BUSINESS IN BRIEF 27/7

PV Gas posts higher-than-expected H1 results     

PV Gas reported better-than-expected business results for the first six months of the year.

Total revenue reached over VND37 trillion (US$1.6 billion) while net profit was VND5.32 trillion ($231.4 million), up 12 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively, against the same period last year.

With these results, the company has completed 66 per cent of its revenue target and 83 per cent of its profit target set for the whole year.

The operating profit margin, which measures how efficiently a company is at generating profits from its revenue, reached 14 per cent.

The company paid VND2.53 trillion to the State budget, equivalent to 87 per cent of its yearly plan and up 21 per cent year-on-year.

Up until June, total assets hit nearly VND66.2 trillion and owner’s equity reached VND45.8 trillion.

In the latter half of this year, GAS expected global oil prices to remain high compared to its plan, which will support the company’s main business. However, the ability to supply gas for power generation may be low and unstable due to the extended rainy season and maintenance work.

The company projected to earn VND25.74 trillion in revenue and VND3.05 trillion in net profit in the last six months, lifting total revenue to VND62.76 trillion and net profit to VND8.37 trillion for the whole year, up 13 per cent and 30 per cent against the annual targets.

Shares of the company rose 6.5 per cent for two sessions after the news before falling 1.8 per cent on July 20. 

SSI, HSC manage to maintain growth     

Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) and HCM City Securities Corporation (HSC) have reported better profits in the second quarter and first half of 2018 despite volatile stocks that have dampened the performance of most of listed securities firms.

SSI achieved pre-tax profit of VND872 billion (US$38 million) on revenue of VND2.1 trillion in the first half of the year, an year-on-year increase of 19.3 per cent and 60.3 per cent. In the second quarter, SSI posted VND392.7 billion in profit and VND1.03 trillion in revenue.

HSC on Friday announced at a press conference that its revenue and post-tax profit for the first six-month period of 2018 stood at VND1.04 trillion and VND472 billion, on year increases of 98 per cent and 104 per cent.

The company in the past quarter recorded revenue of nearly VND184 billion and post-tax profit of VND147.2 billion in post-tax profit.

Proprietary investment and brokerage services contributed the most to the growth of the two securities firms’ earnings in the first half of the year.

HSC said on Friday at a press conference that revenue from proprietary trading grew 130 per cent on-year and the figure for advisory services was nearly 120 per cent. Other activities that also improved included margin lending with a 53 per cent growth rate.

“Revenue from advisory services rose nearly 120 per cent because the total trading value of the stock market in the first six months of 2018 increased 79 per cent on-year and the firm’s brokerage market share also increased,” HSC said in its financial statement.

In addition, proprietary investment helped HSC earn big in the context of positive market conditions prior to April after the firm in the first quarter of the year offloaded shares bought in 2017, the company said.

“The operation of the derivatives market has also assisted HSC to create new products and services since it was launched in August 2017.”

SSI and HSC are currently among the biggest securities firms in Viet Nam, accounting for 23.1 per cent and 12.8 per cent of market shares on the HCM Stock Exchange. They are now occupying 11.2 per cent and 8.6 per cent of market share on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange.

Other securities firms that have also revealed positive earnings for the second quarter and first half of 2018 include MB Securities JSC, whose post-tax profit soared 900 per cent on-year to VND55 billion, also thanks to strong growth of revenue from proprietary trading, advisory services and margin lending.

Rong Viet Securities JSC (VDSC) recorded a 49 per cent yearly increase in its first-half revenue, which reached VND240 billion, however, its six-month post-tax profit fell 5 per cent on-year to VND54 billion.

In the second quarter, VDSC posted VND112 billion in revenue, up 11 per cent on-year, but the firm reported VND4.7 billion in post-tax profit, down 85.6 per cent on-year due to expenses.

Asia Commercial Bank Securities JSC (ACBS) posted a loss of VND17 billion in the second quarter, which was a big reverse compared to last year’s second-quarter profit of VND53 billion. Its revenue reached VND128 billion in the second quarter, representing 106 per cent year-on-year increase.

According to ACBS, the company suffered a loss in the second quarter because its total cost and losses from financial assets increased due to the downtrend of the stock market. Its total cost surged 829 per cent to VND109 billion.

Compared to the first six months of 2017, ACBS posted a 72 per cent increase in revenue to VND314 billion. However, its after-tax profit was reduced by 39 per cent to VND49 billion. 

KDC reports a growth of 26 per cent in gross profit in H1     

Food producer KIDO Group (KDC) on Friday reported a net revenue of VND3.7 trillion (US$160.18 million) for the first half of this year, jumping over 26 per cent year-on-year.

Gross profit reached VND669 billion, up by 5 per cent over the same period last year.

The company attributed the lower profit growth to the lower gross margin of the consolidated industrial Vocarimex (VOC).

The company said that its retail edible oil business had continued to pursue a strategy of premiumisation to drive both sales and profitability.

“The additional launches of new packaged products in the third and fourth quarter this year will also help drive operating efficiency of the distribution business,” the company said.

The wholesale edible oil business will leverage the solid infrastructure and scale advantage to increase sales. Gross profit will rise steadily as scale rises. Operating costs have already reduced and profitability will improve scale grows.

From operation perspectives, management would focus on tightening cost control and improving efficiency in order to increase margins, it said.

In another development, KDC’s member companies Tuong An Vegetable Oil Company (TAC) and Kido Food Company (KDF) also reported their business results in the first half.

TAC reported a revenue of VND2 trillion, up by 5.9 per cent over the first half of 2017. Profit before tax in H1 was VND45 billion. Competition in the ice cream business has affected the growth of KDF, but net revenue of ice cream still grew 1 per cent in the first half due to product premiumisation.

Revenue in the first six months reached VND704 billion, falling by 9.6 per cent year-on-year, with profit before tax of VND52 billion.

The company explained that its yogurt business had been hit by competition.

Increasing competition would drive the company to invest in both research and development and expanding its distribution network to maintain its leading position, it added. 

Sabeco cuts profit by a fifth
     
Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverave Corporation (Sabeco) is targeting a lower post-tax profit in 2018 due to the increase of production costs and stronger competitiveness in the industry.

Its management board said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Saturday that it had cut its projected post-tax profit by 19 per cent year on year to VND4 trillion (US$178 million) in 2018.

Its total revenue is forecast at VND36 trillion in 2018, up 2.4 per cent from 2017, and a 35 per cent dividend payout, level to the previous year.

In 2017, the company recorded VND35 trillion in total revenue and VND4.95 trillion in post-tax profit. The 2017 figures increased by 11.2 per cent and 9.6 per cent year on year, respectively.

This was the first annual shareholder meeting after the Thai beer firm ThaiBev via its Vietnamese legal entity had spent around $5 billion to purchase 53 per cent of capital in Sabeco at the end of last year.

Sabeco’s management board said the domestic market was going to be tough in 2018 as competition among brewers in Viet Nam rises. Meanwhile, production cost was estimated to grow as input material prices were expected to increase due to bad weather conditions and seasonal changes.

In addition, alcohol and beer products have been affected by a 5 per cent increase in special consumption tax from the beginning of this year. The new rates for alcohol products range from 35 per cent to 65 per cent and the rate for beer products is 65 per cent.

Sabeco has also not kept up with developing high-end products to meet the growing demand of young customers whose income keeps rising.

However, there are also advantages for Sabeco and the beer industry in 2018. According to studies of international organisations, Viet Nam is among rapidly developing economies with increasing per capita income, fast urbanisation and young population that accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s total.

According to Sabeco’s management board, those will be the factors that are benefiting the local industry to grow strongly in coming years.

At the moment, Viet Nam ranks among top 10 countries with the largest beer production in the world, top among ASEAN countries with the highest consumption and ranks third in Asia in terms of per capita consumption with around 43 litres a year. With an annual growth rate of 5 per cent, Viet Nam’s beer market will attract more and more foreign brewers from overseas, Sabeco said.

Sabeco chairman Koh Poh Tiong told the meeting this year the company would increase its advertising to improve its competition.

Koh Poh Tiong became the chairman of Sabeco in April 2018.

Sabeco debuted on the HCM Stock Exchange with code SAB on December 6, 2016 at VND128,280 ($5.7) per share. Its share price rose to the highest of VND334,460 per share on November 29, 2017 but have fallen 40 per cent since then to end last week at VND200,000 per share. 


Finance ministry drafts specific regulations for poor credit instutitions
     
Weak credit institutions in the process of restructuring and dealing with bad debts will be put under special control in accordance with the Law on Credit Institutions, according to a decree being drafted by the Ministry of Finance.

The draft decree, released to the public to gather ideas from relevant sectors, proposes some specific contents of the financial regime for weak credit institutions in the process of restructuring and dealing with bad debts.

Poor credit institutions will use capital and assets under the restructuring plan approved by competent authorities in accordance with provisions of the law.

In terms of turnover, revenues and turnover recognition of weak credit institutions will comply with the financial regime applicable to credit institutions, foreign bank branches and regulations on corporate income tax.

For expenses, weak credit institutions shall make deductions for setting up risk provisions under Article 146 of the Law on Credit Institutions. Rewards for managers and labourers shall be equal to half of the average monthly salary where the institution fulfills the restructuring norms and tasks. The institutions must develop and publicise the regulations on rewards.

The institutions will have to report to the State Bank of Viet Nam fully and promptly on the implementation results as well as financial difficulties and obstructions in order to develop plans to restructure and handle bad debts. They will also publicise financial statements according to the regulations of the central bank. 

KPMG to help Viet Capital Bank with internal credit rating
     
KPMG Tax and Advisory Limited signed an agreement with Viet Capital Bank on July 19 to offer consultancy for developing internal credit rating models at the bank.

KMPG will transfer knowledge on building A-score modelling and specific model management, with a focus on credit rating for retail products for individual customers and small and medium enterprises.

Viet Capital Bank is one of the lenders to have recently transformed into a modern retail bank.

A spokesperson for the bank said along with the existing loan origination system (LOS) the new internal credit rating system would speed up lending while also optimising risk management and gradually improving risk management models to ensure the banks always complies with the regulations of the State Bank of Viet Nam and remains abreast of international standards. 

VPBank posts 34 per cent rise in profit     

Viet Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) achieved a 34 per cent year-on-year rise in pre-tax profit to VND4.37 trillion (US$189.4 million) in the first half of the year, maintaining the quality and effectiveness of growth.

VPBank on Friday announced its financial report for Q2 with total operating income (TOI) of more than VND14.5 trillion, increasing 28 per cent from the same period last year. This shows strong growth in the increasing competition of the banking sector, especially in VPBank’s strategic customer segments. Its capital mobilisation and credit growth rose by 7.99 per and 6.8 per cent respectively from last year.

VPBank has applied solutions to increase revenue as well as modernise its business administration and technologies. This was the reason the bank’s cost income ratio (CIR) was reduced from 35.54 per cent in 2017 to 32.31 per cent in the first six months of the year.

VPBank has made one of the highest contributions to the State budget at VND2.1 trillion in 2017.

The report also revealed that the bank completed its set targets in the first half of the year as its capital use effectiveness has been high in the sector, showing it is on the right path for sustainable growth.

By the end of the second quarter, its return on asset (ROA) and return of equity (ROE) were at 2.46 per cent and 22.36 per cent respectively. The indexes showed that VPBank is among banks with the best profitability in the market.

Its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) continued to maintain at high level of 13.21 per cent. The bank’s short-term debt rate and middle-and-long-term lending were at a low level of 29.3 per cent.

VPBank’s strategic segments such as consumer finance, individual and small-and-medium enterprises have been an impetus for its high revenue in the January-June period. The bank has also gradually moved towards digital banking and targeting high-end customers.

Accordingly, the number of customers using its digital banking service rose from more than 401,000 in 2017 to 832,000 in the first half of the year. The number of transactions through VPBank’s digital channels also doubled to two million from the same period last year, accounting for 48 per cent of its total transactions. The bank’s capital mobilisation online was up to VND10.8 trillion from VND5 trillion last year.

At the beginning of the year, VPBank launched VPBank Dream on both web and mobile platforms to maximise convenience for lending, asset management and individual consultancy. This marks the first digital banking foundation developed by VPBank and an initial step in its digitalisation strategy.

VPBank is also taking the lead in the bank card market. A report by the Viet Nam Bank Card Association revealed that the number of bank cards issued by VPBank accounted for 19 per cent of the total market in 2017, taking first position. Its card spending revenue also took the lead in Viet Nam with 17 per cent of market share by the end of last year and 21.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year.

VPBank recently introduced its VPBank Diamond service for high-end customers. The new service has helped the bank become a pioneer in the segment which has been on the rise in the country.

VPBank expects to continue to create momentum for higher growth in the next five years with its digitalisation strategy and concentration on high-end customers.

Finance head urges taxmen to settle arrears
     
Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha has urged the tax sector to make a positive change in the settlement of arrears in the second half of the year.

Speaking at a conference to review the implementation of taxation held in Ha Noi on Friday, Ha said solutions to arrears were the administration’s main issue.

“The tax department needs to have a scheme for dealing with tax arrears. They need to register the scheme with the General Department of Taxation and the Ministry of Finance,” said Ha.

He said leaders of the sector had to send solutions to the Ministry of Finance. The solutions would be sent to the Government and the National Assembly for approval. If these were passed, the ministry would issue guiding documents for implementation throughout the system.

Ha said from now to the end of the year, the sector must drastically deploy the inspection and examination tasks and inspectors should thoroughly inspect and examine every area, every key field and sensitive items.

The sector will focus on areas that are losing revenue such as capital transfer, associated transactions, e-commerce and mining. It will also continuously prevent losses from non-State owned enterprises and business households under the Prime Minister’s Instruction 26/CT-TTg dated June 6, 2017, striving for at least 18.5 per cent of operating enterprises to be inspected.

According to Ha, the tax sector has implemented all the tax arrears management measures set out earlier this year, contributing to raising State budget. It is striving for total tax arrears as of December 31, 2018 that will not exceed 5 per cent of the amount collected in the year.

At the conference, Deputy Director of Ha Noi Tax Department Mai Son said to effectively manage tax arrears, the department would continue to closely coordinate with its branches from grassroots to overcome difficulties and conduct exemptions, reductions and refunds of tax according to regulations.

Son said the department would advise mechanisms and policies to help enterprises in arrears and facing difficulties, to continuously sell their goods and have cash flow to pay taxes.

Ha suggested the sector should make further efforts in implementing the revenue estimates that have been already assigned by the National Assembly and the Government, striving to complete and exceed the task.

"Government leaders have asked the tax sector to exceed 5 per cent of the revenue estimate this year. This is a big number. As calculated, to achieve this estimate, the tax sector must collect about VND4 trillion (US$173.18 million) every working day,” Ha said.

In addition, Ha also required the sector to focus on reviewing administrative procedures, especially circulars as well as procedures in order to solve problems at localities, creating conditions for tax payers and improving the business investment environment.

“It’s needed to begin from the Law on Tax Administration. Currently, the law (amendment) has been included in the programme to submit to the National Assembly,” said Ha.

As the law is issued, it’s necessary to have high implementation capacity and transparency, preventing negative manifestations in tax administration," he added.

Ha also wanted the sector to continue building budget estimates for 2019 and medium-term plan for 2019 to 2021.

In the first six months of this year, the total payment collected was estimated at VND531.52 trillion, equivalent to 49.7 per cent of the plan, up 13.9 per cent over the same period last year, in which revenue from crude oil was estimated at nearly VND29.57 trillion, equaling 82.4 per cent of the estimate, up 25.3 per cent.

In order to prevent budget losses, inspection and examination of State budget loss has been intensified. In the first six months of this year, taxmen at all levels inspected 30,189 enterprises, collecting through inspections nearly VND5.76 trillion. 


UOB Viet Nam launch new app     

United Overseas Bank Vietnam Ltd has come out with a new mobile application that enables people to open personal bank accounts online and cut the time taken to open them from 45 minutes to 10 minutes.

Customers no longer need to visit a branch and can apply for an account on their smartphones by downloading the bank’s app, UOB Mighty, and providing the necessary information.

An employee of the bank will then visit the customer for verification and providing account details.

The new service was recently honoured as the Online Banking Initiative of the Year – Vietnam at the 2018 Asian Banking & Finance Retail Banking Awards.

Harry Loh, chief executive officer, UOB Vietnam, said: “In key cities such as HCM City, more than four in five people use their smartphones to conduct tasks quickly and conveniently.

“To ensure UOB continues to create products and services relevant to the lifestyle needs and behaviour of consumers, we applied design thinking principles to understand how we could simplify the account opening process. This led to the development of our mobile account opening service. Ultimately, we want to harness technology to make banking simpler, safer and smarter for our customers, from their very first encounters with us.

“Previously, our branch colleagues had to fill out forms and enter data into the system manually. Both are very repetitive and time-consuming tasks. The mobile account opening service removes the need for these tasks, freeing up our people to focus on more personalised services, such as financial advice.”

UOB is a leading Singaporean bank with a global network of more than 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in the Asia Pacific, Europe and North America.

French bank interested in Viet Nam’s thermal power projects
     
Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking (SG) of Singapore is particularly interested in sponsoring thermoelectric projects invested by the Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), an official from the bank said on July 19.

Pascal Lambert, SG Country Head for Singapore and Head in South East Asia and India, spoke during a working session with Chairman of PetroVietnam Tran Si Thanh in Ha Noi, during which they discussed possibilities of co-operation between the two sides.

Lambert thanked PetroVietnam and its members for their support and cooperation in choosing SG as a partner to fund major projects of the Vietnamese group in recent years.

The bank hopes to fund thermoelectric projects Nhon Trach 3 and 4, and Son My 1, he said, adding that SG especially wishes to give consultancy on the issuance of international bonds for PetroVietnam and participate in the financing of commercial loans for projects.

With its experience in financing gas thermal power projects in Japan, Indonesia, Malta, and Bangladesh, SG hopes to share experiences with PetroVietnam in this field, he stressed.

For his part, Thanh highly valued the recent cooperation between PetroVietnam and SG, saying that SG has provided capital to many key projects of the group, including thermo-power project Song Hau 1, contributing significantly to PetroVietnam’s development.

PetroVietnam would like SG to continue providing financial consultancy for the group and its subsidiaries in future projects, he said.

Arriving in Viet Nam in 1989 with two representative offices in Ha Noi and HCM City, SG has actively participated in funding major infrastructure and industry projects around the country.

It has cooperated with PetroVietnam since 2007, providing loans for PetroVietnam Transportation Corporation (PV Trans) to build three ships. In 2013, SG joined other banks in the financing of the Nghi Son Oil Refinery project. 

Experts talk up mobile e-commerce     

As more and more people are using smart phones for online shopping, businesses should learn how to and make full use of this potential, experts told a conference on mobile e-commerce in HCM City on Friday.

According to Huynh Bich Tran, associate director of Neilsen Viet Nam, around 51 per cent of the Vietnamese population uses smart phones, and this can increase to 59.2 per cent by 2020.

Generation Z (a demographic born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s) is a potentially lucrative market that typically depends on smart phones and the internet, and by 2025 will be aged 20-30 and number 14.7 million or 21 per cent of the workforce.

Many young customers – referred to as “connected spenders” – utilise the internet and modern technology for their shopping.

They are more likely to read reviews and do thorough research on products and company reputations and look around to find the best deals.

Tran said businesses looking to produce advertising videos or articles should make them short, concise and with contents likely to be beneficial to their readers.

Nguyen Thi Thu Huong, head of the HCM City branch of SAPO, a retail management solutions provider, said in addition to the rising trend of mobile shopping, smart phones and barcode scanning could be integrated into systems to allow easier inventory checking, financial management and checking of delivery status.

Le Hoang Vy, director of the Lazada Viet Nam Academy, said a recent survey called Digital in 2018 in Southeast Asia said 33 per cent of Vietnamese made at least one online purchase on a smart phone last January.

She said a large portion of purchases made on Lazada were through its app.

To tap the potential of mobile shopping, businesses need to offer professional customer service similar to well-managed brick-and-mortar stores, reply to customers’enquiries and offer consultancy as quickly as possible, according to Vy.

Businesses should also pay extra attention to the design of their mobile apps and social media pages to create a professional image, offer clear information and high-quality images to build customer trust, she said.

Do Van Viet, CEO of GTV SEO, a consultancy, said businesses should make use of search engine optimisation and learn about most searched keywords to market themselves better.

Nguyen Hoang Xuan, founder and chief commercial officer of live streaming service provider Cocalive, said using social media and influential people to market products is highly effective.

“There is a rising trend of customers making online purchases on mobile phones or involving their phones in their shopping, but the conversion rate on mobile phones (rate of visitors actually making a purchase) is still relatively low.

“A large number of businesses have not yet truly grasped mobile shopping and may not know how to market themselves effectively.”

“They need to be educated on operating businesses through mobile phones and related techniques, and fully understanding their customer bases and building their apps or social media pages accordingly.”

Nextech signs deal with 12trip.vn to capture online travel market share
     
The NextTech Group on Thursday signed a comprehensive co-operation agreement with 12Trip.vn - an online travel portal with a large database in Viet Nam, which provides nearly two million hotel rooms worldwide and airline tickets from over 600 domestic and international airlines.

Under the agreement, users will be able to easily search for cheap flights to global destinations, hold tickets, prices and flight codes until the end of the payment session. 12Trip.vn also provides cancellation or online check-in services for free.

With nearly two millions hotels associated with Booking.com, 12Trip.vn’s database offers a variety of choices with lower costs and 24-hour service by Vietnamese support staff. Customers’ card information is protected as it won’t be shared with hotels and airlines. 12Trip.vn’s modern payment technology is provided by online payment portal NganLuong.vn.

In addition to accepting cash payments at over 7,000 convenience stores across the country, 12Trip.vn is the first Vietnamese travel agency allowing customers, who are holders of the 18 credit bank card, to book hotels or make payments and buy flight tickets, and pay later with a zero per cent interest installment plan for 12 months.

Tourism is an attractive market in the country, with an annual growth rate of 30 per cent, and is estimated to grow even more. However, in Viet Nam, this market is still fragmented and does not have a business occupying over 10 per cent of the online market, while demand for online services among young customers is high. 


VinFast looks for electric motorcycle distributors
     
From July 16 to August 30, 2018, VinFast Services and Trading Joint Stock Company is looking for authorised agents to sell electric motorcycles nationwide.

According to VinFast’s representative, businesses who want to become authorised dealers have to meet conditions such as locations must be on main roads or streets, shops must have a minimum area of 200sq.m and facades a minimum of 10m wide.

The process of recruiting authorised dealers for the sale of electric motorcycles is part of VinFast’s nationwide distribution channel plan, scheduled to launch its first products by the end of 2018.

VinFast expects to cooperate with qualified enterprises in the field of motorcycle sales in Viet Nam, as well as opening opportunities for enterprises to develop and expand.

By participating in VinFast’s network, partners will also contribute to the development of the Vietnamese brand, offering high quality products, safe, reliable, environmentally-friendly, and especially suitable to the market and tastes of customers.

VinFast aims to be the leading automobile and motorcycle manufacturer in Southeast Asia. The company has been cooperating with the world’s leading partners in the development and production of vehicles, with the aim of producing products displaying Vietnamese identity and meeting international standards.

VinFast’s first electric scooters are built on a modern assembly line located in an automobile and electric motorbike manufacturing complex in Dinh Vu Cat Hai industrial park in the northern port city of Hai Phong. 

Peugeot leads in SUV and CUV segment in Viet Nam
     
More than 1,700 Peugeot cars were sold in the first six months of 2018, making it the best selling luxury Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) brand from Europe in Viet Nam.

According to a report by the Viet Nam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA), the Peugeot’s all new 3008 and 5008 car models, which entered the Vietnamese market in 2014, have been the top sellers among European car makers including Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW in Viet Nam during the first half of this year.

VAMA said models of SUV and CUV are a popular choice among Vietnamese customers as these vehicles are convenient for family travel and suitable for current traffic infrastructure in the country.

VAMA said SUV models account for 40 per cent of car sales at Mercedes Benz showrooms (about 1,100 cars), while Audi sold 400 cars.

It said the two models of Peugeot also lured customers with their new I-cockpit interior design, and a competitive price of VND1.2 billion (US$53,000) to VND1.4 billion ($62,000).

Peugeot has been negotiating with local car maker Truong Hai Automobile Joint-Stock Company (Thaco) to produce models for Viet Nam’s market.

Thaco has been an exclusive agent for imported Peugeots since the French car giant returned to the local market in 2014, and the French brand posted 60-per cent sales growth in 2016.

The local car producer has already opened 13 Peugeot showrooms with 3S (sales-services-spare parts) facilities across the country.

The French car maker has also introduced scooters and bicycles to the country’s market.

In 2016, Thaco introduced the first rollout of the locally manufactured Peugeot model 408 in the Truong Hai-Chu Lai Auto Complex in central Quang Nam Province, aiming at boosting competition among the European luxury car segment in Viet Nam.

The largest automobile manufacturer in Viet Nam, Thaco has produced and distributed vehicles for Kia from South Korea, Mazda from Japan, French giant Peugeot, and BMW. 

VinFast to exhibit cars at Paris Motor Show
     
Vingroup’s VinFast Manufacturing and Trading Company will debut its first two models of sport utility vehicle (SUV) and sedan at the Paris Motor Show, the world’s busiest automotive event, in Paris in October this year.

The models, designed by Italian designer Pininfarina, feature ‘Vietnamese Identity - Italian Design - German Engineering - International Standards’.

The two models were developed based on two designs, which were selected by Vietnamese consumers during a contest organised in October last year.

Attending the Paris Motor show, VinFast wishes to gather more opinions on the cars before starting official sales in the Vietnamese market from September next year.

VinFast is promoting world class cars which are manufactured at its modern facility in the Dinh Vu - Cat Hai economic zone in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

Besides these two models, VinFast is also rapidly deploying many others, which will be rolled out first in the Vietnamese market and then exported to a number of countries around the world.

With a vision to go global, VinFast has worked with the world’s leading automotive firms to create world-class products that meet the expectations of customers in terms of design, quality and features. VinFast also recruited high-level executives from leading companies in the industry, as a prerequisite to building a successful business.

The company is in the process of completing the construction of a 335-hectare factory in Hai Phong, which was started in September last year and will be equipped with world-class facilities and equipment to ensure that finished cars meet the strictest international standards.

CEO of VinFast, James Deluca, said with abundant resources and strong capacity, the firm has set a strong target to become an impressive new factor in the global automobile industry.

It’s proud to be the first large-scale automobile manufacturer in Viet Nam and also the first Vietnamese company to exhibit at the Paris Motor Show. With a desire to introduce the VinFast brand and its first two cars at the world famous event, VinFast will highlight the essence of Viet Nam showing its persistence on a new journey.

VinFast is a member of Vingroup - one of the largest private enterprises in Viet Nam. Over 25 years of establishment and development, Vingroup is currently engaged in a variety of businesses such as real estate, travel - entertainment, education, health, agriculture, retail and industry. Continuing with the achievements and values ​​of Vingroup, VinFast is expected to contribute to the development of the Vietnamese automobile industry and improve the quality of Vietnamese life. 
Nextech signs deal with 12trip.vn to capture online travel market share
     
The NextTech Group on Thursday signed a comprehensive co-operation agreement with 12Trip.vn - an online travel portal with a large database in Viet Nam, which provides nearly two million hotel rooms worldwide and airline tickets from over 600 domestic and international airlines.

Under the agreement, users will be able to easily search for cheap flights to global destinations, hold tickets, prices and flight codes until the end of the payment session. 12Trip.vn also provides cancellation or online check-in services for free.

With nearly two millions hotels associated with Booking.com, 12Trip.vn’s database offers a variety of choices with lower costs and 24-hour service by Vietnamese support staff. Customers’ card information is protected as it won’t be shared with hotels and airlines. 12Trip.vn’s modern payment technology is provided by online payment portal NganLuong.vn.

In addition to accepting cash payments at over 7,000 convenience stores across the country, 12Trip.vn is the first Vietnamese travel agency allowing customers, who are holders of the 18 credit bank card, to book hotels or make payments and buy flight tickets, and pay later with a zero per cent interest installment plan for 12 months.

Tourism is an attractive market in the country, with an annual growth rate of 30 per cent, and is estimated to grow even more. However, in Viet Nam, this market is still fragmented and does not have a business occupying over 10 per cent of the online market, while demand for online services among young customers is high. 


HCM City to host Taiwan Expo     

More than 5,500 Taiwanese smart-tech and eco-friendly lifestyle products will be on show at the Taiwan Expo from July 26 to 28 in HCM City.

Taiwan is Viet Nam’s fifth largest trading partner, with bilateral trade last year amounting to US$13.62 billion after increasing by 10.8 per cent, Felix H.L. Chiu, executive director of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), said.

Taiwan is also one of Viet Nam’s largest foreign investors, with $30.9 billion as of last year, he told a press meeting on July 19.

Viet Nam is also the largest tourism market for Taiwan, with a total of 383,000 Vietnamese visiting the island last year.

At the fair, there are seven themed pavilions: Taiwan Excellence, Green Products, Taiwan Smart City, Taiwan Healthcare, Digital Commerce, Taiwan Orchids, Taiwan Tourism, and Taiwan Bubble Tea.

There will also be a series of other activities like one-on-one trade meetings, Taiwan Excellence Smart Life and Future Trends of the Orchid Industry seminars, Taiwan Startups Showcase, Taiwan Medical Day, and cultural performances.

The expo, at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre in District 7, will be organised by TAITRA and the Viet Nam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company (Vinexad).

It was first launched last year and attracted 24,000 visitors and trade participants, and deals amounting to $27 million were struck. 

Việt Nam gains trade surplus at $2.5b by first half of July

Việt Nam recorded a high trade surplus in the first half of the year, according to the General Department of Customs.

From the beginning of this year to July 15, Việt Nam’s total export value reached US$122.5 billion, while import value stood at $120 billion, marking a trade surplus of $2.5 billion.

Three groups of goods gained export value of over $10 billion: telephones and components ($24 billion); textiles and garments ($14.9 billion); and computers and components ($14.4 billion).

However, in the first 15 days of July, Việt Nam recorded a trade deficit of about $880 million.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) forecasts that total export value this year will reach $236.6 billion, a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent.

However, average export value of $20.45 billion per month was a challenge in the context of the unpredictable global market, reported Công Thương newspaper.

Trần Thanh Hải, deputy head of the MoIT’s Import-Export Department, said the industry and trade sector would continue to promote reform, creating a favourable environment for exports.

It would raise awareness about free trade agreements (FTAs) and improve the quality of negotiations on signing and upgrading FTAs.

In addition, the sector would strengthen production, and increase investment in the development of support industries, while supplying raw materials for the production of export goods that meet regulations on the origin of goods. This would help to take advantage of preferential tariffs and open markets under the FTAs while cutting imports of material for production.

According to the General Department of Customs, in the first six months of this year, the total export value to the 10 biggest markets reached about $101 billion, accounting for 88 per cent of export value. The US market continued to be the largest market for Việt Nam with nearly $21.6 billion, accounting for 19 per cent of total export value. 

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