BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 25/1

Japanese personnel provider enters Vietnamese market

Representative from Sunwell Solutions Vietnam Yoshioka Reito (R)

A representative from Japan’s Sunwell Solutions JSC said on January 23 that its Vietnamese office officially became operational earlier this month.

Sunwell Solutions, with eight years experience in providing human resources solutions, aims to increase opportunities for outstanding Vietnamese engineers working at Japanese firms and develop relations between Japanese employers and Vietnamese employees. 

Yoshioka Reito, a representative of Sunwell in Vietnam, stressed that although it has been established for nine years with highly technical staff, Sunwell is looking to expand its business to great customers, focusing on key fields such as information technology, automobile technology, and refinery projects. 

According to Reito, Vietnam’s high-quality engineers are able to meet the requirements of Japanese businesses.

Sunwell was established with the goal of providing professional engineers who meet the rigorous standards of partner companies in Japan or other country.

In Japan, Sunwell has recruited more than 400 foreign engineers. Currently, the firm has about 250 engineers coming across Asia, including about 50 Vietnamese ones.

Founded in June 2010, Sunwell is an enterprise specialising in providing human resource solutions in IT, engineering, and consulting services to companies operating in Japan with the desire to expand their business to foreign markets.

The firm provides consulting services related to the establishment of legal entities, gives advice to Japanese businesses that want to enter overseas markets, and receives trust from businesses to officially open or set up their domestic and foreign offices.

Engineers recruited by the firm will be sent to large companies operating in many fields, such as oil and gas, or the automobile industry.

Business community contributes to Hai Phong’s development

Automaker Vinfast is among the largest tax payers in Hai Phong city. (Photo: coches.net)


The business community in Hai Phong has made great contributions to the northern port city’s development, said Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tung.

At a meeting with businesses and foreign guests ahead of the Lunar New Year (Tet) on January 23, Tung said corporate tax collection stood at 11.4 trillion VND (492.56 million USD), or 46 percent of the city’s total earnings.

Specifically, state-owned firms contributed 3.2 trillion VND (138.27 million USD) to the state budget, while nearly 4 trillion VND (172.8 million USD) and nearly 4.2 trillion VND (181.48 million USD) came from foreign direct investment businesses and non-state enterprises, respectively.

Large tax payers in the city include automaker Vinfast (51.85 million USD), gasoline region 3 company (over 21.6 million USD) and Hai Linh oil and gas company (more than 21.6 million USD), among others.

Besides, the business community has engaged in social welfare activities like building houses for the needy and supporting families who had served the nation.

Tung said the development still fell short of the city’s expectation, as Hai Phong only contributed 3.24 percent to the country’s GDP compared to 13.1 percent by Hanoi. In addition, the expansion of Cat Bi International Airport and the opening of flights to Japan, China and the Republic Korea were still slow.

Currently, the city is home to some 31,500 businesses, but only two thirds of them fulfill their tax payment responsibilities, he added.

To handle the issues, the city plans to create favourable conditions for both domestic and foreign investors to expand business in the city. Strict punishments and fines will be meted out to any organisation or individual that stands in the way of investors’ business development.

Further, attention will be paid to constructing transport infrastructure, urban infrastructure as well as power and water facilities, he said.

Hai Phong is envisioned to contribute 6.38 percent to the country’s GDP by 2025 and the figure is raised to 8.2 percent by 2030. 

Meanwhile, the city’s earnings are expected to reach 35 trillion VND (1.51 billion USD) by 2020, 55-60 trillion VND (2.38-2.59 billion USD) by 2025, and 90-95 trillion VND (3.89-4.1 billion USD) by 2030.

Fusion Group appoints new F&B Manager

Fusion Group appoints new F&B Manager

The Vietnam-based Fusion Group has appointed Mr. David Perlmutter to the role of F&B Manager.

From head waiter to heading operations for an entire restaurant group, Mr. Perlmutter has taken on just about every role in the restaurant industry over the last two decades. His latest challenge sees him stepping into the hotel sector as Fusion food & beverage manager.

He joins Fusion, which operates several wellness-inspired resorts and hotels throughout Vietnam, at a fertile time for the group.

It plans to open two new properties in 2019, with two “all-suite” hotels and three “all-spa-inclusive” resorts already in the Fusion portfolio alongside the recently-launched Alba Wellness Valley by Fusion. As the group expands, Mr. Perlmutter’s role will involve taking Fusion’s signature onsite restaurants back to their roots, elevating simplicity and authenticity over blue-sky reinvention.

“People come here wanting a ‘back to the source’ experience,” he said. “We will aim to provide this, with dishes cooked, prepared and presented in the most traditional way possible, to the highest standards possible, and with the best locally-sourced ingredients possible.”

While the French national now lives and breathes all things food related, working in F&B wasn’t initially on his radar. “I studied history but all of that changed in 1996 when I got a job as a waiter,” he explains. “I quickly developed a passion for food and slowly worked my way through almost every position in the business - even sometimes jumping into the kitchen when needed.”

Since switching paths, he eventually went on to manage several restaurants in Paris and made the move to Asia three years ago. His most recent position was Group Director of Operations for the Farandole Group in Bangkok, where he was responsible for overseeing three popular restaurants and bars in the city.

Mr. Perlmutter’s position with Fusion is his first F&B role within a hotel group.

Since its launch in 2008, Fusion has become a leading innovator of wellness-inspired hotels and resorts and is now the only fully vertically-integrated hospitality company in Southeast Asia. Under one roof, Fusion conceptualizes, designs, builds and manages beachside resorts and city hotels through its uniquely-branded hospitality concepts.

Fusion has opened six resorts and hotels in Vietnam, with a team now exceeding 1,800 employees, including 300 spa specialists.

Viettel & Microsoft sign cooperation agreement

Viettel & Microsoft sign cooperation agreement

Viettel and Microsoft signed a cooperation agreement on January 16 in Hanoi promoting the application of IT solutions based on the products and services of both sides, with a framework for agreement during each stage of cooperation.

The two sides agreed to become partners and conduct comprehensive cooperation to contribute to expanding and promoting digital services throughout Vietnam.

As a provider of telecommunications and IT solutions on Vietnam’s largest cloud platform, Viettel currently owns a variety of solutions for customers, including infrastructure services and software services such as Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, Multi Cloud, Voffice, Viettel Pay, and others.

With leading technology and financial potential, Microsoft is cooperating with Viettel to provide more service platforms and cloud computing applications to resolve complex and diverse problems of organizations and enterprises as customers increasingly need to use a combination of services.

Specifically, Viettel and its subsidiaries will combine the Microsoft Azure cloud platform through specific services and applications.

Mr. Pham The Truong, General Director of Microsoft Vietnam, said Microsoft expects the cooperation will help transform the economy through the support of the government to enterprises, in particular more than 400,000 businesses connecting the community, education, information security, and smart city development via Viettel. “Viettel will become a partner cooperating in development and success, towards Vietnam’s sustainable development,” he said.

Mr. Nguyen Thanh Nam, Deputy General Director of the Viettel Group, said that with the potential and right capabilities, this cooperation will quickly put each party’s strengths into the products and services of the other, creating products that provide the market with the best, fastest, and most-effective products.

2018 was a successful year for Viettel in expanding its foreign investment in Asia. Mytel, the Viettel brand in Myanmar, has reached nearly 5 million subscribers after just six months of official business, for a market share of more than 10 per cent. Mytel has made Myanmar the fastest growing market of Viettel and its growth is phenomenal in the global telecommunications industry.

Viettel also applied many Industry 4.0 technologies to products and services last year, such as adding Blockchain technology to manage personal health records, applying AI technology to build the software for a vehicle license plate recognition and face recognition system, and applying AI technology to Virtual Assistant products and Chatbot. The technologies brought about efficiencies, realizing Viettel’s strategy in the new development phase of Industry 4.0 and globally.

Viettel also announced a major investment in 5G equipment research and production and is expected to test the technology this year.

New General Director for Zamil Steel Buildings Vietnam

New General Director for Zamil Steel Buildings Vietnam

Zamil Industrial Investment Company’s management has appointed Mr. Alakesh Roy as General Director of Zamil Steel Buildings Vietnam Co. Ltd. effective December 2018.

Besides his role as managing director of Zamil Steel Buildings India Private Ltd., Mr. Roy will lead the renowned steel buildings and steel structures company in Vietnam through 2019 and the years to come.

Mr. Roy holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree and an MBA in Finance and Marketing. He has over 30 years of experience in leading multinational companies in India. “I look forward to being part of the effort to bring the company to the next level, and I can’t wait to see where we can go,” said Mr. Roy.

Mr. Roy’s appointment comes as Zamil Steel Vietnam implements its plan for strategic growth, restructuring, development and outreach. Based on the successes of the previous years, the company is poised to develop its vision to become the world’s most reliable, innovative manufacturer and service and solution provider in the steel building industry.

“We strongly believe that Alakesh will bring lots of added value to our team and will help us to make the company stronger and consolidate the market position,” said Mr. Osama Bunyan, Chairman of Zamil Steel Vietnam, as he welcomed the new general director.

Established in 1997, Zamil Steel Buildings Vietnam Co., Ltd. is a joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Zamil Industrial Investment Company and Japanese trading giant Mitsui & Co., Ltd. The company specializes in providing steel building solutions for applications such as residential buildings, warehouses, factories, airports and large-scale commercial and industrial complexes.

Over the past 20 years, Zamil Steel Buildings Vietnam has grown through its sustained success to become the largest steel building manufacturer in Southeast Asia, with two state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in Vietnam and 14 regional representative offices and subsidiaries.

With its major products—pre-engineered steel buildings, structural steel and the MaxSEAM® roof system—Zamil Steel Buildings Vietnam has supplied steel building solutions to a worldwide client base. The quality of Zamil Steel has been proven over the last few decades, as demonstrated by its more than 6,000 steel buildings in the Asia-Pacific region and 70,000 steel buildings worldwide.

FLC & OCB sign comprehensive cooperation agreement

FLC & OCB sign comprehensive cooperation agreement

The FLC Group and the Orient Commercial Bank (OCB) signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement on January 19 that places priority of using the products and services of each other, to promote and exploit their position and competitiveness.

OCB will provide the best financial solutions for medium and long-term credit services and working capital to support FLC’s production and business activities and investment and development projects.

The bank will also provide credit packages for customers who purchase properties in residential projects invested by the FLC Group with preferential and competitive interest rates and quick and convenient procedures. A special loan product for residents of FLC supports them with automated payments of monthly utility fees.

Meanwhile, the FLC Group will prioritize the use of account services, card services, internet banking services, deposit services, foreign currency transactions and other services of OCB.

It will also create the conditions for OCB to provide financial support and participate in its investment projects.

Mr. Phan Dinh Tung, General Director of OCB, said it currently has more than 1 million customers and the number will rise to nearly 2 million this year. “This provides potential for FLC,” he added. “We hope the two sides will develop different products and services to bring a unique ecosystem to create value for customers.”

On the basis of long-standing bilateral cooperation, Mr. Trinh Van Quyet, Chairman of the FLC Group, said he hopes this agreement will form the basis for FLC and OCB to continue supporting each other to expand and develop business activities.

The FLC Group is a multidisciplinary enterprise active primarily in the fields of real estate, resorts, golf, aviation, high-tech agriculture, industrial infrastructure, finance, and trade.

In resort real estate, it boasts many international-standard projects such as FLC Vinh Phuc, FLC Sam Son, FLC Quy Nhon, FLC Ha Long, and FLC Quang Binh.

OCB was recently officially recognized by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) as applying Circular No. 41 ahead of schedule, after a year of implementing and applying Basel II standards.

It also recorded many other successes in 2018, such as Moody’s upgrading its rating to B1 in many important categories, being the first Vietnamese bank to successfully apply an omni channel platform into its operations, receiving two consecutive awards from International Finance magazine, and, most recently, on December 23, receiving a Top 100 Vietnam Gold Star 2018 Award.

Digiworld & Nestlé partner in nutrition product distribution

Digiworld & Nestlé partner in nutrition product distribution

The Digiworld Corporation and Nestlé Vietnam last week signed a strategic partnership agreement on the market expansion of nutrition products to meet demand and also improve the health of Vietnamese people.

The signing marks a milestone for Nestlé Vietnam in promoting its nutrition products and for Digiworld in expanding its business and distribution capabilities.

Digiworld will become the master distributor of Nestlé’s nutrition products in Vietnam, responsible for Nestlé’s market expansion and product distribution through hospitals, pharmacies and clinics, which are Nestlé’s current product distribution channels. Digiworld will also take advantage of its existing distribution channels, which suit such products and consumers, to expand product distribution activities.

Nestlé’s nutrition products are the results of scientific research by the Nestlé Health Science Institute, part of Nestlé R&D Center. This is the largest independent research center in the world, with annual investment of $2 billion for research and development, and has medical specialists and professional scientists from around the world.

Nestlé’s current products include Nutren Junior, providing optimal nutrients to treat child malnutrition in Vietnam, Nutren Diabetes, which helps diabetics maintain their health, and Nutren Boost Optimum for the elderly.

“Dairy companies are promoting consumer-oriented communications activities,” said Mr. Ganesan Ampalavanar, General Director of Nestlé Vietnam. “However, these activities are carried out on a massive scale, which confuses consumers and hinders them from identifying the most suitable products. We believe that the combination of Nestlé’s strengths in products and Digiworld’s distribution experience will be an advantage for long-term development and bring Nestlé’s nutrition products to Vietnamese consumers in the future.”

According to figures from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), consumption in Vietnam of milk products is 14,81 liters per person per year; still much lower than other countries in the region. The total value of Vietnam’s functional milk market in 2018 has been estimated at $302 million.

Given such potential, Digiworld’s strategy is to invest in high-quality products. Additionally, the market needs a distribution channel that is broad and capable of developing and expanding the market so that products are widely known and the market grows higher. For 2019, Digiworld has set a target of $15.1 million in revenue from consumer goods. The market for nutrition products promises double digit growth each year.

Digiworld’s total revenue was $256.1 million in 2018, representing 126 per cent of its annual plan, while after-tax profit was $4.76 million, or 109 per cent of its annual plan.

Japan's Talenty launches new head hunting service

Japan's Talenty launches new head hunting service

Japan’s Talenty Co. launched a new head-hunting service based on technology and social referral platforms on January 22.

A social referral recruitment platform, Talenty has released the new channel to approach “Potential Job Seekers” through certified introducers (who have passed a strict examination), called Talentist. The company will support Vietnam’s recruitment market and help people change jobs.

Talenty helps obtain recommendations from certified introducers (Talentist) about their friends and acquaintances. The Talentist then browses recruiters on Talenty’s private platform and receives money by introducing friends and acquaintances that match recruiters’ requirements.

“Fifty-eight per cent of those who have full-time jobs in Vietnam have a side business,” said Mr. Kurihara Ryuichi from Talenty Co. “The proportion of people who find jobs through friends and acquaintances is 40 per cent and is the main recruitment method. I hope to meet the needs of enterprises that find it difficult to recruit high-quality employees by establishing a new recruitment platform based on social referral recruiting.”

Vietnam is recognized as an ideal destination in Southeast Asia for a variety of investment forms. The large number of business’s expanding, along with increases in newly-established enterprises, results in a fiercely competitive environment in recruiting high-quality employees.

Meanwhile, about 47 per cent of people who seek to change jobs are “Potential Job Seekers”. According to the Youth and Perspective in Vietnam report issued by Q&Me Vietnam Market Research, although companies with a need for recruitment use job listing media or employment agencies, they only reach “Active Job Seekers”, which limits their options.

Companies can therefore also reach out to “Potential Job Seekers” by using the Talenty platform. Recruitment activities using normal job listing media and employment agencies fail to approach “Potential Job Seekers” because they are not actively seeking employment.

Introducers can now earn money by introducing talented people around them, while job seekers will have a trustworthy way of being introduced to jobs by their own friends and acquaintances.

JD.com to support SMEs

JD.com to support SMEs

Major Chinese internet company JD.com will support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam to access global markets through its different language platforms, Ms. Christine Wong, Vice President of International Government Relations at JD.com, told VET on January 17.

The Chinese retailer has supported the export of Vietnamese products to over 300 million customers in China over the years, with the most popular categories being agriculture, fresh products, and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). Notably, sales of watermelon and basa fish jumped 445 per cent and 129 per cent year-on-year in 2018, with good sales also seen in giant tiger prawns, pitaya, mangoes, coffee, cashew nuts, and rice.

According to Ms. Wong, middle-class consumers in China and other countries demand good products from reliable brands in Vietnam. “We recommend Vietnamese companies export more high value-added commodities to international markets, as we are a good partner to access consumers,” she said. “The government also supports Vietnamese companies to build world-famous brands.”

The criteria to determine which Vietnamese SMEs to support is that they are well-known local brands with good value-added products. JD will provide know-how and technology to SMEs in Vietnam conducting general trade or cross-border trade. “They should conduct research before deciding which model to choose,” she explained. “The Chinese Government has recently given great support to the e-commerce business model, not only in terms of taxes but also logistics.”

With a strict “zero-tolerance” policy regarding counterfeit products, customers trust JD as brand with guaranteed authenticity. It leverages its advanced technology and logistics expertise to provide smart supply chain and logistics services to businesses across a wide range of industries. Over 90 per cent of orders can be delivered the same or next day.

The retailer sees Southeast Asia as its focus market and Vietnamese e-commerce platform Tiki is part of JD’s strategy in Vietnam and in which it is now one of the largest shareholders. The Chinese retailer will continue to improve the process of completing orders at Tiki this year and doesn’t have any plans for a mobile payment project in the future, Ms. Wong said.

She added that JD aims to be a provider integrating technology and retail, not just being a retailer. “This is a special model and unlike Amazon or Alibaba,” she said. “We expect to work more with the Vietnamese Government and training facilities in the upcoming time.”

JD is a well-known business-to-consumer (B2C) platform, with two business models: direct sales and marketplace.

JAMJA secures additional investment

JAMJA secures additional investment

Tech startup JAMJA announced on January 22 it has received investment of $1 million from CyberAgent Capital and Bon Angels.

JAMJA provides discounts on bookings made for services such as restaurants, beauty care, and entertainment.

CEO Mr. Le Hung Viet said the capital will help JAMJA maintain its rapid growth, open new services such as movie ticket bookings, and create momentum for its upcoming Series A fund raising round.

Mr. Nguyen Manh Dung, Director of CyberAgent Capital, said the investment aims at effectively utilizing idle resources as the sharing economy is an inevitable trend in the global business environment. “JAMJA convinced us with its creative model that helps businesses in restaurants and beauty care to optimize their operating hours, especially off-peak hours, bringing value to customers and the community,” he said.

JAMJA completed its seed fund raising round from ESP Capital in 2017. In April 2018, it successfully called for pre-A funding from Nextrans, Framgia, Bon Angles and KBInvestment totaling $850,000.

With its key service of “discount bookings by the hour”, JAMJA has brought a smart and flexible solution for both consumers and businesses.

On its website, customers can find major discounts for services at certain times of the day. Restaurants, for example, can maximize the number of guests and reduce the number of empty tables during off-peak hours, offering discounts through flash-sale programs and even change prices by the hour or by the minute.

JAMJA’s system also saves customer data and can be integrated directly into payment systems, so businesses can easily complete orders.

A series of big and small restaurants in Vietnam are cooperating with JAMJA, such as the Golden Gate Group (which owns Kichi-Kichi, Sumo BBQ, Hutong - Hot Pot Paradise, and Daruma), Redsun-ITI (King BBQ, Hotpot Story, and Buk Buk), and AFG (Al Fresco’s and Pepperonis).

JAMJA is continuing to expand its services into new areas, such as beauty care (at spa salons, nail salons, and hair salons), entertainment (movie ticket bookings through the BHD cinema system), and free shipping of food at a discount price through cooperation with Lalamove.

It now cooperates with more than 3,000 stores and has about 1.5 million active users every month and more than 500,000 customers visiting outlets.

The startup plans to deploy its app in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, and Da Nang.

Kyoei behind wheels cannot steer VIS clear of record loss

kyoei behind wheels cannot steer vis clear of record loss

Despite being backed by Japanese steel producer Kyoei Steel, Vietnam Italy Steel (VIS) has recorded a loss of VND326 billion ($14.2 million) in 2018.   


VIS has published its financial statement for the fourth quarter of 2018. Accordingly, the company had to suffer a loss of VND195.6 billion ($8.5 million), bringing its accumulated loss for the whole year to VND326 billion ($14.2 million). This is the third consecutive quarter that the companies sees bleak business results.

Notably, in the fourth quarter of this year, VIS acquired VND1.372 trillion ($59.65 million) in revenue, down 8 per cent on-year, while the cost of goods sold was up to VND1.523 billion ($66.2 million). As a result, the company reported VND151 billion ($6.56 million) in loss through trading and service supply activities.

In 2018, VIS reported a net revenue of VND5.22 trillion ($226.95 million), down 14 per cent on-year and only 74 per cent of its annual target. The value of unsold steel in 2018 was VND943 billion ($41 million), doubling against the beginning of the year.

Kyoei is working hard to buy VIS shares. In December last year, the company announced spending VND37 billion ($1.6 million) on buying 1.5 million VIS shares at the price of VND25,000 apiece. After the purchase, Kyoei increased its holding in VIS to 73.81 per cent or 54.4 million shares. The second largest shareholder is Thai Hung Trading JSC.

Kyoei became the strategic partner of VIS in late 2017 after buying more than 14.7 million shares, or 20 per cent, from Thai Hung Trading JSC.

In May 2018, the Japanese firm purchased another 33.2 million VIS shares from Thai Hung and replaced the latter as the strategic investor of VIS with 65 per cent ownership.

Continuing to purchase more VIS shares shows Kyoei’s ambition to fully acquire VIS, increasing its dominance in the Vietnamese steel manufacturing sector.

However, after becoming the largest shareholder, Kyoei still failed to turn VIS around.

Russian government issues resolution on shipments through Ukraine

     

Firms were informed about the new resolution regarding exports to Russia through Ukraine so they can prepare their export plans. — Photo thuongtruong.com.vn


The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import-Export Department has informed firms and business associations about a new Russian resolution regarding exports to Russia that transit though Ukraine, urging businesses to assure consideration of customs procedures.

On December 29, 2018, the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution 1716-83 on implementing the President’s Executive Order 592 dated October 22, 2018 about special economic measures in Ukraine.

The Embassy of Ukraine in Ha Noi recently sent a notice to the Ministry of Industry and Trade which said that in compliance with the resolution, some goods from other countries that transit through Ukraine to Russia or through Russian territory to other countries could be blocked or temporarily held at international border crossings.

Under the resolution, the Russian government issued a ban on imports of a list of products originating from Ukraine. It also included some products that come to Russia through Ukraine.

The transit of these products through Russia to a third country is allowed only when customs procedures are fully met and origin traceability is ensured.

The list included confectionery products, vegetables and foodstuffs, wine and equipment.

Trade between Viet Nam and Russia reached a record US$5.2 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $10 billion in 2020.

Two-way trade in the first 10 months of 2018 increased 23 per cent to $4.8 billion. 

Vinalines to divest stakes in shipping firms



A cargo vessel of Vinalines docks at Saigon Port 


Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) will divest its capital in some shipping enterprises to streamline its operations and raise funds for debt payment, officials said.

Acting General Director of Vinalines Nguyen Canh Tinh noted in a press release that after converting to a joint stock company, Vinalines will continue divesting capital in some shipping firms in the coming time, such as Vietnam Ocean Shipping JSC (Vosco) and Vinaship Joint Stock Company, in which Vinalines is the largest shareholder, holding a 51% stake.

The divestment was aimed at simplifying its operation mechanism, cutting Vinalines’ debts and strengthening the group’s focus on other potential sectors such as seaport and maritime services, according to Tinh.

Earlier, Vinalines had auctioned stakes and reduced its ownership in Vietnam Sea Transport and Chartering Joint Stock Company (Vitranschart), one of the shipping firms incurring heavy losses, from 58% to 36%.

A report from Vinalines indicated that the group’s performance in the shipping sector helped reduce its losses by 80% in 2018 and improve its revenue by 15.5%, as well as raise its output by 24.5% versus the 2017 target.

As of December last year, the total number of shipping firms under Vinalines was reported at 11, with 82 cargo vessels having a combined tonnage of over 1.7 million DWT.

Vinalines earned VND14 trillion in revenue and VND365 billion in pretax profit last year.

Vinalines set a 2019 target of earning some VND12.7 trillion in revenue and VND710 billion in pretax profit, surging 94% against the figures last year.

PM’s working group lauded for facilitating removal of business conditions

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C) speaks at the meeting with his working group in Hanoi on January 21 


Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc praised his working group for their role in reducing business conditions by half at ministries and agencies during a session held in Hanoi on Monday to review the group’s 2018 performance and set 2019 tasks, reported the Vietnam News Agency.

He asked the group to work more drastically and straightforwardly with Party secretaries and chairpersons of cities and provinces, ministers, deputy ministers on tasks assigned by the central Government and himself.

Further attention should be given to the removal of obstacles in institutions and policies, as well as the decentralization at ministries, agencies and local governments, he added.

The Cabinet leader also called for the strengthening of inspections of policymaking and to quickly end delays in drafting legal documents.

Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung, who is also head of the working group, stated that since its establishment nearly three years ago, the group had conducted 61 inspections at 20 of the 22 ministries and central agencies, one government agency, 13 localities, 10 economic groups and various State corporations. Of these, 27 inspections had focused on the assigned tasks and others were specialized inspections.

Up to 51 of the 60 detailed regulation documents were issued in 2017, reaching 85%. Last year, 118 out of the target of 122 documents were issued, equivalent to some 96.7%. While carrying out inspections, the group discovered overlaps in existing legal documents and suggested the Government and prime minister direct ministries and agencies to review and amend them.

The working group has properly followed the instructions of the prime minister in devising and fine-tuning policies to remove all barriers and sub-licenses that created unnecessary hurdles for residents and business, said Minister Dung.

The group also found barriers due to red tape. For example, the adjustment of the tariff policy on imported clothing material, as inputs for exported products, has received support from local textile and garment firms.

Further, various ministries have so far issued a total of 49 legal documents on specialized inspections and business conditions.

As a result, they have trimmed the list of goods subject to specialized inspection by more than 6,700 out of the 9,926 product lines, as well as simplified and reduced over 3,300 of the 6,191 business conditions, saving 17.5 million days of public work annually, which helps saving roughly VND6.6 trillion (US$285 million).

The group also helped strengthen discipline among the leadership and provided direction on assigned tasks to ministries, central agencies and local governments, thus improving their close ties with the Government Office.

Ties between the Government Office and business associations at home and abroad have been increasingly open and practical. During the 2017-2018 period, over 14,900 proposals by enterprises and residents were received, and more than 2,400 of them were answered by ministries, agencies and localities, while over 2,000 were publicized.

Ngo Hai Phan, head of the administrative reform unit at the Government Office, remarked that the group needs to crack down on petty corruption and employ modern technology in inspections this year.

Ecosystem for local supporting industry enterprises needed: industry insider

Chau Ba Long, general director of Minh Nguyen Industrial Support JSC


Domestic supporting industry enterprises should develop an ecosystem so that they can support each other to become suppliers for multinational industrial manufacturers, said Chau Ba Long, general director of Minh Nguyen Industrial Support JSC, the first-tier supplier for Samsung factories.

The fact is that Samsung and other multinational industrial manufacturers tend to choose their own suppliers to ensure smooth operations in the countries where they make investments.

Asked why Minh Nguyen, which has only been established in the local market for three years, decided to engage in the supporting industry, Long said that Vietnamese enterprises have high potential to become suppliers for international giants. Many international groups have visited Vietnam to study the local human resources and suppliers’ capabilities as they want to utilize local supplies.

However, many domestic enterprises have yet to connect with others.

"After significant consideration, we decided to penetrate the supporting industry sphere with heavy investment in production lines, especially during the initial stage," Long said, adding that the company has sought the assistance of large groups and State management agencies.

The greatest difficulty for supporting industry companies is the lack of capital, Long said.

He also urged supporting industry firms to prepare for all possible situations. If they do, it is not so hard, even for small enterprises, to become the first-, second- or third-tier suppliers for large groups.

Additionally, they should ensure consistent quality across all their products and improve their production lines, Long said.

He also proposed the Government issue more preferential policies to facilitate local supporting industry enterprises to access bank loans and encourage them to issue corporate bonds.

He added that the HCMC government has allowed Minh Nguyen to borrow VND237 billion from banks with a preferential interest rate, in line with the city’s plan to develop supporting industries between 2016 and 2023. The company will use this capital to invest in infrastructure and technologies to manufacture high-quality products with competitive prices.

The Government has set a target that local supporting industry products would account for 11% of the value of industrial products, and some 1,000 domestic firms can serve as suppliers for multinational groups operating in Vietnam.

However, the target seems unachievable due to unfavorable institutional mechanism, especially the Government’s Decree 111 on the development of supporting industries and the Law on Small and Medium Enterprises.

Nevertheless, some groups, including Samsung, have assisted local SMEs to boost their development, through technology transfer and human resource training.

BSC posts first quarterly loss since 2012

     

 

Inside a trading floor of BIDV Securities Corporation. The company reported a loss of VND10 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 - its first quarterly loss since December 2012. — Photo tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn


 BIDV Securities Corporation (BSC) reported a loss of VND10 billion (US$448,500) in the fourth quarter of 2018, marking its first quarterly loss in six years.

The firm recorded a VND26 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The company posted VND159 billion in fourth-quarter revenue in 2018, down slightly from VND165 billion in 2017.

Its expenses rose 192 per cent year-on-year to VND153.5 billion, of which fair value through the statement of profit or loss (FVTPL) increased 4.6 times year-on-year to VND116.4 billion.

In 2018, BSC increased its total revenue by 15.6 per cent year on year to VND238.5 billion and raised total post-tax profit by 15 per cent to VND193.5 billion.

BSC attributed its 2018 performance to the volatility of the equity market, which beat earlier forecasts.

The benchmark VN Index hit a record high of 1,204.33 points on April 9 but lost 26 per cent to finish 2018 at 892.54 points.

Market trading liquidity was also lower as investors were not confident in the context of geopolitical tensions and trade disputes, BSC said in its report.

In 2018, the company recorded more than 110,400 trading accounts, up 7 per cent from the beginning of the year. Only 23.44 per cent of all its accounts were active during the year, equal to nearly 25,900.

The number of domestic individual accounts was more than 108,000, accounting for 95 per cent of the total.

BSC has listed nearly 111 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange. Its shares ended flat at VND9,200 ($0.40) on Tuesday after dropping 5.2 per cent on Monday.

Vietnam, India seek ways to remove obstacles to trade ties


Vietnam and India discussed specific measures to remove obstacles to trade and investment cooperation between their businesses during the fourth meeting of the Joint Sub-committee on Trade in Hanoi on January 23. 

The event was co-chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung and his Indian counterpart Anup Wadhawan. 

Delegates compared notes on orientations and solutions to tighten economic bonds, expand export markets of each other, and take advantage of their strength and resources for the development of the respective countries. 

In his remarks, Hung called on India not to impose anti-subsidy measures against stainless steel pipes and copper wire rods imported from Vietnam, and consider no expansion of anti-dumping measures when they are expired.  

He also urged India to issue official documents allowing the import of Vietnamese dragon fruits and speed up the process paving the way for other fresh fruits of Vietnam, firstly longan, pomelo, rambutan and durian, to enter the South Asian market. 

The official voiced his concerns over India’s imposition of the Minimum Import Price (MIP) on pepper and suggested the country soon take back the measure and abide by regulations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).  

He proposed India further support Vietnamese delegations joining trade promotion activities in the country, encourage local enterprises to visit Vietnam to scope out the market and invest in the areas of their strength, and assist Vietnam’s budget carrier Vietjet Air to open direct flights between the two countries. 

For his part, Anup raised issues of India’s interest, such as the grant of licences to facilities processing buffalo meat which will be exported to Vietnam. 

The free trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India was also put on the table. 

Statistics show that trade between Vietnam and India reached 10.7 billion USD in 2018, up 39 percent from 2017, with export value hitting 6.5 billion USD, up 75 percent, and import revenue up 5.2 percent.  

India has, to date, run 208 FDI projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of about 878 million USD, ranking 26th out of 129 countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian nation.


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