BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 23/11

Third VietBuild Hanoi to host nearly 1,500 booths

The Vietbuild Hanoi 2018 International Exhibition (third edition) is set to take place at the National Exhibition Construction Centre and Hanoi Museum in the capital city from November 23 to 27.

It features 1,500 booths run by nearly 400 companies, with increasing participation from foreign-invested firms.

On display are new products and advanced technologies in real estate, interior and exterior decoration and construction and building materials.  

In addition, an exchange programme will be arranged in the event, allowing businesses to transfer technology and share experience in the field, along with boosting financial investment and connectivity. 

Visitors to the event will also receive consultations on building materials and property services.

This year, Vietbuild has been held in Hanoi three times. The first took place from March 28 to April 1 with 1,700 pavilions featuring nearly 500 businesses from 18 countries. The second was held in the capital city on September 6-10.

The event was also held in Da Nang, Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City earlier this year.

Bamboo Airways and Petrolimex’s subsidiaries sign MoU     

Ninh Thuan steps up implementation of wind power projects, EVN accelerating electricity projects to ensure supply for next year, New airline to debut early next year, Vietnam reduces securities business requirements: Brokerage

Bamboo Airways Company Limited, a member of FLC Group, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for co-operation with the Petrolimex Insurance Company (PJICO) and Petrolimex Aviation Fuel Joint Stock Company.

The MoU was signed last week in the central province of Thanh Hoa.

Under the terms, Bamboo Airways would give priority to use non-life insurance products of PJICO such as airplane insurance, airline liability insurance, machinery insurance and others as well as aviation fuel of Petrolimex. Meanwhile, the two subsidiaries of Petrolimex would give priorities to use airlines services of Bamboo.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Pham Van Thanh, Petrolimex’s chairman, said Petrolimex has been a member of the Joint Inspection Group (JIG), the world-leading organisation for the development of aviation fuel supply standards.

"We committed to provide preferential to Bamboo Airways in its earlier development period of at least 3 to 5 years," Thanh said.

Trinh Van Quyet, FLC’s chairman, said the co-operation is potential for the two sides in providing aviation fuel and insurance for their development.

Nguyen Quang Dung, deputy general director of Petrolimex, suggested establishing a working team including representatives from the companies to have deep understanding on different sectors of the two sides including petroleum, aviation, resort and agriculture as a foundation for comprehensive co-operation in the upcoming time.

Bamboo Airways hopes to have its first flight on December 29 then deploying 10 aircrafts at 12 domestic airports.

It would increase the number of aircrafts to 20 at 25 airports in the first quarter of 2019 and opening international routes in the same year.

SOE equitisation moves slower than expected     

The equitisation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) is unlikely to meet this year’s target, as only 11 SOEs had completed the process by the end of September.

Viet Nam plans to complete the equitisation of 85 SOEs this year, 64 of which are large companies.

This information was released by Dang Quyet Tien, director general of the Ministry of Finance’s Corporate Finance Department, during a meeting in Ha Noi on Monday.

“According to the initial plan, in 2018, HCM City had to equitise 39 enterprises, while the figure for Ha Noi was 11, but not a single firm from either city has been equitised yet,” Tien told the meeting.

Regarding State capital divestment, Tien said the divestment process during the first nine months was also sluggish and might fail to meet their goals for the year.

“Under the plan, there were 135 SOEs that had to undergo the divestment process in 2017 and 181 in 2018,” he said. “However, the State has divested capital from only 31 firms, 13 of which conducted the process in 2017 and 18 of which did so in 2018.”

The country reaped VND5.06 trillion (US$216 million) from 18 SOEs in the first six months of this year.

Tien also pointed out the units that did not complete divestment in 2017. Incomplete processes included the divestment of the Ministry of Industry and Trade from the Viet Nam Engine and Agricultural Machinery Corporation with a total divestment value of VND7 trillion, the divestment of the Ministry of Health from the Viet Nam Pharmaceutical Corporation with a value of VND829 billion and the divestment of the Ministry of Construction from eight enterprises with a total value of VND2.4 trillion.

Tien attributed the delay of SOEs equitisation and State capital divestment to inadequate measures from the ministries, branches and localities involved in the process.

“The firms’ leaders’ hesitation and lack of assertiveness are the cause,” he said, adding that the economy’s capacity to absorb capital of businesses remains weak.

Equitisation and divestment encountered many obstacles, notably the influence of interest groups and difficulties in the search for consultants, enterprise evaluations and approval of land use plans and complicated pre-equitised auditing processes of big corporations.

Authorities need to strengthen inspection and supervision, as well as sanction leaders of delaying SOEs. It is also necessary to revise the list of SOEs awaiting equitisation and divestment and urge them to follow the plan, said Nguyen Hong Long, deputy head of the Government’s Steering Committee for Enterprise Renovation and Development.

If enterprises registered to equitise in 2017 but fail to do in 2018, Long said, they should be transferred to the State Capital Investment Corporation, the Government agency that oversees most SOEs. 

MoMo shoulders mounting losses for larger market share

The accumulated losses of MoMo, the e-wallet and payment app of M-Service JSC, has increased to nearly VND600 billion ($26 million), catching up to Tiki and Shopee.

In order to ride the waves of the non-cash payment trends, intermediate payment services and e-wallets have received great investments recently. MoMo is one of the first e-wallets in the market, and as such has received ample investment.

E-payment is quite a promising sector, but it seems to “burn” a great deal of money to lure in new clients and launch promotion campaigns for competition.

Thus, as MoMo develops and expands, the more losses it has to suffer. The company’s losses rose to VND243 billion ($10.6 million) in 2017 adding to the VND147 billion ($6.4 million) in 2016 and VND43 billion ($1.87 million) in 2014. Thereby, as of the end of 2017, MoMo’s accumulated losses stood at VND566 billion ($24.6 million), equivalent to the losses of Tiki and close to Shopee.

In 2017, MoMo’s revenue was VND1.734 trillion ($75.4 million), but gross profit was only VND34 billion ($1.48 million), which resulted in a 2.1 per cent gross profit margin, while it spent approximately VND300 billion ($13 million) on sales and management costs. Thereby, with the modest revenue and low profit margin, MoMo will not be able to turn profit in the short term.

One of MoMo’s disadvantages compared to competitors is that it does not belong to any large retail system, so it has to build and maintain its own user database. Meanwhile, its competitor Zalo Pay is developed by VNG Corporation, which has an established online gaming system, social network Zalo, and affiliated company Tiki.vn, while AirPay has access to the database of SEA (Garena) Corporation, including its online gaming system, e-commerce platform Shopee, and food delivery application Now.

Thus, as opposed to MoMo, some of e-wallet companies, such as Payoo and AirPay, have managed to turn profit. In 2017, the revenue of Vietnam Esports JSC, the developer of AirPay, was nearly VND4.2 trillion ($182.6 million) and its pre-tax profit was VND67 billion ($2.9 million).

Although the losses are increasing, MoMo receives ample investment. In 2013, MoMo mobilized $5.75 million from Goldman Sachs and another $28 million from Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE).

Since early 2018, MoMo seems to receive investments from foreign investors as is apparent from the several instances its business registration was changed, increasing charter capital from VND69 billion ($3 million) to VND112 billion ($4.87 million).

At the end of 2017, foreign investors held only 44 per cent of MoMo’s charter capital. However, by now, this ratio has increased to 64 per cent with some new names like Ganymede Holdings B.V and E-Mobile VN Investments I.

Uncertain funding at Vinaconex auction

Three companies and one individual registered to buy the entire share volume put on offer by Vietnam Construction and Import-Export JSC (Vinaconex) that is valued at VND5.4 trillion ($234.7 million). However, it remains an enigma where the capital for the deal will come from.

On November 22, the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) will put its entire stake, equivalent to nearly 254.9 million shares or 57.71 per cent of Vinaconex’s charter capital, on sale with the initial price of VND21,300 apiece. SCIC expects to acquire VND5.43 trillion ($236.08 million) from the sale.

Domestic and foreign investors and financial intermediaries will be invited to bid for the shares. Financial intermediaries will need to divulge the number of foreign investors they represent as well as the number of shares purchased to ensure foreign investment caps are adhered to.

The foreign ownership limit in Vinaconex is 49 per cent.

On November 15, the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) released the names of three companies and one individual registering to join the auction for Vinaconex. They are Star Invest Co., Ltd., An Quy Hung Limited Company, Thang Long Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Company (TJC), and individual Nguyen Van Dong.

However, it remains a question how these investors are planning to mobilise the VND5.4 trillion ($234.7 million) capital for the auction as their companies seem to be far too small for the task.

First of all, Star Invest has just been established on November 9 with the charter capital of VND200 billion ($8.6 million). The director, Dang The Anh, is only 33 years old.

An Quy Hung, established in 2001, has the charter capital of VND360 billion ($15.6 million). The company has total assets of VND1 trillion. In 2017, it reported VND956 billion ($41.56 million) in net revenue and VND62.4 billion in after-tax profit.

TJC was established in 2008 with the charter capital of VND250 billion ($10.8 million). By the end of 2017, TJC had an asset value of VND257 billion ($11.1 million). Its net revenue reached VND2 billion ($85,837) while it reported an accumulated loss of VND2.8 billion ($120,172) – all numbers far below the trillion-dong threshold.

Additionally, it is part of a joint venture that will co-operate with Airport Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) to invest and construct the new terminal T4 for Tan Son Nhat International Airport, which will require immense capital.

The Danang International Terminal Investment and Exploitation Joint Stock Company (AHT) – TJC alliance will partner up with ACV to launch a project company to construct the terminal with the investment capital of some VND4 trillion ($177 million). Besides, the Ministry of Transport also approved TJC to develop the parking area and commercial service centre for Noi Bai International Airport. However, there is no updated information about these two projects. All these mega infrastructure projects will cost a pretty penny for TJC, and it is questionable where the company will find the capital to execute all these engagements.

The only individual Nguyen Van Dong registered to buy entire share volume on offer, suggesting he’s got some very deep pockets.

An Phat, PVTEX introduce new product at Dinh Vu plant

An Phat Holdings JSC (APH), An Son Textile Fiber JSC and PetroVietnam’s Petrochemical and Textile Fiber Joint-Stock Company (PVTEX) officially introduced the new AnPoly yarn at Dinh Vu polyester fibre plant on November 16, paving the way to re-opening the whole plant in 2019.

AnPoly, a draw textured yarn, is the first achievement of cooperation in the process of re-opening the plant. The plant, located in the northern Hai Phong port city was one of 12 loss-making projects under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

It is expected the plant will reach a capacity of 400 tonnes of AnPoly yarn per month to service the local garment market and export to Japan, the Republic of Korea and Pakistan.

During the ceremony, APH and An Son signed a contract to supply the yarn to Hop Long Company Limited.

The launch marked a new development period for the plant since its cooperation with An Phat Holdings JSC and An Son Textile Fiber JSC. Experts from Singapore and India as well as An Son’s team worked at the plant to provide financial support, production planning, machine maintenance and workforce training.

The parties plan to increase the number of manufacturing lines to 10 and bring capacity to 700-750 tonnes per month by the end of this quarter.

Furthermore, the operators plan to re-open the remaining workshops and start manufacturing polyester staple fibre (PSF) on total 29 production lines with a capacity of 1,800 tonnes per month in the first quarter of 2019. In addition, they will be active in negotiating to restart the rest of the plant next year.

PVTEX, a subsidiary of PetroVietnam with a total investment capital of 325 million USD, started commercial operations in May 2014 with a capacity of 236 tonnes of fibre per day, reaching 48 percent of the designed capacity.

The plant halted operations in September 2015 owing to a huge loss of 1.26 trillion VND (55.3 million USD) and negative equity of 504 billion VND.

It was scheduled to restart in 2016 but failed to do so. Authorities would have considered bankruptcy if the equitisation of the enterprise had been unsuccessful.

PVTEX and APH signed a memorandum of co-operation on producing and trading Dinh Vu polyester fibre on April 27.

New airline to debut early next year

A representative of the FLC economic group has announced that its Bamboo Airway is completing the final preparations for its debut early next year.

FLC President Trinh Van Quyet expressed his belief that with the current pace of work, Bamboo Airway is sure to start its operation and services during the coming traditional lunar New Year, the most important and longest annual festival in Vietnam, which will fall in early February 2019. The sale of the tickets can be started right within this month, he stressed.

The company further reveals that it is leasing a brand-new A321neo plane. The Airbus-produced aircraft will undergo ground technical checks on December 21 and have a test fly on December 28 in Hamburg, Germany.

Besides its new office in Hanoi, Bamboo Airway is also running another in Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City in the south to facilitate its transactions. Moreover, it has signed cooperation agreements to provide its services with a series of agents travel companies throughout the country.

Having a capital of 1.3 trillion VND (over 56.237 million USD), Bamboo Airway is the fifth airlines in Vietnam.

Int’l economic forum to discuss innovation

Building Ho Chi Minh City into an innovative business hub in the Southeast Asian region will top the agenda of the HCM City Economic Forum to be held in the city on November 23.

The forum, with the theme “Fostering Interactive and Innovative Districts: the Prominent Role of Businesses”, will focus on the transformation of the city’s eastern area, including districts 2, 9 and Thu Duc, into an innovative hub.

More than 600 local and international experts, scientists, academics and representatives from local and foreign businesses are expected to participate in the two-day event, the first of its kind organised by the city government. Key leaders from the Government and State agencies will also attend the event.

The event will discuss the role of businesses, especially start-ups, in building an innovative and competitive city.

Speaking at a press conference in the city on November 14, Chu Tien Dung, Chairman of the HCM City Union of Business Association (HUBA), said: “The city will continue to foster its sustainable development by improving growth quality and competitiveness through healthy economic restructuring.”

Dung said the city would ensure a favourable business environment for enterprises, encouraging start-ups, innovation and smart-city measures.

The forum will feature speakers from respected companies, organisations and educational institutions around the world.

“The city will also introduce a project to develop the eastern part of the city into an innovative urban area, which will be discussed at the forum,” Dung said.

The event is expected to connect Vietnamese businesses with investors in many fields from other countries.

Pham Tran Thanh Thao, an assistant to the director of the city’s Department of External Relations, said: “International cooperation plays a key role in developing HCM City into an innovative and sustainable hub."

“With a focus on a knowledge-based economy, HCM City wants to receive opinions from the forum and seek cooperation from foreign investors,” she added.

The forum, organised by HUBA and the HCM City Department of External Relations, will discuss how HCM City can learn from innovative urban areas that are contributing to sustainable development. 

The forum will also include input from experts, businesses and investors on measures for enhanced connections between enterprises, research institutes and the Government.

The event is expected to be held annually to discuss HCM City’s progress in applying innovative and sustainable development.

Mitsubishi targets full-scale production in Vietnam

Mitsubishi considers Vietnam a very important market in Southeast Asia.
Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors planned to expand beyond vehicle assembly in Vietnam and move to full-scale local production, including procuring parts from within the country, Nikkei Asian Review reported. 

The move came as the Japanese automaker commits to enhance its already considerable presence in Southeast Asia. 

“To be a true winner, we must develop production and exports to certain levels in each country”, Osamu Masuko, CEO of Mitsubishi was quoted by Nikkei Asian Review as saying. 

The automaker operates an assembly plant in Vietnam jointly with the trading house Mitsubishi Corp. But the Vietnamese operations will not be limited to assembling modules in a "knock-down kit" production method, Masuko said. Sourcing more materials locally would let the company handle more upstream processes for components.

Previously, a source at Misubishi Motors Vietnam confirmed with Hanoitimes that it aimed to expand local production in Vietnam since the company considers Vietnam a very important market in Southeast Asia, alongside the  markets of Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

"We are currently studying the potential and ways to contribute to the development of the country's auto industry," added the source. However, regarding the second automobile plant, Mitsubishi Motors declined to comment as no details have been decided to date.

The reported US$250-million plant with a designed capacity of 30,000-50,000 vehicles a year is expected to meet the strongly growing demand in Vietnam as well as to expand the group's presence in the region.

In the meantime and in the near future, Mitsubishi Motors will focus on its current factory in Binh Duong. The group is now assembling cars of Outlander brand "as we continuously make remarkable steps to reaffirm our long-term commitment to Vietnam."

Mitsubishi Vietnam's first plant in the southern province of Binh Duong has an annual capacity of 5,000 automobiles.

Southeast Asia serves as a stronghold for Mitsubishi Motors, accounting for one-fifth of the group's revenue and sales volume in fiscal 2017. Revenue from the region jumped 45% for the year to 506.2 billion yen ($4.45 billion) while unit sales grew 33% to 275,000.

In a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue late August, Mitsubishi’s Executive Vice President Hiroshima Sakuma said the company planned to invest in an electric car manufacturing factory in Vietnam, adding that the automaker is evaluating the feasibility of the project.

Central province aims to commission solar power plants next year

The central coastal province of Khanh Hoa is striving to bring the solar power plants in its territory to operation in 2019, according to local authorities.

The province is now home to nine projects of this kind, with a combined capital of 13,020 billion VND (over 563.20 million USD) and a total capacity of 565 MW. They are built on a total area of nearly 800 hectares, scattering over the province.

The provincial People’s Committee recently announced that it has publicized a list of some 30 places covering more than 2,100 hectares for investment studies for solar power projects. Among the places, 22 have been registered with a combined capacity of 1,200 MW and are waiting for approval from the central authorities, and the rest are calling for investment.

Khanh Hoa province has a natural area of over 5,190 square kilometres, with an annual average of 2,600 hours of the Sun and an annual average temperature of 26.7 degrees Celsius. Cam Ranh city and Cam Lam district in the province are described by experts as the most suitable places for developing solar power generation.

EVN accelerating electricity projects to ensure supply for next year

The Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) has announced that it will accelerate its projects within this year to ensure electricity supply for 2019, thus meeting rising demand for energy in service of the national development as well as that by foreign investors.

The projects include the 220kV transformer stations in Luu Xa, Quynh Luu and Quang Chau, along with the Binh Long – Tay Ninh 220kV line, among others. At the same time, the group will hand over the site for the construction of a 500kV line.

The EVN is striving to start the operation of the South Saigon – Precinct 8 220kV line within this month.

As for the equitization, the group is completing its procedures to turn its affiliate Electricity Generation Corporation 3 (EVNGENCO3) into a shareholding one, along with the steps to do the same with the EVNGENCO2 and EVNGENCO1 after the guidelines of the Prime Minister and the committee on the management of the State capital at enterprises. It will, at the same time, also continue divesting from five shareholding companies.

Ensuring sufficient supply of electricity at reasonable prices is posing a headache to relevant authorities, as the country is in constant need for this form of energy in service of its national development. This is also a top demand by foreign investors who are operating their factories in Vietnam.

Sunjin opens fourth animal feed factory in Vietnam

Sunjin Group from the Republic of Korea inaugurated its new animal feed factory at Dong Van IV Industrial Park, in Kim Bang district, the northern province of Ha Nam last week.

The 4.4-hectare factory, the Sunjin’s fourth facility in Vietnam, has a total investment of 25 million USD. It is capable of producing 240,000 tonnes of animal feeds annually.

Sunjin Group started its animal feed business in Vietnam in 2004, said the group’s President Lee Bum Kwon at the launching ceremony.

The new facility will provide a completely different solution for animal breeding as it fixes challenges in feeding piglets, he noted.

Sunjin Group will make the greatest effort to help Vietnamese livestock breeders and its partners develop by improving the local livestock industry’s competitive edges, he pledged.

Vice Chairman of the Ha Nam People’s Committee Truong Quoc Huy, for his part, said he expects that when Sunjin F&F animal feed factory is put into operation, it will meet the rising demand of the market, and contribute to the development of not only the domestic animal breeding sector but also that of the province.

Huy asked the provincial management board of industrial parks and related departments and agencies to provide continued support for the group’s operation.

Vietnam is currently ASEAN’s biggest animal feed producer and the tenth biggest in the world, according to the Husbandry Department, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

The country’s animal feed sector maintained two-digit growth in the past two decades, with the output jumping from 400,000 tonnes in 1993 to more than 23 million tonnes in 2016. 

The industry is highly attractive to foreign investors, who are steadily expanding their production.

US-owned Cargill last month opened a 28-million-USD plant in Binh Duong province that can produce 240,000 tonnes of poultry and swine feed annually. Cargill is one of the five biggest players in the sector with 12 facilities across the country with a total capacity of 1.8 million tonnes a year.

In September, the RoK’s CJ Group launched its sixth feed production plant in the central province of Binh Thuan at a cost of 13.6 million USD and capacity of 72,000 tonnes per year.

In June, Mavin Group opened its fifth plant in Dong Thap province, the largest and most advanced in the Mekong Delta. It has an annual capacity of over 400,000 tonnes and cost 30 million USD. 

Ninh Thuan steps up implementation of wind power projects

The central coastal province of Ninh Thuan is speeding up the implementation of wind power projects to soon connect them to the national grid and generate electricity as an effort to turn the locality into a renewable energy hub of Vietnam.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham Van Hau said that the province has created the most favourable conditions for investors.

It has directed relevant departments and sectors and local authorities to help investors, especially in land clearance and social security and order, in order to ensure the wind power projects are carried out on scheduled.

Accordingly, investors will be exempted from land rent during the implementation of projects and benefit from corporate income tax rate of 10 percent. The corporate income tax will be exempted in four years and cut by half in the nine following years. Additionally, their projects will also be exempted from tariffs on imported goods.

In addition, the committee has also intensified inspections over the implementation of the projects.

Hau said that the province has 16 wind power projects approved by the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Industry and Trade so far. Among them, 12 received licences with combined capacity of over 748 MW and a total registered capital of more than 22.57 trillion VND (969.4 million USD). 

As scheduled, more than 82MW of wind power from plants in Dam Nai (second stage), Mui Dinh, and Trung Nam will be added to the national grid late this year. 

Ninh Thuan is expected to attract investment in wind power projects with a total capacity of 1,429 MW and solar power projects with a total capacity of 3,912MW between now and 2030.

Medical alliance rolled out in Danang to assist physicians

A new medical alliance, known as HMG, was rolled out on November 14 in the central coastal city of Danang to enhance the quality and efficiency of healthcare services and contribute to regional medical research and training.

The first five members of the alliance are Homecares, iKure, INNOTEK, Job Links and AT Group. Of these, the startup company Homecares will serve as a medical service provider in the city.

According to Bui Thi Huong Giang, founder of AT Group, the alliance was set up to offer various healthcare packages to four main groups: hospitals, physicians, clinics and patients.

HMG prioritizes doctors, stated Giang, adding that joint medical services and remote healthcare check-ups and treatment technologies will help doctors see more patients per day, thus increasing the capacity and quality of medical check-ups and treatment.

Commenting on the launch, Nguyen Xuan Quyet, general director of JobLinks, said his firm was in charge of providing personnel and training services for healthcare staff as a member of HMG.

The alliance looks to offer healthcare check-ups and treatment services to some 500,000 patients in cooperation with hospitals, medical centers and individual customers. In addition, HMG’s members have called on more enterprises to invest in the alliance to form a medical ecosystem in the country.

India-based firm iKure said its participation in HMG marked its first entry into the Vietnamese market to supply smart medical products.

Meanwhile, HMG is set to organize various events in Hanoi, HCMC and Can Tho City to promote itself and call for more investors to join the alliance.

Local firm introduces smart security equipment

Le Phat Commercial Service Manufacturing Co., Ltd, on November 14 launched smart security equipment, branded Pilass and manufactured with the application of artificial intelligence technology.

The Pilass product is the first locally made smart security equipment, using an open-circuit television surveillance camera. The new equipment, whose operation is based on Google maps, is useful for surveying chain systems, such as store chains, company chains and bank chains, and traffic and for capturing images of license plates. The Pilass product also features entertainment functions, such as the ability to download programs from TV channels, YouTube videos, films, music and games with no limits and no additional fees.

Pilass includes various product lines with smart security equipment, including the Smart Network Video Recorder (SNVR), with AES 256-bit and SSL 128-bit encryptions. The equipment is designed to ensure safety and prevent illegal entry or data theft.

The SNVR supports recording and helps transfer data from recorders at branches to the headquarters for storage and surveillance. Users can remotely view images captured on these cameras over the internet, with a speed of 100%, without needing to open a port. The SNVR product range has two lines: SNVR-C, used for surveillance systems in houses, and SNVR-S, used for chain systems.

G7 Taxi hits Hanoi streets

G7 Taxi has been launched in Hanoi, where it will develop its brand in cooperation with other taxi companies rather than purchasing its own vehicles.

It has already signed contracts with three of the largest taxi companies in the capital: Thanh Cong Taxi, Ba Sao Taxi, and Sao Hanoi Taxi, under which their vehicles will operate under the G7 Taxi brand.

G7 taxis offer a competitive rate, from just VND9,900 ($0.42) per km, which does not increase during peak hour. The rate is the lowest on average in Hanoi at the moment and much lower than Grab Taxi’s rate at off-peak times. Customers will only have to wait two minutes for a taxi to arrive, Mr. Nguyen Anh Quan, CEO of G7 Taxi, told the opening ceremony.

In cooperating with the three taxi companies and about 3,000 cars, G7 Taxi will have the largest fleet in the capital. Taxis can be hailed using modern technology, with customers simply downloading the app, or on the street.

There are about 70 traditional taxi companies in Hanoi with about 17,000 cars, Mr. Quan added. Few have more than 1,000 cars, however, which has resulted in them being locked in fierce competition with Grab Taxi in recent years. Traditional taxis therefore not only have to change by investing in technology and services but must also to find new operational models to survive.

Mr. Quan expressed his ambition of G7 Taxi becoming the largest taxi brand in Vietnam within two years by cooperating with all traditional taxi companies around the country.

Dong Thap catfish farms near annual target

Dong Thap province, the Mekong Delta’s largest tra fish producer, has more than 2,200ha of aquaculture farms breeding the fish and they have produced about 438,000 tonnes so far this year, equivalent to almost the full-year target.

More than 2,000ha of farms breed for export.

Nguyen Van Cong, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province is developing concentrated large-scale tra fish farming areas.  

It is also establishing co-operatives and co-operative teams for tra farmers to ensure they maintain high quality, he said.

It is also fostering cooperation between farmers and processors in all stages from producing fry for breeding, raising the fish and processing them for exports.

About 700ha of farms have received quality certification like VietGAP, GlobalGAP, Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Best Aquaculture Practices.

The province has issued identification numbers to ponds belonging to 349 tra breeders with a total of 1,500ha to ensure traceability for exports.

The province targets production of 455,000 tonnes this year, according to the department.

The province will produce 700 million high-quality tra fish fingerlings a year from now to 2020, meeting 50 percent of local demand, its People’s Committee said.

The number will increase to 1.5 billion in 2021-25, meeting 100 percent of the demand.   

These targets are part of the province’s plan to produce tra fry under a three-tier cooperation project approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development last March.

The first tier comprises research institutes and universities that use advanced techniques in choosing breeding pairs, innovate breeding techniques and transfer them to the second tier.

The second tier comprises Government-owned and private tra fry production centres, while the third is made up of establishments that raise the fish until they reach the fingerling stage.  

In 2018-20, the province will select four to five entities from the second tier to produce quality fry.

This will also help trace the origin of tra fry and provide high-quality fry for commercial production.

The province plans to establish four concentrated juvenile tra production areas on a total area of 400ha in Hong Ngu, Chau Thanh and Cao Lanh districts, and Hong Ngu town.

It will invest in infrastructure and use advanced techniques to produce high-quality fry on an industrial scale.

The plan is expected to cost around 146 billion VND (6.3 million USD), with the funds coming from the central and local governments, loans and investments by organisations and breeders.

The province has 68 establishments that produce tra fry and 1,116 others that raise the newborns until they reach the fingerling stage.

The province produces some 1.3 billion tra fry and 1.2 billion fingerlings a year, which it supplies to local breeders and those around the delta. 

Best Vietnamese startups honoured

The automatic multi-channel selling project PowerSell has won the first prize of the “Startup Viet 2018”, an annual programme selecting the best startups in Vietnam.

A ceremony to honour outstanding startups was held by online newspaper VnExpress.net in Ho Chi Minh City on November 15.

The five shortlisted projects were chosen from more than 400 entries in the “Startup Viet 2018” programme.

The winner, PowerSell of the Datamart Vietnam Co. Ltd, provides an automatic multi-channel selling solution using big data analytics and artificial intelligence technology to support sellers on e-commerce platforms like Lazada, Shopee, Sendo, Haravan and Zalo.

A year after its debut, PowerSell now supports 4,000 sellers with 35,000 orders a day, and it plans to expand across Southeast Asia.

Organisers said the “Startup Viet 2018”, organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), aims to seek and nurture outstanding startups to help promote entrepreneurship.

The programme attracted entries from diverse areas like commerce, real estate, services, healthcare and education. It created a chance for startups to share ideas with one another as well as experts, advisors and investors, thereby forming mutual supporting relations.

Director of the MoST’s agency in the southern region Pham Xuan Da said the ministry pledges to be a companion to young businesses, especially by making favourable policies and helping them raise capital, to help build a strong startup community in Vietnam.

Investment attraction important to food processing industry: workshop

Attracting investment to expand production and upgrade technology is crucial in developing food processing, heard a workshop to promote investment in the industry held in Ho Chi Minh City on November 15 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Vietnam’s food processing industry has developed strongly in recent years. The country’s annual food consumption value is estimated at about 15 percent of the GDP, and in the last five years, processed food consumption has increased by 9.68 percent a year, and 6.66 percent for the consumption of beverages.

In the first 10 months of 2018, the production index of processed food and beverage industry had a year-on-year growth rate of some 8 percent.

Food and beverages account for the highest proportion in Vietnamese consumers’ monthly spending, at 35 percent.

These figures show Vietnam is a high potential consumer market for processed food and beverages.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the Government has prioritised the processing of agro-fishery-forestry products, with the focus on increasing the proportion of key farm produce and seafood and applying international standards in the production and processing.

Vietnam has also participated in international integration via the signing of economic deals with other countries, which have opened up a broad market for local enterprises, including those operating in food processing, Hai noted.

He added that agreements which soon come into effect such as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will help Vietnam’s products expand around the world.

Regarding investment policies, Vu Van Chung, deputy head of the Foreign Investment Department, stated that Vietnam had issued the Investment Law with numerous incentives for foreign investors.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has worked with the Ministries of Planning and Investment, and Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as local agencies to support investors who want to pour capital into the country’s food processing industry, Chung affirmed.

HCM City’s electronics production industry sees significant growth     

The production index of electronic goods for the first 10 months of the year increased by more than 17 per cent year-on-year, according to the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade.

The overall industrial production index (IIP) rose by 7.85 per cent.

The department attributed the growth to a stable consumption market and more investment in semiconductors, chip technology, and electronic boards.

Export turnover of computers, electronic products and components within the first 10 months reached $US7.94 billion, up 17.6 per cent year-on-year, accounting for more than 30 per cent of total export value excluding crude oil.

To compete with imports, enterprises in the field have invested in machinery and technology to produce products for supporting industries.

Despite positive results, Tran Quang Ha, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Industry Department, said that the supply capacity of enterprises in supporting industries was still limited.

Of 200 suppliers for Samsung, only 35 Vietnamese enterprises are level-1 suppliers, while the rest are mostly foreign enterprises.

Vietnamese enterprises mostly supply packaging with simple details.

Similarly, of 40 suppliers for Panasonic Viet Nam, only three are solely Vietnamese enterprises whose supply orders account for less than 10 per cent of the total value of input components.

Le Nguyen Duy Oanh, deputy director of the city’s Centre for Supporting Industry Development, stressed the importance of encouraging supporting enterprises to be deeply involved in the supply chain of FDI enterprises.

The city has created investment stimulus programmes to help enterprises invest in modern machinery and equipment, expand production, and improve quality of products, among other benefits.

The city has also connected enterprises with banks to resolve capital access for the industrial sector in general and supporting industries in particular.

Enteprises in supporting industry have been encouraged to take part in courses that train labourers and enhance their competitive advantage in the market.

Chau Ba Long, general director of Minh Nguyen Corporation, said that participation in Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) and other programmes had equipped his enterprises with more skills and that the company had become a level-1 supplier to Samsung.

As a partner of Samsung, the corporation has seen its revenue increase by 12 times, he said. 

‘Impact investing’ in VN creates social impact, financial growth
     
Investors, business and finance leaders, and representatives of family offices and foundations took part in a discussion in HCM City on Nov 16 on impact investing, which intends to create a positive social impact alongside financial returns.

The event, called “Impact Investing in Asia – a Diverse and Dynamic Market – Viet Nam,” brought together prominent members of the business, philanthropic and investing community to discuss the future of impact investing in Southeast Asia.

“The Australian Government is looking to build lasting partnerships with local, regional, and global impact investors that bring market-based approaches to solving the world’s most intractable development problems, particularly in addressing gender inequality,” said Rebecca Bryant, deputy head of Mission for the Australian Embassy in Viet Nam.

“If impact investors want to create a stronger social impact, reaching deeper into untapped markets of developing countries like Viet Nam, then they need to incorporate a gender lens into their investment strategy,” she added.

Over the past five years, the Asia Pacific region has been the fastest-growing impact investing market in the world.

Private impact investors (PIIs) and development finance institutions (DFIs) are drawn to the region, with especially high activity in the dynamic economies of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Viet Nam.

According to a recent Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) Intellecap report, Viet Nam has seen increasing market interest in impact investment, with nearly half of such impact deals made since 2015.

However, given limited seed-stage impact capital and few impact-focused intermediaries, sourcing investable deals remains challenging, the report said.

Overall, since 2007, 10 PIIs have deployed close to US$26 million into 23 deals.

Six DFIs made direct investments of some $1.4 billion into 50 deals over the same period.

Importantly, moving capital with a gender lens can support a significant underserved market and create additional social impacts, the report said.

Three PIIs have deployed $3.3 million into four gender lens investments.

The discussion on Friday featured an overview by the GIIN of the global and regional impact investing market; reflections on opportunities for impact investing from leading investors in Viet Nam; and a networking reception with peers from the Vietnamese impact investing and wider financial communities.

“Vietnam is a fast-emerging impact investing market, with nearly half the deals over the past decade taking place since 2015. Going forward, opportunities exist in financial services, healthcare and education, reflecting the need for investments in basic services for the local population,” GIIN Research Director Abhilash Mudaliar said.

“Promisingly, the government has created a series of incentives for firms to register as social enterprises and it will be important to continue to refine the regulation so that more start-ups are encouraged to do so,” he added.

The event was organised by Investing in Women, an Australian Government initiative, in partnership with the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), and co-hosted by Standard Chartered.

HCM City was one of several Southeast Asian cities to host these impact investing roadshows. Investing in Women recently sponsored events in Makiti City in the Philippines on November 12 and Jakarta, Indonesia on November 14. 

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