BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 31/10

Vietnamese food introduced in Hong Kong



Visitors to the seventh Hong Kong Food Carnival, which is underway in Kwai Tsing district, Hong Kong (China), have shown interest in Vietnamese food.

Products such as dried rice vermicelli, fish sauce, cashew nuts, dried longan and coffee have been introduced by Hanoi Trade Corporation (Hapro) and Hello-5 JSC. 

Of note, King Cashew Nut Ltd., Co. which represents Hapro in Hong Kong, has worked with the Vietnamese association in Hong Kong to open a booth featuring Vietnamese dishes at the event.  

Apart from Vietnam, the Southeast Asia section within the carnival also includes booths set up by Thailand and Malaysia. 

During the carnival, from October 27 to November 4, participating countries and territories are also putting on traditional art performances. 

Previously a biennially event, from this year on the Hong Kong Food Carnival will be held annually due to its increasing popularity.

SCG's Q3 revenue in Vietnam up 18%


Long An to host third Vietnam Rice Festival, Saigon Hi-Tech Park to be part of HCM City’s innovation district, Vietnam Cycle 2018 to open in Ha Noi, Ben Tre to hold agricultural fair in November
The Siam Cement Group (SCG) has announced that revenue from sales amounted to $349 million in Vietnam during the third quarter, an increase of 18 per cent year-on-year and mainly from its chemicals business. Revenue from sales in Vietnam therefore stands at $989 million for the first nine months of 2018.

The LSP Petrochemicals Complex Project, SCG’s latest key project, is progressing as planned, with engineering design, machinery and equipment procurement and site preparation for construction work underway after the signing of a loan agreement in early August with six leading financial institutions, both domestic and foreign. It is expected that commercial operations will begin in time for the first half of 2023.

With a passion to better to support the community, SCG has continued its journey in sports development to support young Vietnamese to enjoy football, through SCG Street Football in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which saw more than 140 football teams play. The final of the tournament will be held in the pedestrian mall in Hanoi’s Old Quarter during November.

Moreover, to leverage the competencies of its employees, SCG has cooperated with the Asian Institute of Technology in Vietnam (AIT-VN) to customize the learning program for its Vietnamese staff in a Business Concept Development (BCD) program, to prepare young managers to broaden their perspectives in both leadership and business management skills.

SCG’s operating results for the third quarter and first nine months of 2018 showed increases in revenue, while profits fell due to rising raw materials and energy costs, the global trade slowdown, and asset impairments.

SCG is well aware of the impacts of the ongoing trade war and uncertainties in the global economy and has launched six directions in a proactive plan, including broadening export opportunities in line with global market flows, managing energy costs, utilizing digital technology to boost manufacturing efficiency and reduce costs, developing innovation and high value-added (HVA) products and services, enhancing working capital efficiency, and reviewing its investment portfolio and investment costs, with the aim of maintaining business competiveness.

For SCG’s operation in ASEAN (ex-Thailand), revenue from sales in the third quarter recorded 15 per cent growth year-on-year to $937 million, or 25 per cent of SCG’s total revenue from sales. This includes sales from both local operations in each ASEAN market and imports from its Thai operations.

“SCG’s operating results for the third quarter and the first nine months showed an increase in revenue in all business units due to improved overall market conditions, higher demand for cement and building materials from Thailand and from foreign investment projects of the public and private sector, and consistent market demand in chemicals and packaging, though profit fell because of higher raw materials and energy costs together with the global trade slowdown and asset impairment write-downs,” said Mr. Roongrote Rangsiyopash, President and CEO of SCG.

250 brands to attend Coffee Expo Vietnam 2018     

The third Coffee Expo Vietnam 2018 will be held in HCM City next week, attracting 250 brands from 10 nations.

The event, which is slated from November 1-3 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC), will display and introduce equipment and materials for coffee making, as well as bakery tools and materials from domestic and international brands.

The annual expo also offers coffee and confectionary business and shop owners to seek sources of high-quality materials as well as learn about business and investment activities.

A highlight of the event will be the Viet Nam Super Barista Championship with prizes worth up to VND200 million (US$8,584).

Coffee was first cultivated in Viet Nam in 1857. To date, Viet Nam’s coffee plantations cover 20,000ha. The country exports 1.8 million tonnes of coffee beans, raking in $3.2 billion per year. Viet Nam is currently the world’s second largest coffee exporter, after Brazil.

Viet Nam exported 1.46 million tonnes of coffee worth $2.77 billion in the first nine months of 2018, an increase of 20.1 per cent in volume and 0.4 per cent in value compared to the same period last year. 

Contracts for nearly 900 automobiles signed at Vietnam Motor Show

Contracts for 880 automobiles were signed during the Vietnam Motor Show 2018, which took place from October 24 to 28 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The event, jointly organised by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Vehicle Importers Vietnam Association, was the biggest of this kind so far.

This year’s exhibition featured 120 models of 15 brands using advanced technology, including many that recently made their first appearance in the world markets. Especially, the freshly-concluded event hosted total 185,000 visitors.

Brands present at the show included Audi, Chevrolet, Ford, Jaguar, Honda, Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

Some outstanding imported models were Honda Brio, Nissan Terra, Lexus ES300h, Ford Ranger Raptor, Mercedes-Benz Maybach S560, Jaguar E-Pace, Honda Civic Type R. An F1 race car model of Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda and a new concept car Toyota i-Road were also placed on display.

Aside from automakers, more than 100 other units which are spare parts and supporting companies, banking services providers, insurance firms and media partners also participated in the event.

Cargill opens 12th feed mill in Vietnam

Cargill opened a new $28 million feed mill on October 20 in southern Binh Duong province to better serve livestock farmers in the south.

The mill is Cargill’s 12th animal nutrition facility in Vietnam and its largest and most technologically advanced. Binh Duong provided a strategic location for Cargill to open the feed mill, as it tries to modernize its agriculture industry and move towards sustainable farming and support of agriculture infrastructure development.

“Our customers expect us to keep innovating and adding value to their products and services,” said Ms. Philippa Purser, Group Director of Cargill Feed & Nutrition. “This new feed mill enables us to better serve our customers with advanced technology and safe, high-quality animal feed. It gives us a platform for co-prosperity of both Cargill and the livestock industry as we work with the government, local communities and partners to help build a sustainable feed industry with a long-term future in Vietnam.” 

The opening ceremony was attended by 400 guests, including local government officials, rural communities, customers, partners and employees. “Cargill feed has been recognized and trusted by animal farmers and producers for its high quality and safety,” said Mr. Nguyen Xuan Duong, General Director of the Department of Livestock Production at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). “The opening of Cargill’s 12th animal protein plant will help it grow, along with Vietnam’s feed industry. I would like to recognize Cargill and its valuable contribution to the development of Vietnam’s livestock production sector in past years.”

The 48,000 sq m feed mill produces a wide portfolio of poultry and swine feed and has an annual capacity of 240,000 MT. A large portion of the plant’s operations are automated, allowing for increased operational efficiency and an enhanced customer experience.

Animal protein consumption has been increasing in Vietnam and the trend is expected to continue in line with the country’s rapid economic growth and regional trends.

After recovery from the recent market turbulence caused by large pork oversupply during the last two years, Vietnam’s national feed market is expected to grow about 3 per cent annually and it remains the largest commercial feed market in ASEAN. Meat, dairy and fish consumption is already driving higher protein intake in Southeast Asian countries, particularly Vietnam, along with Myanmar and Indonesia, according to research from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

It also reported that food safety concerns are accelerating the shift towards healthier animal protein in countries like Vietnam. “Our uncompromising approach to feed safety, ingredient quality and product integrity gives us the confidence to expand our investment to provide more healthy feed to serve the local farming industry and local consumers,” said Ms. Purser.

During Vietstock 2018, the best and biggest livestock trade show in Vietnam and organized from October 17 to 19 in Ho Chi Minh City, Cargill received the Best Swine Feed Product award from MARD. This is recognition of Cargill’s efforts in providing high quality, safe and efficient products to local animal protein producers to help them increase productivity and profitability. Cargill takes workplace safety very seriously and is pleased to report that the construction of the feed mill, which began in January 2017, took place without any major workplace accidents. This equates to more than 1.2 million safe working hours without any lost time.


Saigon Hi-Tech Park to be part of HCM City’s innovation district

The Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) is working to complete an innovation ecosystem so as to become part of the core of an innovation district of Ho Chi Minh City.

At a ceremony to mark the SHTP’s 16th founding anniversary on October 24, head of the park’s management board Le Hoai Quoc said HCM City is working to build an innovation district in District 2, District 9 and Thu Duc district. Under this development direction, the SHTP will join the HCM City National University to become the core of this innovation district.

He noted that the park will move to keep up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution by capitalising on digital technology and integrating all smart technologies to optimise production processes and methods.

The SHTP now owns the technologies that can create major impact from Industry 4.0 like 3D printing technology, biotechnology, new material technology, and automation technology.

He added the SHTP has granted investment licenses to 148 projects, including 93 domestic projects worth over 38 trillion VND (1.6 billion USD) and 55 FDI ones worth 5.4 billion USD. Some of the major investors come from the world’s leading hi-tech firms like Intel, Sanofi, Samsung, Schneider, Datalogic and Jabil.

The park has so far raked in nearly 45 billion USD in total high technology production value. This figure is expected at 14 billion USD in 2018 and over 20 billion USD by 2020.

The SHTP has established five laboratories and published more than 40 research articles on ISI journals and domestic magazines. It has also had four intellectual property products announced and seven products commercialised. Its business incubator has supported 25 projects to successfully commercialise their products, according to Quoc.

MNC blocks being built

Long An to host third Vietnam Rice Festival, Saigon Hi-Tech Park to be part of HCM City’s innovation district, Vietnam Cycle 2018 to open in Ha Noi, Ben Tre to hold agricultural fair in November

Some 20 per cent of local suppliers have been found to be competitive in meeting foreign-invested and multinational corporation supplier requirements, and set the example for other companies to strive to meet the threshold of the elite list of suppliers.

On an assessment of 45 local suppliers conducted in August within the framework of the Pilot Supplier Development Programme (SDP) funded by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Vietnam Industry Agency, around 20 per cent of the samples scored above the foundational level of competitiveness when compared with peers of the same industry or sector. The suppliers were assessed on a wide range of capacities, including competitive strategy and manufacturing systems, manufacturing operations, new product introduction, and the supply chain.

The surveyed suppliers were recommended by multinational companies (MNCs) operating in Vietnam including Bosch, GE, Canon, Panasonic, Denso, Datalogic, Ford, and Toyota, as well as industry associations.

The companies, many of which are suppliers of motorcycle parts and electronic components, are deemed stable and secure suppliers to the MNCs, according to Mike Dickinson, senior advisor to the IFC Supplier Development Programme and general manager of the UK-based Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Industry Forum Ltd.

“They’ve got all of the building blocks in place that they need to build on to supply large organisations, and they are working effectively,” said Dickinson, adding that the percentage of those having the capacity to supply to MNCs is in line with the development of the suppliers in other emerging markets like India, Thailand, and China.

“One big thing that does come out when I look at the Vietnamese suppliers is the level of equipment. The suppliers here generally have got very good equipment that is very new and advanced. The investment in this is more than I’ve seen in other emerging markets. That is a good foundation block,” Dickinson told VIR.

Nguyen Manh Quang, CEO of Hanoi-based Manh Quang Co., Ltd., which has supplied motorcycle parts to Honda since 2008 and is one of the 45 local suppliers partaking in the DSP, admitted that to become a supplier of any large enterprise, companies like his own must adapt and improve to meet international standards set by the MNC, as well as grow more professional day by day.

“The hardest part in this process will often be changing the mindset of the workers and subsequently the whole system of the company on how adapting the new set of standards will affect the quality of the products they make,” said Quang.

MNCs like Samsung or Honda, as Quang noted, usually place bulk orders for parts and components at their vendors around the world at wholesale prices. When placing orders here in Vietnam, the prices may be the same but for smaller volumes, and this means local suppliers have to choose whether to keep the quality at the given prices or cut the quality to reduce costs.

“There will often not be a commitment from these MNCs to purchase all the products we make. But if we cannot meet the requirements of the specific parts or components they need, they will move on to someone else, to our competitors here or in other Southeast Asian countries,” Quang said. “It’s a fierce competition,” he said. “Investing in improving competitiveness is like taking a bet with no guarantee of winning. It’s a one-way ticket: either joining the game, making the investment, and having good cost control, or being too cautious and missing out.”

Nguyen Manh Linh, member of the Executive Committee at the Vietnam Association for Supporting Industries, agreed, stressing that finance may be a preliminary issue for local suppliers or vendors to invest in the development of their business capabilities to compete, as their progress involves the work of consulting and assessment from a third party.

“Nevertheless, in the long term, the result of applying the improved processes or procedures will offset the costs,” Linh said.

Areas where local suppliers should focus on improvement, according to Dickinson, include business plan deployment and communication with the workforce.

“So many of these companies have got very good strategies and good visions, they know what they want to do, but they haven’t taken the time yet to plan out how they are going to do it,” he said. “Once you’ve mapped out that journey, you’ve got to communicate it to the workforce so everybody is working to the same plan.”

While praising the level of equipment at local vendors, Dickinson does not see the maintenance and management of the equipment delivered to his expected level. “Most of the machines are new – often one to three years old – but if they are not maintained or they are not managed correctly, in a few years’ time they won’t be good,” he said.

Foundational knowledge in terms of international standard requirements at some suppliers is also an area of attention. “They maybe have not been exposed to these things right now so they don’t know the tools and techniques and they just need to train,” stressed Dickinson. “They will need to understand what that [core international standards and knowledge] is and they need to be able to speak that same language to then be able to work with multinational customers.”

According to Swiss Ambassador Beatrice Maser, while Vietnam has successfully attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) over the years, productive linkages with local suppliers – mostly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – remain weak.

“The newly designed SDP will support Vietnamese SMEs in improving their capacities to provide high-value domestic goods and services and to connect them to multinational enterprises. As a result, local SMEs will benefit from spillover effects due to FDI,” said Maser.

Sharing this approach, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai stressed, "The ability to gain new business locally with MNCs is a first step to increasing the competitiveness of SDP participating local companies. The intention, over time, is to move companies up the value chain so that they can develop more sophisticated products and become globally competitive."

Long An to host third Vietnam Rice Festival


Long An to host third Vietnam Rice Festival, Saigon Hi-Tech Park to be part of HCM City’s innovation district, Vietnam Cycle 2018 to open in Ha Noi, Ben Tre to hold agricultural fair in November

The Mekong Delta province of Long An will host the third Vietnam Rice Festival from December 18-24.

The festival will feature various activities, including an exhibition on Vietnamese rice exports, a workshop on saltwater intrusion, drought and solutions to protect rice production from natural disasters, and a rice contest. 

The festival will be jointly held by Mekong Delta localities, the Vietnam Food Association, the Vietnam Southern Food Corporation and some ministries and agencies. 

It aims to honour and improve the position of Vietnamese rice in the world and promote rice production and export, contributing to local socio-economic development and improvement of people’s living standards. 

The first edition of the festival was held in 2009 in Hau Giang province and the second was hosted by Soc Trang province. 

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

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

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.

HortEx Viet Nam to draw int’l experts     

HortEx Viet Nam 2019, the second international exhibition and conference on horticultural and floricultural production and processing technology, will take place at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) from March 13 to March 15 next year.

The international exhibition and conference is co-organised by the Minh Vi Exhibition and Advertisement Services Co Ltd (VEAS) from Viet Nam and Nova Exhibitions from the Netherlands.

There will be about 250 exhibitors from 22 countries participating in the event.

HortEx Viet Nam 2018 gained success the first time it was organised with the participation of 110 enterprises from 18 countries and more than 4,530 commercial visitors from many countries and territories including Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, China, the US and India.

Viet Nam’s agriculture sector is being gradually modernized and manpower is being reduced and replaced by hi-tech machines, said Nguyen Hong Son, director of the Plant Cultivation Department under the Viet Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, at an event introducing HortEx Viet Nam 2019 held in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

Along with the development of modern technology, the country’s horticultural and floricultural production and processing industry are developing strongly, with export turnover reaching over US$3.5 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 43 per cent.

Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed that Viet Nam earned $1.62 billion from fruit and vegetable exports in the first five months of this year, increasing 16.54 per cent over the same period last year.

Vietnam Cycle 2018 to open in Ha Noi     

The 7th Vietnam International Bicycle Exhibition (Vietnam Cycle 2018) will take place in Ha Noi from November 15 to 18.

According to the organiser, Vietnam Cycle 2018 will be more diversified than ever before with more than 100 products from domestic manufacturers as well as models and spare parts imported from Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and the Republic of Korea.

One of the highlights will be the Thong Nhat bicycle brand, regarded as not only a leading bicycle brand in Viet Nam but also a "link wheel" between the past, present and future.

Visitors will have the opportunity to recall the history of Thong Nhat with nearly 60 years of development and expansion as well as changes to the mechanics sector in the country. Thong Nhat was the first Vietnamese company to export bicycles to the US, Spain and Germany.

Figures from the General Department of Market Surveillance showed that more than three million bicycles are in circulation, of which about 70 per cent are electric bikes.

According to data from the Motorcycle and Bicycle Association (VAMOBA), in 2017, the total number of electric bikes and bicycles sold nationwide reached about 500,000 units, a year-on-year increase of 30 per cent. This marked high growth compared to other means of transportation. Electric bikes and bicycles are used mostly by students and housewives because of their convenience and reasonable prices.

The event is being organised by the Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company in partnership with VAMOBA.

Ben Tre to hold agricultural fair in November     

Ben Tre Province’s Farmers’ Association is working with Nong thon Ngay Nay newspaper and its departments to organise an agricultural fair in November.

The event, which will promote products from Ben Tre and nearby provinces, will take place at the Viet Nam - International Trade Exhibition and Conference Centre from November 8 to 14 in the province.

The “Hoi Tam Nong and Ben Tre Craft Village Products” event aims to celebrate local farmers and rural life.

More than 250 stalls will be set up at the fair to promote agricultural goods, technologies, and local dishes of Ben Tre.

Customers, farmers, organisations and potential partners will be able to network and learn about the latest agricultural developments.

The event also aims to promote the province’s specialties, high-quality goods and outstanding firms, contributing to the ongoing campaign of encouraging Vietnamese to use Vietnamese goods.

Conferences, networking events, charity events and musical performances will also be held.

Ben Tre is hosting the event for the first time. Similar events in the past were held in other provinces such as Long An or Dong Thap. 

Vietnam cashes in on spending boom by Chinese tourists

Chinese visitors splurged US$130 a day on average in Vietnam last year, up from US$119 in 2014.

China has maintained its place as the biggest feeder market of Vietnam’s tourism in recent years, accounting for one third of all international visitors.

More than four million Chinese visitors were welcomed last year, up 48.6% from the previous year.

The surge in Chinese tourists has been a big boost for the local tourism sector because the visitors are also spending more in the country. 

Survey results released Tuesday by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, reveal the average daily spending by the Chinese increased from US$118.6 in 2014 to US$130 last year.

Compared to other regional countries, the daily spending was below that of Chinese visitors in Thailand (US$180), Indonesia (US$183) and Singapore (US$446).  

Tourism authorities are working hard to sustain the strong growth in the number of Chinese tourists.

Many direct flights connecting Vietnamese major cities with China have been launched over the past years to cater to growing travel demand.

Chinese visitors have been encouraged by a new policy that allows groups of travelers to visit the border province of Quang Ninh in northern Vietnam, home to the popular Ha Long Bay, for up to three days without a visa.

The Vietnamese government has allowed Chinese nationals to apply for a 30-day single-entry electronic visas for holidays and business trips.

Last year, figures from CLSA, a Hong Kong brokerage and investment firm formally known as Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia, showed Vietnam has overtaken France to enter the top 10 popular destinations among Chinese tourists.

The rising popularity shows no sign of slowing down. In the first nine months of this year, the number of Chinese visitors reached 3.8 million, up 29.7% year-on-year.

A Bloomberg report in 2016 said Chinese tourists could have a big impact on Vietnam’s economy. It said a 30% increase in spending by Chinese tourists would boost Vietnam’s economic growth by nearly 1 percentage point. For Thailand, that would be around 1.6 points.

It quoted Edward Lee, an economist with Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore, as saying “Chinese tourism is pretty big for ASEAN now, and all the countries rely on Chinese visitors to keep coming and keep spending.”

NA to scrutinise capital allocation of Lien Chieu Port in Danang

Efforts are being accelerated to start the construction of Lien Chieu Port project in 2019-2020.

On October 18, the Government Office sent a document to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transport, and the Danang People's Committee on the allocation of capital for the project’s deployment.

With respect to Danang city’s proposal on the allocation of capital for the port project, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has assigned the MPI to review and summarise reports at the upcoming meeting of the government’s Standing Committee.

Before that, the Danang People's Committee has proposed the prime minister, the National Assembly (NA)’s Finance and Budget Committee, and relevant ministries to allocate VND500 billion ($21.7 million) sourced from the mid-term public investment plan for 2016-2020, paving the way for the project to start work during 2019-2020.

To finalise the project according to the approved scale, Danang wanted the prime minister and the NA’s Finance and Budget Committee to consider capital allocation for the project when reviewing the mid-term public investment plan for 2021-2025.

Danang expects investment preparation to be finalised next year (2019) and the project will begin construction and be put into operation during 2020-2022.

According to the project’s pre-feasibility study, Lien Chieu Port will become a major wharf area of an international gateway port in the central region, having the capacity to receive ships up to 100,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT), and container ships with capacity from 6,000 to 8,000TEUs.

The infrastructure for the port’s two terminals is estimated to cost more than VND3.4 trillion ($147.8 million), more than VND2.99 trillion ($130 million) of which is construction costs, while the rest is the cost of equipment and site clearance, among others.

To lift the project off the drawing board, Danang proposes sourcing 87.4 per cent of the total investment value from the central budget, equal to VND2.99 trillion ($130 million).

The Ministry of Transport’s budget for the project would be sourced from the mid-term public investment plan for 2016-2020, while Danang city will also allocate VND433 billion ($18.8 million), equal the remaining 12.6 per cent of the total investment capital, for the project’s implementation.

Danang expects investment preparation to be finalised next year (2019) and the project will begin construction and be put into operation during 2020-2022.

Hyosung Group gunning for M&A in Vietnam

South Korean industrial giant Hyosung Group aims to turn Vietnam into a major manufacturing base to realise its global expansion target.

The group was recently licensed for its polypropylene (PP) production plant and an associated liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) underground storage depot in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau worth $1.2 billion in total investment value.

The PP plant element of the project is expected to replace Hyosung’s existing PP production line in South Korea.

Dropping anchor in the Vietnamese market in 2007, Hyosung Vietnam Limited has injected $1.5 billion into its spandex yarn and auto tire manufacturing facilities in the country.

The company is currently operating nine plants based in Nhon Trach Industrial Park (IP) in the southern province of Dong Nai.

This year, the company engaged in building a new plant in Tam Thang IP in the central province of Quang Nam, which is specialised in supplying steel cord to feed the global auto tire industry.

These plants have been supplying input materials (steel cord and tire cord) to global brands such as Goodyear, Yokohama, and Michellin, spandex to sportswear manufacturers like Adidas, Nike or Puma, and components for industrial item production such as pumping machines, transformers, ATM machines, and motors.

To deepen roots in Vietnam, Hyosung is showing keen interests in M&A opportunities.

A Hyosung representative said that the Vietnamese government’s intention to divest from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) matches the company’s strategy in Vietnam and they wish to engage in the Vietnamese SOE equitisation process through capital contributions or stake purchases to become a strategic partner.

To deepen roots in Vietnam, Hyosung is showing keen interest in M&A opportunities in Vietnam.

“We do not pose limits to such investments, provided that the Vietnamese partners satisfy our criteria of operational efficiency in their industries. The concrete criteria for M&A deals shall depend on the specific industry as well as our knowledge about the field,” the source said.

In a recent move, Hyosung wanted to invest in power projects in Vietnam, particularly supplying diverse kinds of power transformers that are always in bad need in the Vietnamese market.

Most recently, the company confirmed its commitment to buy the entire 13 million shares, equal a 46.58 per cent stake, that state-owned power authority Electricity of Vietnam owns at Dong Anh Electrical Equipment Corporation (EEMC).

The company expects support from authorised agencies for the deal to take place as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade was reported to have green-lighted EVN’s capital transfer at EEMC and is moving forward with the auction arrangement procedures, which is quite good news for Hyosung in its ambition to become EEMC’s strategic partner.

Hyosung Group chairman Cho Hyun Joon’s visit to Vietnam early this year is part of the company’s commitment to bring its investment to Vietnam to $6 billion, covering the diverse fields of chemicals, heavy industry, and power projects.

Lien Chieu seaport urgently seeking investment

Danang city is stepping up the construction of Lien Chieu Port, however, it is struggling to mobilise capital.

According to Le Van Trung, director of the Danang Department of Transport, the quantity of general cargo handled by Danang seaport this year will grow by 16.2 per cent on-year (22.6 per cent for container shipments).

The load is estimated to reach 10 million tonnes in 2020 and 30 million tonnes in 2030. Correspondingly, from 2020, the load will exceed not only the handling capacity of Tien Sa Port but also of transport infrastructure in the city centre, causing serious traffic congestions and badly affecting the environment as well as tourism growth.

“Tien Sa Port is getting full to bursting and cannot be expanded, thus it is imperative to construct Lien Chieu Port and replace Tien Sa Port as the international gateway to the country. The development of this seaport is of critical importance, since it helps to maintain Danang’s position of an economic tiger, encouraging regional growth. However, the issue now is investment capital. Danang city, along with the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Ministry of Finance will soon propose the government to approve funding in October,” he added.

To step up the progress of Lien Chieu Port, on October 2, Chairman of the Danang People’s Committee Huynh Duc Tho has proposed that the Ministry of Transport review the pre-feasibility study on Lien Chieu Port and submit it to the prime minister for approval.

Lien Chieu Port is planned to become the key international cargo port in the central region, handling 100,000-tonne vessels and container ships with the loading capacity of 6,000-8,000 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units).

More than VND3.4 trillion ($148 million) is needed for infrastructure development (including breakwater, pier, waterway, and transport system), approximately VND2.9 trillion ($126 million) of which will be spent on construction, while the remaining capital will be used to procure equipment and land clearance, as well as other miscellaneous tasks.

Danang is calling for state capital to implement the project. Specifically, the central government budget will provide VND2.99 trillion ($130 million) and Danang’s local budget will make up VND433 billion ($18.8 million), equivalent to 87.4 per cent and 12.6 percent of the total capital.

The project is expected to complete funding by 2019, and construction will be conducted in 2020-2022, with stages entering into operation as soon as they are finished.

Permanent deputy chairman of the Danang People’s Committee Dang Viet Dung said that the city is working with central authorities to seek investment, approve the investment project, and start the construction as soon as possible.

On September 24 in Hanoi, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and leaders from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Construction, and Danang city held a meeting on the construction of Lien Chieu Port. The Prime Minister concluded that it is vital to put the project into practice, while also ensuring that the infrastructure meets international standards.

JETRO makes moves to raise local content in Vietnam’s manufacturing

The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) has been working to increase the level of local content in the manufacturing sector in Vietnam.

According to Idei Ippei, a senior researcher at JETRO, a survey by the organisation revealed the percentage of domestic procurement in Vietnam for Japanese companies has improved from 22 percent in 2011 to 33.2 percent last year. However, the rate was still far lower than of other countries in the region like Thailand (56.8 percent), China (67.3 percent) and Taiwan (China) (55.4 percent).

Meanwhile, the demand for local supply of industrial raw materials and parts from Japanese enterprises in Vietnam was very high, as 80 percent of Japanese firms said they wanted to raise the localisation rate to reduce costs and improve competitiveness. Some 64 percent of the firms said they would increase local procurement to shorten delivery time.

To solve the issue, JETRO has aided Vietnamese manufacturers in supporting industries. It has made a list of Vietnamese suppliers of materials and parts in metal processing, mould making, electronics and more. At the same time, it has provided information for companies and organised networking events for businesses from both countries.

In addition, JETRO has cooperated with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to implement pilot projects to support the local supporting industry. 

These projects allow 10 Vietnamese companies, five from the north and five from the south, that produce parts for automotive, electric, electronics and lighting industries to receive consultation in production management, sales and marketing, human resources training, financial management, ect., so they can be more capable when participating in the supply chain of Japanese firms.

Last year, Japan became Vietnam’s largest foreign investor, with a total of 9.11 billion USD, more than 25 percent of the country’s total foreign direct investment (FDI).

In the first six months of the year, Japanese enterprises have poured nearly 6.5 billion USD in investment projects in Vietnam, accounting for 32 percent of total FDI.

According to Tsuyoshi Shimizu, a specialist at JICA and a consultant at Panasonic Excel International Co. Ltd, 1,600 Japanese enterprises are operating in Vietnam, with nearly 70 percent of them planning to expand business in the next two years because of the country’s economic growth.

Many Japanese manufacturers want to buy raw materials, machines and spare parts from Vietnam, but the supply and quality of human resources and products from Vietnam have not met their requirements, said Shimizu. 

Tra fish exports to US enjoy strong surge

Vietnam earned 369.1 million USD from exporting tra fish to the US in the first nine months of this year, up 42.9 percent year-on-year. 

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the value was close to 48 million USD in September, a rise of 152.5 percent against the same period last year, and 65.9 million USD in August, a year-on-year increase of 256 percent.

Businesses attributed the surge to stable market demands and higher prices. 

Besides, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) under the United States Department of Agriculture has proposed continuing Vietnam’s eligibility to export Siluriformes fish, commonly known as catfish, and fish products to the US.

The US Federal Register has published a draft of a proposal to maintain the eligibility of the three countries of Vietnam, China and Thailand to export catfish and fish products to the US as proposed by FSIS.

In the draft recommendation, FSIS has recognised the catfish inspection system in Vietnam, China and Thailand as equivalent to the US system. If this draft is approved, these three Asian countries will officially be allowed to continue exporting catfish to this market, VASEP said. 

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced the preliminary results of the 14th period of review (POR 14), lowering anti-dumping tariffs on pangasius (tra fish) imports from Vietnam by 3.78-5.35 USD per kilogram, compared with the levels in POR 13.

According to the Department of Trade Defence under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, tra fish exported by NTSF Seafoods JSC, a mandatory respondent of POR 14, between August 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017, is imposed an antidumping tax of 1.37 USD per kilogram. Meanwhile, Hung Vuong Group, another mandatory respondent of the review, has been exempted from the tax.

The antidumping duty is 0.41 USD per kilogram for voluntary respondents and 2.39 USD for the remaining Vietnamese tra fish exporters.

Meanwhile, the average tariff on tra fish imports from Vietnam in POR 13 was 3.78 percent, with the highest level being 7.74 USD per kilogram.

DOC will announce the final results of POR 14 in January 2019.

Additionally, many Vietnamese businesses have seen the US-China trade war as an opportunity to step up tra fish exports to the US. 

VASEP forecast that the US would surpass China to become Vietnam’s biggest tra fish importer in the fourth quarter of this year. 

Apart from the US, Vietnam’s tra fish exports to other markets like China, the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has also made significant progress. 

As of the end of September, Vietnam’s tra fish exports to the EU reached 176.4 million USD, up 14.6 percent year-on-year. The pace is expected to continue until the end of this year. 

Meanwhile, the country pocketed 376.8 million USD from tra fish exports to China, a rise of 30.8 percent against the same period last year. China is now Vietnam’s biggest tra fish importer, making up 23.6 percent of its total tra fish export value. 

ASEAN is Vietnam’s fourth largest tra fish importer with export value to the market hitting 145.5 million USD as of September 30, up 44 percent year-on-year. 

During the period, Vietnam’s tra fish export value amounted to 1.59 billion USD, increasing 22.6 percent year-on-year. 

VASEP forecast that the figure will reach 2.1 billion USD this year, up 22 percent compared to 2017, the highest level to be recorded by the sector.

HCM City to host int’l exhibition on water supply

An international exhibition on water supply and sewerage (Vietwater 2018) will be organised from November 7 to 9 at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City.

The information was officially announced at a press conference held in Hanoi on October 24 by the Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association (VWSA).

More than 500 organisations will join the exhibition this year, which is expected to welcome more than 15,000 visitors including leading experts in the field.

Of all the more than 500 organisations, 13 are international ones from the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Singapore, China, Japan and Australia.

Visitors to the event are able to attend technical seminars and conferences and network with leading players in the market.

Speaking at the press conference, Cao Lai Quang, Chairman of the VWSA, said that one new feature of the Vietwater 2018 is that it will introduce new waste treatment technology, with the hope of bringing to customers more high-tech equipment from other countries.

The exhibition will help improve international cooperation and exchange experiences in the field with countries which have modern and advanced technology, he added.

Vietwater is an annual exhibition on water supply and sewerage which has been organised for the past 10 years.

Vietwater 2017 welcomed more than 14,000 visitors and over 250 enterprises in the water supply sector.

Master plan for Nhon Hoi Economic Zone to 2040 to be adjusted

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued a decision approving the task of adjusting the master plan for the construction of Nhon Hoi Economic Zone in the south central province of Binh Dinh towards 2040, with an aim to make it a driving force for the locality’s growth.

Under the decision, the Nhon Hoi Economic Zone will cover about 14,308 hectares in 2040, with an industrial area of about 12,000 hectares and a Becamex Binh Dinh industrial-urban-service area of 2,308 hectares.

The objectives of the plan is to make the construction of the zone suitable to the national development strategy as well as the maritime development strategy, while turning the Nhon Hoi Economic Zone into a dynamic and sustainable economic hub.

The zone is expected to become a centre for tourism, service, urban, industry, port and traditional sea-base economy, ensuring both economic growth and security-defence.

In the coming time, the major tasks of the plan include making researches, surveys and statistics summarising and analyzing the current conditions of the Nhon Hoi Economic Zone, as well as evaluating the socio-economic growth of the zone and the whole country over the past year and giving forecast for the future.

The tasks also include sketching out the development targets and orientations of the zone until 2040, reviewing the master plan 2005 and the reality in Nhon Hoi Economic Zone, thus adding a number of missing contents such as urban design, strategic environment evaluation, climate change and sea level rise response, public transport, underground space and urban lighting.

Ninh Binh earns over 1.1 billion USD from exports in nine months

The northern province of Ninh Binh earned 1.1 billion USD from exports in the first nine months of 2018, up 33.6 percent year on year, helping the locality fulfill 88.9 percent of its yearly target.

Key products with hikes in export included textile-garment, cement and clinker, and electronic components, all together making a rise of 12.8 percent compared to that of 2017.

Besides, export revenues of agricultural products hit 15.8 million USD, an increase of 35 percent against same period of last year.

In the nine-month period, key importers mainly come from Asian countries, followed by the US, Australia, and African countries.

Especially, the province’s farm products successfully entered tough markets like Japan, the US and the EU.

Ninh Binh estimated that its export revenues for the whole year will fetch over 1.25 billion USD.

Vietnam participates in international fair in Cuba

A business delegation of Vietnam is attending the 36th Havana International Fair (FIHAV 2018), which opened in Cuba October 29.

More than 2,500 businesspeople from over 60 countries and territories across the world attended the opening ceremony. 

President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez and Vice President of the Council of Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz were also present at the opening ceremony, along with other Cuban officials.

Speaking at the ceremony, Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca, stressed that the fair, spanning an area of 24,000 sq.m and with the participation of a large number of enterprises, showed foreign firms’ growing interest in the Cuban market.

FIHAV 2018 will feature a wide range of activities to celebrate the 500th founding anniversary of Havana, he said.

Malmierca, who is also head of the organising committee, noted that the fair is a rendezvous to foster integration in Latin America and Caribbean as more than 20 countries in the region have joined the event.

Held for the first time in 1982, FIHAV is one of the biggest annual trade fairs of Cuba and Latin America.

This year, the fair is scheduled to run through November 2.


Long An to host third Vietnam Rice Festival, Saigon Hi-Tech Park to be part of HCM City’s innovation district, Vietnam Cycle 2018 to open in Ha Noi, Ben Tre to hold agricultural fair in November

Long An to host third Vietnam Rice Festival, Saigon Hi-Tech Park to be part of HCM City’s innovation district, Vietnam Cycle 2018 to open in Ha Noi, Ben Tre to hold agricultural fair in November
 
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