BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 16/8

VN-Index pulled down by large-cap stocks

The benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) dropped 16.9 points to settle at 961.37 points on August 15, with over 188.9 million shares changed hands at a value of over 4.45 trillion VND (191.3 million USD). 

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index was also down, losing 1.77 points to 108.02 points.

In the VN30 basket, measuring the 30 largest stocks by market capitalisation on the HOSE, CTD, DHG, MSN, PLX, ROS, VIC, VJC and VRE experienced decreases ranging from 1.4 percent to 4.3 percent. 

Red colour covered bank stocks with seven codes – ACB, BID, HDB, MBB, TCB, VCB and VPB having their prices down.

On the day, oil and gas stocks like PVC, PVD, PVS, TDG, GAS and PVB also experienced declines. 

Shares of financial services saw deep falls, with HCM, down 3.9 percent; MBS, 2.4 percent; SHS, 4.6 percent; SSI, 3.2 percent; and VND, 4.5 percent. 

Foreign investors posted a net buy value of over 32 billion VND (1.37 million USD) with 956,520 shares  on the HOSE. Meanwhile, on the HNX, they turned into net sellers of 79,240 stocks worth 1.76 billion VND (75,680 USD).

Vietnam firms join Tamil Nadu food expo in India

Seven Vietnamese enterprises are showcasing their products at Vibrant Tamil Nadu - Global Expo & Summit 2018 in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which runs from August 12-15.

The food and beverage expo also features nearly 200 Indian firms and representatives from 29 other nations.

Several workshops on food, processed food and beverages and measures to boost the sector’s development have been held at the event, along with meetings between participating firms and state authorities.

The Vietnamese enterprises discussed the possibility of signing some memoranda of understanding on cooperation in food production and processing and on investment in industrial zones with Indian partners.

Bui Trung Thuong, Chief of the Vietnam Trade Office in India, briefed Indian partners on Vietnam-India economic and trade ties, the prospects of the Vietnamese food sector and opportunities for the two countries’ businesses.

India ranks 27th among 126 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with nearly 200 projects worth about 875 million USD. Last year, two-way trade reached 7.63 billion USD, with the figure expected to hit 15 billion USD in 2020.

Binh Duong applies measures to support SMEs

The southern province of Binh Duong has carried out solutions to support local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as part of efforts to realise Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s directive on assisting SMEs.

According to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Thanh Liem, the province has work with the administrations of districts, towns and cities to give land for the development of industrial clusters and agricultural product processing zones for SMEs.

The province will consider reducing site rent for SMEs in industrial parks and clusters in the locality, he said.

Liem added that the province has worked to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of contact points for assisting SMEs, while encouraging and helping business households turn themselves into companies.

Binh Duong has also run support programmes for SMEs to help them engage in distribution chains, he said.

In the future, the province will pay more attention to improving the investment environment and competitiveness and provide optimal conditions for local firms, especially SMEs and startup businesses, to develop.

It will mobilise resources to complete its socio-economic infrastructure such as traffic, water supply and waste treatment systems, while expanding industrial parks and creating more clear sites for attracting more investment, developing social housing for workers and stepping up human resource training.

According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, as of June 30, the province drew 28.92 trillion VND (1.27 billion USD) in domestic investment, up 12 percent over the same period last year, which poured into 2,762 new firms and 550 existing ones.

So far, the province has attracted 33,548 domestic enterprises with total capital of 266.13 trillion VND (11.7 billion USD).

Hung Yen Longan Week to open at Big C Thang Long

A Hung Yen Longan Week will kick off at Big C Thang Long supercentre of Hanoi on August 17, aiming to promote the specialty of the northern province.

Hung Yen longan has been sold at Big C Thang Long since August 13, and will be available in 35 Big C supermarkets nationwide in the following days.

Philippe Broianigo, Chief Executive Officer of Central Group Vietnam, said that as a retail distributor, Big C is willing to work with localities nationwide to popularise trademark and create a stable consumption market for Hung Yen longan in particular and other Vietnamese agricultural products in general.

The supermarket chain had successfully organised several programmes, such as Luc Ngan Litchi Week, Da River Fish Week, and Son La Longan and Safe Farm Produce Week.

In 2018, Hung Yen has a total area of 3,820 hectares of longan for harvest with an estimated output of 41,000 tonnes, half of which are grown under VIETGAP standards.

At present, Hong Nam commune in Hung Yen city and Ham Tu commune in Khoai Chau district are allowed to export their longan to the US, while Hung Yen city, and Khoai Chau, Kim Dong and Tien Lu districts have received recognition of Geographical Indication (GI).

Contech Vietnam to return to Hanoi

Contech Vietnam 2018 – the international trade fair for construction, mining, and transportation – will be held in Hanoi on December 5-8. 

Held by the Hanoi Advertising & International Fair JSC (Hadifa), this year’s event will gather leading brands in the construction, transportation, and mining industries. 

It has been described by experts as one of the leading international trade exhibitions in the field. 

Last year, the event attracted over 100 exhibitors from 10 different countries and territories, with over 3,000 visitors. Of those brands on display, 70 percent were foreign names. Notable exhibitors include TekMac, the official distributor of XCMG products; UMAC, agent of JLG; Teupen; Nippon Sharyo; and UMG Vietnam, which distributes Volvo, UD Truck, and Matador. 

Contech Vietnam 2018 is expected to develop in both quantity and quality with the attendance of well-known construction machines such as Liebherr, Caterpillar, JCB, Soilmec, Skyjack, Sunward, and Doosan. 

Hoa Binh seeks to promote tourism development in upland areas

Online, digital advertising on the rise, Startup Base funded by VIISA and 500 Startups, Toyota Vietnam recalls over 11,500 cars for airbag fault, Vietfish 2018 largest in 20 years, Insurance premiums surge nearly 31% in 7 months

A fact-finding trip was organised to explore potential for tourism development in mountainous Lung Van commune in the northern province of Hoa Binh’s Tan Lac district.

The trip was joined by local officials, representatives from Action on Poverty in Vietnam, and FLC Group on August 8. 

Situated at an altitude of nearly 700m above sea level, and covered with clouds around the year, Lung Van is the centre of five upland communes of Tan Lac district. It has great potential and advantages for promoting tourism development.

It boasts numerous heritage featuring Muong ethnic people’s culture identities such as Mo Muong culture heritage, Muong gong, handicraft products, traditional festivals and folk games.

Lung Van is an attractive destination for community-based tours. It has the provincial road 440 linking to localities with tourism potential including communes of Quyet Chien, Nam Son, Bac Son, Ngo Luong in Tan Lac district; Pu Bin and Noong Luong communes in Mai Chau district; and tourism sites in Bac Thuoc district of the north central province of Thanh Hoa. 

Besides, Lung Van boasts a system of caves and old stilt houses. 

During the trip, participants visited several projects of tourism development.

Representatives from FLC hoped to cooperate with the locality in developing tourism, especially community-based tourism, while calling on the local authority to work well on management, and pay attention to improving the quality of tourism services. 

Training courses should be arranged for local households which are supplying homestay services for tourists, helping them collect experience in this field, they said.

Action on Poverty in Vietnam pledged to send experts to Lung Van to support the building of tourism development plans for the locality.

Speaking at the working session with the delegation, Vice Secretary of the provincial Party Committee and Chairman of the provincial People’s Council Tran Dang Ninh asked Tan Lac authority to swiftly outline a project to promote tourism development in upland communes, focusing on encouraging local household to provide homestay services. 

Tourism activities must ensure the preservation of typical culture and environmental protection, he noted.

China imports nearly 91% of Vietnam’s lychees

Vietnamese businesses have exported more than 92,000 tons of lychees (including fresh and dried lychee) from the 2018 crop, according to the latest statistics from the General Department of Customs.

This marked an increase of 172% in volume and 126% in value compared to 2017’s crop, according to representatives from the department.

Fresh lychees make up a large proportion of lychee exports at 75,000 tons, accounting for 81.5% of the total volume, while dried lychees make up a smaller proportion at around 17,000 tons.

The 2018 crop has provided Vietnamese lychees for 27 nations and territories around the world. The vast amount of Vietnam’s lychees went to China, who imported more than 83,500 tons, accounting for 90.7% of this year’s total lychee exports.

The country’s lychee exports to the Chinese market are valued at more than US$33.9 million, an increase of 151% in volume and 91% in value over last year. Other markets include Australia, Canada, Laos, the UK, Bahrain, Turkey, the Republic of Korea, and Japan.

Production boosted by new launches

Some major projects boosting their operations have contributed to the Vietnamese economy’s seven-month industrial growth, which is expected to continue its uptrend until the end of the year.

production boosted by new launches hinh 0 State-run PetroVietnam’s Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical JSC (BSR), which operates the country’s first operating oil refinery Dung Quat in the central province of Quang Ngai, last week reported that in first seven months of 2018, its output reached 4.14 million tonnes, hitting 66 per cent of the whole year’s plan.

Between January and July, BRS’s total revenue reached VND66.49 trillion ($2.94 billion), 47 per cent higher than the seven-month plan and equal to 85 per cent of the whole year’s plan. BSR’s after-tax profit totalled VND3.597 trillion ($159.16 million), which is 72 per cent higher than its seven-month plan.

In another case, the Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical Plant (NSRP) in the central province of Thanh Hoa has, over the past few months, been in a commissioning stage, with most of its units achieving 50 per cent of their designed capacity.

“As planned, the complex will increase its commissioning capacity to 75 per cent in early August, and to 100 per cent in early September,” said an NSRP bulletin released last week. “The factory will officially begin its commercial operation in November. It is expected that in 2018, NSRP will import six million tonnes of crude oil, and produce and market four million tonnes of products.”

In the first seven months of this year, NSRP contributed to a 28 per cent increase in the industrial production of Thanh Hoa.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), BSR and NSRP have significantly contributed to a big rise in the Vietnamese economy’s manufacturing and processing sector, which holds 80 per cent of the country’s industrial growth, during the first seven months. As a result, in this period, the index for industrial production rose by 10.9 per cent, also the highest seven-month rise since 2011.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), since 2017, some other big projects have commenced operation, including projects backed by South Korea’s Samsung and Taiwan’s Formosa.

Formosa put its second furnace into operation, with an annual capacity of 3.8 million tonnes of steel, and Samsung launched its new products, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.

In the first half of this year, Samsung and Formosa contributed 26 per cent of the value of Vietnam’s total industrial production sector, and 46 per cent of the value of the country’s manufacturing and processing sector, an official from the GSO’s Industrial Department told VIR.

Between January and July, Formosa contributed to a 149.3 per cent rise in the industrial production of the central province of Ha Tinh, where its facility is located.

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung expressed his hope that in the second half of 2018, a number of new major projects will come into operation, which will serve as a new driving force for the economy to grow further, and especially to contribute to helping the economy reach its growth target of 6.7 per cent this year.

“Local production will surge strongly this year if big industrial projects such as the NSRP come into commercial operation, greatly contributing to the country’s economic growth,” Minister Dung said.

It is expected that Hoa Phat Group will put a new steel manufacturing facility into operation in August, with an expected output of 200,000 tonnes per year, while Hoa Sen Group will also likely put its new steel sheet manufacturing facility into operation, with an annual capacity of 350,000 tonnes.

The GSO also reported that in the first seven months of this year, many key industrial products saw high on-year growth, including steel (41.1 per cent), cloth (19.1 per cent), sugar (18.9 per cent), and animal feed (18.5 per cent), and electricity (10.7 per cent).

Vietnam boasts huge potential for green growth

With great advantages for developing wind and solar energy, Vietnam has a huge potential for developing a green economy with which to accomplish its goal of industrialization and modernization by 2020.

A green economy is defined as one that improves human well-being and social equality, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”.

Vietnam has a strong potential for agricultural development and helping to ensure global food security. In addition to advantages in developing renewable energies like wind and solar, Vietnam boasts a stable socio-political climate and laws, policies, and mechanisms favorable to investment, as well as expanding international relations. Vietnam’s workers are noted for their industriousness and cleverness, ideal for developing a green economy.  

Vietnam needs to move from being a brown economy to being a green one by efficiently using energy and replacing non-renewable energy, said Dr. Nguyen Van Tai, Director General of the Vietnam Environment Administration.

"It’s of great importance to identify the role of natural resources in Vietnam’s sustainable development and prosperity. We can not guarantee future sustainable development if we use up all of our natural resources.", added Mr. Tai. 

A green economy is the sustainable development path preferred by many advanced countries in the context of climate change. Vietnam has approved a national strategy of green growth in the period 2011- 2020, with vision toward 2050, to strongly boost economic restructuring and rapid, sustainable growth.

Hanoi sets up 80 safe farm produce chains

Hanoi has so far established 80 chains of safe farm produce, according to the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Of the total, there are five collective brands, namely Ba Vi chicken, Soc Son chicken, Son Tay chicken, Van Dinh duck and Lien Chau duck eggs. 

Farm-to-fork chains with animal origin have attracted the participation of more than 3,000 family farms and 120 businesses and individuals operating in the sectors of animal feed, medicine, slaughtering, food processing and distribution.

The department is examining 140 facilities to build a programme that helps trace products’ origin using QR codes.  

Annual food consumption in the domestic market accounts for roughly 15% of Vietnam’s GDP, with average annual growth rate of 18%. As such, inadequate safety standards can inhibit the sector’s growth potential, jeopardising consumer health and reducing market opportunities for local food producers.

Argentina – Vietnam’s important trade partner in Latin America

Vietnam considers Argentina one of its most important trade partners in Latin America with two-way trade turnover increasing year by year from US$2.3 billion in 2015 to US$2.9 billion in 2016 and reaching around US$3.5 billion in 2017.

The country is currently Argentina’s sixth biggest trade partner. Its exports to the Latin American nation hit US$31.4 million in July, bringing the total export value in seven months to US$275.7 million, up 49.43% against the same period last year.

Footwear topped key export products to Argentina with US$61.9 million, up 49.43% over the same period last year. Garment and footwear materials came second with US$28.1 million, down 7.43%.

Vietnam also exported garments and rubber to the country. Particularly, the export of ceramic products increased 2.03 times to US$947,100 in 7 months.

Meanwhile Argentina was the second largest supplier of agricultural and pharmaceutical products to the Southeast Asian nation mostly soya beans, cooking oil, corn, and wheat.

Vietnam Airlines launches largest promotional program

Vietnam Airlines has officially launched its largest promotional program, with the theme “The Gold Autumn 2018”, from August 15 until the end of the year.

At a price of only VND299,000 ($13) one-way, passengers from Hanoi can begin their journey to Chu Lai Airport in central Quang Nam province while those from Da Nang can explore northern Hai Phong city. For the same price, passengers from Ho Chi Minh City will have the opportunity to visit Buon Ma Thuot, Da Lat, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc Island.

Other discounted rates for one-way domestic flights are VND399,000 ($17), VND499,000 ($21.5) and VND799,000 ($34).

International tickets are selling for only VND210,000 ($9) for a return journey from Hanoi to Yangon in Myanmar.

Passengers can go to Laos, Cambodia or Northeast Asia and return from just VND1.159 million ($50). Destinations in Southeast Asia such as Bangkok and Singapore are priced from VND689,000 ($29) to VND2.329 million ($101). Tickets on long routes from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Australia and European destinations such as Paris, London and Moscow are VND10.559 million ($459).

Tickets can be bought from August 15 to 22 for flights between August 15 to March 31, 2019, with certain limits during peak periods. Tickets are available at all ticket offices, official Vietnam Airlines agents, and at www.vietnamairlines.com (including the VNA Holidays program).

“The Golden Autumn” is one of Vietnam Airlines’ largest annual fare promotions. This year the program continues to take passengers to many exciting stops around the country and many tourism cities around the world.

Ninja Van launches free logistics promo in four cities

Logistics and last-mile delivery company Ninja Van has launched a new promotion providing complimentary in-city delivery services in HCM City, Hà Nội, Thủ Dầu Một in Bình Dương Province and Biên Hòa in Đồng Nai Province.

The initiative gives local businesses and sellers access to technology-based delivery services. The promotion is valid for new customers from August 14 to October 24, 2018 and applies for an unlimited number of parcels within the promotional period.

“The promotion is one of our initiatives to encourage local businesses and sellers to experience hi-tech logistics services in the era of digitalisation,” said country head of Ninja Van Vietnam Phan Xuân Dũng.

“Việt Nam sees a promising outlook for the e-commerce market. We provide e-commerce retailers and online sellers with fast, time-efficient and cost-effective logistics solutions, so that they can meet the demands of the growing market,” said Dũng.

According to research by eShopWorld, there are currently over 35 million e-commerce users in Việt Nam and this number is expected to grow to 42 million by 2021. After two years of intensive research, Ninja Van has optimised its technology to build an appropriate delivery system and process for the Vietnamese market.

In March 2018, Ninja Van officially announced its entry into Việt Nam. In Việt Nam, Ninja Van is seen as a fast-growing logistics company with more than 1,000 riders across the country, handling orders for major trading companies such as Lazada, Sendo, Tiki and Fahasa. Ninja Van is also further extending its availability to retail stores and online shops.

Vinamilk to pay dividends in September

Việt Nam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) has announced plans to finalise the list of shareholders that will receive its first round of dividend payments for 2018 in the form of cash and shares on September 6.

According to the plan, dividends will be paid in cash at a ratio of 20 per cent, with payments starting from September 26.

Vinamilk will also issue 290.24 million bonus shares to increase shares capital from equity. Bonus shares are divided by a 5: 1 ratio, which means that for every five ordinary shares held on September 6, shareholders will receive one bonus share.

Equity capital from share premiums is nearly VNĐ261 billion (US$11.2 million) while that from the development investment fund is more than VNĐ2.64 trillion.

At present, Vinamilk has over 1.45 billion shares in circulation. After the payments, the dairy company is expected to increase its charter capital to over VNĐ17.41 trillion. 

Insurance premiums surge nearly 31% in 7 months

Total insurance premiums in the first seven months of this year surged by 30.8 per cent year-on-year to VNĐ69.5 trillion (US$2.95 billion), the Ministry of Finance reported.

Besides maintaining a high growth rate, the financial status of insurance firms also improved in the period with total assets rising by 29.7 per cent to VNĐ356.5 trillion.

During the period, insurance companies re-invested VNĐ283.9 trillion into the economy, marking a rise of 30.2 per cent year-on-year.

Insurers also paid out VNĐ18.7 trillion to customers, up 15.2 per cent compared with the same period last year.

According to Bùi Gia Anh, general secretary of the Việt Nam Insurance Association, Việt Nam’s life insurance market, which includes 18 insurers providing nearly 400 products, had maintained steady annual growth of more than 30 per cent in recent years. Insurance premium had increased by more than VNĐ10 trillion yearly, reaching some VNĐ66.23 trillion last year.

The sector’s target this year is to gain total revenue of VNĐ129.24 trillion, up 22.38 per cent from 2017. The sector also plans to re-invest VNĐ305.49 trillion into the economy and increase its total assets to VNĐ370.81 trillion. 

Vietfish 2018 largest in 20 years     

The Viet Nam Fisheries International Exhibition (Vietfish) 2018 will be held the at Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre from August 22 to August 24, the industry association has announced.

Vietfish 2018 will be the largest since the event was launched 20 years ago, the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.

The event will feature 374 stalls, an increase of 3.6 per cent compared to last year, with firms from 14 countries and territories, 66 per cent will be Vietnamese.

On display will be aquaculture and services, machinery, chemicals, additives and cold storage equipment. 

Toyota Vietnam recalls over 11,500 cars for airbag fault     

Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) is implementing two recall programmes over airbag faults on Corolla, Vios and Yaris models.

The first recall programme is to check and replace the airbag inflator module of the front passenger airbag on a total 11,346 units of locally assembled Corolla, Vios and imported Yaris produced from January 2, 2013 to December 31, 2013.

According to Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), the subject vehicles equipped with front passenger airbag inflators produced by airbag supplier Takata Corporation, may have been manufactured in such a way as to have the potential for the intrusion of moisture over time. Depending on the circumstances, this could create excessive internal pressure when the airbag is deployed and cause the inflator to rupture. In the event of an inflator rupture, metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material, striking and potentially seriously injuring the vehicle occupants in a crash.

The process of checking and repairing airbags is expected to take one to three hours per car and the recall programme began from last Friday.

The second recall programme is to inspect and replace the airbag sensor on 372 Corolla cars which were assembled in Viet Nam from December 16, 2015 to February 15, 2016.

The subject vehicles are equipped with an airbag system containing airbag sensors which detect impact to the vehicle. There is a possibility that, due to two different manufacturing issues, the IC chips in affected sensors have insulation layers that could peel over time, creating an open circuit in the IC chip. If this were to occur, the airbag warning light will illuminate. Further, the side/curtain shield airbags and/or front airbags, can become deactivated.

TMV will check and replace the airbag inflator module of the front passenger airbag on affected vehicles at no cost at all Toyota dealers or branches from last Friday. Total time to check and replace the part is about half an hour to 2.5 hours depending on each model.

For the Corolla, Vios and Yaris units which are not officially distributed by TMV, if requests from customers are received, TMV will contact TMC to confirm details. Once TMV gets official approval from TMC, TMV will replace the airbag inflator module or airbag sensor following standard procedures of the campaign at no cost. 

VNPT and Maritime Bank sign comprehensive co-operation agreement     

The Viet Nam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) and Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Maritime Bank) signed an agreement on deploying new technology to customers on Wednesday.

Under the deal, the two sides will promote joint venture activities and contribute capital to support each other to develop their business.

VNPT will provide telecommunications, information technology and other services at competitive prices, focusing on service quality, safety and technical assistance for Maritime Bank.

Meanwhile, Maritime Bank will work with VNPT to provide electronic payment services with VNPT Pay.

The two sides will build and deploy new technology and apply information technology and promotion programmes.

In addition, VNPT and Maritime Bank will support each other in infrastructure, services and finance to boost network development and transaction points.

The two sides will also research and invest resources, especially financial and technological resources, to work out solutions and technologies attached to the financial management system and the market.

Pham Duc Long, VNPT general director, said the group had launched digital and mobile banking services to bring competitive advantages and reduce costs and risks for customers.

Meanwhile, Huynh Buu Quang, Maritime Bank general director, said the signing opened up opportunities for the bank and VNPT to enhance their co-operation, make full use of their advantages, experiences and capabilities of each units to further develop.

Asanzo, VTVCab, NextMedia sign deal     

Asanzo Viet Nam JSC signed a co-operation agreement with the Viet Nam Cable Television Corporation (VTVcab) and NextMedia on the application of VTVcab ON on Asanzo’s smart devices.

With VTVcab ON, Asanzo smart television users will not only be able to watch scheduled programmes, but will also be able to watch missed shows. In particular, VOD (Video on Demand), which is used by 91 per cent of Vietnamese (according to the Nielsen Global Video-on-Demand survey), is also satisfactory.

Pham Van Tam, Asanzo chairman said that Asanzo was proud to be associated with VTVcab to bring high-quality television and entertainment experiences that meet the needs of Vietnamese users.

Both Asanzo and VTVcab have a large number of customers in over 64 provinces and cities nationwide.

"I hope this co-operation will help create pure Vietnamese products with high quality and reasonable price to serve the Vietnamese people," said Tam.

Asanzo sold more than 710,000 televisions last year, making up 16 per cent of the country’s television market. 

Startup Base funded by VIISA and 500 Startups     

The Startup Base of CEO Pham Kim Hung completed the first round of fundraising with the participation of two large investment funds, VIISA and 500 Startups.

Tran Anh Dung, MOG CEO, and two other individual investors will also participate in the transaction.

Although the investment amount has not been disclosed, Hung said that Base would use the money to improve quality and product performance.

"The core of Base is our products, so we will concentrate all resources to bring our customers better products. As planned, we will begin to conquer the Southeast Asian market from mid-2019," Hung said.

Base is a technology platform built to unify enterprise management and operation.

Pham Kim Hung has a lot of experience and is renown in the development of technology products.

Having won the golden prize at the international mathematics Olympiad, Hung graduated from Stanford University and became known as a talented CEO when his name was listed in the 30 Under 30 by Forbes Magazine.

In development for a year, Base has launched over 10 applications and worked for more than 500 corporate clients, including big customers such as VP Bank, The Coffee House, MK Group, Elcom and a range of small and medium enterprises.

VIISA is an investment fund founded by FPT Ventures, Dragon Capital and Hanwha Investment & Securities. Together with the support of leading technology companies in Viet Nam, the fund has attracted more than 400 startups so far.

500 Startups is a large-scale venture capital fund in Silicon Valley, the US, focusing on potential startups in the technology sector. Since its founding, 500 Startups has invested in more than 2,000 startups.

Online, digital advertising on the rise     

Viet Nam’s rising usage of mobile devices and the internet have led to great opportunities for digital and online advertising, experts said at a conference on advertising on August 10 in HCM City.

Nguyen Van Chinh, CEO of DatViet Media, said: “In the past few months, spending on traditional media such as TV and newspapers show signs of decline.”

Spending on traditional media showed a 45 per cent growth rate from 2012 to 2013, but only 2 per cent growth in 2017 compared to 2016.

Advertising on cable and online news website is on the rise, as more time is being spent every day on the internet and mobile phones, he said.

In addition, more Vietnamese use smartphones and have access to the internet, with 67 per cent and 52 per cent of the population using the internet and social media on mobile devices, respectively, as of January.

Internet access is also developing in rural areas, he added.

The younger generations rely on digital and mobile devices more so than older generations and visit the cinema nearly every month, he said.

Duong Huy, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Advertising Association (VAA), said that outdoor advertising was also on the rise.

Advertisement in public places such as billboards along roads, on public transport or at petrol stations is increasing, especially those that have messages and content related to their surroundings, such as humorous advertising printed on elevator doors.

In addition, he said that he was seeing a trend in the use of digital screens and interactive advertising, which will be used more in the future.

However, he noted that few statistics on outdoor advertisement exist, and creativity in outdoor advertising methods is still lacking compared to those overseas, which could be attributed to advertising law complications.

Tran Hung, board member of VAA, said the 2013 advertising circular was amended in April and will come into effect in November.

The new circular has cleared up several definitions which advertising companies have found confusing, and regulations such as banner placements are now more reasonable, which have made it easier to comply, he said.

He also urged members of VAA to speak up on legal problems so the association can report them to governmental authorities.

The conference was part of the 2018 Viet Nam International Advertising Equipment and Technology Exhibition held from August 8 to 11, showcasing the newest technology in advertising and offering opportunities for companies to network. 

Vietnam's 'Coffee Queen' opposes appointments in Trung Nguyen feud

The estranged wife of Trung Nguyen Coffee's CEO, and its joint owner with him, has protested against a decision to appoint two deputy directors.

Le Hoang Diep Thao said in a written statement to her separated husband Dang Le Nguyen Vu that the appointment of Lu Ngoc Cu, former People’s Committee Chairman of the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, as a senior deputy director, is “against the company’s rules and Vietnamese laws.”

Thao also opposes the appointment of Pham Thi Diep Giang as a deputy director of public relations.

Thao is the co-founder of the Trung Nguyen Group and sits on its board and claims to "jointly own 93% of  the firm's tangible and intangible assets" with Vu.

The appointments were supposed to have been finalized at a meeting on August 8, but she was not invited to it, she said. 

The position of deputy directors is an important one and vital to the group’s operations, and it is the board that should be responsible for such appointments, she said.

“The appointments not only affect the group’s operations, but also harm my reputation and legal rights,” Thao said in her statement.

The failure to inform her about the meeting was part of Vu’s move to undermine and obstruct her management of the company, she charged.

It is not known when or even whether the meeting to appoint Lu Ngoc Cu and Pham Thi Diep Giang took place. VnExpress’ query to Trung Nguyen has not elicited a reply.

In 2015 Thao and Vu were involved in an acrimonious divorce that garnered headlines in the media. 

They also took each other to court for obstructing the company’s operations and have been embroiled in a lengthy and costly legal battle for years over ownership of the company, which has a charter capital of VND1.5 trillion (US$65.8 million).

The court has yet to grant a divorce.

Domestic pork prices still higher than imported pork

The average price of imported pork, mostly from Poland has plunged to more than VND26,000 per kilo, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

In the first half of the year, Vietnam imported more than 19,500 tons of pork at a cost of over US$22.2 million. Poland was the biggest exporter with more than 7,000 tons valued at US$8 million, averaging at VND26,200 per kilo.

The country also imported 4,600 tons of pork from Spain worth over US$4.8 million at an average price of more than VND23,600 per kilo. Pork imports from other markets hit nearly 8,000 tons worth more than US$9.4 million at VND26,000 per kilo on average.

Imported frozen pork is primarily sold at supermarkets, supplied to fast food restaurants and food processing enterprises at fairly cheap prices.

Meanwhile, domestic pork prices hit a record high of between VND47,000 and VND55,000 per kilo. 

Government encourages investment in innovative startups

Participants heard details about the new government regulations and policies on investment encouragement for the promotion of innovative startup activities, during a workshop held in Hanoi on August 14.

The panels mentioned a project run by the Ministry of Science and Technology which looks to support the national innovation system to 2025 and regulations on investment for small-scale businesses and start-ups according to the Government’s Decree No.38/2018/ND-CP.

Phan Hoang Lan, a representative from the Department of Market Development and Science-Technology under the Ministry of Science and Technology, said policies relating to startups are still new in Vietnam and need time for reflection and review.

It takes about three years for the country to build a legal framework and supportive policies, she added.

Trinh Thi Huong, a representative from the Agency for Enterprise Development under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said the decree encourages the establishment of innovative startup firms.

The Ministry of Science and Technology said it will propose a mechanism to attract investment in innovative startups from businesses at home and abroad, especially from overseas Vietnamese intellectuals. 

Tra Vinh takes measures to protect shrimps from disease

The People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has approved a plan to invest 2.3 billion VND (over 100,000 USD) to protect intensive and semi-intensive shrimp farms from disease.

The province will take samples of shrimp, water and mud before and during the shrimp season, and then take measures to reduce disease to meet requirements of importing countries.

The plan will contribute to the development of the province’s shrimp farms and expand the shrimp export market.

By 2020, the province expects to have 26,170 hectare of shrimp farming area and shrimp output of 70,600 tonne per year.

This season, the province has 20,000ha of tiger prawns and 5,000 ha of white-legged shrimps.

The output of the province has reached 15,600 tonnes of tiger prawns and 24,000 tonnes of white-legged shrimps.

In addition, farmers in the province have expanded super-intensive farming using advanced techniques. The province now has 350ha of white-legged shrimp farming under the model, up 2.5 times compared to last year.

Farmer can harvest 40 tonnes per hectare per crop, seven to eight times higher than in the traditional model.

Tra Vinh takes measures to protect shrimps from disease

The People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has approved a plan to invest 2.3 billion VND (over 100,000 USD) to protect intensive and semi-intensive shrimp farms from disease.

The province will take samples of shrimp, water and mud before and during the shrimp season, and then take measures to reduce disease to meet requirements of importing countries.

The plan will contribute to the development of the province’s shrimp farms and expand the shrimp export market.

By 2020, the province expects to have 26,170 hectare of shrimp farming area and shrimp output of 70,600 tonne per year.

This season, the province has 20,000ha of tiger prawns and 5,000 ha of white-legged shrimps.

The output of the province has reached 15,600 tonnes of tiger prawns and 24,000 tonnes of white-legged shrimps.

In addition, farmers in the province have expanded super-intensive farming using advanced techniques. The province now has 350ha of white-legged shrimp farming under the model, up 2.5 times compared to last year.

Farmer can harvest 40 tonnes per hectare per crop, seven to eight times higher than in the traditional model.

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