BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 13/10

Helicopter Corporation to sell 20.3 million shares of MBLand Holdings     

The Vietnam Helicopter Corporation (VNH) will auction 20.3 million of its shares in property developer MBLand Holdings with the beginning price of 12,366 each on October 26.

According to the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, VNH holds a 31 per cent stake in MBLand Holdings. VNH is expected to collect a minimum VND251 billion from the sale.

MBLand, formerly known as MB Real Estate JSC, was established on January 25, 2008 by two major shareholders, Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (code: MBB) and VNH.

After nine years of establishment and development, MBLand Holdings now has an ownership capital of VND800 billion, total assets worth VND2 trillion and charter capital of VND653.7 billion.

MBLand Holdings has 18 shareholders, including 12 organisations and six individuals. The main shareholder of MBLand Holdings is MB Bank with the ownership ratio of over 65 per cent, or nearly 42.7 million shares.

In early 2017, it was said that the MB Bank had planned to divest from MBLand Holdings in order to satisfy the Government’s regulation that "banks are not allowed to trade real estate and establish subsidiaries operating in this field”, under the Law on Credit Institutions 2010.

However, MB Bank’s divestment plan has not yet been disclosed. In fact, MBLand’s financial resources for many years have been quite good thanks to the credit support from MB Bank.

MBLand operates mainly in the real estate sector. Some of the company’s projects are MB Grand Tower project and Golden Field project in Ha Noi, Resilient Field project in Cam Ranh and Grand Field project in Long Thanh District, Dong Nai Province.

As of June 30 this year, MBLand has total assets of over VND2.3 trillion. The ownership of foreign investors at MBLand Holdings is zero per cent as of September 19 (while the ownership limit is 49 per cent). 



Customs agency reports more auto imports

Vietnam exports projected to grow 12% this year, Nearly 70% Vietnam's SMEs see revenue improvements in 2018, HCM City’s ornamental fish exports to hit US$23 million this year, Customs agency reports more auto imports

Việt Nam imported 11,172 cars between January and September, up 5,142 units from the same period last year.

According to General Department of Việt Nam Customs statistics, more than 10,800 – 92 per cent – were imported from Thailand and Indonesia. The remainder came from Japan, the US and Germany.

Cars with nine or fewer seats shipped to ports in HCM City accounted for more than 51 per cent of total car imports to Việt Nam. Of these smaller vehicles, 93.5 per cent came from Southeast Asian countries and benefited from the regional import duty exemption, in line with the ASEAN countries’ commitments to lower tariffs from 2018.

It’s predicted that tens of imported auto models will enter the Vietnamese market in the last months of the year, including Mitsubishi Xpander, Mazda BT 50, Ford Everest, Toyota Wigo, and Honda HR-V.

Vietnamese businesses spent US$2.5 billion importing auto parts in the period.

Japan was the largest source of imported car components, with Japanese imports valuing at $591 million for the first nine months of the year. Japan was followed by South Korea at $560 million and China at $465 million.

Việt Nam Customs said that most of these parts were engines, chassis and specialised technology that cannot be made in Việt Nam unless manufacturers invest in transferring manufacturing technology to the country.

The parts from Thailand, India and Indonesia were mostly electric cables and steel imported by Toyota, Ford and Nissan for use by domestic car makers.

Vietnamese businesses also imported tires, rubber and leather for use in trucks and passenger cars. Electrical equipment was imported from China. 

Vietnam should boost domestic consumption of aquatic products: Official

Businesses should pay more attention to bolster consumption of aquatic products in the domestic market as it holds great potential, said Nguyen Quoc Toan, acting head of the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority, on October 8.

The official made the statement during a seminar on the development of domestic market for aquatic products held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, held in Hanoi.

Through the event, experts are encouraged to put forward solutions to bolster domestic aquatic product processing and consumption in the coming time.

It also offers chances for businesses to adjust production methods to serve the domestic market comprising of 97 million people, the official noted. 

Aquatic product consumption by Vietnamese people sees an increase each year, standing at 31kg per person in 2017, Toan said, adding that the figure could rise to 35kg in 2020. The country also welcomes more than 13 million foreign tourists annually, who also have a special taste for the products.

Vietnam is home to various aquatic product processing firms and facilities. In addition to the 600 facilities processing the products for export, there are 4,000 small- and medium-sized ones and processing villages which turn out over 540,000 tonnes of products worth more than 20 trillion VND (856.55 million USD) each year and provide jobs for about 40,000 labourers.

Domestic consumption has helped stabilise production when exports face difficulties in global market, he added.

Toan also underlined the significance of origin-tracing stamps, saying that products with such stamps record huge consumption.

To boost domestic consumption, it is necessary to revise, supplement and replace inappropriate policies, as well as to add new policies to attract more investors and link production and consumption chains.

The Agro Processing and Market Development Authority stressed the need to increase checks on food hygiene and standards, as well as applying quality management system for operation of processing facilities.

Furthermore, localities should bolster trade promotion activities so that products of traditional villages could reach major markets. They are also advised to effectively monitor product quality and invest in new technologies and equipment.-VNA


Vietnam pockets $2.5 billion from rice exports in nine months

Vietnam exports projected to grow 12% this year, Nearly 70% Vietnam's SMEs see revenue improvements in 2018, HCM City’s ornamental fish exports to hit US$23 million this year, Customs agency reports more auto imports

Vietnam shipped nearly 5 million tonnes of rice abroad in the first nine months of this year, earning 2.5 billion USD, up 8.5 percent in volume and 23.2 percent in value year-on-year, statistics show.

China remained the largest importer of Vietnamese rice, accounting for 23.2 percent of the total, according to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The price of the grain during January-August was averaged at 504 USD per tonne, a year-on-year rise of 14.6 percent. Markets posting surges in the price included Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Analysts predicted that the domestic rice market would thrive in the fourth quarter of this year thanks to increasing demand from such importers as the Philippines, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Nigeria and Egypt.

Egypt has recently agreed to import 1 million tonnes of white rice from Vietnam in the next three to four months after it reduced some the area for the cultivation of the grain due to a lack of water.

Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit the Philippines in mid-September, caused a loss of around 250,000 tonnes of rice in the country, thus leading to a year-on-year increase of 15-20 percent in its rice price. Therefore, the Philippine Government is expected to soon buy in via both G2G and B2B contracts to supplement for the national stockpile and stabilise domestic rice price.

The RoK has also declared to import additional 350,000 tonnes of rice for domestic reserves and international assistance.

In Nigeria, floods damaged 21,000 hectares of rice, which can produce 168,000 tonnes of rice, also resulting in a spike in domestic rice price. Although its government has banned rice imports since the beginning of this year, it may soon buy in due to limited domestic supply.

According to Nguyen Quoc Toan, acting Director of the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority, there is a competition in price with Thailand and India, as their domestic currencies’ weakening against the US dollar has caused a fall in local rice prices.

In addition, China’s permission of 19 Indian companies’ exports and its signing of a contract on the purchase of 10,000 tonnes of rice with Thailand also make the export of Vietnamese rice to China tougher, Toan added.

HCM City’s ornamental fish exports to hit US$23 million this year

Ho Chi Minh City is likely to produce 180 million ornamental fish and export in excess of 20 million fish to earn up to US$23 million this year according to its target program on ornamental fish development.

The Fisheries Branch of the Municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that 137 million ornamental fish were produced during the first nine months of the year, a year-on-year rise of 19%. Nearly 15 million fish were shipped abroad via Tan Son Nhat Airport with an export value of nearly US$17 million, up 14% over the same period last year.

At present, 21 separate companies are allowed to export ornamental fish, of which the Sai Gon Ornamental Creatures JSC account for 85% of total exports.

The city’s ornamental fish has been shipped to 43 countries in the world with the European market the biggest and constituting 54% of exports. The remainder comes from the Asian, American and South African markets.

Furthermore, during the final months of 2018, the city aims to produce 40-45 million fish and export a further 4.5-5 million of them with a total export value of US$5-6 million.

VOV

Nearly 70% Vietnam's SMEs see revenue improvements in 2018

Vietnam`s overall prospect for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) appears positive as the government continues to overhaul the business regulatory system.

Vietnam's SMEs have an optimistic business outlook, with over 67% of survey respondents anticipating revenue growth and 34% projecting a double-digit expansion in revenue, according to a report by EY, United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).
 
This positive outlook is due to robust domestic demand and increased trade opportunities from the new bilateral FTA with the European Union. Such developments, alongside Vietnam's labor cost competitiveness and proximity to the Chinese production chains, make it a premier location for SMEs to set up manufacturing hubs, stated the report.

In ASEAN, SMEs are often the largest source of local employment across all economic sectors. In case of Vietnam, SMEs account for nearly 99% of all registered businesses and employ more than 70% of the workforce.

According to the report, SMEs in Vietnam are facing numerous challenges, including shortage of suitable challenges, business funding cost, and manpower cost, among others. 

Talent scarcity is more prevalent in emerging nations where enrolment in tertiary education and vocational training remains relatively lower and employers must groom new hires to counter skills shortages. For instance, SMEs in Vietnam ranked this concern a 4.5 out of 5, much higher than the regional average of 3.5 out of 5. 

In response to these challenges, SMEs are changing to be leaner, more effective organizations, gaining productivity improvements by harnessing digital technology or upskilling their workforce. Given productivity levels at some SMEs can be as low as 20% when compared with large corporations, narrowing this gap is critical to remain competitive. 
 
Given the limited resources that most SMEs have, governments can support their automation efforts by partially subsidizing salaries or providing training to improve their digital readiness and capabilities. 

Specifically, 58.6% of respondents are keen to invest in technologies instead of traditional investment options such as factory, machinery and equipment. Of which, 71.4% would target improvements in software and services, followed by ICT hardware and network with 63.9%. 

Additionally, 86% of respondents consider technologies as key solution to manage cost efficiently, which was higher than to reduce overall cost (81%) or in search of other suppliers (78%).

With a globally competitive manufacturing sector integrated into regional supply chains, Vietnam is expected to be one of the top five emerging logistics markets in the medium term. 

Other than agriculture which is vulnerable to climatic uncertainties, the near-term outlook for all other sectors is positive. Manufacturing production will be boosted by continued opening of new foreign invested factories. Construction will continue to benefit from high FDI disbursements to set up new factories, a strengthening housing sector and continued high transport and energy infrastructure investments.

Growth in services is projected to remain strong with tourist arrivals boosted by the new e-marketing campaign launched by the government, according to the report.


Vietnam exports projected to grow 12% this year

Vietnam exports projected to grow 12% this year, Nearly 70% Vietnam's SMEs see revenue improvements in 2018, HCM City’s ornamental fish exports to hit US$23 million this year, Customs agency reports more auto imports

Strong export growth is expected to lead to a trade surplus of US$2 billion for the entire year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Vietnam's export turnover in 2018 is projected to reach US$237 - 239 billion, up 10 - 12% year-on-year, resulting in a trade surplus of US$2 billion, the Cong Thuong newspaper reported. 

The MoIT attributed the growth of Vietnam's exports in the remaining months of the year to global economic growth. Additionally, import tariffs will gradually be reduced to 0% due to countries' commitments to free trade agreements, in turn making Vietnamese products more competitive. 

According to the MoIT, the government has been stepping up efforts to improve the business environment and enhance the economy's competitiveness, which are considered an important factor for higher exports. 

Nguyen Thi Mai Linh of the MoIT's Import - Export Department said that the US Department of Commerce (DOC) has decided to lower import tariffs against Vietnam's catfish and shrimp. The decision would be vital to facilitate the export of Vietnam's fishery products to the US, especially shrimp and catfish in the 2018 - 2019 period, she added. 

However, Vietnam's exports also face challenges from the growing protectionism and trade barriers. The MoIT will closely monitor the US - China trade friction to minimize its impacts to Vietnam's trade activities, it said. 

Vietnam's exports in the first nine months of 2018 reached US$178.91 billion, up 15.4% year-on-year, of which the domestic sector contributed US$51.08 billion, up 17.5%, and the FDI sector (including crude oil) US$127.84 billion, up 14.6%. 

Meanwhile, Vietnam imported goods worth US$173.52 billion, up 11.8% year-on-year. 

This resulted in a trade surplus of US$5.39 billion in the January - September period, of which the FDI sector witnessed a trade surplus of US$23.65 billion, and domestic enterprises with trade deficit of US$18.26 billion. 

Manufacturing and processing industry continued to be the driving force of Vietnam's exports with smartphones being the largest contributor. 

The country's export turnover reached a record high of over US$21 billion in March (US$21.13 billion) and August (US$23.48 billion), largely thanks to export value of over US$5 billion of smartphones in those two months. 

Moreover, other export products such as textile, footwear, and wood also experienced positive growth.

Agribank posts 37% rise in H1 pre-tax profit

The bank`s bad debt reached VND20.16 trillion (US$863.33 million), accounting for 2.18% of the bank`s total outstanding loans, the CafeF reported.

State-run Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) posted pre-tax profit of VND3.8 trillion (US$162.67 million) in the first six months of 2018, up 37% year-on-year. 

Of the total, irregular income increased by 59% year-on-year to VND2.16 trillion (US$92.49 million), mainly thanks to the handling of debts according to the bank's audited financial statement.

The bank's net income from lending activities increased by 11.9% year-on-year to VND19.13 trillion (US$819.41 million) during the January - June period, the highest among Vietnam's commercial banks, and net income from services of VND1.61 trillion (US$68.96 million), up 27.2%.

Additionally, trading of foreign currencies brought in VND384 billion (US$16.44 million), up 11% year-on-year, and VND2.68 trillion (US$114.77 million) from other activities, up 59%.

Agribank's provision expenses in the first half of 2018 stood at VND10.4 trillion (US$445.41 million), up 20% year-on-year. Meanwhile, operating expenses increased slightly 7% year-on-year to VND9.61 trillion (US$411.57 million).

Agribank currently is the largest bank in Vietnam in terms of total asset value, outstanding loans and deposits. 

As of June 2018, Agribank's total asset value jumped 3.9% compared to the beginning of the year to VND1,197 trillion (US$51.26 billion), while total outstanding loans reached VND925.21 trillion (US$39.62 billion), up 5.6%. 

The lender's mobilized capital climbed 2.5% against the end of 2017 to VND1,053 trillion (US$45.09 billion). 

Notably, the bank's bad debt reached VND20.16 trillion (US$863.33 million), accounting for 2.18% of the bank's total outstanding loans. 

According to the financial statement, the bank held special bonds worth VND25.19 trillion (US$1.07 billion) at end-June, which was issued by Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC), a reduction of VND15.7 trillion (US$672.31 million) compared to the beginning of the year. 

Trinh Ngoc Khanh, Agribank's board chairman, has recently said that the bank is expected to launch its initial public offering (IPO) in 2020 at the earliest, for which the bank would complete the corporate valuation process by the end of 2018. 

Ha Noi to stabilise market for Tet festivals     

The capital city of Ha Noi will ensure supply and demand for essential goods is in place ahead of the New Year of 2019 and Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays.

That was the message from Deputy Director of Ha Noi Department of Industry and Trade Tran Thi Phuong Lan who said to reach those targets, the People’s Committee of Ha Noi has been implementing a programme on stabilising the market for essential commodities.

According to the programme, the authorities have advised businesses in the city to increase inventory by between 10 per cent and 15 per cent per month until the Lunar New Year festival. This plan would be based on population, business situation of each company and development of the market in the first nine months this year, Lan said.

Supply of some essential goods leading up to the holidays is estimated to be around 190,600 tonnes of rice; 44,000 tonnes of pork; 14,600 tonnes of chicken; 12,306 tonnes of beef and 11,200 tonnes of seafood products. They include 12,800 tonnes of processed foods; 254,400 tonnes of vegetables; and 200 million litres of wine, beer and soft drinks as well as garment and electrical goods.

An estimated value of goods for the people in Ha Noi is VND28.5 trillion (US$1.21 billion), up by 10 per cent compared to the stockpiling for the Tet holidays this year.

Selling prices of goods participating in the programme will be consolidated by the Department of Finance and published on its website. In the case of price fluctuation, enterprises should inform and adjust the selling prices under instructions from the department.

The People’s Committee has asked the enterprises to use their own capital and take loans from credit institutions to stockpile under the price stabilisation programme.

There are 18 enterprises registered to take part in the programme to bring goods to 10,428 points of sale. Meanwhile, three credit institutions have registered to give loans to the enterprises of the programme with a total capital of up to VND2.7 trillion.

In addition, Ha Noi has organised a conference on cooperation in consuming food and farming products and solutions on sustainable development of the agriculture in the city.

Businesses will take part in activities to promote consumption of agricultural products in Hung Yen, Hai Duong, Bac Giang, Lao Cai and Lang Son provinces. Therefore, the enterprises in Ha Noi have signed 400 memorandums of understanding on cooperation and promotion in the consumption of products, according to Lan.

Ha Noi’s authorities have encouraged the enterprises to open points of sale in towns, industrial zones and export processing zones to meet the needs of the people and labourers. 

FE Credit raises charter capital to $313m     

The charter capital of consumer finance company FE Credit, which accounts for some 50 per cent of Viet Nam’s consumer finance market share, surged sharply to nearly VND7.33 trillion (US$313 million) from the previous VND4.47 trillion.

It was released recently under a State Bank of Viet Nam decision on revising the charter capital of the consumer finance company in its business certificate.

With the capital hike, FE Credit’s charter capital accounts for up to 35 per cent of total charter capital of all 16 consumer finance companies in the country.

FE Credit’s capital hike came just a short time after its parent company VP Bank completed most of its capital hike approved at the bank’s 2018 annual general meeting of shareholders in April this year. By the end of last month, VP Bank completed the issue of nearly 33.7 million ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) shares, raising its charter capital to nearly VND25.3 trillion, up 61 per cent against the beginning of the year.

FE Credit’s profit rose by 16 per cent to VND1.58 trillion (US$67.23 million) in the first half of this year as the company decided to cut lending growth to focus more on tightening internal governance and selecting solvent customers in order to target safer and healthier development.

With the slowdown, FE Credit’s profit accounted for only 36 per cent of VP Bank’s total profit, down significantly from 50 per cent in the same period of last year.

Nguyen Duc Vinh, VP Bank’s general director, also affirmed that the bank was planning to keep the growth rate low and reduce FE Credit’s contribution to the bank’s consolidated profit. 

FPT and Shinhan Bank co-operate in digital banking     

Shinhan Bank, the largest commercial bank in South Korea, and Vietnamese technology group FPT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on digital banking in Seoul on Thursday, aiming to leverage each other’s assets and capabilities to contribute to digitally transforming the banking and finance industry.

According to the MoU, both sides will join forces to develop and deliver information technology (IT) solutions such as digital banking and fintech.

With proven intensive experience in financial sector, Shinhan Bank will equip FPT with a wide range of in-depth knowledge and data regarding advanced digital banking system and competitive financial services in South Korea.

FPT, as the leading technology corporation with 30 years’ experience, will provide Shinhan Bank with comprehensive digital transformation solutions and a large pool of competent IT experts to improve the banking system and develop the technology foundation for new services.

“FPT has proven their outstanding technology capability and experience through strategic cooperation with both domestic and foreign enterprises in various sectors including e-commerce, banking and finance and digital payment,” said Lee Tae Kyung, Shinhan Bank’s global business development director.

“This agreement is among the most critical steps in the journey of becoming a leading digital transformation corporation in the world. With the experience of providing digital transformation services to world’s top corporations, FPT is more than ready to utilize our technology capability and resources to accompany Shinhan Bank on the journey of becoming a global leading digital bank,” said FPT Chairman Truong Gia Binh.

Joining forces, FPT and Shinhan Bank expect to leverage the banking system in the fourth industrial revolution with digital transformation solutions, thus benefiting not only the two companies, but also their customers worldwide.

FPT established their South Korea office to explore, develop and expand the opportunities to approach large Korean firms in technology strategy sectors in 2016. With the growth rate of 300 per cent per year, South Korea is becoming FPT’s strategic market. 

Triip in strategic tie-up with blockchain solutions provider     

Travel service website Triip has signed up blockchain solutions provider TomoChain to develop its Triip Protocol system.

Triip said through this partnership it would integrate a blockchain that has a functional marketplace and cross functionality to increase its number of users.

The company also said TomoChain would provide scalable and trustworthy blockchain infrastructure at a competitive rate.

Triip is also investing in TomoChain’s infrastructure.

Using blockchain infrastructure, Triip Protocol seeks to disrupt information network through a blockchain-based system.

The new system rewards travellers who share proof-of-travel with access to tailor-made experiences.

The system also offers service providers like restaurants, hotels, tour operators, and hotels access to live information on traveller movements.

The two companies said their strategic alliance provides mutual benefit and would create significant intellectual open source property.

Triip Protocol is pioneered by Triip Pte Ltd which has 100 other travel innovators across the world. The network currently has 100 million users.

Triip is a board member of the Pacific Asia Travel Association and an official member of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics programme run by the United Nations World Travel Organization.

SSI continues leading brokerage market share

The Saigon Securities Incorporation (SSI) remained the largest broker in Vietnam in the third quarter of 2018, announced the HCM City Stock Exchange (HoSE) on October 3.

The SSI was followed by the HCM City Securities (HSC), Viet Capital Securities (VCSC) and VNDirect Securities (VNDS), and MB Securities (MBS). The top five companies together accounted for 49.82% of the brokerage market share on the southern bourse during the period.

The HoSE report showed that the Q3 market recorded positive signs following strong adjustments made in Q2. The benchmark VN Index increased by 56.35 points or 5.87% from Q2.  The capital flow in the market also recovered, with monthly increases recorded.

Trading liquidity in the quarter decreased slightly due to investors’ caution, which was resulted from previous long adjustments and the US-China trade war. Average trading liquidity rose to reach VND5.376 trillion (US$231.16 billion) for all securities products in September compared to August.

Foreign investors’ involvement also dropped, with their part in the total market trading value falling from 21.5% in Q2 to 16.5% in Q3. 

A SSI representative said the company grew well in Q3, with its accumulated number of accounts at the end of the quarter hitting over 149,000, including more than 147,000 individuals and 1,800 organisations.

Foreign arrivals to HCM City pass the 5 million mark over 9-month span

The number of foreign tourists arriving in Ho Chi Minh City during the first nine months of 2019 was estimated at 5.45 million, up 21.25% from the same period the previous year and already reaching 72.6% of this year’s target for foreign tourists.

Total income received from tourism during the first nine months of 2018 reached around VND98,494 billion, a  rise of 18.19% from 2017. Enjoying a growth rate of 9%, the tourism sector only lags marginally behind the trade sector for highest growth this year at 9.1%.
Over the past nine months, the city has organized a range of high quality events specifically aimed at tourists such as an Ao Dai festival, a tourism festival, a ceremony to welcome the first visitor of the year, a southern food festival and a southern fruit festival. With the quality of events increasing and also diversifying, coupled with more efficient promotion to spread the word, festivals and events in HCM City have seen both domestic and foreign visitors flock to them

In addition to these events and festivals, the city has accelerated its promotion of tourist activities such as the waterway tourism programs, agri-eco tourism, a “HCM City – 100 interesting things” program, art performances and a HCM City tourism festival. Furthermore, it has focused on implementing measures to ensure security and safety for visitors and improve the tourism environment so as to build an image of a friendly, attractive and safe city.

Vietnam prioritizes FDI in advanced eco-friendly technologies

Vietnam will give priority to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in hi-tech, environmentally-friendly technologies, and clean and renewable energy, said Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung at a conference reviewing 30 years of FDI attraction in Vietnam, opened in Hanoi on October 4.

vietnam prioritizes fdi in advanced eco-friendly technologies hinh 0 In his speech, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung emphasized that over the past three decades, foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises have become a dynamic development area with significant contributions to stimulating Vietnam’s economic growth.

The FDI sector has been contributing to economic restructuring, higher export turnover, international market expansion, job creation, technology transfer, Vietnam’s deeper integration into international trade and its broader participation in global supply chains, Minister Dung said.

The fourth industrial revolution is exerting a tremendous impact on investment, production, business, technology development, and human resources while posing huge challenges that require Vietnam to keep abreast with other countries by carrying out long-term development strategies, and intensifying proper investment in innovation, science and technology and high-quality human resources development in order to draw more foreign investment inflows into new industries, he said.

Regarding FDI attraction, Dung stated that priorities will also be placed on medical equipment manufacturing, health care services, education and training, high quality tourism, financial services, logistics, hi-tech agricultural development, smart agriculture, modern infrastructure development, 4.0 revolution-based sectors.

In addition, it is essential to ensure the harmony between export growth with investment in the development of value added products and services, and support industries, human resource training and the use of domestic raw materials, the Minister said while underlining the need to promote the connectivity between FDI enterprises, especially transnational groups and domestic enterprises toward developing cross-industry linkages based on each value chain.

Foreign investment attraction will continue to be focused on sectors where Vietnam still has advantages such as textiles and footwear with priority given to high-value-added activities associated with smart and automated production processes. It is essential to revamp mechanisms and policies to create new motivation for FDI attraction and use in industrial parks, export processing zones, economic zones, hi-tech parks, Minster Dung noted.

Concerning the market orientation and partnerships, Minister Dung underscored the necessity of promoting multilateralisation and diversification of FDI attraction from potential markets and partners, making the most of the relationship with strategic partners (comprehensive partners, and comprehensive strategic partners), the world's leading developed countries, transnational corporations holding advanced source technologies along with modern management. He proposed no attracting projects using outdated and eco-unfriendly technologies from some regional nations.

 The Minster also affirmed Vietnam’s desire to welcome foreign investors with good will and responsibility, along with specific and result-oriented commitments and actions to do long-term business based on harmonious interests of investors, the State and the community.

Attendees discussed the process of improving the investment environment in Vietnam, challenges and investment opportunities in international integration process as well as issues related to concentrating  greater investment in growth linkage promotion and regional development, and connectivity between the FDI and domestic  sectors and FDI attraction from opportunities presented by industrial revolution 4.0.

The foreign-invested sector has become an important integral part of Vietnam’s economy. As of August 20, 2018, Vietnam lured 26,500 valid FDI projects with a total registered capital of US$334 billion. Of the figure, roughly US$184 billion has been disbursed.

Foreign markets tighten control on origin traceability

Farm produce traders and retailers in foreign markets tend to impose stringent requirements on origin traceability to fight fraud and bolster goods quality control, which hinders Vietnam’s exports of these products, reported Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper.

The situation, however, has produced both opportunities and challenges for Vietnamese enterprises in building a trademark for local farm produce that is recognized in foreign markets.
Cao Thi Kim Lan, director of Binh Dinh Fishery JSC, said that due to the European Commission’s  yellow card on Vietnam’s seafood exports to the European market, 100% of the firm’s exported seafood products were being detained at destination ports for check.

The firm has faced multiple difficulties in meeting requirements related to the origins of legal fishing products. Of the 10 fishing boats supplying these materials, the company has only made purchases from three or four boats that have succeeded in meeting the requirements, while the remaining boats failed to sell their products as their owners could not present any fishing diaries or identify their fishing locations.

Keeping detailed diaries on fishing practices seems strange to fishermen who are used to traditional fishing methods, Lan added.

Firms have proposed the State support fishermen by installing positioning devices and electronic diaries on their boats to increase transparency in controlling and managing seafood and ensure origin traceability.

Dao Ha Trung, chairman of the HCM City Association of High Technology, said the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, had requested suppliers to apply origin traceability using blockchain technology to ensure food safety.

Accordingly, goods suppliers are required to follow a roadmap issued by Walmart by end-January 2019, while the entire supply chain is expected to apply the roadmap by late September 2019.

Major European and Australian retailers are in the process of applying the blockchain platform to ensure origin traceability.

The establishment of higher standards will help foreign retailers control food more effectively to promptly handle problems without needing to review and inspect all paperwork, as before.

Recently, a pilot program financed by the Australian Embassy in Vietnam was launched, using blockchain technology to trace the origin of dragon fruits exported to the country to help Australian customers conduct origin traceability checks on their smartphones.

Nguyen Thu Hang, a representative from the Asia Foundation, stated that the strict requirements on food safety and traceable products will open the door for Vietnam’s enterprises to establish brands and expand the market if their products meet standards.

Hoang Trung, head of the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said  that origin traceability checks should be conducted based on digitalization and advanced technology in the fourth industrial revolution.

Foreign markets’ requirements on origin traceability are no longer new or strange. Even China has set origin traceability requirements with high standards. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has written to the Chinese government asking for collaboration in tracing the origin of Vietnamese fruits, he said.

Trung said that foreign traders and retailers required exported fruits to be uncontaminated with insect-borne diseases and to meet standards on plant-protection drug levels and origin traceability.

Therefore, Vietnam’s enterprises and producers should focus on improving the quality of products and origin traceability instead of applying advanced technology that might push prices up.

Vo Quan Huy, director of Huy Long An Company, pointed out that the firm had successfully satisfied the selective Japanese market by applying VietGap standards in producing bananas and meeting the distinctive requirements imposed by the market.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T Co., Ltd, Vietnam’s largest fruit exporter to the United States, said the firm has been applying digital technology to meet origin traceability requirements for fruits sold on the local market.

Tung explained that domestic customers have lost confidence in domestic products, so the manufacturer has to prove the quality of its products by boosting transparency to build a brand in the local market.

More than 102,000 Vietnamese work abroad in 9 months

Vietnam has sent more than 102,000 workers, including nearly 37,000 female workers abroad during the first nine months of this year, reaching 92.64% of the target for this year, according to the Overseas Labor Management Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA).

In September alone, a whooping 16,080 labourers, including 5,626 female workers left Vietnam to work abroad.

Traditional markets which employed most Vietnamese workers included Japan, Taiwan (China) and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

The Vietnam Labour Management Board in the RoK reported that by the end of June 2018, Vietnam had 38,331 people working in the country according to the Employment Permit System (EPS) program, 7,067 labourers in near shore fishing and 1,788 qualified workers with the existing work visa (E-7). In this period, nearly 1,500 workers who had been staying illegally in the country voluntarily returned home. The country planned to receive 3,500 Vietnamese workers in the manufacturing sector, excluding agriculture and fisheries, this year.

The MoLISA’s Overseas Worker Centre has announced the recruitment of 500 candidates for the Technical Intern Training Program in Japan (Phase three-2018) in the fields of construction and manufacturing. The exams will be held from late October 2018 to January 2019. Those who pass the exams will have the opportunity to work in Japan for 3 to 5 years and get a generous basic salary of VND25-30 million per month.

This year, the labour sector aims to send 110,000 workers abroad. If the current rate of workers going aboard continues they should have no setbacks in reaching their target.

Perfecting the textile and apparel supply chain


Vietnam exports projected to grow 12% this year, Nearly 70% Vietnam's SMEs see revenue improvements in 2018, HCM City’s ornamental fish exports to hit US$23 million this year, Customs agency reports more auto imports

Two major foreign direct investment projects on accessories production in the textile and apparel industry concurrently coming online late last month have boosted the sector’s production capacity as well as perfected its supply chain.

With a string of accessory production projects coming on stream, the sector’s value chain will be one step closer to perfection

Particularly, global zipper manufacturer Velcro has inaugurated its zipper manufacturing facility in the southern province of Binh Duong, looking to serve the Vietnamese market and boost exports to the markets where Velcro’s major business partners are positioned.

According to a source from Velcro, the Vietnamese textile and apparel industry features enormous export potential which is expected to touch $35 billion this year. Meanwhile, there is still ‘vacant space’ in the supply chain, particularly in accessory production, providing opportunities for global manufacturers like Velcro.

Velcro’s global strategic director Bryan Whitfield revealed that they had an array of choices of where to build the zipper factory, but they ultimately chose Vietnam.

The decision was based on diverse factors, such as Vietnam’s lucrative investment environment, its constantly growing export production sectors, the ability to tap into opportunities from Vietnam’s membership to diverse important free trade agreements (FTAs), such as the EU-Vietnam FTA, the Vietnam-South Korea FTA, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“Compared to other countries, Vietnam is full of potential for brand expansion and product development. Velcro will focus on operations, bringing products closer to local consumers, while simultaneously opening a website for brand promotion.

“With Vietnam’s abundant workforce and dynamic economy, Velcro’s management believes in success in the Vietnamese market,” said Whitfield.

Foreign-invested projects on textile and apparel accessories production has created $1.2 billion export value last year.

Less than one week before Velcro’s factory launch, South Korean group Kolon Industries Inc. inaugurated and put into operation its $220 million polyester tyre cord fabrics plant based in Bau Bang Industrial Park in Binh Duong.

Kolon’s executives said that the Binh Duong factory follows the smart factory model with a first-phase production capacity of 1,400 tonnes of polyester tyre cord fabrics per year.

According to the group, the project’s first phase has an investment value of $220 million, which will increase to $600 million in the second phase slated from 2018 to 2026, and is expected to reach $1 billion in the third phase.

As planned, the textile and apparel sector will have an additional supply of accessories next year as the first phase of Germany’s Amann group’s embroidery thread production facility will be completed in June. The facility will have an annual production capacity of 2,300 tonnes, with the first phase contributing for 1,000 tonnes.

Foreign-invested projects on textile and apparel accessories production has created $1.2 billion export value last year. This figure is expected to increase in the forthcoming years with the recent launch of these two major factories.


Vietnam exports projected to grow 12% this year, Nearly 70% Vietnam's SMEs see revenue improvements in 2018, HCM City’s ornamental fish exports to hit US$23 million this year, Customs agency reports more auto imports
 
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