Industry 4.0 technologies crucial for tra fish sector: Minister

Industry 4.0 technologies are critical to improving tra fish quality and value, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong.

Checking the high-tech tra fish farming in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on February 17, Cuong lauded the application of nanobubble aeration system and bakture powder catalyst to treat wastewater in tra fish breeding ponds in Nam Viet Joint Stock Company, which helps protect the environment while bringing more benefits to the farmers and contributing to the formation of complete value chain of the businesses.

Around 360 million high-quality fries, and some 200,000 tonnes of material tra fish are produced after Nam Viet deployed the technologies in an area of 600 hectares in Chau Phu district’s Binh Phu commune.

As the project helps Nam Viet ensure sufficient supply of materials for processing by itself, the firm can create a competitive edge over its competitors and gain higher yields from exports.

Minister Cuong asked the company to continue expanding the project, and ordered local authorities to facilitate the implementation of the project.

“If the project is carried out comprehensively, fry and environment issues are not big problems for the tra fish sector anymore”, he stressed.

On the occasion, Cuong also suggested local businesses invest heavily in intensive processing for high returns, and diversify foreign markets while paying more attention to the domestic one which boasts a population of nearly 100 million and tens of millions of international visitors each year.  

Also, he said that the companies should study eel farming from mud taken from tra fish breeding ponds as they will make considerable gains from the model.

Fisheries sector targets 10 billion USD export value

Vietnam gains $3.15 billion from rice export in 2018, Vietnam targets 18 million foreign holiday-makers in 2019, Fisheries sector targets 10 billion USD export value, Industry 4.0 technologies crucial for tra fish sector: Minister

The fisheries sector is aiming at 10 billion USD in the export of aquatic products in 2019, a year-on-year rise of 11 percent, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

To that end, it will work to increase the total aquaculture production by 3.6 percent to 4.3 million tonnes, including 1.4 million tonnes of tra fish and 852,000 tonnes of shrimp of all kinds, up 3 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.

 It will also strive to catch 3.68 million tonnes, up 2.5 percent year-on-year.

 The sector will effectively carry out the national action plan on shrimp development by 2025, the master plan on the development of the shrimp industry by 2025, and the three-tier cooperation plan for the production of high-quality tra fish breeds in the Mekong Delta until 2025.

 Inspections will be intensified to control the quality of feed and products improving the farming environment, prevent the use of banned antibiotics, and antibiotic abuse in aquatic farming.

 More inspection teams will also be organized to supervise the implementation of regulations related to the management and use of fishing vessels at localities, and the granting of registration licenses to ship owners.

Speaking at a conference to discuss export plans in HCM City on February 16, VASEP Chairman Ngo Van Ich said Vietnam’s seafood exports last year had been worth 9 billion USD, a year-on year increase of 6 percent, and met the target.

Of which, Tra fish exports had surged 26 percent to 2.26 billion USD thanks to increased buying by the US and China and the recovery of the EU market, he said.

But shrimp exports were down 8 percent to 3.6 billion USD due to a drop in demand in a number of markets such as the US and Canada and higher production by competitors like India, Indonesia and Thailand, resulting in a 15-20 percent fall in prices, he added.

Ich said last year had also been difficult for the industry after the EC imposed a yellow card warning on Vietnamese seafood for failing to make progress in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

But things would look up this year, he noted.

“Exports increased by just 6 percent last year, rather low considering the sector’s capacity. The sector can absolutely achieve growth of 10 percent and even 12 percent a year if it is developed in the right direction.”

With its potential and preferential tariffs from free trade agreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the sector would achieve an export turnover of 10 billion USD this year, he said.

“In 2019, shrimp exports are expected to be better because the US Department of Commerce recently announced the final results of the 12th period of review (POR 12), lowering the anti-dumping tariff on shrimp imports from Vietnam.”

Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP General Secretary, said the export of shrimp, tra fish and other seafood products was expected to reach 4.2 billion USD, 2.3 billion USD and 3.5 billion USD this year.

The sector would also work to get the EC yellow card warning lifted this year, he said.

But the many positive signals notwithstanding, the sector also faces many challenges in terms of raw materials, competitiveness and market barriers. 

“Actively sourcing raw materials is always an advantage to businesses, but this is not being done well.”

Climate change, saltwater intrusion in rivers and diseases are some of the reasons causing a shortage of raw materials while the anti-dumping duty imposed by the US and its Seafood Import Monitoring Programme have also created pressure on businesses, according to Hoe.

Raw shrimp prices are higher than in other countries in the region and other input costs have also increased, affecting Vietnam’s competiveness.

Ich and Hoe agreed that to achieve the targets the sector would need a specific development strategy with a focus on preventing shrimp diseases, stopping the use of chemicals in aquaculture, capitalising on preferential tariffs under the Vietnam-EU FTA, which takes effect this year, to boost exports to the EU, and importing legal seafood materials for processing for export.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong hailed the export efforts last year, but said the target of 10 billion USD for this year would be very high despite having a firm foundation to achieve it. 

Shrimp exports were looking up, tra fish was popular in many markets and seafood exploitation was gradually becoming sustainable.

To accomplish the export target, stakeholders in the fisheries value chain from the exploitation and processing stages to distribution and exports needed to further enhance cooperation and improve the management at each stage.

The exploitation and production of raw materials had to follow clean processes and comply with input quality standards while the processing phase had to improve technology and management to reduce production costs. 

Besides sustaining traditional markets, companies and business groups had to find new markets but also exploit the lucrative domestic market of nearly 100 million people and 15 million international visitors annually.

Appier: Blue skies ahead for AI adoption into business

Appier: Blue skies ahead for AI adoption into business

Appier, an artificial intelligence (AI) company that helps marketers make better decisions powered by AI, recently explained the industry trends that will shape marketing in the country in the year ahead.

In the context of Vietnam’s economy continuing to develop off the back of a bullish 2018, which saw economic growth of just over 7 per cent, the additional impact of free trade agreements with Canada and the EU and the CPTPP is likely to kick in in 2019.

The rate of development in AI is occurring at an unprecedented speed, according to Mr. Charles Ng, Appier’s Vice President of Enterprise AI. Each year, the number of problems AI can solve grows astronomically. “We are seeing new things become possible on an almost daily basis,” he said “These include such areas as translation and self-driving cars, which are all powered by AI.”

Citing an increase in the number of multinational corporations looking to set up in Vietnam and coupling that with the country’s young and entrepreneurial population, he sees blue skies ahead for the adoption of AI into Vietnam’s business scene, including in marketing.

He cautioned, however, that the leading challenge for marketers in Vietnam and enterprises looking to deploy AI to monitor and further their marketing efforts is a need to cultivate a company’s underlying data.

For successful AI adoption, including of Appier’s solutions, a company’s data must be solid. Getting solid data infrastructure in place is a big challenge that businesses in Vietnam face. The country is very early in the adoption phase, so it is crucial for a company to get this right from the get-go. Data is the foundation upon which AI learns and helps business leaders make informed decisions.

The key trends in AI for the year ahead include an inevitable and steady march towards the adoption of AI, with businesses looking to deploy it in as many ways as possible and use it to solve more sophisticated problems. Secondly, an array of challenges as people continually push the limits of what AI can do at present and come to better understand not only its capabilities but also its limitations. And finally, an increase in AI applied to automation, where routine tasks are powered by AI, leading to more useful outcomes and freeing up human resources to tackle more creative challenges.

According to Appier, the way in which marketing is moving into a digital world presents marketers in Vietnam with an array of new challenges. “We see AI as a means by which these challenges can be approached, tackled, and ultimately solved for both local and international businesses,” Mr. Ng said.

“AI can serve to offer Vietnamese businesses an advantage over their incoming multinational competitors who often will not be able to be as agile and as flexible as local entrepreneurs to address the challenges that this market presents.”

Customers in gaming, e-commerce, and utilities in Vietnam are among the 1,000 clients Appier has around the world. Mr. Ng cited the ways in which enterprises can solve their challenges using AI. These include selecting the right AI partner for each business problem you are solving and making sure you have the right talent on your team. He went on to present a case study where deploying Appier’s solutions saw a property listing company achieve conversion increases of 190 per cent through PC and 330 per cent through smartphones over previous campaigns.

LOGIVAN raises $5.5 mn in funding round

LOGIVAN raises $5.5 mn in funding round

Vietnam-based logistics startup LOGIVAN has announced it raised $5.5 million in a funding round from angel investors and venture capital firms across Asia, including Matrix Partners China’s founding Managing Partner Mr. David Su, through his family office, and the Jakarta-based Alpha JWC Ventures.

In a press statement on startup news website e27, the company said the funding round is the largest it has raised to date.

LOGIVAN closed two separate rounds of funding last year: a $600,000 round in April from Insignia Ventures Partners and a $1.75 million round from Ethos Partners, VinaCapital Ventures, and Insignia.

With this latest funding, the company has raised a total of $7.9 million at an undisclosed valuation.

“Vietnam is the next rising star in the growing Southeast Asia region and it is well poised to experience a similar growth trajectory to what we have witnessed over past years in China,” Mr. Su said. “Vietnam’s logistics industry is highly fragmented, with logistics costs making up 23 per cent of Vietnam’s GDP, and 90 per cent of trucks in the country are owned by individuals. Given the success of Manbang, we believe that LOGIVAN has the potential to emulate its success.”

With the new funding round, LOGIVAN plans to invest in data analysis and cross-platform integration to increase supply chain efficiency and optimize the user experience.

It will also invest in artificial intelligence (AI) applications, truck-matching and pricing algorithms (to optimize the utilization of empty returning trucks), and in human resources.

LOGIVAN was founded in November 2017 by Cambridge University graduate Linh Pham to provide cargo transportation services between Vietnam’s northern and southern provinces.

ThinkLABs Asia-Pacific champion of IBM Watson Build 2018

ThinkLABs Asia-Pacific champion of IBM Watson Build 2018

Vietnamese startup ThinkLABs JSC, an Indoor Air Quality Monitoring (IAQM) solution leveraging machine learning with IoT to prevent air pollution and improve health conditions, was named Asia Pacific Champion of IBM Watson Build 2018 at Think Conference 2019 in San Francisco on February 11.

Prior to that, in early January, ThinkLABs was proud to be announced by IBM Watson Build as the only Vietnamese company on the shortlist for Asia Pacific Champion.

ThinkLABs brought an Indoor Air Quality Monitoring (tMonitor) solution to IBM Watson Build 2018. tMonitor is an IoT device that delivers simultaneous real-time, accurate, and precise measurements of Particles (PM 1, PM 2.5, and PM 10), Gases (VOCs, SO2, CO, O3, CO2, and NH3), and Environmental Conditions (Temperature, Humidity, and Light).

tMonitor is powered by the IBM IoT Platform and IBM Cloud for edge device lifecycle management, a hardened end-to-end security solution that ensures the highest standards of security, reliability, and scalability of the network. This enables the rapid deployment of devices in any indoor environment regardless of the infrastructure of the building.

Enabling the Watson-based IoT Indoor Air Quality Monitoring System ensures the safest environment and most energy efficient use of systems, with access to data anytime anywhere for building managers, employees, and residents via a mobile phone or the web.

“Passing the very first phase of sending a solution idea (the Think phase), we advanced to the Build phase, which offered us $7,000 worth of Watson and Cloud services to build our solution in three months,” said Mr. Vu Hai Nam, Chief Operating Officer at ThinkLABs. “With a successful result in the Build phase, we took steps into the ASEAN and then the Asia-Pacific rounds. In early January, we were over the moon to hear that ThinkLABs was the Watson Build Asia Pacific Champion. We have spent ‘many months and long nights’ finding a solution that worked, and it felt great to receive that validation from IBM.”

“In every phase and round, our solution was technically proven by IBM experts and we gave a 20-minute pitch about it.”

“AI is in the news every day. I regularly hear businesses discuss how they’re using AI, not when they’ll start using it,” said Ms. Catherine Solazzo, Vice President, IBM Partner Ecosystem Marketing. “Every partner in Watson Build is positioning its business to capture the AI opportunity that is growing by the day. Naming this year’s global champion is not going to be easy. Each finalist has brought forward strong solutions.”

IBM launched Watson Build in February 2017. The program has reached over 1,700 business partner executives from 80+ countries, received 650 AI-based concepts, supported 100+ partners to develop an AI solution on IBM Cloud, and enabled partners to take their solutions to market.

This year, over 400 IBM Business Partners around the world joined Watson Build and more than 250 prototypes were submitted; a new record. There were finalists within seven geographies: Asia-Pacific, Europe, Greater China Group, Japan, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

HPT Vietnam makes presentation on IBM DBA at Think 2019

Mr. Nguyen Viet Anh, Director of the HPT Vietnam Corporation, made a presentation at Think 2019 on February 14 in San Francisco on how the Orient Joint Stock Commercial Bank is transforming credit with IBM Digital Business Automation (DBA).

Mr. Anh, an IBM business partner, gave an overview of OCB and its requirements, proposed solutions, and discussed implementation challenges and benefits and lessons learned from applying IBM DBA.

IBM DBA delivers a simple way to acquire and utilize key offerings from across the IBM portfolio to digitize all aspects of business operations, which include workflow, decisions, content, and data capture.

The offering includes simplified packaging and licensing based upon Processor Value Units (PVUs). The PVU entitlements that are purchased can be used across each of the products in the offering according to clients’ needs, helping to simplify planning for adoption and growth of new business automation solutions.

In the current competitive marketplace, digital companies use software automation to achieve higher revenue per employee than their traditional counterparts. Automation maximizes revenue per employee by reinventing the client experience while reducing costs. Digital Business Automation delivers essential bundled capabilities to digitize all aspects of business operations, by extending the workforce with digital labor to enabling businesses to scale.

“At the moment, many enterprises can complete tasks manually, which can easily lead to risks and errors,” Mr. Anh said. “For example, in the banking sector, using technology will avoid financial fraud. DBA helps companies operate more efficiently and avoid many risks.”

In addition to OCB, HPT is currently providing the DBA solution to other banks in Vietnam such as ACB, Techcombank, and Vietcombank, as well as some insurance companies. “Banks are often pioneers in technology solutions, but this DBA solution is not only applied in banks but also the insurance and retail businesses,” Mr. Anh added. 

This year is the second year Mr. Anh has attended IBM’s Think event. “The event is one of the largest technology events in the world and helps customers and partners capture the latest technology trends around the world that IBM introduces,” he said. “This is also a very good networking venue because I can meet customers and partners and share information and learn from each other. This year I am interested in AI, blockchain technology, and cloud. Both of these technologies in Vietnam are currently very new and the scope of application is modest, but I personally believe that these technologies will thrive in Vietnam in the next few years, so HPT will pay more attention to them.” 

Think 2019 is IBM’s flagship event that brings together technologists, business executives, and thought leaders from across industries and around the world who are spearheading the next phase of technological and societal change. This year’s conference is focused on new and emerging technologies that will fuel the fourth industrial revolution, including cloud, AI, and open source. 

HPT was founded in 1995. With a vision of “Building HPT into an internationally-ranked ICT and software developing company”, it builds modern, safe and uninterrupted IT infrastructure, applies the ISO 9001:2008 quality management system and the ISO 27001:2013 information security management system, maintains transparent and well-controlled financial systems, and continuously invests in the training and development of managers and employees in accordance with strategies.

It is headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City and has branches in Hanoi, Da Nang and Cambodia. HPT cooperates closely with leading global IT firms such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, HP, Cisco, and EMC to bring customers practical and optimum solutions.

Vietnam targets 18 million foreign holiday-makers in 2019

Vietnam targets 18 million foreign holiday-makers in 2019

Vietnam aims to receive about 18 million foreign visitors and 85 million domestic ones in 2019, and earn more than VND700 trillion ($30.2 billion) from tourism, the Vietnam News Agency quoted the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as announcing. 

To attract more foreign holiday-makers, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has enhanced tourism promotion activities and information provision. 

Vietnam joined the 39th International Tourism Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain from January 23-27, aiming to introduce Vietnam’s potential for tourism development. 

The administration plans to attend a series of other promotion programmes in Germany, Russia, Venezuela, China, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Japan and ASEAN countries in 2019.

Vietnam served some 15.5 million-15.6 million foreign tourists and 80 million domestic travelers in 2018, earning VND620 trillion ($26.66 billion) for tourism revenue. 

The success has been attributed by some to the efforts of tourism authorities to promote the country overseas. 

The tourism sector focused on promoting tourism in traditional markets and those with high growth potential. It worked with the tourism advisory council to foster e-marketing in tourism promotion activities, and build tourism apps for mobile devices. 

Localities also made videos to promote tourism and received international delegations to explore tourism development potential in Vietnam. 

To aid such efforts, VNAT has adopted a system of indicators to evaluate a destination and a tourism code of conduct; designed various plans to strengthen the management of travel agencies and tour guides; and raised awareness of the importance of quality among tourism service providers, local administrations and tourism authorities.

According to the VNAT, to meet the demands of visitors from different markets, Vietnam has developed a range of tourism products that make use of the country’s advantages, including cultural tours, sea-based tours, eco-tours, adventure tours, luxurious resort vacations and more.

In recent years, a range of popular holiday destinations like Ha Long, Phu Quoc and Da Nang have helped develop the image of Vietnam, promoting national tourism among international visitors and becoming the main drivers of the industry’s growth.

Also in 2018, the country won a series of international awards, recognising it as a safe and friendly destination. Vietnam was named “Asia’s Leading Destination” for the first time at the 2018 World Travel Awards in Hong Kong in September. Two months later, it was honoured with as “Asia’s best golf destination in 2018” at the Golf World Travel Awards.

In December last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved the establishment of a State-run tourism development fund, worth about VND300 billion  ($12.9 million), which will be used for financing tourism promotion activities.

The PM also approved a project which hopes to restructure the industry to turn it into a spearhead economic sector and make Vietnam one of the most developed tourism nations in Southeast Asia.

The project aims for $45 billion in tourism revenue by 2025, with exports through tourism reaching $27 billion.

The sector is hoped to contribute more than 10 per cent to GDP and create 6 million jobs, including 2 million direct jobs. At the same time, it expects to serve 32 million foreign tourists and more than 130 million domestic visitors in 2025. 

Vietnam gains $3.15 billion from rice export in 2018

Vietnam gains $3.15 billion from rice export in 2018

Last year, Vietnam’s total rice exports reached 6.15 million tonnes, with export turnover of $3.15 billion, and the industry saw a 5.7 per cent increase in volume and a 19.6 per cent increase in value compared to 2017, according to a report from the Vietnam News Agency. 

Loc Troi 28 is a short term rice variety and the final product between the hybrid of Loc Troi 1 and Basmati rice variety of India.

High-yielding, fragrant and nutritious compared to other varieties, Loc Troi 28 was well received at an international rice convention held in China.

Huynh Van Thon, Chairman and General Director of Loc Troi corp., was quoted by the State-run news agency  as saying that  Loc Troi 28 rice variety has surpassed Homali rice variety of Thailand and, SKO of Cambodia to win the top quality. 

“This is a high-yielding variety that meets the strict demand of consumers regarding quality and food safety,” he added. 

Vietnamese rice producers now focus on production value, not just increasing volume. Furthermore, Vietnam has become a member of the global sustainable rice production programme, and for the first time in years, Vietnam’s rice price is higher than Thailand’s.

Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade, as quoted by VNA, said “With huge competition coming from major rice exporting countries, Vietnam has proven its capacity and its rice product has shown its quality.”

In recent years, Vietnam’s rice industry has paid more attention to promotional activities. The launch of Vietnam’s national rice logo has reiterated the efforts to bring more rice to the world market.

However, in the context of global warming and unpredictable weather patterns, as well as limitation in value chains and farmers’ struggle to make a living from growing rice, there is much needed to be done. 

VNA also quoted Mr. Bui Chi Buu, former Director of the Institute of Agricultural Science for Southern Vietnam, as saying:  “Farmers still meet with lots of difficulties, and in order to help the farmers, we should cut out the middle man so traders and sellers can buy rice directly from farmers, increasing farmers’ profitability.”

The global market is changing at a rapid pace and it requires Vietnam’s rice industry to heighten the production volume, improve the quality and deliver more diverse rice products.

Foreign capital flows into southern provinces as Lunar New Year starts

Fresh foreign capital has been flowing into the southern provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Binh Duong at the beginning of the Lunar New Year.

foreign capital flows into southern provinces as lunar new year starts

Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Binh Duong remain ideal destinations for foreign capital

Ba Ria-Vung Tau on February 14 granted nine investment certificates worth nearly VND10 trillion ($430 million) and nearly $163 million to investors.

The newly-licensed projects include the instant coffee production plant of Japan’s Marubeni Group; the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant of PVGAZPROM Natural Gas for Vehicles, a joint Russian-Vietnamese company; and the cement additive production plant by CHC Vietnam. Other projects include the Da Bac 4 solar power plant of Dong A Chau Duc JSC, and the speedboat project linking Vung Tau city with Con Dao Island of PQ Express JSC.

Statistics show that the province’s economy grew by 7.2 per cent in 2018, a record pace over the past eight years. In 2018, the local industrial production value, excluding crude oil and gas, increased by 8.72 per cent year-on-year. Export turnover reached $4.4 billion, up 13.32 per cent.

In 2018, Ba Ria-Vung Tau attracted 44 foreign-invested projects valued at about $1.9 billion and 59 domestically-funded ones worth VND18.76 trillion ($815.7 million). As of present, the province accommodates 351 valid FDI and 521 domestic projects, valued at $27.3 billion and VND276 trillion ($12 billion), respectively.

At the same day, the Binh Duong People’s Committee also handed out investment certificates to three foreign-invested companies with a total investment capital of $180 million. BW Industrial Development JSC received investment certificates for two projects, one to lease offices and factories and another to provide logistics warehousing services, worth $105.8 million in total.

Kyungbang Vietnam Co., Ltd., was licensed to expand its facility to produce cotton yarn and blended yarns valued at $40 million, while Top Glove Sdn., Bhd. will inject $30 million in a plant to produce gloves and other products from plastics. ​​​​

Vihajico changes name and elects new CEO

vihajico changes name and elects new ceo

Vihajico, the investor of Ecopark, has just appointed a new CEO as well as changed the company name to Ecopark Corporation JSC to expand business.  

Vihajico, established in 2013, has made its name through the success of the Ecopark urban area, a functional city and home for many families who love the environment, ecology, and a healthy lifestyle.

Recently, Vihajico’s leader board decided to change the company’s name to Ecopark Corporation JSC. This move shows an important turning point in bringing the company's potential and scale to a new level.

Along with changing the name, Ecopark Corporation JSC also changed its strategy toward sustainable development and multi-disciplinary investment in sectors such as education, healthcare, clean agriculture, hi-tech, travel, and entertainment, as well as expand the Ecopark urban model across the country.

In addition, Ecopark Corporation JSC also elected a new CEO. Accordingly, from January 30, 2019, Tran Quoc Viet will replace Dao Ngoc Thanh. Viet is a member of the board of directors and has been helping to operate Ecopark for half a year.

Previously, in January this year, Dao Ngoc Thanh, the representative of An Quy Hung Co., Ltd., was elected as chairman of Vinaconex.

With a doctorate in business and management, Tran Quoc Viet has over 22 years of leadership experience, operating domestic and foreign companies in key positions.

Vietnam’s richest man among 200 richest people in the world

Pham Nhat Vuong is the first Vietnamese to enter the list of the world’s 200 wealthiest people.

He has an estimated worth of $7.5 billion.  

Vuong, who heads the Vingroup conglomerate, is 198th on the real time billionaires ranking updated by Forbes magazine on Saturday. His net worth has increased by $3.2 billion over last year when he topped Forbes’s list of four Vietnamese billionaires.

A 13 percent increase in the value of Vingroup’s shares in the first week after Vietnam’s stock market reopened following a 9-day Tet (Lunar New Year Festival) break has been a factor in boosting Vuong’s net worth and catapulting him into the top 200 list. 

Price of Vingroup's share (VIC) stood at VND112,000 ($4.82) at the end of the trading session last Friday.

Vuong was first mentioned as a billionaire on the Forbes list in 2013 with a net worth of $1.5 billion, ranking 974th richest in the world.

Vingroup, one of Vietnam’s largest real estate conglomerates, has been expanding rapidly into retail, logistics, agriculture, education and healthcare sectors.  

 Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, the other Vietnamese billionaire and owner of budget carrier Vietjet, is 1,014th on the Forbes list of global billionaires with assets worth around $2.3 billion.

Topping the Forbes list was Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who became world's first centi-billionaire with a net worth of $133 billion, up $21 billion from 2018. Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder, was in second place with a net worth of $97 billion.

Cần Thơ plans first green infrastructure project

The green infrastructure project will help protect areas along the river. Photo for illustration. 

The Mekong Delta city of Cần Thơ plans to build its first green infrastructure project in the form of a car park, Vietnam News Agency reported on Thursday.

The information was revealed during a meeting held by the city’s People’s Committee.

Accordingly, the project will cover an area of 0.5ha along the Rạch Ngỗng River and Thới Nhựt 2 resettlement area in An Khánh Ward, Ninh Kiều District. It aims to develop green infrastructure to serve local communities through an ecological framework for social, economic and environmental health.

Trịnh Anh Tuấn, of Cần Thơ University’s Research Institute of Climate Change and a member of the project development team, said upon its completion, the project would help improve the surrounding environment and living conditions. 

“The river banks will be designed to maintain natural conditions and create an ecological landscape,” Tuấn said.

He added that facilities to reduce flooding will be included along with those to improve the quality of life for residents.

Vice chairman of the People’s Committee, Đào Anh Dũng, said residents had been living in the resettlement area for many years, but so far have not had space to park.

If successful, the project would solve not only the parking demand but also mitigate flooding and environmental issues, which are challenging developing cities like Cần Thơ.

Dũng has asked the university’s Institute of Environmental Sciences and relevant units to put the final touches to the project before implementation.

According to experts, green infrastructure is a network of ‘green’ elements conserved, enhanced, or set up to address the negative effects of urbanisation based on a ‘building with nature’ approach, which means ensuring harmony between socio-economic development and the conservation and strengthening of natural values.

Green infrastructure is said to bring many health and wellbeing benefits, along with environmental benefits.

In Việt Nam, green infrastructure will help solve several urbanisation issues, improve air quality, reduce noise, create new biodiversity and boost economic growth.

It also helps raise land values, attract investment, and promote tourism and trade. 

Foreign investors open wallets for Vietnamese startups

Vietnamese startups in transport, homestay, fintech and other sectors have received millions of dollars from foreign investors in January.

Logivan, a web platform that helps trucks connect with potential customers, said it has raised $5.5 million in the latest funding round. The investment comes from two Asian angel investors and Indonesian venture capitalist Alpha JWC Ventures.

One of the angel investors is David Su, a founding managing partner at private equity firm Matrix Partners China, who invested through his family office. 

The startup is expected to invest in AI, data analysis and human resources.

Earlier in January, Vietnamese homestay platform Luxstay raised $3 million from Japan’s CyberAgent Ventures and other foreign investors in its bridge round.

Luxstay representatives said the total capital raised could rise to $5 million as negotiations were still ongoing and several investors were interested., a platform that helps connect workout enthusiasts with fitness studios across Vietnam, has raised $1 million in a pre-Series A funding round from Japan’s CyberAgent Capital and some angel investors. 

Japan’s Cyber Agent has injected capital in yet another Vietnamese startup, along with Korean Bon Angels Venture Partners. A total of $1 million was bagged by JAMJA, a site that offers time-based discounts for local services like restaurants, salons, and movie theaters.  

Le Hung Viet, CEO of this discount booking application, said that the capital will help JAMJA keep the growth momentum the company is already seeing, leading up to the next Series A round. 

Japan’s CyberAgent Capital has currently invested in more than 30 Vietnamese startups.

New General Manager for MSL Vietnam

New General Manager for MSL Vietnam

Publicis Groupe announced on January 28 the appointment of Mr. Luc Mandret as General Manager of MSL in Vietnam, reporting to Mr. Lukasz Roszczyc, CEO of Publicis Groupe in Vietnam.

Mr. Mandret will lead all the operations of the two offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and will focus on the development of MSL, the Global Public Relations and Integrated Communications agency of Publicis Groupe, and will foster the collaborative “Power of One” model.

He started his career as a consultant in the pharma industry, then moved to work in the media industry, launching newspapers, blogs, and online TV channels. He was also a lecturer at the Paris La Sorbonne University.

Mr. Mandret is a French national and has been in Southeast Asia for 18 months, bringing with him a decade of experience in consumer and corporate PR. He started his career in the PR industry in 2008 and then joined MSL in 2013 to lead the digital operations of Publicis Consultants, the PR agency of MSL in France.

At MSL and Publicis Consultants, he is an adviser to C-level leaders, partnering their digital transformation and reputation management. He has vast experience in various industries (FMCG, automotive, energy, cosmetics, banking and insurance, etc.) and strong expertise from corporate and crisis communication to influencer management and experiential marketing.

“We are further fueling the momentum of MSL Vietnam by investing and bringing new expertise to the market,” said Mr. Roszczyc. “With Luc’s progressive experience in online influence, we will be pioneering new solutions and strengthening our Public Relations specialization to help our clients’ grow. Through the ‘Power of One’ model of Publicis Groupe and strong end-to-end integration, we are aiming to double MSL’s scale both in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.”

“Luc brings global MSL thought leadership within growing sectors of Vietnam’s economy, and we will work together to inspire Vietnamese and MNC businesses to transform and be future ready.”

“I am very excited to join such a great team,” said Mr. Mandret. “I bring my experience in both public relations and digital influence, and will advise our clients on developing the best influence strategy. With all our expertise in media relations, in event and activations, in social media and digital, in influencer marketing, and both consumer and corporate PR, we definitely are the best partner for brands. My priority is to be the best partner of our clients, and offer them impactful services.”

Six Senses now under IHG

Six Senses now under IHG

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has announced its acquisition of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.

Six Senses is renowned for its focus on wellness and sustainability, with each hotel and resort set in locations of incredible natural beauty that will stop you in your tracks, delivering an uncompromising level of service that will stay with you long after you’ve left. All of which has been recognized through a host of industry awards and accolades, including from Travel + Leisure (World Best Award and Top Hotel Brand for two years in a row), TIME Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, and Skift, to name just a few.

Featuring properties in 12 countries, Six Senses is behind some of the world’s most enticing hotels, resorts and spas, including a 19th century wine estate in the Douro Valley in Portugal, breathtaking island resorts in the Seychelles and Maldives, beach-side retreats in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam (Six Senses Ninh Van Bay and Six Senses Con Dao, and Evason Ana Mandara), and Oman, a city escape in Singapore, and residences in the mountains of Courchevel in France.

Six Senses joins a growing number of luxury brands in the IHG family, including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Regent Hotels & Resorts, and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. Across IHG’s four leading luxury brands, guests can now enjoy nearly 300 luxury hotels around the world, with more than 100 set to open in the coming years.

As part of the IHG family, Six Senses is expected to expand to 60 properties within the next ten years.

“We’re incredibly proud to welcome Six Senses into our family of brands and look forward to opening more stunning hotels, resorts and spas - each one staying true to Six Senses’ world-renowned reputation for wellness and an unwavering commitment to purposeful travel,” said IHG’s CEO Mr. Keith Barr.

Core to every Six Senses hotel and resort is a Six Senses Spa, where guests can relax, reconnect, and completely refresh. Guests are guided on a personal path to finding harmony and balance, to ensure positive and lasting benefits. Unique to the hospitality sector, Six Senses has also taken wellness out of the spa and integrated it across the entire stay, helping guests learn something new and reconnect with themselves, others, and the world around them.

“IHG believes in our purpose to merge the two platforms of wellness and sustainability to promote personal health, and the health of the planet,” said Six Senses CEO Mr. Neil Jacobs. “Joining forces with IHG means we can use a wealth of systems and operational excellence to grow our brand and reach new markets without losing our quirky personality and playful touch.”

In the near future guests will be able to book their Six Senses stay through IHG’s booking platforms, such as the website and the company’s leading mobile app, and benefit from the advantages of the IHG Rewards Club loyalty program.

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