suspended and business certificates withdrawn.

MoIT also instructed the provincial-level Market Watch Departments nationwide to coordinate with competent agencies and shut down facilities where illegal LPG extracting and refilling are detected. Authorities at all levels were also told to relocate LPG trading establishments out of densely populated areas.

The ministry has ordered its Domestic Market Department to collaborate with the Viet Nam Gas Association to regularly exchange information on gas market mechanisms. The Legal Department has been tasked with reviewing and detecting inadequate and overlapping regulations on LPG trading and proposing amendments and supplements. 

HCM City set to ban pork without clear origins from entering 2 wholesale markets
     
Pork without identification rings to trace their origin will be banned from HCMC City’s Binh Dien and Hoc Mon wholesale markets from October 16, according to the city People’s Committee.

Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, has directed relevant departments and sectors to co-operate closely to implement the programme on tracing the origin of pork.

He has instructed the Departments of Justice and Industry and Trade and the Food Safety Management Board to support the two markets’ managements and ban pork without the traceable rings as stipulated in the programme.

He has assigned the Market Management Department and the police to work with Long An Province and other relevant authorities and be tough with traders who transport pigs and pork to the city without licences or invoices and other documents and crack down on fraudulent practices like pumping water into pigs to increase their weight.

He ordered relevant agencies and the two wholesales markets to also crack down on traders who fail to comply with regulations.

The city would continue to subsidise 50 per cent of the cost of identification rings in the case of small household farmers and 100 per cent in the case of co-operative teams and co-operatives until December 31 this year, he said.

Controlling and tracing the origins of food products are vital for protecting consumers’ health, he said.

The city is a pioneer in this and so difficulties and challenges are unavoidable, he said.

"Therefore, relevant departments and agencies need to be patient and widely publicise the programme to ensure more consumers and stakeholders understand its purpose," he added. 

Việt Nam wants to join supply chains: official
     
Viet Nam wants to join global supply chains and management and governance systems to help businesses control the market, build confidence among customers and increase profits and connectivity with global partners, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade (MoIT) Do Thang Hai said.

Hai told a conference on supporting policies to help Vietnamese enterprises join global supply chains held in Ha Noi on Friday that the ministry has advised the Government to promote the consumption of domestic goods and help firms expand markets and organise goods supply chains.

He cited the campaign ‘Vietnamese people prioritise using Vietnamese goods’, the rural trade development project, a project promoting Vietnamese firms to export to foreign distribution networks, the national trade promotion programme, the national industrial encouragement programme, and the trade development programme in mountainous, remote, sea and island regions.

Deputy Director of the MoIT’s Domestic Market Department Le Viet Nga said supply chains played an important role in helping enterprises operate effectively and promote economic growth.

"Global firms join supply chains to increase profits and achieve sustainable development," she said, adding that engagement in well-managed supply chains helps them dominate markets, gain trust from customers and expand business strategies.

Since 2013, the MoIT has approved 1,025 projects worth a total of VND511.5 billion (US$22.5 million), including 733 projects worth more than VND154 billion ($6.7 million) to promote domestic trade in mountainous, border, sea and island areas.

More than 90 per cent of Vietnamese businesses are small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which often encounter difficulties in terms of capital, technologies, lack of management skills and connectivity. These are the major hindrances for businesses when joining supply chains.

Links among producers and distributors in supply chains have been weak and even created unhealthy competition, making it hard for Vietnamese firms to join big markets.

Experts said the Government should introduce policies which are easy to apply to minimise administrative procedures to help firms join supply chains.

In addition, organisations should be more active in participating in supply chains to establish win-win relationships.

The deputy minister said that the event provided insights into the real situation of Viet Nam’s participation in the global supply chain at a time when the Government is determined to build a constructive system of integrity and action.

At the event, experts discussed support mechanisms available for Vietnamese businesses to participate in the global supply chain, the experience of successful businesses in expanding markets, and the Law on Support for SMEs.

Mercedes-Benz go on sale in Vinh City
     
Mercedes-Benz Viet Nam (MBV) has invested in a US$7 million showroom and service centre with its latest dealer, Vinamotor Nghe An Ltd, in the central province of Nghe An’s Vinh City.

Located near Vinh airport gateway, the showroom is expected to open in April next year. It will be the 14th Mercedes-Benz sales and service centre in Viet Nam.

On September 30, MBV introduced Vinamotor Nghe An Company to the public, bringing the number of dealers to four.

To be called the Autohaus 150 outlet, Vinamotor Nghe An will be the first premium car dealer authorised for North Central Viet Nam.

To meet the immediate need for products and services, Vinamotor Nghe An will serve customers at a temporary centre in Mai Hac De Street, Vinh City, from now until April.

With the establishment of the new service centre in April, customers in Nghe An province and neighbouring areas will no longer have to travel to authorised services centres in Ha Noi or Hai Phong for attention.

The centre will cover a total area of 11,000 square metres. It will be able to display 14 cars and provide maintenance for up to 40 cars per day.

“A presence in Vinh City is a milestone for Mercedes-Benz,” said Choi Duk Jun, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Cars Viet Nam

“Vinamotor will be the place for customers in the North Central area to choose Mercedes-Benz products as well as services,” he said.

With 14 sales and service centres nationwide, MBV will have the largest distribution network for cars in Viet Nam.

By 2020, MBV plans to open four more centres throughout the country. 

Better assets management delivers tangible gains
     
Improved public assets management has helped prevent losses, waste, corruption and other acts of infringement, experts said at a conference on Friday.

They also said that it has facilitated rational and effective exploitation of public assets and contributed to socio-economic development.

At the 2017 Vietnam Finance Conference (VFC), representatives from administrative agencies and organisations in the financial sector discussed efficiency boosting measures in public asset management, through policies and other public solutions.

Deputy Finance Minister Vu Thi Mai said accumulated public assets served as material foundations for state management and as provision for public works, national defence and social security, as well as an important resource for socio-economic development.

In recognition of this, the institutional framework for public asset management in Viet Nam had been improved constantly, creating a relatively comprehensive legal basis, she said.

The Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) had issued numerous documents promulgating standards and norms on the use of valuable assets, she noted.

One such legal document is the Law on Management and Use of Public Assets, which was passed by the National Assembly on June 21, 2007 and came into effect on January 1, 2015, creating an important legal corridor to ensure all types of public assets are strictly managed.

In late 2016, the National Assembly, while discussing the revised draft Law on Management and Use of Public Assets, had stressed the need to further clarify management responsibilities.

Among other things, the revised law aimed to enable more efficient operation of the national database of public assets.

According to a 2016 MoF report, public assets management and use had stabilised and raised the responsibility of all departments, agencies, organizations and units in an effective manner.

Conference delegates also praised the application of information technology and digital solutions in public property management, saying it had helped upgrade the national database on public assets, boosting managerial transparency.

Despite the progress, several issues remained unresolved and needed further discussion, delegates said, adding that these included shortcomings and limitations in public asset management policies and practices.

Some of the limitations had to do with technical challenges in building a national public assets database, they said.

In keeping with this year’s conference theme of policy mechanisms and public asset management operations, several technological solutions were discussed.

Linking the asset database with the national financial database, an electronic transaction system on public property, traffic infrastructure, digital convergence in the public financial sector, and integrated digital platforms were among the suggestions made by representatives of the Department of Public Asset Management, Department of Financial Informatics and Statistics under the MoF, FPT Technology and the World Bank.

After 13 successful years, the 14th Vietnam Finance Conference has been recognised as prestigious forum for the financial sector, a helpful networking platform and an information sharing hub for sustainable financial solutions.

Financial managers, policymakers, national and international experts, economists and leading IT solution providers came together this year to discuss policy enhancement for public asset management.

They noted that 2017 was considered a crucial year in implementing the national five-year (2016 to 2020) socioeconomic development plan, and public asset management was of central importance in this task.

In addition to the conference, the 2017 Vietnam Finance Expo showcased the latest technology solutions, products and services for public asset management, with more than 400 participants and exhibitors.

The conference was jointly organised by the Department of Financial Informatics and Statistics under the MoF, the National Institute For Finance, and the International Data Group (IDG). 

Japanese firms explore business prospects in south central region

The “Meeting Japan – South Central Region” conference took place in Nha Trang city, the central province of Khanh Hoa on October 6 to discuss bilateral cooperative prospects in the near future. 

Attending the event were representatives from ministries and authorities of Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh, along with more than 250 Vietnamese and Japanese businesses. 

On the Japanese side there were Ambassador Umeda Kunio and officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO)-Ho Chi Minh City office, the Japan Foundation, the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) and the Japan Business Association in Vietnam (JBAV). 

Speaking at the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said Japan is a partner of top significance to Vietnam, as the country is the largest provider of official development assistance, the second largest source of foreign direct investment, the third largest source of tourist arrivals and the fourth largest trade partner of Vietnam. 

Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio hailed the event as a useful activity to realise outcomes of visits by the two countries’ leaders in the context that Vietnam and Japan are actively preparing for the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties. 

Kunio said as many as 2,527 Japanese firms are doing business in Vietnam, the third biggest number in a Southeast Asian country only behind Thailand and Singapore. Over the past five years, Japanese tourist arrivals in the country have soared five-fold to 740,000. 

Four discussion sessions at the conference focused on development cooperation, human resources training, locality-to-locality partnership, cultural-tourism exchange and investment. 

Participants agreed that there is great potential for cooperation between the south central region and Japan, and local authorities must play a crucial role to promote the partnership, especially in researching cooperative possibilities and facilitating the attraction and implementation of joint projects. 

Representatives from JICA, JETRO and Vietnamese experts shared experience in attracting Japanese investment, particularly in tourism, infrastructure and energy. 

Concluding the event, Dung said the Foreign Ministry is determined to stand side by side with localities in global integration and strengthen effective and practical linkages with important partners, including Japan. 

On the sidelines of the event, the Japanese Ambassador held talks with leaders of seven south central localities. Vietnamese and Japanese enterprises also took the occasion to meet for networking.

HCM City calls for Japan’s investment in environment industry

Ho Chi Minh City has asked the Japanese International Friendship Exchange Council (FEC) to help the city connect with Japanese investors with experience in the environment industry to address local pressing issues.

Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem made the suggestion at a reception for FEC President Yoshihiko Nakagaki in the city on October 6.

Liem highlighted the growing relationship between HCM City and Japan over the past years, particularly in trade and investment exchange, adding that Japan is the fourth biggest foreign investors in the city, and its third largest trade partner.

He suggested FEC conduct more people-to-people exchanges between Japan and the city in 2018 on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Vietnam – Japan diplomatic ties, thus contributing to fostering the comprehensive partnership between the two nations.

For his part, the FEC President spoke highly of Vietnam’s role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), saying that the country has witnessed all-around development, and Ho Chi Minh City, with its dynamic and strong growth, is the driving force for the southern region.

He noted that like HCM City, many Japanese localities also faced challenges in urban development, population increase and traffic jam, adding that experienced Japanese firms are willing to cooperate with the city in addressing the issues related to environmental pollution, green urban building, and sustainable development.

During the event, FEC delegates and the municipal authorities discussed the use of Japanese investment in the city in socio-economic development programmes and cooperation in renewable energy development.

Tay Ninh introduces local tourism, culture in Hanoi

A range of activities featuring the culture and tourism attractions of the southwestern province of Tay Ninh are taking place in Hanoi, on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the Liberation Day of the capital city (October 10).

They include a photo exhibition on the 180-year history of the formation and development of the province. Tay Ninh’s special products are also being showcased, drawing crowds of local visitors.

Addressing the opening ceremony on October 6, provincial officials expressed the hope that the activities will help promote cooperation and exchanges between the province and Hanoi.

Two documentaries were also screened during the ceremony to introduce local tourism potential and the development of the province. 

The same day, a folk music show was held, featuring Don ca tai tu (southern amateur singing), which has been recognised as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humankind by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Tay Ninh is home to the main cathedral of Cao Dai sect. The Ba Den Mountain is also a popular destination for spiritual tourism. 

The province receives between 2.2 and 2.7 million tourists per year and sees an annual growth rate of over 10 percent in tourism. In 2016, the tourism sector earned 770 billion VND (33.88 million USD).

State budget collection reaches nearly 70 percent of yearly estimate

State budget collection in January-September increased 13.9 percent year on year to reach 843 trillion VND (37.1 billion USD), equal to 69.5 percent of the estimate, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Domestic revenue was estimated at 663.7 trillion VND (29.2 billion USD), making up 67 percent of the estimate and representing a year-on-year rise of 11.4 percent.

The finance ministry said direct revenues from production and business activities were low due to reductions in contributions from some major manufacturing sectors such as crude oil and gas, automobile, mobile phone, and cigarette.
However, total domestic revenue still posted an increase thanks to higher indirect revenues, such as tax payments from housing and land (up 24.2 percent), personal income tax (up 21.1 percent), charges and fees (up 51.3 percent), and income from lottery activities (up 12.4 percent).

Forty-three out of the 63 localities nationwide collected over 72 percent of the estimates and 58 reported higher budget collection than the same period last year.

Revenue from crude oil reached 34 trillion VND (1.49 billion USD) while that from import-export activities was 214 trillion VND (9.41 billion USD), indicating respective year-on-year rises of 15 percent and 10.5 percent.

The total State budget spending in nine months stood at 904.6 trillion VND (39.8 billion USD), a yearly increase of 6.6 percent and equivalent to 65.1 percent of estimate.

Spending on development investment hit 166.6 trillion VND (7.3 billion USD), equal to 46.6 percent of the estimate. The disbursement of State investment for capital construction made up 53.1 percent of the estimate (compared to 56 percent in the same period of 2016).

Payments for debts and aid totalled 75.35 trillion VND (3.31 billion USD) in the period, meeting 76.2 percent of estimate.

As of the end of September, the central budget deficit was about 69 percent of the estimate.

VN Index makes slender rebound
     
Shares rose on the HCM Stock Exchange on Friday, led by banks but liquidity remained low on weak market sentiment.

The benchmark VN Index gained 0.32 per cent to close at 807.80 points, rebounding from a drop of 0.05 per cent on Thursday.

It recovered after losing 0.17 per cent to reach the intraday low level of 803.81 points.

The VN Index has made a weekly increase of 0.4 per cent.

Nearly 133 million shares were traded on the southern market, worth VND2.7 trillion (US$120 million), down 10.4 per cent in volume and a fifth in value compared to the previous session.

Market breadth was balanced with 120 gaining stocks, 123 losing ones and 76 ending flat.

The VN30 Index, which tracks the performance of the top 30 stocks by market capitalisation and trading liquidity, was up 0.38 per cent to 800.42 points.

Bank stocks lifted the VN30 up as they occupied four of the seven best-performing stocks in the VN30.

The highest gaining bank stocks were MBBank (MBB), Sacombank (STB), Vietinbank (CTG) and Vietcombank (VCB).

Shares of the four banks were up 4.5 per cent, 1.7 per cent, 1.1 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively.

Other successful stocks in the VN30 Index included logistics firm Gemadept (GMD), insurance-finance group Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), and leading IT firm FPT Corp (FPT).

Investor sentiment was also supported by foreign investors, whose net sell value dropped sharply to VND1.36 billion from Thursday’s value of VND286.3 billion.

According to BIDV Securities Co (BSC), trading focused on banks, real estate firms and construction companies and large-cap stocks that were supported by expectations for good third-quarter reports.

However, trading liquidity fell and the number of losing stocks exceeded gaining ones, showing that investors were still cautious and unwilling to join trading, BSC said in its daily report.

“The VN Index will continue to move sideways in the range of 800-810 points. We expect investors not to make risky investments before the market trend is addressed and liquidity increases.”

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX Index was up 0.95 per cent to end at 107.98 points. It fell 0.44 per cent on Thursday.

The northern market index increased marginally by 0.3 per cent from the previous week’s closing level.

More than 51.7 million shares were exchanged on the northern bourse, worth VND655 billion. 

Tra fish fair kicks off in Hanoi

A fair introducing products made from tra fish (pangasius) and seafood kicked off at the Hanoi-based Agricultural Exhibition Centre on October 6.
This is the first seafood fair being held in the capital city of Hanoi, aiming to promote the consumption of tra fish and other seafood products in the northern region and international markets, particularly China.

The two-day fair, organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), features nearly 100 booths of over 40 domestic and foreign enterprises. 

Within the framework of the event, there is a food court where professional cooks introduce to visitors the nutritious values of tra fish along with around 20 dishes made from the fish.  

According to Deputy Minister of the MARD Vu Van Tam, brackish-water shrimp and tra fish are major products of Vietnam with export turnover hit more than seven billion USD, or 67 percent of total seafood export in 2016. 

Vietnamese tra fish has been shipped to 150 countries and territories nationwide, including choosy markets like the US and the Europe. Vietnam’s tra fish export to China, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Mideast, Brazil and Mexico has also increased recently. 

However, the fish is still unfamiliar to consumers in the northern region. The fair offered a chance for seafood manufacturing and processing firms to promote their products and explore the northern market, stressed the deputy minister.

The Vietnamese Government has listed tra fish in the National Product Development Programme by 2020.

Potential of Vietnam's central coast introduced to Thai investors

Investment opportunities and potential of Vietnam's central coast were introduced to Thai investors at a workshop held in Bangkok on October 6.

The event was jointly held by the Embassy of Vietnam in Thailand and the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI), with representatives from the Thailand-Vietnam Business Council, the Federation of Thai Industries, research institutes and 200 local enterprises in attendance.

Opening the workshop, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hai Bang highlighted the good relations between Vietnam and Thailand, paving the way for business partnership between the two countries’ companies. Cooperation in trade and investment has also deepened the bilateral strategic partnership, he said.

Thailand is among top 10 largest foreign investors in Vietnam, pouring over 8.4 billion USD into nearly 500 projects mostly in northern and southern Vietnam, he noted.

Central Vietnam that has greatly benefited from the government’s policies for foreign investment attraction. Central Vietnam has advantages of transport connectivity and logistics services between the region and Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor, the ambassador said.

Delegates presented the latest investment trends and their effects on economic activities in Vietnam and Thailand. The event also included a dialogue session in which authorities from Vietnam and Thailand answered inquiries from businesses from the two sides regarding investment incentives and legal procedures.

BOI Vice Secretary General Chokdee Keawsang revealed that the BOI will open a representative office in Hanoi next year to support Thai investors in Vietnam.

Vietnam-Thailand cooperation in economics, trade and investment have made significant progress since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1976. At the present, Thailand’s investment in Vietnam mainly focuses on manufacturing and processing (7.14 billion USD in 212 projects), infrastructure (397 million USD in seven projects) and agriculture (277 million USD in 30 projects).-

Potential of Vietnam's central coast introduced to Thai investors

Investment opportunities and potential of Vietnam's central coast were introduced to Thai investors at a workshop held in Bangkok on October 6.

The event was jointly held by the Embassy of Vietnam in Thailand and the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI), with representatives from the Thailand-Vietnam Business Council, the Federation of Thai Industries, research institutes and 200 local enterprises in attendance.

Opening the workshop, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hai Bang highlighted the good relations between Vietnam and Thailand, paving the way for business partnership between the two countries’ companies. Cooperation in trade and investment has also deepened the bilateral strategic partnership, he said.

Thailand is among top 10 largest foreign investors in Vietnam, pouring over 8.4 billion USD into nearly 500 projects mostly in northern and southern Vietnam, he noted.

Central Vietnam that has greatly benefited from the government’s policies for foreign investment attraction. Central Vietnam has advantages of transport connectivity and logistics services between the region and Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor, the ambassador said.

Delegates presented the latest investment trends and their effects on economic activities in Vietnam and Thailand. The event also included a dialogue session in which authorities from Vietnam and Thailand answered inquiries from businesses from the two sides regarding investment incentives and legal procedures.

BOI Vice Secretary General Chokdee Keawsang revealed that the BOI will open a representative office in Hanoi next year to support Thai investors in Vietnam.

Vietnam-Thailand cooperation in economics, trade and investment have made significant progress since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1976. At the present, Thailand’s investment in Vietnam mainly focuses on manufacturing and processing (7.14 billion USD in 212 projects), infrastructure (397 million USD in seven projects) and agriculture (277 million USD in 30 projects).-

Anpha Holdings opens showhouse for smart city project
     
Real estate producer Anpha Holdings on Friday Oct 6 opened the showhouse for SIMCITY Premier Homes project, the first smart city project in Viet Nam.

Located on Road No 4 in District 9, SIMCITY is expected to become an ideal destination for experts from many nations and territories in the world as the project is built with many modern materials and full of amenities like a gym, a floating pool and clubhouse, business lounge, park and start-up incubation mega centre.

In addition, it will be equipped with many smart technologies.

The project contains over 300 houses and villas and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2019.

At the showhouse, customers can experience new smart-home technologies that have never been seen in Viet Nam, according to the developer. All of them apply 4.0-level technology.

A robot that acts as steward was previously shown at a technology exhibition in Germany. Invented by South Korea’s LG Group, the robot can control all household machines through a smartphone.

Panasonic, meanwhile, has provided its most advanced CCTV systems as well as modern air conditioners.

According to Anpha Holdings, the SIMCITY project was selected by Cornell University in the US as a lecture topic this month.

Le Viet Duc, deputy general director of Anpha Holdings, said: “We want to develop a model smart city in Viet Nam with smart citizens. Advanced smart-home technologies have become a reality in the project.”

At the showhouse’s opening ceremony, media company Dot Property awarded SIMCITY the “South East Asia Best of the Luxury Township Development.”

Anpha Holdings is a major real estate developer in Viet Nam. It has paid more than VND1 trillion (US$43.8 million) to buy real estate projects from other developers this year. The company has also developed many big projects in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. 

InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula to host APEC Leaders’ meeting
     
InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort has announced that it will host the flagship event, APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting of the 25th APEC Summit, on November 11, 2017.

This year, the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit lands in Da Nang, the third largest city of Viet Nam. In preparation for the important event, Sun Group, the company that owns the resort, has worked with the local Government authorities, the APEC Committee and invested more than VND100 billion (US$4.45 million) to give the resort a new look by widening internal roads and upgrading technical infrastructure facilities.

With the theme "Where World’s Leaders Meet,” the Summit conference centre will welcome heads of government from all 21 member-countries, along with thousands of delegates, world-leading entrepreneurs and international journalists.

A brand-new reception hall of nearly 500sqm has been built alongside an array of meeting and function rooms and a VIP lounge with a unique design by the famed architect, Bill Bensley. The airy architecture blends the latest technology with a modern interpretation of traditional Vietnamese design elements. The adjoining terraces open onto spectacular views of the lush landscape, mountains and sea surrounding the resort.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for us to host such an important event at the resort. For months, our team has been working hard under the instructions and guidance of the APEC Committee, Da Nang’s Government and the Sun Group management team to make sure everything is perfect,” said General Manager of InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Juan Losada.

“Located in such a pristine setting, surrounded by a beautiful landscape with panoramic views of the ocean, our magnificent resort is the perfect backdrop to showcase the best that the destination has to offer," Losada added.

Opened in 2012, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is a one-of-a-kind resort that redefines the definition of luxury in Viet Nam. Crowned as the World’s Leading Luxury Resort by World Travel Awards for three consecutive years, the resort contributes to putting Da Nang on the world’s tourism map. 

Vietnam interested in joining global supply chains

Vietnam has been interested in joining the global supply chain and management governance, which is considered an effective competitive tool for businesses to control the market, build up confidence among customers and increase profits and connectivity with global partners, said a trade official.

At a workshop in Hanoi on October 6, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has advised the Government to build a number of projects and programmes to promote the consumption of domestic goods and help enterprises to expand markets and organise goods supply chains.

He cited the domestic market development project in association with the campaign “Vietnamese people prioritise using Vietnamese goods”; the rural trade development project in 2010-2015 with a vision until 2020; the project promoting Vietnamese firms to export to foreign distribution networks by 2020; the national trade promotion programme; the national industrial encouragement programme through 2020; and the trade development programme in mountainous, remote, sea and island regions in 2015-2020.

Deputy Director of the MoIT’s Domestic Market Department Le Viet Nga said the supply chains play an important role in supporting enterprises to operate effectively and promoting economic growth.

Global firms tend to join supply chains to increase profits and achieve sustainable development, she said, adding that the engagement in well-managed supply chains will enable them to have more opportunities to dominate the markets, gain trust from customers and expand business strategies.

Since 2013, the MoIT has approved 1,025 projects with a total cost of 511.5 billion VND (22.5 million USD), including 77 projects worth over 154 billion VND (6.7 million USD) to promote domestic trade in mountainous, border, sea and island areas.

Russian expert hails Vietnam’s experience in VN-EAEU FTA

The Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement (VN-EAEU FTA) is of great importance to Russia since it is a leading economy in the EAEU, said a Russian expert.

Vietnam has signed about 15 free trade agreements with international partners, while the pact with Vietnam is the first of its kind inked by the Eurasian Economic Union, said Dr. Artem Pylin of the Institute of Economics under the Russian Academy of Sciences, adding that Russia highly evaluated Vietnam’s experience.

Pylin cited the official statistics by the Eurasian Economic Commission, which showed that Vietnam’s exports to the EAEU member countries, including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia, grew almost 30 percent in the first seven months of 2017, while the EAEU’s exports to Vietnam rose only 11 percent.

In the short term, Vietnam has capitalised on the trade deal better than the EAEU nations, he said in an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency reporters on the first year of implementing the FTA.

The expert attributed the trade gap to differences between Vietnamese and EAEU commodities. Vietnam shipped to the bloc a wide range of products, mostly popular consumer goods, such as mobile phones, food and apparel, which has recorded good growth right after the pact took effect. Meanwhile, the EAEU countries mainly shipped to Vietnam oil products, fertilizers, metals and auto spare parts, which require high value contracts, specialized transport agreements, and big business customers.

He also pointed to Russia’s economic slowdown as another cause of the gap, which resulted in drops of 25 percent and 4 percent in Russia’s exports to Vietnam in 2016 and in the first months of 2017.  

Pylin said Russia might change its trade policy with Vietnam if it cannot take full advantage of the VN-EAEU FTA, particularly once the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is officially signed, heating up competition in the Southeast Asian market.

With an annual growth rate of almost 7 percent, Vietnam is expanding its export markets and the EAEU nations with 183 million people is seen as a potential market, he said, suggesting that Vietnamese companies should connect together, form value chains, and build strong trademarks to seek a firm foothold in this market.

The Vietnam-EAEU FTA was inked in Burabay, Kazakhstan, on May 29, 2015 and took effect on October 5, 2016. 

Under the agreement, Vietnam will remove import tariffs on 59 percent of the total tax lines on goods from the EAEU, including meat products, wheat flour, alcohol, mechanical equipment and steel products. The tariffs on another 30 percent of goods will be gradually reduced to 0 percent in the transitional period.

The average level of Vietnam’s duties on EAEU goods will drop from 10 percent to 1 percent, while EAEU’s average import tariffs on Vietnam’s goods will be reduced from 9.7 percent to 2 percent in 2025.

The tax removal is expected to spur the EAEU’s export of agricultural and industrial products to Vietnam, and vice versa, Vietnam’s farm produce, garment, bags and electrical devices will have better access to the EAEU market.

At the same time, businesspeople of both sides will have opportunities to take part in joint projects in the EAEU countries and Vietnam.

Conference boosts start-up in Da Nang

The Embassy of Australia in Vietnam and HATCH! VENTURES – a social enterprise and startup incubator, jointly held a conference to boost startups in the central city of Da Nang on October 7.

The event, the fifth of its kind and the first in Da Nang, drew 200 local start-uppers and students.

Addressing the event, Australian Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam Layton Pike highlighted the friendship based on mutual assistance between Vietnam and Australia, saying that the Government of Australia highly valued the efforts of HATCH! with support programmes for startups and startup investment in Vietnam.

Pham Trung, Deputy Director of the Da Nang Business Incubator said the city has taken breakthrough steps to boost startups, including establishing the nation’s first public-private partnership (PPP)-based business incubator and organising annual startup events.

Da Nang has also launched a project on developing a startup ecosystem until 2020, with a vision that the city will become the startup and innovation hub of ASEAN region by 2030.

The project aims to develop a startup culture and enhance the awareness among local young people about startups, while completing and issuing relevant policies.

Investment will be made in local business incubators and infrastructure for startups, and in developing a training system on startup.

Cooperation will also be forged to mobilise more domestic and foreign resources in developing the startup ecosystem, with a focus on the PPP models.

Japanese firms explore business prospects in south central region

The “Meeting Japan – South Central Region” conference took place in Nha Trang city, the central province of Khanh Hoa on October 6 to discuss bilateral cooperative prospects in the near future. 

Attending the event were representatives from ministries and authorities of Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh, along with more than 250 Vietnamese and Japanese businesses. 

On the Japanese side there were Ambassador Umeda Kunio and officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO)-Ho Chi Minh City office, the Japan Foundation, the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) and the Japan Business Association in Vietnam (JBAV). 

Speaking at the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said Japan is a partner of top significance to Vietnam, as the country is the largest provider of official development assistance, the second largest source of foreign direct investment, the third largest source of tourist arrivals and the fourth largest trade partner of Vietnam. 

Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio hailed the event as a useful activity to realise outcomes of visits by the two countries’ leaders in the context that Vietnam and Japan are actively preparing for the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties. 

Kunio said as many as 2,527 Japanese firms are doing business in Vietnam, the third biggest number in a Southeast Asian country only behind Thailand and Singapore. Over the past five years, Japanese tourist arrivals in the country have soared five-fold to 740,000. 

Four discussion sessions at the conference focused on development cooperation, human resources training, locality-to-locality partnership, cultural-tourism exchange and investment. 

Participants agreed that there is great potential for cooperation between the south central region and Japan, and local authorities must play a crucial role to promote the partnership, especially in researching cooperative possibilities and facilitating the attraction and implementation of joint projects. 

Representatives from JICA, JETRO and Vietnamese experts shared experience in attracting Japanese investment, particularly in tourism, infrastructure and energy. 

Concluding the event, Dung said the Foreign Ministry is determined to stand side by side with localities in global integration and strengthen effective and practical linkages with important partners, including Japan. 

On the sidelines of the event, the Japanese Ambassador held talks with leaders of seven south central localities. Vietnamese and Japanese enterprises also took the occasion to meet for networking.

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

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