FastGo to launch in Indonesia and Myanmar     

'Invisible tariff' in Vietnam reaches 164%: expert, Tien Giang works towards 2.65 billion USD in export this year, Vietnam sends 86,000 workers abroad in eight months, Growth rate of retail sales and services up 11.3%

Vietnamese ride-hailing service, FastGo has announced it will launch its service in Indonesia and Myanmar – its two first international markets – by the end of this year.

FastGo CEO Nguyen Huu Tuat told Viet Nam News that it expected to occupy a 30 per cent market share in Indonesia and take second place after Grab in Myanmar, despite the fierce competition in these markets.

Tuat said FastGo is seeking to raise US$50 million in its Series B round of funding. The fundraising is expected to finish in the first quarter of 2019 and aims to accelerate regional expansion.

“We chose Myanmar and Indonesia as we have relevant strategies for them in place. We already have strategic partners in these two markets to launch our services,” he added.

In August, FastGo secured an undisclosed amount of funding from VinaCapital Ventures, the $100-million tech-focused venture arm of local fund manager VinaCapital.

FastGo quickly expanded its operations in Da Nang last month after receiving the funding. According to FastGo, more than 30,000 drivers have registered on its system and completed 100,000 successful car calls. Nearly 150,000 users use the FastGo app and 40,000 customers have had at least one ride with FastGo.

FastGo Viet Nam Company Limited under the NextTech Group expected to have one million users in Viet Nam by the end of this year.

It plans to expand to the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand after these two markets.

FastGo said its rivals Grab and Go-jek present both challenges and opportunities. Its advantages are strong partners in regional markets.

The company told Viet Nam News that they prepared the product three years ago.

“It is time for FastGo to penetrate foreign markets to create a balance in the regional ride-hailing service market. The launch in Indonesia and Myanmar will not affect our expansion and development in Viet Nam”.

FastGo joined the market in August this year. FastGo has an operation mechanism similar to Grab. This is the first ride-hailing app to offer insurance to customers for all trips, not charge drivers for discounted rates and provide driver partners with many benefits. 

Ha Long property market sees rising demand for mid-end apartments     

The property market in Ha Long City is seeing a rising demand for mid-end apartments, driven by a shift in home choice as well as demand for investment.

Mid-end apartments in the bustling tourism city have in recent years attracted significant attention of home seekers and investors from Ha Noi and neighbouring provinces.

Nguyen Thanh Trung, an employee of Minh Khang Import-Export Joint Stock Company, has just got married and is looking for an apartment for his family. Trung decided to buy an apartment in Green Bay Garden.

This is a new trend in home choice in Ha Long, especially among young families.

Young families now tended to choose apartments over houses because of reasonable prices, good living environment, modern facilities, security and standard planning.

A property investor from Ha Noi said that Ha Long’s apartment market was attractive because the supply was still limited while demand was high. It was not only easy to lease apartments here but the return from leasing was also quite good and stable, he said.

According to a representative from a real estate trading floor in Ha Long, his company saw a dramatic increase in the demand for mid-end apartments in the city.

He said besides the rising demand from local residents, the demand came from investors from Hà N?i who sought apartments here due to the prospects of high added value and good profits from leasing.

For Green Bay Garden alone, ten apartments were sold within a week.

He said that the improved infrastructure, especially the opening of the Ha Long – Hai Phong expressway early this month, significantly pushed up prices of property in the tourism city.

According to the Viet Nam Real Estate Association, the mid-end apartment segment of Ha Long would soon catch up with the development in Ha Noi with the momentum gained from the rapid socio-economic development of this coastal city.

While the supply of mid-end apartments in Ha Long remained limited, Green Bay Garden arose as a good choice. Green Bay Garden is developed with the understanding of customers’ minds. Home was now not simply a place to shelter from rain, it must be a place where families live a good life, according to the developer BIM Group.

Located in BIM Group’s 248-hectare Halong Marina Urban Area, Green Bay Garden lies in the heart of Ha Long with good transport connectivity.

The apartment project also benefits from the developed infrastructure of the urban area with a number of component projects finished and put into operation such as Halong Marine Plaza, Green Bay Towers, Green Bay Premium, Sunrise apartments, Coral townhouses and Little Vietnam shophouses.

From Green Bay Garden, it is easy to travel to tourist attractions, recreation spots, parks, schools, markets and hospitals within just three to five minutes drive.

It also has different apartment designs to meet the diversified demand of home buyers and investors, including studio apartments, one-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom apartments and apartments with gardens.

Prices range from just VND600 million (US$26,000) each.

The project is expected to be handed over to buyers in the second quarter of 2019.

VIB pioneers advanced security solution in online payment     

Vietnam International Bank (VIB) has launched a new security solution named MyVIB Smart OTP for online payments, including Internet Banking and Mobile Banking.

VIB is the first bank in Viet Nam to apply the technology solution that does not require mobile phone service, enabling customers who travel or work abroad to make quick banking transactions without using roaming plans.

With VIB’s Smart OTP application, customers do not need to open the app to get OTP, they just need to enter the PIN of the MyVIB Smart OTP app directly. The OTP will then be automatically filled in. Therefore, customers do not have to move between applications while making transactions as well as remember the OTP, helping them save time.

In addition, MyVIB Smart OTP can identify high value transactions and provide appropriate advanced OTP. Hence, the protection ability for transactions is improved.

Under the State Bank of Viet Nam’s Decision No 630, which will take effect in 2019, with high value transactions, banks must provide One-Time Password (OTP) authentication based on advanced security solutions, such as soft OTP, Token, advanced Token and biometric verification.

The regulation aims to improve security of online banking services and minimise risks of online payment.

VIB’s newly-launched solution is not only aimed at supporting the Vietnamese Government’s cash restriction policy and comply with Decision 630, but also bring about advanced, secure and convenient technology experience to customers using online transactions, a representative from VIB said.

Customers can register for MyVIB Smart OTP service directly on the MyVIB application with two simple steps without going to a branches and use it for free.

Besides MyVIB Smart OTP solution for individual customers, VIB also offers advanced Token OTP (OTP Display Card) with the same functions for corporate customers.

With many achievements in digital banking, VIB has been consecutively awarded by international organiations such as Global Banking & Review Finance, The Asset and IDG. These recognitions honoured the bank’s great efforts in implementing advanced technologies to bring the best experiences to customers.

Lending expands 9.52% in 9 months     

Credit growth by September 20 reached 9.52 per cent against the end of last year while capital mobilisation rose by 9.15 per cent, the General Statistics Office reported.

The rise of both indexes was slower than the 10.08 per cent and 11.02 per cent expansion in the same period last year.

With the credit growth rate, lending will be allowed to rise by an additional 7.5 per cent in the final quarter to meet the central bank’s 17 per cent credit growth target set for 2018.

Despite the credit slowdown, experts said that the growth rate was reasonable, helping the country stabilise the macroeconomy and control inflation while allowing banks to pay more attention to credit quality and credit risk management.

GSO also reported that interest rates of credit institutions in the first nine months of the year were generally stable, adding though some banks inched up the deposits rates recently, it didn’t show the rising trend of the market.

Currently, the interest rate for Vietnamese dong deposits is averaged at 4.3-5.5 per cent per year for one-to-six-month term, 5.3-6.5 per cent for six-to 12-month terms and 6.5-7.3 per cent for above 12-month terms.

The lending rate stands at some 6-9 per cent per year for short-term loans, and 9-11 per cent for medium- and long-term loans.

For loans in priority sectors, including agriculture businesses, firms producing goods for export, small- and medium-sized enterprises, enterprises operating in auxiliary industries and hi-tech enterprises including startups, the lending interest rate is 6.5 per cent per year.

GSO also reported that by September 20, the total money supply increased 8.74 per cent against the end of last year, slower than a 9.59 per cent expansion in the same period of 2017. 

VietBank to raise charter capital before listing on UPCoM     

Viet Nam Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VietBank) targets to list its shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) within a year of increasing charter capital to more than VND4.25 trillion (US$181 million) in 2018.

According to a resolution released recently, VietBank will issue shares for its existing shareholders and employees to raise its capital by more than VND1 trillion.

Nearly 91 million shares for existing shareholders and more than 9.7 million ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) shares will be offered at the price of VND10,000 a piece, based on the bank’s book value of VND10,247 per share by December 31, 2017. Existing shareholders and the bank’s employees will be allowed to buy the shares at the ratio of 100:28.

Existing shareholders can transfer the right to purchase the shares, which will not be subject to restrictions on the time of transfer. The ESOP shares will not be permitted to be transferred within three years of the offering.

According to VietBank, all proceeds from the offering will be used for asset investment to expand its operation network.

Under the resolution, VietBank’s board of directors also announced the bank’s shares have been registered for securities depository at Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD) with share code VBB.

In addition, the bank has submitted an application for the Ha Noi Stock Exchange to trade on UPCoM and is completing procedures to put VBB shares into trading within a year after the completion of the offering.

In 2018, VietBank plans to achieve pre-tax profit of VND300 billion after gaining VND263 billion last year. The bank is also set to increase its total assets by 30 per cent in 2018. 

P2P lending company raises $3 million in funding     

Viet Nam’s financial marketplace and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Tima has raised US$3 million in Series B funding from Belt Road Capital Management (BRCM), a Greater Mekong-focused private equity fund, Tima announced on Monday.

The latest investment valued the leading Vietnamese consumer finance marketplace and P2P lending platform at nearly $20 million. The company, which was set up in 2015, raised a Series A round in 2016 from Dunearn Singapore Fund and G Capital.

According to Tima, the new funding would be used for its expansion and growth in Viet Nam’s 63 cities and provinces, besides investing more in technologies and human resources to quickly and conveniently connect borrowers and lenders with financial technologies.

Tima’s general director Tran The Vinh said the company had received a lot of interest from foreign investment funds and companies during this investment round.

The company is also considering Series C funding proposals from several big funds and investors who can add value to the company for its ambitious growth and expansion plans.

Tima also officially announced a strategic partnership with the VietinBank Insurance Corporation, the insurance arm of Vietinbank.

It will use VietinBank Insurance to ensure borrowers’ money is safe. When borrowers are unfortunately exposed to unexpected risks, VietinBank Insurance will help them pay off loans. Solutions from VietinBank Insurance will contribute to added value to Tima and help participants feel assured when using its P2P lending platform.

Tima, which was named one of the top 10 software and IT service companies in Viet Nam by the Vietnam Software Association (Vinasa) in April, has 23,775 lenders and 2,133,405 borrowers on its platforms.

Though enjoying exponential growth over the last few years, Viet Nam’s consumer finance market still has room for development. According to the Banking Strategy Institute under the State Bank of Viet Nam and financial and business information corporation StoxPlus, Viet Nam’s outstanding consumer loans stood at US$47.84 billion at the end of 2017. 

Cement stocks rise with exports     

'Invisible tariff' in Vietnam reaches 164%: expert, Tien Giang works towards 2.65 billion USD in export this year, Vietnam sends 86,000 workers abroad in eight months, Growth rate of retail sales and services up 11.3%

Cement stocks are trading furiously on the market as sharp increases in the export and consumption of cement are brightening the outlook for this sector.

Shares of Ha Tien 1 Cement Joint Stock Company (HT1) are attracting the attention of many investors. In the last three trading sessions, HT1’s price increased by 10.4 per cent from VND13,650 per share to VND15,200 per share. From early July, HT1’s price has advanced 43.4 per cent.

Bim Son Cement Joint Stock Company (BCC) experienced the same situation with prices hitting the ceiling in the past two trading sessions on September 27 and 28. Since early July, BCC’s price has shot up 32 per cent and was trading at VND7,800 per share on September 28.

Similarly, in the past three trading sessions, price of shares of Vicem But Son Cement JSC (BTS), has grown from VND4,600 per share to VND5,500 per share, up 19 per cent.

The recent business performances of listed companies in the cement industry have also gradually improved.

In the second quarter of this year alone, HT1 earned VND242 billion (US$10.35 million) in after-tax profit, up 108 per cent year-on-year, bringing the total profit in H1 to VND324 billion, up 44 per cent from the first half of 2017 and equivalent to 56 per cent of this year’s profit plan.

In the first six months of this year, BCC’s after-tax profit touched VND15.43 billion, strong growth compared to the loss of VND24.95 billion in the first half of last year, although still far behind this year’s profit target of VND94 billion.

The upswing of cement stocks in recent time is attributed to the growth in both cement export and cement consumption.

According to updated data from the Construction Materials Department under the Ministry of Construction, cement products consumption in both domestic and export markets was estimated at 7.88 million tonnes in September, up 14 per cent over the same month in 2017.

Exports of cement products in September were estimated at 2.20 million tonnes, up 43 per cent.

Some 72.82 million tonnes of cement products were consumed in the first nine months of this year, up 38 per cent year-on-year and reaching 85 per cent of the annual plan. Of the estimate, the consumption of cement for domestic use reached 49.54 million tonnes and that for exports reached 23.28 million tonnes.

Compared with the initial plan, the export volume of cement exceeded by four million tonnes compared with the annual plan of 19 million tonnes.

According to some analysts, Viet Nam’s cement market could benefit from lower production in China.

According to SSI Research, China is currently the world’s largest cement producer, with annual capacity of about 2.5 billion tonnes, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of the world’s capacity and roughly 25 times higher the capacity of Viet Nam.

By the end of 2017, China had shifted from being a global exporter of clinker—a semi-product used in the production of cement—to an importer of cement.

China closed a series of cement plants from November 2017 to March 2018 because of environment pollution and a shortage of electricity during the winter.

Pollution is very serious in the area reserved for developing cement plants, near Beijing. In winter, Beijing saw massive amounts of cement dust rise from these plants due to strong winds.

In addition, China faces a shortage of electricity during the winter when the nation needs more electricity for heating. Meanwhile, cement production is one of the industries consuming a large volume of energy.

Demand for cement imports in China thus has increased significantly, leading to an increase in Viet Nam’s cement exports. 

VN PMI drops to 51.5 in Sept, but business confidence rebounds     

'Invisible tariff' in Vietnam reaches 164%: expert, Tien Giang works towards 2.65 billion USD in export this year, Vietnam sends 86,000 workers abroad in eight months, Growth rate of retail sales and services up 11.3%

Viet Nam’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped to 51.5 in September from 53.7 in August, but business confidence rebounded from August’s low, according to a Nikkei report released on Monday.

The slower expansion in its goods-producing sector caused Viet Nam to lose its top position in the ASEAN manufacturing PMI rankings to the Philippines in September. Viet Nam, which was the best performer in August, slipped to joint-second place alongside Malaysia in September.

According to the report, the rate of improvement in the health of the sector has eased in three successive months, with the latest strengthening of business conditions the weakest since last November. That said, operating conditions have now improved in each of the past 34 months.

“As was the case throughout the third quarter of the year, growth in the Vietnamese manufacturing sector moderated during September. While remaining positive overall, demand conditions are clearly less buoyant than they were during Q2,” Andrew Harker, Associate Director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said.

Central to the drop in Viet Nam’s PMI figure during September were slower rises in both output and new orders. Manufacturing production rose at the weakest pace since March, with growth easing for the third month running. This was also the case with regard to new business, which nonetheless continued to rise solidly due to improving customer demand. Meanwhile, new export orders rose modestly, and to the slowest extent in 16 months.

Slower new order growth meant that firms were able to work through backlogs of work again in September. Outstanding business decreased for the fourth month running.

Manufacturing employment increased in September, as has been the case throughout the past two-and-a-half years. That said, the rate of job creation was slight, having eased to the weakest level since August 2017.

However, the report said on a more positive note, business confidence rebounded from the record low seen in August. Company plans and expected growth of new orders supported optimism that output will increase over the coming year.

Although input prices continued to rise at the end of the third quarter, the rate of inflation slowed and was weaker than the series average. Weaker cost inflation enabled firms to reduce their output prices, ending a one-year period of increases. According to respondents, efforts to secure sales amid competitive market conditions were behind the fall in charges.

“The rate of input cost inflation also continued to moderate, providing some room for firms to reduce selling prices in order to help secure new business. In fact, charges were lowered for the first time in over a year during September,” Andrew said.

Manufacturers continued to raise purchasing activity in line with higher new orders, but the rate of expansion softened to a six-month low. The rate of accumulation in stocks of purchases also slowed, and was only fractional. Meanwhile, stocks of finished goods decreased for the first time in three months.

Finally, suppliers’ delivery times were unchanged in September, following a slight lengthening in the previous month. Some panellists saw lead times improve due to requests to suppliers for faster deliveries. Conversely, other firms indicated that raw material shortages led to delivery delays, according to the report. 

Safe farm produce brand Ruong Nha Minh makes debut     

Safe farm produce brand Ruong Nha Minh or Our Farm debuted on Monday in Ha Noi together with the launch of its online distribution platform

Ruong Nha Minh is a brand for farming products and specialties with quality ensured by tight control throughout the value chain.

The brand was developed through the co-operation of six entities, including the World Bank’s Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Project, Trade Promotion Centre for Agriculture, Institute for Market Research and Agriculture Institutions, Nong Nghiep Viet Nam (Viet Nam Agriculture) newspaper and two companies in charge of operating Ruong Nha Minh and developing the distribution network.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh highly appreciated the building of the Ruong Nha Minh brand, which, he said, was an important model to promote the development of the agricultural sector.

Doanh said the ministry would create favourable conditions and provide support for Ruong Nha Minh as well as similar channels to build the agriculture sector’s value chain, connecting farmers, distributors and farmers, ensure quality, consolidate consumers’ trust in Vietnamese farm produce in the domestic market and expand exports.

Ousmane Dione, the World Bank Country Director for Vietnam, said at the launching ceremony that the Ruong Nha Minh model should be expanded in scale and for many other farming products, adding that the World Bank would always support initiatives for sustainable agricultural development in Viet Nam.

Ruong Nha Minh aims to become a recognised brand for agricultural products with ensured quality and competitive prices in both domestic and international markets.

Farmers participating in the Ruong Nha Minh value chain will be provided with support in farming techniques, distribution and trade promotion to increase incomes by 15-20 per cent.

Meanwhile, consumers could buy Ruong Nha Minh products at prices around 15 per cent lower than similar products on shelves.

In 2018-19, Ruong Nha Minh will develop a distribution network of 12 stores in Ha Noi. Its products would be sold at supermarkets, convenience stores and on, starting from October. 

EVN subsidiary launches credit package for low income borrowers     

EVN Finance Joint Stock Company, a subsidiary of the Electricity of Viet Nam Group, on Monday officially launched the consumer finance brand Easy Credit for people on low incomes.

Easy Credit targets customers with a minimum monthly income of VND4.5 million (US$192).

Easy Credit will introduce cash loan packages to customers in five provinces and cities including HCM City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Long An and Vung Tau.

Consumers can borrow a minimum of VND10 million and maximum of VND90 million, with a term of up to 60 months.

Bui Xuan Dung, general director of EVN Finance, said Easy Credit operates in accordance with the model of an integrated financial company, which is based on available technology and utilising technology trends that EVN Finance has been developing on the basis of applying Fintech, AI and Big Data.

With a cash loan product, technology is applied throughout, from the loan application stage through to the loan closing process, Dung added.

Easy Credit’s cash loan package has some competitive advantages such as simple procedures, easy transactions and flexible disbursement.

According to Geert Jan Ten Hoonte, director of Easy Credit, promoting the diversification of sales channels such as online channels and affiliate channels to increase access to customers is an urgent requirement of today’s consumer finance market.

Therefore, with the aim of helping rural clients access loan services, Easy Credit expects to rapidly expand its coverage, as well as reach its plan to be present in 63 provinces, cities and have more than one million customers by 2020, he said. 

Region needs new driving force     

The Southern Key Economic Zone needs more robust policies and mechanisms for attracting resources and foreign direct investment and enhancing linkages between localities to enable the region to develop faster and sustainably, according to experts.

The zone, which consists of HCM City and the seven provinces of Binh Duong, Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Long An, Tien Giang, and Dong Nai, accounts for only 8 per cent of the country’s area but plays a leading role in its economic development, accounting for 60 per cent of the Government’s revenues.

The region also tops in FDI, accounting for 50 per cent of the capital and 60 per cent of projects, Nguyen Thi Minh Chau of the Banking University in HCM City told a workshop held in Binh Duong last week.

But FDI flows to the region lost steam in 2015-17, she said.

For instance, they increased by 11.8 per cent in 2016 and 8.4 per cent last year, she explained.

She blamed it on the lack of linkages between localities in the region.

There is a lack of co-ordination between management agencies as well as between enterprises, she said.

Creating regional connections and supply chains from the input to output stages would help better exploit the competitive advantages of each locality in the region, she said.

Prof Dr Bui Van Trinh of Can Tho University said that to attract more FDI the Government needs to complete zoning plans for the region and, based on that, for each locality in there.

The Government should vest authority in the management of key economic regions in general and the southern key economic zone in particular, he said.

Localities need to closely co-operate to spell out objectives and policies for attracting FDI on the basis of the overall regional benefits, he said.

Dr Pham Phu Quoc, general director of the HCM City Financial Investment Company, said the region needs a total VND4,650 quadrillion for economic development in 2015-20.

This means there is an urgent need to frame policies and create mechanisms to attract sufficient resources to develop the entire region, he said.

He also suggested measures to enhance links and attract capital for developing the region.

They included making zoning plans for the region based on its socio-economic needs and developing value chains for the region’s products.

In addition, the Government should concentrate its own resources and mobilise them from all sectors to invest in local socio-economic development, and at the same time have policies and mechanisms to attract all economic sectors to participate in developing the region’s economy, Quoc said.

The workshop’s recommendations will be forwarded to ministries and localities to develop appropriate mechanisms and policies. 

Growth rate of retail sales and services up 11.3%     

Viet Nam’s total revenue from retail sales and services in the first nine months of this year is estimated at nearly VND3.24 quadrillion (US$138.64 billion), up 11.3 per cent year-on-year, according the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The high growth rate has been maintained from July this year, marking an increase of 12.5 per cent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, according to Vu Manh Ha, an expert from the GSO.

Ha said the increase came from many factors that accelerated consumption such as the new school year with demand for stationery and the mid-Autumn festival raising demand for moon cake and special fruits.

Meanwhile, the market also witnessed petrol prices rising twice during the period and the increase of school and healthcare service fees according to previously-set plans, in addition to price hikes of pork and vegetables due to severe weather conditions.

During the January-September period, retail sales led with earnings of VND2.43 quadrillion, occupying more than three-fourths of total revenue, 12 per cent higher than the same period last year.

Travel revenue reached VND30.3 trillion, accounting for 0.9 per cent of the total and up 16.9 per cent. Meanwhile, the transport sector carried 3.4 billion passengers and 1.21 billion tonnes of goods, up 10.5 per cent and 9.9 per cent, respectively.

Ha said a number of provinces had consumption power of between 11.7 to 13 per cent including HCM City, Ha Noi, the northern provinces of Thai Nguyen, Bac Giang, the central provinces of Binh Dinh, Lam Dong, Thanh Hoa and Quang Binh. 

Vietnam sends 86,000 workers abroad in eight months

Vietnam has sent more than 86,000 workers to work abroad in the first eight months of 2018, accounting for 78 percent of the year’s target, according to the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

In August alone, the number of guest workers amounted to 13,100 people, most of whom went to Japan (6,880 people), Taiwan (5,130 people), and the Republic of Korea (540 people).

The ministry expects to send about 110,000 Vietnamese labourers to work overseas in 2018.

Currently, a total of 340 labour export companies are operating throughout the country, mainly in the capital city of Hanoi and the southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

To ensure the workers’ qualifications and protect their rights, the ministry has got tougher on these enterprises by increasing inspections. It has found violations of guest worker recruitment regulations at nine companies which have been fined a total of nearly 600 million VND (25,750 USD)

Last year, over 134,700 workers went to work abroad, including 53,340 female workers. The figure exceeded the annual plan set for 2017 by 28.3 percent. This is also the fourth consecutive year that the number of workers sent overseas has surpassed the 100,000 benchmark.

Taiwan topped the list of countries and territories in hiring Vietnamese guest workers with 67,000 people in 2017, nearly half of the total number. By the end of 2017, the number of Vietnamese workers working in Taiwan stood at 206,184, with 87 percent employed in industrial manufacturing and 13 percent in social services. 

Japan came second with 54,504 workers from Vietnam in 2017, up 36.47 percent from 2016, bringing the total number of Vietnamese labourers in Japan to over 100,000, the highest among 15 countries sending workers to Japan. 

This year, Japan is the most attractive market as it allows Vietnamese labourers to return to work for a second time in many sectors. Higher wages were also offered while Vietnamese are permitted to extend their working time to five years.

Other labour markets receiving large numbers of Vietnamese workers are the Republic of Korea (over 5,100 workers), Saudi Arabia (3,626), Malaysia (1,551), Algeria (760) and Romania (683).

Tra Vinh rolls out red carpet for investors

The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has taken actions to attract more investors, especially foreign businesses.

In the first nine months of 2018, the province welcomed 60 domestic and foreign investors who came to learn about its investment environment, including seven foreign firms from Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Germany, Belgium, Russia and Thailand.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Dong Van Lam said that the province’s efforts in investment attraction have paid off. In the reviewed period, it attracted 67 projects with a combined registered capital of over 2.16 trillion VND (92 million USD) and 146.5 million USD, up 6 projects compared with the same period last year. Of the total, 19 projects have been put into operation.

To attract investment, Tra Vinh has focused on speeding up administrative procedure reforms, publicizing a list of prioritised projects until 2025, carrying out preferential policies related to ground clearance and compensation, and supporting investors in vocational training for labourers.

At present, the province is calling for investment in 59 projects in the fields of industry and agriculture, notably a seafood processing plant with a capacity of 32,000 tonnes per year in Cau Ke district, a vegetable processing plant with a capacity of 40,000 tonnes a year, a meat processing plant with a capacity of 20,000 tonnes annually in Chau Thanh district and a 270MW wind power plan in Duyen Hai district.

Lam said that the province will continue stepping up investment promotion in economic and industrial zones, maintain dialogues with enterprises and investors to help them quickly solve difficulties.

Tien Giang works towards 2.65 billion USD in export this year

Tien Giang is accelerating efforts to fulfil the year’s target of 2.65 billion USD in export value, after earning 1.99 billion USD in the January-September period, up 8.4 percent year on year and meeting 75.1 percent of the year’s goal. 

Industrial products are the biggest currency earners, led by garment with 380.7 million USD, an increase of 10.4 percent, followed by shoes with 367.7 million USD. 

Among agricultural products, processed aquatic products brought home 70 percent of total export revenues, followed by rice and processed fruits and vegetable.  

American countries continued to be the largest market for Tien Giang’s products, accounting for 41.4 percent of the province’s total export revenues, followed by the Asian market with 37.3 percent, and Europe with 19.2 percent. 

Exports to the Asian market saw the highest annual growth in the period with 9.9 percent, while earnings from American market increased by 6.7 percent and that from Europe, 6.2 percent. 

According to Doan Van Phuong, Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, local exports managed to keep a stable growth thanks to authorities’ measures to remove difficulties for production and business, and diversify export markets. 

The province will apply incentives to encourage local enterprises to modernize their production technology and machine, thus enhancing their productivity and product quality and competitiveness.

Dak Lak’s wind power potential attracts investors

Tens of Vietnamese and foreign investors are asking for permission to survey the wind power potential in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak to build wind power plants here, according to a local official. 

Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Pham Thai said since the beginning of 2018, 11 investors have asked for permission to make surveys for 25 projects. They have examined possible locations for wind turbines of five of those projects.

Some other projects have also been suggested, he noted.

Thai said Dak Lak currently houses one wind power project which is under construction and expected to complete the first phase in the fourth quarter of this year.

The plant in the rural commune of Dlie Yang, Ea H’leo district, is being built with an investment of over 13 trillion VND (558.9 million USD) by the HBRE Wind Power Solution company. Once fully operational, it will have a total capacity of 210 MW and supply 2 billion kWh of electricity each year, becoming the wind power plant with the biggest capacity in Vietnam.

According to a consulting firm of Dak Lak, local wind power potential is huge as the province has an average wind speed of 6 metres per second, giving it total possible capacity of 1,400 MW.

Potential areas for wind energy development are in Ea H’leo, Krong Buk and Krong Nang districts and Buon Ho town.

Ho Chi Minh City: nine-month budget collection up 9.88 pct

Ho Chi Minh City collected over 269.1 trillion VND (nearly 11.6 billion USD) for the State budget in the January-September period, up 9.88 percent year on year.

The figure represented 71.44 percent of the yearly estimates, according to the municipal People’s Committee.

Domestic revenues came to 174.43 trillion VND, up 12.97 percent on a yearly basis, while contribution from crude oil surpassed 17.84 trillion VND, up 46.53 percent. Meanwhile, contributions from import-export activities totalled 76.8 trillion VND, down 2.03 percent.

At the same time, the city’s budget expenditure in the period was estimated at almost 39.7 trillion VND, up 8.53 percent from the same period last year and accounting for 45.7 percent of estimates. Of the figure, 15 trillion VND was spent on development investment and 22.26 trillion VND was regular expenditure.

To meet the goal of State budget collection, HCM City has adopted policies to facilitate production and business activities while fighting tax frauds.

The city’s tax department aims to reduce total outstanding tax debt to under 4 percent of State budget collection as of December 31 this year.

In order to tighten control of public expenditure and enhance the efficiency of budget spending, the municipal People’s Committee has required relevant agencies to classify investment projects and define specific priorities for investment.

This year, the central government assigned HCM City to collect 376.78 trillion VND (more than 16.2 billion USD) for the State budget, or over 1.2 trillion VND a day.

"Invisible tariff" in Vietnam reaches 164%: expert

'Invisible tariff' in Vietnam reaches 164%: expert, Tien Giang works towards 2.65 billion USD in export this year, Vietnam sends 86,000 workers abroad in eight months, Growth rate of retail sales and services up 11.3%

Trade costs in developing countries remain high, mainly due to administrative procedures, according to expert of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) in Vietnam cited by the government portal.

Obsolete trade regulations in associated with non-transparent and inefficient administrative procedures placed a burden on economic growth similar to an "invisible tariff" of 164.25%, stated Nestor Scherbey, senior advisor of the GATF in Vietnam.  

Technical barrier to trade currently is the heaviest burden for imported goods to Vietnam, which is also the most challenging issue for Vietnam's small and medium enterprises (SMEs) taking part in the global value chain, stated Scherbey in a recent conference.

According to statistics, SMEs accounted for 97% of the total number of enterprises in Vietnam.

GATF, led by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and other international organizations, chose Vietnam as the first developing country in Asia to support the implementation of the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) through custom bond system, informed Scherbey. 

According to a 2015 study by WTO economist, trade costs can be equivalent to a 134% ad valorem tariff on a product in high-income countries and a 219% tariff equivalent in developing countries. 

Meanwhile, trade costs in developing countries remain high, mainly due to administrative procedures, added Scherbey. 

A survey conducted by the World Bank in 126 countries showed that much of time delay in exporting (about 75% on average) is due to administrative costs, while research by the WEF suggested TFA implementation could trigger a 60% to 80% increase in cross-border SME sales in some countries. 

In case of Vietnam, reducing export clearance time by a day can increase annual exports by around 1%, which is around US$2.13 billion, Scherbey said.

In particular, a day's delay reduces a country's relative exports of time-sensitive to time-insensitive agricultural goods by 6%, and a reduction of five days' delay would translate into export turnover of US$10.65 billion, he continued. 

Another research showed that an increase of 10% in transparency under the TFA would help Vietnam increase annual import turnover of US$8.7 billion, according to Scherbey. 

Under this circumstance, the application of a modern custom bond system would solve the above issues and ensure steady source of income for state budget, he concluded.

"Invisible tariff" in Vietnam reaches 164%: expert, Tien Giang works towards 2.65 billion USD in export this year, Vietnam sends 86,000 workers abroad in eight months, Growth rate of retail sales and services up 11.3%