BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 11/11

Vietnam’s rice exports hit 5.2 million tonnes in ten months

BIDV launches e-banking service for corporate clients, New CEO for Cho Tot, Phu Tho ethanol may go bankrupt, VIETWATER 2018 returns in November, Trade volume of VN and 10 members of CPTPP

Vietnam shipped abroad 264,000 tonnes of rice in October this year for 136 million USD, pushing the total figures so far this year to 5.2 million tonnes worth 2.6 billion USD, up 1.7 and 14.1 percent year-on-year.

China remained the leading importer of Vietnamese rice with a growth rate of 24 percent. Strong rises were also seen in many other markets, such as Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

Average rice prices in the first nine months of 2018 reached 503 USD per tonne, up 13.7 percent year-on-year. The highest price was recorded for Jasmine rice with 575 USD per tonne, followed by Japonica with 526 USD per tonne.

The export of medium- and high-quality rice increased, while that of low quality types reduced, now accounting for just 2 percent of the total export volume.

[Video: Vietnamese rice now top quality on the international market]

On October 18 this year, the Philippines closed its bidding and decided to buy 47,000 tonnes of rice, including 28,000 tonnes from Vietnam. The same day, Egypt invited bids for 25,000 tonnes of rice in 2018.

Meanwhile, within the framework of the 10th World Rice Conference in Hanoi, many contracts were signed, including a 2.5 million USD contract signed between the Hanoi Trade Joint stock Corporation (Hapro) and its Australian and Malaysian partners.

According to the Department of Agro-Product Processing and Market Development under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Department, domestic rice prices will continue to rise as buyers purchase more materials for their export orders.

Currently, many localities have finished the harvest of their summer-autumn crop, while some others start to harvest their autumn-winter crops. The prices of rice of autumn-winter crops have increased slightly due to a shortage in supply.

In Vinh Long, rice price is between 5,300 VND per kilo and 10,000 VND per kilo, while that in Bac Lieu varies from 6,200 VND per kilo to 6,300 VND per kilo.

Vietnam businesses look on bright side of int’l trade: HSBC survey

Vietnamese businesses are among the world’s most optimistic over international trade prospects, and they are also among the most confident when it comes to succeeding in the current environment, according to HSBC’s latest report released on November 1.

The report, called, “Navigator: Now, next and how for business,” was written on behalf of the bank by Kantar TNS. It was compiled from responses by decision-makers at more than 8,650 businesses – from small and mid-market to large corporations – across a broad range of industry sectors in 34 markets, with 200 businesses surveyed in Vietnam, between July and September 2018.

The Vietnamese economy continues to be one of Asia’s top performers, with manufacturing growth currently at double digits on a yearly basis and the services sector also posting solid gains, according to the report.

While momentum is likely to ease amid cooling Chinese demand and increased global trade protectionism, export growth is forecast to outpace most of the region. Meanwhile, the domestic economy should further benefit from increased tourism and improving labor market conditions.

As many as 91% of Vietnamese respondents, compared with 75% globally, indicated they believe the outlook for trade is favorable in spite of geopolitical factors that are curbing enthusiasm elsewhere.

They cite a favorable economic environment; decreasing costs of shipping, logistics and storage; and an increasing demand for their products as the top three drivers of trade growth.

This bullishness is also reflected in the confidence of Vietnamese firms, with 91% believing they will succeed in the current environment, compared with 81% of businesses globally. Consumer confidence, commodity prices and global economic growth are the top factors for their positive outlook.

Although Vietnamese firms are optimistic about the global backdrop and trade opportunities, almost four out of five firms (78%) expressed the belief that foreign governments are becoming more protectionist, considerably higher than the global benchmark (63%) and an 11-percentage point increase from HSBC’s last Navigator survey, conducted in late 2017.

Nonetheless, firms do not appear to view rising global trade protectionism as having severe repercussions, at least to date.

“Vietnamese businesses’ optimism reflects an economy that has been one of Asia’s star performers and is growing fast,” remarked Winfield Wong, Head of Wholesale Banking, HSBC Vietnam. “They are optimistic as they consider themselves well-positioned thanks to a strong domestic economy, confidence in the global economy, far-reaching trade deals and burgeoning trade relations with major markets.”

Only 19% of respondents viewed the U.S.-China trade friction as likely to be a hindrance to their businesses over the next three years. In part, this could reflect the prospective boost to exports in sectors such as textiles and electronics, as production and demand shifts away from China.

Meanwhile, the majority of Vietnamese respondents are positive about the partnerships established with key trading partners, with 69% believing that ASEAN membership will help their businesses over the next three years.

Similarly, 65% of Vietnamese firms believe the forthcoming European Union-Vietnam free trade agreement will have a positive impact on their businesses in the near future.

Vietnamese businesses are also looking beyond these agreements for growth. Over a quarter of businesses are eyeing opportunities in Japan, while 23% are looking to expand into China, and a fifth are considering South Korea for expansion.

These respondents generally have a positive view of regulations, with 45% of respondents stating that these increase the value of their businesses and the same proportion believing that it enhances their international competitiveness. On the other hand, 22% of respondents reported that complex approval systems make it harder to do business.

Handover at HausNeo in HCMC set for Q3 2019

Handover at the EZ Land Development & Investment JSC’s HausNeo apartment project is expected to be in the third quarter of 2019.

Located in District 9 in Ho Chi Minh City, HausNeo provides convenient access to the airport, the administrative area, and high-tech parks. The project exceeds 8,000 sq m, including two 18-storey blocks with 560 apartments and eight shophouses.

HausNeo is designed with the utmost character and consideration to provide residents with best-in-class living. Facilities include a Hauspool, a kids’ pool, a kids’ playground, and relaxing space to ensure maximum comfort and convenience for all residents.

The blocks also meet strict criteria on energy and water utilization, thus providing the project with EDGE certification from SGS Vietnam.

CBRE Vietnam is the official operations and management agent, following a signing ceremony on October 30.

Mr. Do Ngoc Oliver Dung from EZ Land said that in order to ensure residents are completely content with living at HausNeo, they need the best in property management and operations, and as the world’s leading real estate services company, CBRE Vietnam was the only choice for EZ Land.

Ms. Dang Phuong Hang, Managing Director of CBRE Vietnam, said it is proud to be the operation and management agent for HausNeo. “As the leader in our industry, our professional team is dedicated to increasing the value of HausNeo,” she added. “Along with providing standardized services, CBRE will also handle the rights and handover process as a further offering.”

CBRE Vietnam was recently honored for the seventh consecutive year as the leading real estate consulting company in Vietnam by Euromoney, in three categories: Agency - Letting/Sales, Research, and Overall.

It has 15 years of experience in Vietnam and has received the highest awards in the real estate industry for the past seven years.

With a team of over 700 leading experts, CBRE Vietnam allows clients to reach their optimal benefits and cash flow with their investments, achieve advanced profitability, and reduce risk to the lowest level in a volatile business environment, providing services of high-class international standard.

CBRE was ranked as the leading real estate consulting company globally in 54 different categories across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific at the Euromoney Property Awards - one of the most prestigious awards in the real estate industry.

FPT partners with Schneider Electric on energy management

The FPT Corporation and Schneider Electric signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on November 2 to develop and implement an IoT (Internet of Things) technology platform, Schneider’s EcoStruxure, to help to accelerate the digital transformation journey during Industry 4.0.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe.

“Selecting FPT Corporation to become the first strategic partner in Asia is in the strategic direction of the Schneider Electric Group and also meets the needs of Industry 4.0,” said Vice President of the Schneider Electric Group, Mr. Luc Remont. “EcoStruxure has brought benefits not only to Schneider Electric but also to its partners around the world, including FPT in Vietnam. We believe the solution will provide tremendous growth in technology and economy for Vietnamese enterprises during Industry 4.0.”

“The agreement is part of FPT’s journey in partnering with world-leading corporations in IoT technology platforms and in becoming one of the leading corporations in the world in digital transformation services in the next five years,” FPT Chairman Mr. Truong Gia Binh said. “FPT is ready to implement the EcoStruxure technology platform, helping Vietnamese organizations and businesses efficiently manage energy.”

FPT is one of the first strategic partners of Schneider Electric in Asia to implement and use the EcoStruxure platform, an open and interactive IoT platform helping organizations and enterprises optimize the use and management of energy in buildings, data centers and manufacturing plants.

With experience from cooperating and implementing IoT technology platforms for leading corporations such as Airbus, Siemens, and GE, and a skilled workforce, FPT will join forces with Schneider Electric, a leading corporation in digital energy management and automation, to develop applications and solutions based on the EcoStruxure technology platform.

The EcoStruxure platform’s maintenance software, application programming interfaces (APIs), and cloud solutions, which integrate advanced operation technologies, will be enhanced, enabling organizations and businesses to optimize energy management processes and automation in the smart city development process. The solution is applicable to high-rise buildings, households, food and beverage industries, hospitals, hotels, sewage treatment centers, data centers, telecommunications, oil and gas, and electricity and water supply. This strategic cooperation strongly promotes and satisfies the demand for digital transformation of organizations as well as individuals in Industry 4.0.

Along with cooperation and development, FPT will support Schneider Electric Vietnam to train human resources with expertise in the EcoStruxure platform, with the aim of training 200 qualified consultants by 2020. These experts will inherit and promote the technological achievements of the EcoStruxure platform.

According to the MoU, both sides will consider using the EcoStruxure technology platform to manage and operate the entire power system of the F-Town 3 office complex in Ho Chi Minh City, making the complex become the first smart tower in Vietnam.

F-Town 3 has a construction scale of over 52,000 sq m, making it the largest software center at a high-tech park in District 9 in Ho Chi Minh City, providing work spaces for 7,500 employees.

FPT has been working on developing IoT technology platforms with leading corporations in the field of Aerospace & Aviation, Industrial Manufacturing, and Energy, among others.

For example, with Airbus, FPT provides about 500 programmers with the expertise to develop solutions improving aviation industry performance based on the Skywise platform. Both sides will invest in providing third-party APIs to develop applications on Skywise, digital transforming, and maintaining applications on the Skywise platform.

As a strategic partner, FPT is also working with Siemens to provide Siemens’ MindSphere Digital Transformation services to organizations in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.

VIETWATER 2018 returns in November

The premier annual event in Vietnam for water resources and technologies, the 10th International Water Supply, Sanitation, Water Resources and Purification Event - VIETWATER2018 - will be organized at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center (SECC) in Ho Chi Minh City from November 7 to 9.

VIETWATER 2018, marking ten years of serving Vietnam’s water industry, with a new waste management exhibition profile this year, is expected to occupy 13,000 sq m of exhibition area and feature over 500 exhibitors with an expected attendance of 15,000.  

The event is expected to welcome 13 international groups from Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, Singapore, Taiwan (China), and the UK.

Apart from these large group pavilions, many leading brand names such as Tsurumi Pump, Tan A Dai Thanh, Tabuchi, Sawatech, Goshu Kosan, Vucico, Viet An Environment, Vinaworldlink, Binh Minh Plastic, JFE Engineering, ARK, HCP, Kobelco Eco Solutions, Dow Chemical, and Balem will also be present at the trade fair.

A decade of industry support and engagement

As Vietnamese cities and industries grow, the water needs for the country are changing from a predominantly agricultural base to the needs of industries. This is on top of the continually expanding requirement for clean drinking water among both urban and rural dwellers.

According to experts, water challenges can never be fully addressed without discussing sewage treatment - a parallel need that sees expanding industrial waste management demand in addition to the increasing needs of growing cities for waste management, logistics, and new waste treatment processes to nurture a long-term sustainable living environment.

Vietnam’s water industry is targeted in 2025 to achieve no less than 95 per cent of its citizens having access to clean water, with a clean water loss rate targeted at under 15 per cent. Sewage management, also a growing issue, is targeted to serve more than 70 per cent of urban and developed areas.

This continual demand has supported the growth of VIETWATER - the premier annual event in Vietnam for water resources and technologies. This year, a new dedicated waste technology and waste management sector has been added to support Vietnam’s industrialization and urbanization.

Enhancing knowledge

At VIETWATER 2018, a technical seminar entitled “Vietnam Water Industry with Industrial Revolution 4.0”, hosted by the Vietnam Urban Environment & Industrial Zone Association and organized by UBM will be held on November 7, where experienced speakers such as Mr. Cao Lai Quang, Chairman of the Vietnam Water Supply & Sewerage Association (VWSA), Ms. Julia Braune, Managing Director of German Water Partnership, and Dr. Nguyen Hong Tien, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of VWSA, among others, will present interesting lectures.

Another seminar, entitled “Solid waste collection, transportation and treatment technologies suitable to Vietnam’s conditions”, supported by Vietnamese and overseas associations, will be also held on November 7. Many seasoned speakers are expected to present addresses, such as Professor Nguyen Huu Dzung, Director of the Institute for Urban Environment & Industry of Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Van Thien, CEO of the Binh Duong Water - Environment JSC (BIWASE), and Professor Nguyen Van Lien, Chairman of the Vietnam Urban Environment & Industrial Zone Association, among others.

VIETWATER 2017, held on November 8-10, 2017, received an impressive 14,072 attendees and 253 delegates from suppliers, manufacturers, municipalities, and users in the water industry. Ninety-six per cent of visitors were satisfied with the exhibition and it is anticipated that many will return together with new buyers to the 10th edition of VIETWATER this year.

For more information, please visit www.vietwater.com.

New CEO for Cho Tot

Cho Tot has officially announced the appointment of Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Hai Duong as CEO.

“We’re very pleased to appoint Hai Duong as Cho Tot’s new CEO,” said Mr. Johan Rostoft, Managing Director of 701Search Group. “She has a demonstrated track record of successful initiatives that have contributed tremendously to Cho Tot’s growth since its first days. Known as a transformational leader who constantly embraces change, promotes innovation, and fosters a workplace culture of ownership and autonomy, Hai Duong together with the team will definitely bring Cho Tot to the next level and serve millions of Vietnamese better every day.”

“I’m humble, and excited at the same time, to succeed Mr. Bryan Teo as Cho Tot’s CEO,” Ms. Hai Duong said. “In the past six years at Cho Tot, I have been proud to have been part of a passionate and zealous team turning Cho Tot into the leading marketplace in Vietnam. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Bryan for his inspiring vision and leadership, which have contributed significantly to Cho Tot’s steady growth during the past few years. Moving forward, we will continue innovating to make Cho Tot a better platform for Vietnamese and a greater place to work for our employees.”

Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Hai Duong was born in 1987 and has worked for some seven years at Cho Tot, since graduating with a Masters from the National University of Singapore. She has held a number of important positions at Cho Tot, such as Head of Marketing and Head of Business Development, and was promoted to COO in January 2016.

After seven years as CEO and successfully growing the site from a startup to become the leading online classifieds site in Vietnam. Mr. Teo will return to Singapore as COO of 701Search Group.

“It’s been a rewarding and inspiring journey to co-found Cho Tot and build it into the leading online classifieds site that fulfills millions of Vietnamese’ daily needs,” he said. “I feel extremely confident that Ms. Hai Duong will build on the exemplary work of Cho Tot and lead the talented and devoted team towards a bright future.”

In the first six months of 2018, Cho Tot has been growing steadily, with an increase of 13 per cent in visitors and 14 per cent in successful transactions compared to the same period last year. In addition to its core online classifieds, Cho Tot recently also invested heavily in the three categories with prominent supply and demand traffic: Vehicle, Real Estate, and Electronics.


BIDV launches e-banking service for corporate clients

Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has just launched its BIDV iBank, a modern electronic banking service for corporate clients.

BIDV iBank is an e-banking product operating on a multi-channel platform including web and mobile devices for corporate clients, financial institutions, and other credit institutions. With BIDV iBank, clients can conduct many types of banking transactions.

The transactions include making deposits and loans, and guarantee account queries; performing domestic and international money transfers and salary payments; and sending documents with a digital signature through the programme for processing with the same legal value as the original document.

Besides, the transactions also include querying information for merchants; effectively managing cash flows between main and subsidiary accounts; viewing transaction summaries and checking transaction status by time and period; and receiving cash flow management reports of members of a group/corporation.

BIDV iBank is a multi-purpose product designed on a single transaction portal with intelligent custom interface and multiple authentication modes, allowing transaction processing in multiple mechanisms and supporting direct connection to the client’s finance-accounting system. The product features modern technology in line with global trends, which integrates microservice architecture with the world’s leading advanced technology solutions, such as IBM Filenet, Oracle 12c Cloud or BIDV-built products such as SmartOTP, a plugin-based digital sỉgnature solution.

“BIDV defines digital banking as the long-term strategy of the bank. BIDV iBank is an effective solution to digitalise banking transactions, thereby enhancing risk management in transactions with the bank,” said Le Ngoc Lam, senior executive vice president at BIDV.


Phu Tho ethanol may go bankrupt

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh was questioned over the 12 notorious loss-making projects at the National Assembly’s cabinet hearing on October 30.

According to the minister, while the Dung Quat and Binh Phuoc bio-ethanol factories are preparing to resume operations, the Phu Tho ethanol factory may go bankrupt due to its unfavourable location and inefficient business model.

The ethanol project in Tam Nong district, Phu Tho province invested by Bio-Petroleum and Petrochemical Joint Stock Company (PVB) is one of these 12 projects. Work on the plant started in 2009 and it was slated to begin operation in 2012. The 50ha project had an initial investment of VND1.7 trillion ($73.9 million), but later, the figure was raised to $2.4 trillion ($104.35 million).

By late 2011, around 80 per cent of the work was completed, including the management building, stores, main production area, waste treatment system, and a number of other facilities. However, since then the plant has been at a standstill.

Two others of the 12 loss-making projects, namely DAP 1 Haiphong fertiliser plant and the complex of Quy Xa iron ore mining and quarrying project and Lao Cai iron and steel plant [the latter two counted as one], have resumed operations and started turning profit.

Besides, five other projects are making efforts to be removed from the list. These include Ha Bac, Ninh Binh, and DAP 2 Lao Cai fertiliser plants, Dung Quat Shipbuilding Industry Co., Ltd., and Dinh Vu polyester fibre factory.

The Thai Nguyen iron and steel plant-phase 2 is still caught up in disputes between the investor Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel JSC and the Chinese contractor China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC).

The minister reported that central and local inspection agencies have scrutinised all 12 projects and handed over the files of four to the police for official investigation into wrongdoings. Two of these cases have resulted in prosecution so far.

Vietnam Paper Corporation’s (Vinapaco) Phuong Nam Pulp Mill, also one of the 12 companies, was not mentioned in the minister’s response.

Trade volume of VN and 10 members of CPTPP

Trade volume between Viet Nam and other 10 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) reached over US$67.33 billion, accounting for 15.84% of Viet Nam's total trade values in 2017.


BIDV launches e-banking service for corporate clients, New CEO for Cho Tot, Phu Tho ethanol may go bankrupt, VIETWATER 2018 returns in November, Trade volume of VN and 10 members of CPTPP

Lazada supports e-commerce development in Southeast Asia

Lazada Group announced on November 5 that it will assist the development of 8 million e-commerce entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia by 2030.

It plans to create an inclusive and sustainable e-commerce ecosystem in the region and champion opportunities in technology and logistics infrastructure to benefit its ecosystem of sellers, consumers and local communities.

Lazada said it will support regional SMEs in business digitalization and access to Internet-savvy and mobile consumers, help its sellers create their own brands on the company's platform, and facilitate the goods transfer in and among Southeast Asian countries with the company's logistics network.

According to Pierre Poignant, Lazada Group's Executive President, through technology powered by data and insights, Lazada enables small businesses to connect with their shoppers through a trusted platform, providing them the opportunities to build their businesses and tap into the vast potential of Southeast Asia.

Lazada was launched in 2012 and operates an online e-commerce platform in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam at present.

The products on Lazada's platform range from beauty, fashion, consumer electronics to household goods, toys, sports equipment and groceries.

On the day, the company announced the Lazada 11.11 Shopping Festival, its biggest one-day sale on Nov. 11, with plenty of entertainment, celebrity interactions and shopping deals and discounts.

Hanoi targets to be national logistics service hub

A series of measures have been proposed at a recent workshop in Hanoi, aiming to turn the capital city into a logistics centre of the nation in the future.

Experts said that it is necessary to devise specific policies and the Government’s decision on the development of logistics services in Hanoi. 

Accordingly, attention will be paid to developing urban logistics services in combination with building a smart city and promoting regional connection. Priority policies related to land fund and tax incentives are also needed for developing logistic infrastructure.

Participants said that barriers to the development of Hanoi's logistics industry are inadequate infrastructure; overlapping and unstable legal system for managing logistics activities; as well as unprofessional human resources. 

Nguyen Tuong, senior advisor of the Vietnam Logistics Association (VLA), suggested research on building service centres for gathering goods in suburban areas, then using small trucks to transport goods into the inner city, saying that this can solve traffic congestion and ensure safety in the inner city, especially in rush hours.

Hanoi’s river ports have not upheld their strength due to restriction on goods handling equipment and limited boat clearance (Duong bridge).

Participants said it is necessary to continue studying the development of inland waterway transportation service in connection with those in the region. 

According to the VLA, around 4,000 enterprises are involved in providing logistics services, of which, 1,300 enterprises are operating actively. Hanoi has about 1,000 firms operating in this field. 

Logistics service companies manly provide services related to transportation, warehouse, seaport, inland container depot, logistics services centres, cargo terminal, cargo handling, freight forwarding, shipping agent, customs agents, express delivery agents and other related services.

Covering an area of over 3,300 sq.m and with a population of over 8.2 million people, Hanoi is one of the country’s leading localities in FDI attraction. In the first eight months of 2018, Hanoi lured 5.93 billion USD in FDI.

Along with the synchronous infrastructure system, Hanoi is also the leading locality in promoting regional economic connection, and is home to many domestic and foreign logistics service companies.

With these factors, Hanoi is qualified for developing into a logistics service centre of the country, Tuong affirmed.

PV Power targets output of more than 5.6 billion kWh in Q4     

PetroVietnam Power Corporation (PV Power) targeted to reach a production output of more than 5.6 billion kWh in the last quarter of this year to fulfill the full year’s plan.

The company reported that it produced a total output of 16.038 billion kWh from January to the end of September, meeting 74 per cent of the plan for the full year.

PV Power’s electricity output mainly came from Ca Mau 1, Ca Mau 2, Nhon Trach 1, Nhon Trach 2 and Vung Ang 1 plants.

PV Power also owned Nam Cat, Hua Na and Dakdrinh hydroelectric plants.

PV Power said that it would continue to hasten capital divestment from inefficient projects.

After successfully organising an initial public offering in January, PV Power reported revenue and pre-tax profit of VND24.8 trillion (US$1.06 billion) and VND1.8 trillion, respectively in the first nine months of the year, equivalent to 106 per cent and 124 per cent of the annual plant.

It earned after-tax profit of VND1.4 trillion and contributed more than VND1 trillion to the State budget.

PV Power produces around 10 per cent of Viet Nam’s total power output.

REE fined for dozens of billions dong

Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corporation (REE), with Jardine Cycle & Carriage (JC&C), a regional multi-industry business group established nearly 120 years ago holding a 23 per cent stake, will have to pay more than VND10.38 billion ($451,300) after tax inspections between 2015 and 2017.

On October 26, 2018, the General Department of Taxation has just issued the decision to penalise REE after a tax inspection of the years 2015, 2016, and 2017.

The total amount of retrospectively collected tax and fines for administrative violations and late payment fees exceed VND10.38 billion ($451,300). Of this, the total amount of tax arrears is nearly VND8.19 billion ($356,100), including VND597 million ($26,000) of value-added tax in 2015-2016 and VND7.59 billion ($330,000) of corporate income tax in 2016-2017.

Additionally, a penalty of VND1.638 billion ($71,220) was issued for wrongful declaration, including VND119.6 million ($5,200) for value-added tax and VND1.528 billion ($66,400) for corporate income tax.

As of October 15, 2018, REE also accumulated a fine of around VND560 million ($24,350) in late payment fee. The corporation will also have to calculate and pay further charges for delayed payment after this date.

REE has received investment from Jardine Cycle & Carriage (JC&C), a regional multi-industry business group established nearly 120 years ago. In Vietnam, JC&C holds 25 per cent in Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO), 23 per cent of REE, and 10.62 per cent of Vietnam Diary Product JSC (VNM).

EuroCham to celebrate 20 years in Vietnam soon

The European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), which represents over 1,000 investors, will hold a special Gala Dinner & Business Awards on November 16, 2018 to celebrate two decades in Vietnam.

This prestigious black-tie event, taking place at the Gem Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, will include an audience of hundreds of business leaders, investors and ambassadors from across Europe and Vietnam.

On top of fine food and beverage, live entertainment and special guest speakers, the event will also include EuroCham’s first-ever Business Awards. Hundreds of companies from all sectors have entered the competition, hoping to win one of five awards up for grabs:

• Business Excellence: This award will recognise the business that has shown long-term growth and success, been a model of responsible and profitable business and made a real contribution to Vietnam over the last two decades.

• Entrepreneurship: This award will recognise the business that has been the most innovative, creative, disruptive and competitive, and overcome challenges to become successful in Vietnam.

• Alumni: This award will recognise a Vietnamese citizen who has made the biggest contribution to Vietnam after being educated in Europe.

• Best Start-Up: Vietnam is a magnet for start-up companies. This award will recognise the most innovative, enterprising and forward-thinking new European companies in Vietnam.

• Sustainability Initiatives: This award will recognise the business that has done the most to adopt sustainable practices and reduce its environmental impact in Vietnam.

An independent panel of judges will draw up a shortlist from the hundreds of nominated companies and individuals, and the winner of each award will be announced on the night.

The EuroCham Gala Dinner & Business Awards is a chance to rub shoulders with some of the biggest and most innovative business leaders and investors in Vietnam, including many of EuroCham’s one thousand members.

And with the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement set to be ratified soon – opening the door to huge new trade and investment opportunities – it has never been so important to build new bridges between the domestic and international business communities.

The EuroCham Gala Dinner is the perfect chance to make new connections ahead of this historic trade deal coming into force.

Formed in 1998 with just 60 members, the Chamber now represents over 1,000 investors, business leaders and companies – including some of the world’s leading enterprises in all sectors and industries – making it one of the largest foreign business association in Asia.

With offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and regional Chapters in Central, North-eastern and South-eastern Vietnam, EuroCham’s mission is to represent the business interests of its members and to improve the trade and investment environment in Vietnam, for the benefit of all.

Over the last two decades, EuroCham has become an essential bridge between Europe and Vietnam, helping to build new relationships between the domestic and foreign business communities, representing the voice of businesses to the government of Vietnam and the highest levels of decision-making in Europe.

In recognition of this important work, EuroCham has received a number of honours, including a Certificate of Merit from the Vietnamese Prime Minister at the conference on ‘30 Years of Foreign Direct Investment’ in Hanoi last month.

The chamber is also a proactive member of the Advisory Council for Administrative Procedures Reform (ACAPR), under the direction of the Prime Minister, as well as the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF), helping to streamline and reform Vietnam’s legal framework.

EuroCham also published the 10th edition of its Whitebook in 2018, marking a decade of positive efforts to improve the trade and investment environment for domestic and foreign companies alike.

CharS Foundation teams up with CAN and Coin Swap

The CharS Foundation, a member of South Korea’s Global E-Detail Co. (GED), and the Hong Kong-based coin exchanges CAN and Coin Swap announced the launch of free phone charging services for the Lotteria fast food restaurant system worldwide, including 250 outlets in Vietnam, at a signing ceremony held in Ho Chi Minh City recently.

The free charging service provides convenient free charging to customers who need to recharge their smart devices and contributes to creating social value. Profit generated through a coupon and advertising service automatically sent to users’ mobile phones while charging is additionally provided for social contributions and donations. Customers can automatically participate in these activities simply by charging their phones.

The technology and commercial value of introducing a method of providing a charging service using the Lotteria app and Lotteria Vietnam, the top franchise in Vietnam, has also been recognized. Through the World Media&Trading, the CharS Foundation’s on-site agent, the CharS charging service will be provided at 250 Lotteria outlets throughout Vietnam, increasing service levels such as customer satisfaction and convenience.

The foundation has also successfully completed a strategic partnership memorandum of agreement (MoA) with global coin exchanges CAN and Coin Swap. CAN provides advertisement-based wi-fi services on railways throughout Hong Kong and China.

Through this partnership, the CharS Foundation, CAN and Coin Swap are receiving attention in the rapidly growing global mobile advertisement market through an independent mobile ad platform featuring a charging ad service and wi-fi ad service, and are presenting a new paradigm in the global advertising market.

Vietnam holds potential in urban branded residences

Recent studies by Savills Hotels Asia Pacific (APAC) have found that almost 74 per cent of branded residences globally are located in urban areas, while the vast majority of mixed-use residential and hospitality products in Vietnam are located in coastal areas and are defined as condotels.

“Urban branded residences are typically a residential product that offers hotel-like facilities and services to residents,” Mr. Mauro Gasparotti, Director of Savills Hotels APAC, told a seminar on the urban branded residence model held last week in Ho Chi Minh City. “They are typically associated with a third-party brand, which could be hotel brands such as Ritz Carlton or Mandarin Oriental but also non-hotel brands such as Porsche or Aston Martin.”

It has been reported that there are more than 400 residential brands globally, of which 85 per cent are hotel brands. They all offer a superior set of facilities and services compared to more classical residences.

“We believe there is tremendous opportunity for developers to embrace this concept and apply it in urban cities, as competition in the residential sector will be fiercer and buyers increasingly demand alternative products,” said Mr. Gasparotti. “This trend has already grown rapidly in the US, Europe and other Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong and Thailand. Vietnam is on track to be the next country to see strong growth of this concept.”

“Urban branded residences usually have a different target client compared to condotels. They are proposed as lifestyle products and are usually less attractive for rental yield but focus on a longer-term value proposition and capital gain. Compared to other countries, Vietnam is currently offering considerably higher guaranteed returns which, in certain cases, will be challenging to deliver if only unit rental revenue is relied upon. We strongly advise developers to conceptualize products that deliver quality and long-term value to buyers instead of short-term rental gain.”

Branded residences are attractive through offering the value add of a brand and enhancing the experience for the home owner. The engagement of a brand ensures quality in design, security and high-level services.

“We believe creative and unique design can add significant value to all aspects of a branded residence project,” said Mr. Andrew Pang, Managing Director Asia Pacific of Yoo Asia Ltd. “Yoo’s aim is try to improve the quality of people’s lives through design, whether it is a residence or a hotel room. Design is a platform that can heighten the sense of enjoyment of residence owners as well as hotels guests.”

There are several types of branded residences that can be standalone residential buildings or mixed-use developments. In a mixed-use development, in most cases, the residences are integrated with a hotel component in the same location.

“Hotel brands can add significant value to residential components of mixed-use developments,” said Mr. Karan Kaul, Assistant Vice President of the Langham Hospitality Group. “It is a win-win framework whereby buyers receive the exclusivity of the brand design and amenities from the hotel as well as the possible benefits of a rental pool and professional management.”

The branded residence model is a good development concept in emerging markets with immature residential property sectors, through offering more competitive products. However, it requires a thorough understanding of the concept and structure among involved parties.


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