BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 11/12

Firms promote Vietnamese handicrafts in Italy

Nearly 40 Vietnamese firms are introducing their handicraft products like rattan, brocade and earthware items at the 2018 L'Artigiano in Fiera in Milan, Italy. 

The 23rd edition of the L’ Artigiano in Fiera takes place from December 1-9. It is an international industry event that’s been celebrating artisans across the world and their creations for more than 20 years. 

The event is also a rendezvous for Vietnamese handicraft businesses to promote their goods, such as rattan and bamboo products, brocades to international customers in recent years.

In addition, Vietnam’s conical hat is featured in the fair’s promotional video this year.

Trade Counsellor of the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy Nguyen Duc Thanh said the L'Artigiano in Fiera offers opportunities for Vietnamese firms to promote their products and study market demand, as well as learn experiences in production and design to meet the demand of consumers in Italy and other nations in Europe and the world.

Diego Sala, International Sales Manager of the event, voiced his hope to ink a memorandum of understanding with the trade office of the Embassy of Vietnam in Italy to jointly promote Vietnamese handicrafts and other staples of Vietnam like tea and coffee in the European country.

Statistics showed that in the first 10 months of 2018, trade value between Vietnam and Italy reached 3.87 billion USD, a rise of 3 percent year-on-year. Vietnam earned 2.4 billion USD from exports to Italy in the reviewed period. 

HCM City companies ensure supply of goods for Tet

Many businesses in Ho Chi Minh City have prepared more than enough goods at stable prices for the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, which falls on February 5.

Nguyen Ngoc An, General Director of Vissan Joint Stock Company, the country’s leading food producer, said the company began its plans for the year’s biggest holiday a few months ago.

The company would supply 3,200 tonnes of fresh meat and 2,800 tonnes of processed foods, 15-20 percent higher than for last Tet. It also planned to launch many new products this year, he said.

The Saigon Food Joint Stock Company has prepared more than 1,500 tonnes of products to serve customers on the country’s biggest holiday.

As usual, the company will also launch new products such as fresh porridge, nutritious fresh soup, hotpot sets and others.

Many poultry meat and egg suppliers, including Ba Huan and Vinh Thanh Dat, as well as confectionery producers also plan to increase supply.

Ba Huan JSC, for instance, will increase supply by 20 percent for the holiday season.

The company has increased productivity of its chicken farms for eggs and meat in Binh Duong and Long An provinces, and has sped up production of traditional sausage and other processed products to meet high demand during Tet.

Similarly, most confectionery producers plan to increase supply and offer products at a wide price range to meet varying tastes and budgets.

Bibica Corporation, one of the leading confectionery businesses in Vietnam, will supply 3,000 tonnes of confectionery, up 20 percent from the last Lunar New Year holiday.

Bibica is also set to launch many kinds of Tet gift boxes with unique and elegant designs.

The company said: “Confectionery prices will fluctuate this year, but more than 95 percent of our confectionery lines will remain unchanged, and prices will go up by 3-5 percent on the remaining products.”

Supermarkets, malls and convenience stores have also made plans for Tet, with many increasing supply two or three times over normal.

At a recent dialogue with the city Government, Nguyen Ngoc Dien, Saigon Co.op’s senior manager of food segments, said the supermarket chain had prepared for goods worth a total of 3 trillion VND (128.7 million USD) for Tet.

In addition to keeping price of products such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, pork, and poultry eggs and meat under the city’s price stabilisation programme unchanged, Saigon Co.op will offer sharp discounts on about 1,000 other products, she said.

According to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, the total value of goods that companies in HCM City will stock during the two months before and after Tet will be 18.4 trillion VND, around 3.5 percent higher than last year.

Major coffee factory inaugurated in Dong Nai province

A coffee processing factory expected to become the biggest of its kind Vietnam when fully operational was put into operation in Nhon Trach 3 Industrial Park, the southern province of Dong Nai, on December 8.

The first phase of the plant, invested with 30 million USD by the Tin Nghia coffee company, is designed to produce 3,200 tonnes of coffee products per year.

The capacity is set to reach 5,000 tonnes in 2019 and 10,000 tonnes of instant and ground roasted coffee in 2021, with total investment capital of some 100 million USD.

Notably, it applies freeze drying technology that helps ensure the finest quality of coffee.

Quach Van Duc, Director General of the Tin Nghia company, said most of the products will be exported to North America, Europe and some markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

Chairman of the Dong Nai People’s Committee Dinh Quoc Thai said Vietnam has just mainly exported raw coffee. The inauguration of this processing factory will help promote the value of Vietnamese coffee products and brands.

The coffee sector currently contributes to about 2 percent of the country’s GDP and 30 percent of the Central Highlands provinces’ economy. It creates jobs for more than 2 million direct and indirect labourers, according to Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association Nguyen Nam Hai.

He added that instant and ground roasted coffee is hoped to make up 25 percent of total coffee production in 2020, and their export revenue will reach 3.8 – 4.2 billion USD annually. 

Vietnamese SMEs offered chance to learn from senior Dutch experts

A meeting was held in Hanoi on December 8 to introduce cooperation opportunities between Vietnam’s small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and PUM Netherlands senior experts - a volunteer organisation committed to the sustainable development of SMEs in developing countries and emerging markets.

The event, organised on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the Netherlands, aimed to intensify people-to-people exchanges, thus opening up new cooperation opportunities for both countries’ enterprises.

Chairing the meeting, Vice President of the Vietnam - Netherlands Friendship and Cooperation Association (VNFCA) Dinh Thi Minh Nguyet, who is also former Ambassador to the Netherlands in the 2002-2006 tenure, said that the bilateral relationship has been developing well in numerous fields such as climate change response, water management, agriculture, sea-based economy, and logistics.

The event offered a chance for Vietnamese SMEs to learn about PUM and gain access to senior experts’ knowledge and consultancy so as to serve their business activities and have cooperation orientations with Dutch enterprises, Nguyet added.

According to Chief Representative of PUM in Vietnam Tran Quoc Long, PUM currently has 150 representative offices in more than 30 countries. 

Its experts work in 50 aspects, with those in Vietnam concentrating on vocational training, agriculture, start-up and tourism. With nearly 30 years operating in Vietnam, the organisation has provided assistance for about 100 small projects each year.

PUM has also sent experts to Vietnam to help the country implement new projects sustainably. 

The organisation has been present in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, the central city of Da Nang, the Central Highlands city of Da Lat, the Mekong Delta and adjacent areas.

Customs budget collection tops 12 billion USD


The customs sector collected over 12.14 billion USD in taxes as of November 30, a year-on-year rise of 7.27 percent.

The outcomes were attributed to the surge in import-export turnover which hit nearly 440 billion USD, up over 13 percent against the same period last year.

Of which, the export earnings reached more than 223 billion USD, up 14.5 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, the import value was 216 billion USD, a year-on-year rise of 12 percent.

By the end of November 2018, the customs sector collected over 11.5 billion USD of taxes through the banking system.

Foreign investment funds keen on Viettel Post’s shares

Several international investment funds and securities analysts have booked appointments with Viettel Post Corporation, an arm of military-run telecom giant Viettel Group, to learn about the corporation’s share issuance, said a Viettel Post representative.

According to Viettel Post, since it listed more than 41.3 million shares on the market for unlisted public companies (UPCoM) on November 23, the corporation has had three meetings with securities analysts to provide information on its share issuance.

At a meeting on December 4, Pikun Phitya-isarakul, a specialist from Thailand’s investment fund Phillip Capital, expressed her interest in Viettel Post’s shares, asking about the corporation’s revenue and business activities.

On the same day, Viettel Post also welcomed 30 investors and analysts from securities firms such as Capital Partners, Cathay Life, Dragon Capital and Indochina Capital. These analysts focused on Viettel Post’s competitive advantages, growth potential, human resource strategies, potential risks, technologies, plans to cooperate with foreign partners, business activities and financial capacity, as well as the prospects of the corporation and the local postal sector as a whole.

On the UPCoM market, 59,400 Viettel Post shares were sold to foreign investors within the first five minutes of the third trading day.

Viettel Post has operated as a joint stock company for nine years. Each year, it offers a 30%-40% stock dividend payment for its shareholders.

The firm reported a consolidated revenue of more than VND4 trillion (US$171.8 million) last year, up nearly 38% over 2016, and a pretax profit of VND213 billion.

The consolidated revenue and pretax profit was more than VND1.9 trillion and VND147 billion in the first half of this year, up 1.06% and 61.5%, respectively, over the same period last year.

Viettel Post is now focusing on three main sectors: express delivery, logistics and trade. It currently has 1,300 post offices, 7,000 transaction points, 500 trucks and 17,000 employees.

WB suggests priorities for Vietnam to become upper middle-income country

Shell wants to become LNG supplier for PetroVietnam, DHL Express opens its largest service centre in Hanoi, Vietnamese-inspired coffee brand raises $2mn from five funds, Trung Nguyen Legend Capsule unveiled

Country Director for the World Bank in Vietnam Ousmane Dione highlighted four key priorities that are essential for Vietnam to realize its aspiration of becoming an upper middle-income country, as envisioned in the Vietnam 2035 Report.

Addressing the Vietnam Reform and Development Forum 2018, with the theme, “New Vision, New Drivers of Economic Growth in the New Era,” held in Hanoi City on Wednesday, the WB official noted that the Vietnamese economy has expanded at an average of nearly 7% annually over the course of 30 years. As a result, per capita income has increased almost fivefold.

“Vietnam today has emerged as a thriving lower middle-income economy and is an export powerhouse. Growth has also been inclusive, with poverty falling just below 7%, compared with more than 60% in the late 1980s,” he said.

However, “Vietnam’s journey to become a modern, industrial economy has only just begun, and past achievements are no guarantee of future success.”

Domestically, Vietnam will have to tackle rising structural headwinds, including a rapidly aging population, slow productivity growth and weak investment, as well as an increasing environmental toll due to development.

Leaning against these structural headwinds at home, Vietnam will also need to navigate the changing terrain abroad, where shifting global trade patterns and the digital economy are both reshaping opportunities and creating new risks, according to Dione.

As the country is moving into the next socioeconomic development strategy – socioeconomic development plan cycle, “it is important that we revisit Vietnam’s unfinished reform agenda and reinvigorate its growth potential, not only in terms of quantity but most importantly in terms of quality and the sustainability of growth,” he noted.

First, reforms to promote domestic private sector development will need to be significantly stepped up, making it a primary driver for improved productivity and economic growth. He explained that this would entail an ongoing effort to remove obstacles to private business and strengthening the regulatory environment.

Foreign direct investment attraction should also shift away from quantity to quality, with a focus on high-tech and high value-added investments with technology transfers to secure stronger links between domestic and foreign firms. He supposed this would ultimately help the domestic private sector effectively join global value chains.

“Second, notwithstanding current fiscal constraints, continued investment in infrastructure is critical for future growth. Again, not only quantity, but quality matters,” he pointed out.

While priority will be given to national backbone infrastructure projects such as the North-South expressway, railways, Long Thanh International Airport, and key sea ports, individual investments should be driven by an overall multimodal transport connectivity strategy.

Given the fiscal constraints, unlocking private investment could hold the key to meeting Vietnam’s significant investment needs. While a robust framework for public-private partnerships can contribute in this regard, deep structural reforms in key infrastructure sectors, such as power generation, can help build competitive markets for infrastructure services and crowd in private financing.

The WB country director stated, “We cannot emphasize more the importance of investment in human capital, especially in the context of fast-changing disruptive technologies and the digital era,” suggesting this was a third priority.

He noted that investment in human capital would require a lifecycle approach, with effective coordinated efforts to improve health care and nutrition, especially during early childhood; lifelong education; and skills training.

He cited the recent launch of the World Bank Group’s Human Capital Index as saying that Vietnam ranks 48 out of 157 countries. “This is remarkable, and the country has done particularly well in basic education. But a new set of knowledge and 21st century skills are needed to contribute to stronger productivity growth,” he said.

This requires a focus on the quality and relevance of tertiary and vocational education. In addition, creating an effective institutional and incentivized framework for innovation – with private firms at the center – is critical for future growth.

Fourth, Vietnam’s rapid growth is taking an increasing toll on the environment. This is evident in land degradation and soil erosion, rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, increasing water degradation, deforestation and pressure on biodiversity.

Dione claimed greenhouse gas emissions are outpacing Vietnam’s rapid economic growth, reflecting in large part a rising dependence on carbon-fueled power generation.

“According to the Yale Environmental Performance Index, which ranks 180 countries worldwide, Vietnam ranked 132nd. These growing environmental stresses not only have a direct impact on the quality of life but also potentially affect long-term growth,” he stated.

Managing Vietnam’s natural assets and building resilience against climate change are crucial for sustainable growth in key sectors, such as agriculture, food processing and tourism.

The official emphasized that delivering on these four priorities will require capable and effective state institutions.

He noted that Vietnam will also have to mobilize and use its scarce public resources efficiently to finance this ambitious development agenda.

Also, available official development assistance resources will need to be used more strategically and effectively to complement domestic public resources, and the country will need to leverage nonfinancial benefits, know-how and private investment.

Poor infrastructure, high cost remain bottlenecks of logistics

The infrastructure sector is in urgent need of investment to allow logistics services to fulfill their vital role in connecting regions and bridging the gaps in regions’ economic growth, heard attendees at the Vietnam Logistics Forum 2018, held in Quang Ninh Province on December 7.

“Logistics plays a major role in regional connection but is facing a major issue in terms of varying levels of infrastructure among the country’s regions,” Tran Thanh Hai, deputy head of the Import and Export Department, under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said.

Speaking at the forum, themed “Logistics Connects Economic Growth Regions,” Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung noted that weak infrastructure, including transport and information technology, is hindering the growth of the logistics sector.

“This (infrastructure) will hinder connections between domestic and international logistics enterprises,” Hung stated.

Meanwhile, Hai noted that to fulfill the target of connecting each economic region through logistics, it is crucial to develop a logistics infrastructure, especially the traffic infrastructure.

Although Vietnam, mainly the northeastern region, has invested heavily in infrastructure, connectivity between the various transport modes remains limited, Hai stated.

“The country has a convenient railway network, but it has yet to lend much support to other transport systems such as the roadways and waterways,” Hai said.

He suggested building a national logistics center to help connect provinces and cities and ease commercial activities across regions.

In addition, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said logistics costs are a hindrance to cargo transportation, hiking the prices of products and making exports less competitive. As such, inefficient logistics services reduce the potential for regional connections and widen the gap between regions’ economic growth.

The average logistics costs in Vietnam are equivalent to some 16%-17% of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP), while its contribution to the GDP reaches a mere 4%-5%, according to Dao Trong Khoa, a representative of the Vietnam Logistics Association.

Logistics costs in Vietnam remain high

Vietnam's logistics sector makes a modest contribution to the GDP at 3-4%, while logistics costs remain high, said Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue at the Vietnam Logistics Forum 2018, held in Quang Ninh, on December 7.

The forum has been held annually by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the World Bank and the Vietnam Economic Times since 2013.

According to the Deputy PM, a document from the 12th Party Congress confirmed that logistics is a sector with high added value, under which Vietnam has set the targets of achieving a high growth rate and sustainable development of the sector.

However, he stressed that the contribution of the logistics sector to the GDP is insignificant at merely 3-4%, while logistics costs paid by enterprises are very high, which is contrary costs around the world.

In an attempt to improve the index, the government issued Decision 200 to stimulate the development of the sector which has brought about breakthroughs.

The logistics sector has grown by approximately 12-14% over the past three years and Vietnam's position on the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index (LPI) in 2018 rose 25 places compared to two years ago, jumping to 39th among 160 surveyed countries.

The government expects opinions and solutions from the forum to develop the national logistics market in order to reduce logistics costs and increase its contribution to the GDP, as well as making it capable of reaching out to the international market, Deputy PM Hue noted.

The government official also pointed out the question of how to develop the logistics sector in line with building the e-government, digital economy and e-commerce.

Entitled "Logistics connect economic growth regions", the forum, with the participation of more than 300 enterprises, is a venue for logistics firms, experts and associations to discuss with Vietnamese ministries, sectors and localities ideas and measures to increase links between economic regions of Vietnam and boost green logistics services.


Manufacturers still struggling with HR shortages

Despite a tendency among employees not to frequently change jobs, manufacturers are still struggling with human resources (HR) shortages in terms of both quantity and quality, according to a report entitled “The Labor Market in Manufacturing - Opportunities & Challenges in the 4.0 Era” released by the Navigos Group on November 26.

Over 3,200 candidates currently working or seeking jobs in the sector, along with over 200 employers, on VietnamWorks and Navigos Search’s database were surveyed for the purpose of the report.

“Stability” is the top priority for jobseekers, as reported by 41 per cent of candidate respondents. This is consistent with the opinion of 57 per cent of employers, who agree that providing “a stable job” plays a substantial role in retention.

The report shows a clear tendency in the manufacturing workforce to commit long-term to their employers, as 73 per cent of employers have turnover rates of below 20 per cent. Forty per cent of candidates said they have stayed with their current employer for over five years.

Nevertheless, an alarming 55 per cent employees reported their employer experienced HR shortages, which created a surge in the workload of existing staff. Thirty-five per cent of employers responded that they lacked a qualified workforce.

Despite having a stronger commitment, manufacturing HR are found to change jobs for various reasons relating to the nature of the industry. On top of unsatisfactory salary, compensation and benefits, the location of suburban workplaces far from city centers and polluted working environments (air, noise) are among the top 5 reasons for quitting.

The two are also considered the biggest challenges of working in manufacturing, as claimed by 36 per cent and 26 per cent of candidates, respectively. At the same time, 39 per cent of employers agreed that remote workplaces restricted their recruitment.

Another highlight from the report is that the manufacturing sector is transforming towards automation.

Forty-six per cent of enterprise are automating up to 30 per cent of all manufacturing processes and 32 per cent have achieved 30 to 70 per cent automation. These notable numbers stem from the current technological transition, made possible by manufacturing businesses who “invest in machinery” (65 per cent), “invest in databases” (41 per cent), “adjust management and operations” (44 per cent), “modify training” (39 per cent), and “modify recruitment” (21 per cent).

Employees also showed their active attitude towards change, by strengthening technical knowledge and skills (53 per cent) and language competency (47 per cent). While recognizing technological transition will have the gravest impact on blue-collar workers, both groups shared the opinion that “automation is inevitable in manufacturing”.

“The manufacturing sector in Vietnam has remained a leading industry with high potential for economic growth,” said Mr. Gaku Echizenya, CEO of the Navigos Group Vietnam. “However, unless actions are taken to accelerate the technological transition, we risk losing our attractive profile in the eyes of foreign investors to other developing countries in the area. All in all, efforts made by businesses to invest in machinery and tools must be solidified by improving the quality of manpower.”

Orchestra Networks conference on horizon

Orchestra Networks announced at a press conference on December 6 that Orchestra Networks Vietnam and Smart-up.org will organize the “Data Management: The new challenge beyond Industry 4.0” conference on December 13 at the Grand Plaza Hotel, 117 Tran Duy Hung Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi.

“We are here not only to do business but to share knowledge while recognizing the exponential growth of data and the upcoming challenges,” said Mr. Pierre Bonnet, Orchestra Networks COO & General Manager of Orchestra Networks Vietnam.

People are now surrounded by a vast amount of data that measures everything about their lives. For enterprises and organizations, the most important data is intensively shared across the information system and on which operational and decisional processes rely.

“If the quality of this important data is poor, a company will face myriad difficulties and even collapse,” Mr. Bonnet said. “With high digitalization momentum and deeper regulatory control of data, companies and organizations need to invest in and foster their most important data.”

Taking part in the conference are local and international speakers, experts, researchers, and representatives of leading companies in the fields of Data Management, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The conference aims to provide practical knowledge and information on the potential of Data Management as well as the application of AI, Blockchain, and IoT, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of effective data management and the dangers and consequences of poor-quality data, presenting a smart and sustainable development direction for enterprises, countries and the environment in the age of Industry 4.0.

Established in 2000, Orchestra Networks is a leading provider of Master Data Management (MDM) software.

It currently provides data management solutions to customers all over the world and across a range of industries, including Financial Services, Banking, Insurance, Manufacturing, Retail, Consumer Goods, Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Public Utilities, and Global Logistics.

Orchestra Networks is headquartered in Paris, France and has branch offices in the US, the UK, Germany, Vietnam, and Singapore, and operations across North America and the EMEA region.

It officially established its Vietnam office in early 2017. The company has about 45 engineers onsite after more than a year of operations and plans to employ about 100 engineers in the Hanoi office within two years.

Orchestra Networks’ software was ranked the “Leader” in MDM solutions by Gartner, a reputable market analyst, and Number 1 in MDM technology globally for six consecutive years by Information Difference.

In December, Orchestra Networks joined TIBCO Software Inc., a global leader in integration, API Management, and analytics.

Trung Nguyen Legend Capsule unveiled

Trung Nguyen Legend Capsule, in the three flavors of Meditation, Roman, and Ottoman, was launched at the Trung Nguyen Legend Library in Ho Chi Minh City on December 6.

This is the second set of energy coffee released, following the first last June, and is part of key events held by the Trung Nguyen Legend Group since introducing its new brand identity. The new varieties are also aimed at improving the value of Vietnamese coffee beans in international markets and building a global brand for Vietnam.

The new products represent the culture and history of the global coffee scene. Coffee experts at Trung Nguyen Legend selected material sources from Brazil, Columbia, Ethiopia, Jamaica and Vietnam, roasted under mysterious secrets of the East.

The group also explored and cooperated with partners over a period of three years to build its own coffee powder production line with technologies imported from Italy. The production line is fully automated, with a closed process from cleaning the coffee beans to the final product.

Trung Nguyen also decided to use environmentally-friendly bio-plastics for the shell of the capsule, which naturally decomposes. Different from most other types of capsules available worldwide, in which the shell is made from aluminum or plastics with a decomposition time of 150-200 + years and 500+ years, Trung Nguyen’s capsule is capable of decomposing in soil after 18 weeks.

The biodegradable plastic used in Trung Nguyen Legend Capsule also prevents 99 per cent of gas exchange between the inside and outside of the capsule (Oxygen Tight), retaining the taste of the roasted coffee when used. Trung Nguyen Legend Capsule is one of the first capsules in the world capable of maintaining independence and is completely environmentally friendly. With major features, the capsule can also be used in other coffee machines.

“The decision to invest seriously in the coffee capsule industry, from quality to cultural values and with a different spirit in each product, surprised me a little,” said Mr. Fabrizio Brambati, Chairman of Brambati S.p.A, the supplier of the production technology for Trung Nguyen Legend Capsule.

“The establishment of an alliance between the Trung Nguyen Legend Group and Terracaps aims to keep coffee in a shell made from environmentally friendly materials that ensure quality,” said Mr. Andreas Rössler, CEO of Terracaps, the BioCapsule provider.

Trung Nguyen Legend Capsule products are currently available in the chain of Trung Nguyen Legend and E-coffees around Vietnam. Products will be exported to the US, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and China. Trung Nguyen Legend will continue to introduce new flavors for the Trung Nguyen Legend Capsule next year and also new versions of the LegendEra machine to diversify products and meet all the needs of coffee connoisseurs.

DHL Express opens its largest service centre in Hanoi

DHL Express marks its 30th year in Vietnam with the opening of its largest service centre in Sai Dong B Industrial Park in Hanoi, representing a VND143 billion ($6.22 million) investment.

Many studies have shown that Vietnamese consumers are more and more fond of foreign goods and that they are willing to pay a higher price to buy the items they like, even from halfway around the world. In addition, Vietnam is also increasingly exporting goods, which makes international express a fertile land.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, as of November 2018 the import-export turnover reached nearly VND418.45 billion ($18.19 million), up 13.7 per cent over the same period last year. In particular, export turnover increased by 15.1 per cent and import turnover increased 12.4 per cent. Cross-border trade continues to be a powerful drug for logistics units.

The world's most prestigious international courier brands, DHL of Germany, TNT of the Netherlands, as well as FedEx and UPS of the US, have joined and considered the express delivery market in Vietnam as "golden soil."

Today, DHL Express, the world’s leading international express service provider, opened a new service centre at Sai Dong B Industrial Park in Hanoi, located at 1 Huynh Tan Phat. With an investment of VND143 billion ($6.22 million), the new service centre is the largest DHL facility in Hanoi, poised to further support the trade flows between Vietnam and the region, as well as the world. This is testament to DHL Express’ long-term commitment in Vietnam to provide the best services to meet customers’ needs.

"Having been in the business for more than 30 years since our establishment in 1988, DHL has honed our market leadership through our dedication to service excellence. The logistics industry in Vietnam has grown rapidly in the past few years and is expected to continue growing in the coming years. As a leading logistics provider, we see it as our duty to contribute and support our customers to be a part of this growth trajectory. The successful launch of our new service centre is testament to our commitment to enabling more businesses to grow and leverage the opportunities in the international market place,” said Shoeib Reza Choudhury, general director of DHL-VNPT Express.

Located in one of the fastest growing economic industrial zones in North Vietnam, this latest investment by DHL Express further bolsters the company’s network in the country. The new facility covers a total area of 5,800 square metres, 55 per cent of which (3,200 square metres) are allocated for warehouse space. It will feature state-of-the-art equipment to optimise processes and increase efficiency.

The service centre will support businesses in the central business district of Hanoi, areas located in the north, south, and east of the city, as well as Nam Dinh areas with pick-up and delivery services. DHL’s existing service centre in the west of Hanoi will continue to support businesses in that region.

Shoeib Reza Choudhury shared at the opening ceremony DHL Express Vietnam has two dedicated aircrafts with 22 weekly flights, 155 vehicles, and 19 facilities in the three main cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang.

About the corporation’s reason to invest in a new service centre in the west of Hanoi, Shoeib Reza Choudhury said that Sai Dong B Industrial Park has a strategic geographical location, with customers based in the central business district of Hanoi.

Notably, this new service centre is double the size of its existing facility in the west and saves 30 per cent power with 100 per cent LED lighting.

Talking about the market segment, the general director of DHL-VNPT Express said that 90 per cent of the firm’s customers are businesses and DHL Express only exploits the abroad service, which means shipping from Vietnam to abroad and vice versa.

DHL offers an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfilment solutions, international express, road, air, and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 360,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global trade flows.

With specialised solutions for growth markets and industries including technology, life sciences and healthcare, energy, automotive and retail, a proven commitment to corporate responsibility, and an unrivalled presence in developing markets, DHL is decisively positioned as “the logistics company for the world.”

Shell wants to become LNG supplier for PetroVietnam

Royal Dutch Shell PLC expressed its interest in becoming the liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplier for PetroVietnam’s projects, while simultaneously penetrating deeper into the Vietnamese petroleum distribution system via acquiring a stake in PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PV Oil).

Responding to the proposal of Shell, Le Manh Hung, deputy general director of PetroVietnam, said that it is looking for LNG supplier for the Thi Vai LNG terminal in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Regarding the Son My LNG terminal in the central province of Binh Thuan, PetroVietnam is waiting for the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s approval for the project’s feasibility study.

Hung proposed Shell to work with PV Gas – the investor of Thi Vai LNG – to discuss the co-operation between the two parties.

Previously, in October 2012, Shell pulled its LPG business out of Vietnam after having transferred its entire share in a joint-venture in Haiphong, and a wholly-owned Ho Chi Minh City-based company to Thailand’s Siam Gas Co.

At the time, Shell Gas Vietnam said in a statement sent to its dealers nationwide that the stake transfer is in line with Shell’s business strategy, which is focusing on fewer markets but at a larger scale.

Regarding the intention to join PV Oil, Shell deputy chairman Douglas Buckley said that the company wants to buy the stake that PetroVietnam will divest from PV Oil. The company also wants to know the criteria of selecting a strategic investor for PV Oil.

Previously, in the middle of the year, Shell submitted the dossier to join the race to become the strategic investor of PV Oil. According to Decision No.1979/QD-TTg, PV Oil had to complete the sale of shares to strategic investors within three months after its equitisation plan was approved.

However, at the time, Cao Hoai Duong, general director of PV Oil, stated that this time the company issued stricter criteria for strategic investors, thus, it might be necessary to extend the deadline so that interested investors have time to negotiate.

PV Oil requested the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the prime minister to extend the deadline to early July, which was promptly refused. As a result, Shell and other interested companies lost the opportunity at strategic stake in PV Oil.

BOD professionalism and corporate governance key to sustainable growth

A professional board of directors (BOD) propagating good corporate governance are said to play a key role in creating sustainable business development, which in turn helps the nation to move up the middle-income ladder.

How BOD can support companies’ pursuit of long-term sustainability in Vietnam’s fast-growing economy has been brought up at the discussions today at the Annual Corporate Governance Forum 2018 on “Governing for Sustainability.” The forum has been co-organised by the Vietnam Institute of Directors (VIOD) and the Vietnam Corporate Governance Initiative (VCGI), in partnership with the State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC), the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE), and the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), and supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and the Government of Japan.

The forum is being held against the backdrop of Vietnam’s goal to join the group of higher middle-income countries through rapid and sustainable growth. To help achieve this target, businesses have a common interest in building a strategic vision for sustainable business, while balancing environmental and social factors. Ha Thu Thanh, board chairperson of VIOD and Deloitte Vietnam, said BODs have a key role to play in creating such sustainable business development strategies.

With BODs in Vietnam facing increasingly complex challenges in building a strategic vision for sustainable business while balancing environmental and social factors, the forum will help board members and senior executives learn more about global trends and good practices in sustainable development as well as create a valuable networking platform to connect and share experiences in corporate governance practices towards sustainable development for businesses.

“IFC has seen capital markets’ increased interest in how BODs respond to issues related to environmental and social impacts. The environment, society, and governance have become important factors in investors’ decisions,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC country manager for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Lao PDR.

“With clear links between good environmental and social performance and long-term profitability, boards that commit to sustainability best practices will be better positioned for greater investment and engagement from investors.”

A key factor contributing to a board’s performance is its diversity, especially as corporate governance best practices encourage diversity in gender, nationality, experience, occupation, and position.

“The diversity of board members supports them to evaluate issues from a variety of perspectives before making decisions and to complement each other to increase the effectiveness of the BOD,” said Vu Bang, member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Group and Chairman of VCGI.

This annual forum underlines VIOD’s efforts to improve BOD professionalism in Vietnam, with good corporate governance playing a pivotal role in the sustainable development of businesses. VIOD and VCGI have also launched the 2018 Vietnam Corporate Governance Country Report and VIOD’s corporate membership programme for directors.

VIOD is an independent organisation, governed by a board of directors comprising of private sector representatives in collaboration with and supported by the SSC, HOSE, and HNX under VCGI. VOID seeks to promote corporate governance standards and best practices in the Vietnamese corporate sector.

VCGI, meanwhile, was launched in December 2016 by IFC, HOSE, and HNX with support from SSC. VCGI acts as a platform to collaborate and promote good governance practices in the Vietnamese corporate sector.

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