BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 29/3

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietjet sign MoU

At the MoU signing ceremony (Photo: hanoimoi.com.vn)


The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and Vietjet Air signed in Hanoi on March 28 a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation for 2019 – 2021.

Under the MoU, the two sides will work together to increase promotion on mass media; introduce publications, documents and market researches; cooperate in an international tourism fair and Vietnamese tourism abroad; and organise domestic destination surveys and events.

The MoU provides travel opportunities and convenience for Vietnamese people and international tourists, connecting Vietnam to destinations around the world, where Vietjet has direct flights. 

This is also a concrete effort to contribute to the implementation of the growth target plan assigned by the Prime Minister to welcome about 18 million international visitors to Vietnam in 2019.

With a wide flight network of 39 domestic routes and 69 international routes, Vietjet currently operates around 400 flights daily, carrying more than 65 million passengers to date.

Cuba promotes tourism in Hanoi



Visitors pose for photos at the ongoing Cuba Tourism Festival in Hanoi

The Cuban Embassy in Hanoi, in cooperation with Hanoitourist Travel Company and Russian airline Aeroflot, is organizing the Cuba Tourism Festival in Hanoi, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

The March 26-30 event enables local guests to learn about Cuba’s tourism, culture, and society, as well as Cuban music, images of the Latin American country, and Samba.

Hanoitourist is offering a new 12-day tour to Cuba and Russia, which takes in well-known attractions in Cuba such as Malecon esplanade, Old Quarter in Havana and Vinales Town, and places of interest in Russia including Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Lyanis Torres Rivera said Cuba received 4.7 million international tourists last year. As of March 3, 2019, more than one million international tourists had come to the country.

According to the Ambassador, Cuba will organize an international tourism fair from May 6 to 11 to boost its tourism and promote cooperation with travel companies from other countries.


FDI reaches nearly $11 billion in three months

     

Workers at an electric component factory in Binh Duong’s VSIP 2. Manufacturing and processing remained the most appealing sector, attracting $8.4 billion of investment in three months.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) commitments in the first quarter of the year reached a three-year record of US$10.8 billion, up 86.2 per cent year-on-year, according to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA).

During the reviewed period, FDI disbursement also saw a positive increase of 6.2 per cent to $4.12 billion, the FIA, which is under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, announced on Tuesday.

Up to 785 new projects were granted licences with total registered investment capital of $3.82 billion in the first three months of the year, up 80.1 per cent from the same period last year, while 279 existing projects were injected with an additional $1.3 billion, equivalent to 72.5 per cent of the level from the corresponding period last year.

Although the number of capital adjustment projects increased sharply (40.2 per cent), the capital scale was small with an average of $4.65 million per project, down from $8.99 million in the same period last year.

The number of projects with large capital adjustment was also very small. There was only one project with a large capital increase of $110 million. In the first quarter of 2018, there were five projects that increased investment capital by $100-500 million, accounting for 55 per cent of the total.

Overseas players spent $5.68 billion to acquire shares in Vietnamese companies in the first quarter of the year, triple that of the same period last year and accounting for 52.6 per cent of total FDI commitments.

From January to March, foreign-invested businesses gained a trade surplus of $7.57 billion, including crude oil with exports topping $41.45 billion, 2.7 per cent higher than the same period last year, and imports hitting $33.88 billion, up 6 per cent.

Foreign investors poured their funds into 180 sectors. Manufacturing and processing remained the most appealing sector by attracting $8.4 billion in three months, accounting for 77.7 per cent of the total investment inflow. It was followed by real estate with $778.2 million (7.2 per cent) and science and technology with $383.2 million (3.5 per cent).

Hong Kong was the leading source of foreign investment with $4.4 billion among 74 countries and territories investing in Viet Nam, making up nearly 40.7 per cent of the country’s total FDI. Singapore ranked second with $1.46 billion (13.5 per cent), and South Korea came next with $1.3 billion (12.2 per cent). China and Japan took fourth and fifth with total registered capital of $1 billion and $700 million, respectively.

In the first three months of the year, the capital city lured the largest share of registered capital with $4.15 billion, or 38.4 per cent of total investment. It was followed by HCM City with $1.57 billion (14.5 per cent) and the southern province of Binh Duong with $526.6 million (5.8 per cent).

In the first quarter of the year, big FDI projects included Hong Kong’s Beerco Limited spending $3.85 billion on a stake in Viet Nam Beverage Co Ltd, a local unit of Thai Beverage Public Co Ltd. Also notable was a factory manufacturing electronics, network equipment and multimedia products for Goertel Co Ltd in Bac Ninh Province with total investment of $260 million; Singapore’s Royal Pagoda Private Limited investing in a textile project in in Nghe An Province; and China’s Guizhou Tyre Co Ltd investing in a truck and bus tire plant in Tien Giang Province to the tune of $214.4 million.

Economists say stability has been an advantage for Viet Nam in attracting FDI. The Government’s efforts to improve the investment environment also contributed to the record level.

The 11th edition of annual White Book, announced by the European Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (EuroCham) earlier this month, says Viet Nam has reformed its laws and implemented regulations that meet international standards, creating a more attractive trade and investment environment. 

NutiFood teams up with Greg Norman

The NutiFood Nutrition Food JSC and legendary golfer and Vietnamese Tourism Ambassador Greg Norman will establish a joint venture called Greg Norman and NutiFood in the US, headquartered in New York State, according to a Corporate Agreement signed between the two sides on March 20 in Ho Chi Minh City.

NutiFood will be responsible for the entire process of research, production, and distribution of coffee products, while Greg Norman will issue a copyright and license agreement for the joint venture to use his brand name, images, and logos with his name on coffee products produced by NutiFood.

The joint venture was established to take advantage of NutiFood’s strengths in research and productive resources and use the international reputation of Greg Norman’s brand name, images, and “the Shark” logo to promote pure Vietnamese coffee products to the international community and markets. It will open a coffee chain with the Greg Norman and NutiCafe brand name in Vietnam and Asia first, with future expansion opportunities in the US, to attract international tourists to come and enjoy the iced milk coffee culture, a typical Vietnamese drink.

When recently visiting the NUTICADA Coffee Plantation in the central highlands’ Dak Lak province, where NutiFood’s coffee products are produced, Greg Norman was impressed to hear that a coffee sample from the plantation was recognized as one of the seventh-highest globally in terms of quality, and that the World Specialty Coffee Association also recognized it as one of 25 coffee samples that met its standards in specialty coffee. With major production experience, a strong expert team, and a coffee plantation that meets standards in specialty coffee, he is proud to have his name and logo on its coffee products and to promote it among coffee lovers around the world.

“Bringing Vietnamese coffee culture to the world and helping Vietnamese coffee beans gain new value are our burning desires,” said Mr. Tran Thanh Hai, Chairman of NutiFood’s Management Board. “Vietnam being the second-largest coffee producer in the world but only exporting raw materials pushes us to work harder.”

Last year, when NutiFood officially launched the NutiCafe product to the market, it also took the first step to increase the value of coffee beans and gradually reach out to the world. Thanks to its technology, the company has successfully packed Vietnamese iced milk coffee, a unique “must-try” drink for international visitors whenever they arrive in Vietnam. “And on the way to reaching our desires, we were fortunate to meet Greg Norman. We all want to bring Vietnamese culture to the world, in which iced milk coffee is a unique part. Branded by Greg Norman, NutiFood is confident its coffee products will have many opportunities to reach out to the world.”

Social influencer platform Hiip secures funding

Hiip, an automated social influencer marketing platform in Vietnam and Thailand, announced on March 26 it has closed a seven-digit Series A round led by Thailand’s Vnet Capital together with Japan Strategic Capital, Tokyo-listed marketing technology company Rentracks, and the Singapore-based Vulpes Investment Management.

Hiip uses proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help brands and advertisers find, connect, and work with the perfect blend of social media influencers at scale. It has worked with more than 500 brands and 6,000 influencers since its inception and has the highest client loyalty in the region. Revenue is doubling every six months.

“Our vision since day one has been to be the leading influencer platform in Southeast Asia,” said Mr. Phi Nguyen, Co-founder and CEO of Hiip Asia. “We are happy to be backed by Vnet’s extensive network and track record of investing successfully in technology startups to help us accelerate and achieve this vision.”

“We are very excited with this opportunity to work with Vnet and other forward-thinking investors in this round,” said Mr. Michael Graham Hyde, Chairman of Hiip Thailand. “In the few short months since we launched in Thailand in 2018, we have grown exponentially, with reputable clients such as AIS and Truemoney and thousands of signed-up influencers, and are ready to take Hiip Thailand to the next level.”

“Hiip quickly became the market leader in Vietnam and will soon be the leading influencer platform in Thailand,” said Vnet Capital’s President Mr. Sopon Punyaratabandhu. “We were impressed with the team and the technology and their commitment to bringing value to the Thai social influencer arena.”

The startup, which uses social data and matching algorithms to connect brands with social media influencers, raised a seed round of funding in 2017. Lead investors were 500 Startups and Cocoon Capital. The Singaporean fund Expara also followed its pre-seed investment and participated in the round. Finally, the company said it received money from some angel investors.


FPT Telecom introduces FPT Play Box+

FPT Telecom recently introduced the 2019 version of TV Box with the new name FPT Play Box+, along with three optimal upgrades in hardware, operating system, and entertainment, promising to become a smart assistant for Vietnamese families.

FPT Play Box+ is the first TV Box in Vietnam to use Google’s Android TV P operating system, integrating the Chromecast functionality to easily mirror content from smartphones to TV screens, and in combination with various applications and entertainment to enhance the family’s whole experience. 

As a product of Vietnam’s leading technology group, FPT Play Box+ is expected not only to be an internet TV service but also to become a smart assistant device for the whole family.

With a simple and intuitive interface, FPT Play Box+ brings a rich entertainment experience and advanced technology using the Android TV P operating system, allowing users to easily access the latest streaming channels and personalized program suggestions according to family members’ preferences. Popular online streaming applications such as Spotify, Nhac Cua Tui, YouTube and more than 5,000 applications and games are readily available in Google Play.

FPT Play Box+ is complemented by voice control and voice remote, combined with an intelligent virtual assistant, Google Assistant, that allows users to easily find content, plan daily watching, and control smart devices to maximize the experience and family entertainment.

“With constant efforts in the increasingly-fierce technology race, FPT Play Box+ has had very good impact, with hundreds of thousands of products sold during 2017-2018,” said Mr. Vu Anh Tu, FPT Telecom’s Deputy General Director. 

“We always listen to our customers to create even more wonderful experiences and one of these is the unique 2019 version of FPT Play Box+ introduced today. FPT Play Box+, the first Android TV Box in Vietnam and developed in cooperation with Google with many outstanding upgrades, promises to not only satisfy millions of Vietnamese families with an endless entertainment experience but also become the whole family’s smart assistant.”

Vietnam authorities to assess Thai petrochemical plant for license

Vietnam is considering giving fresh permission to Thai conglomerate Siam Cement Group for a long-delayed giant petrochemical complex.

The government has recently ordered the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to "quickly" appraise the Long Son Petrochemical (LSP) complex and report within this month.

At $5.4 billion, LSP will be Vietnam’s first integrated petrochemical project. To be built in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province 100 kilometers to the southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, it will have a capacity of 1.6 million tons of olefins a year. Olefins are high-density synthetic fibers.

Roongrote Rangsiyopash, SCG chairman and CEO, told Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a meeting last month that his company would complete the project in time and begin commercial operations in 2023.

LSP was conceived as a joint venture between SCG, PetroVietnam and Qatar Petroleum in 2008. Due to the global recession, the project stalled, and the Qatari partner withdrew in 2015 with SCG buying its stake in 2017.

Last year SCG also bought PetroVietnam’s 29 percent stake to become the sole owner. Permission for the project had been given to PetroVietnam, but following its pullout, SCG needs to get fresh approval.

Last August SCG obtained loans of $3.2 billion from a syndicate of six banks for the project.

The delay has taken the estimated cost up from $4.5 billion to $5.4 billion but SCG still believes it is a "very competitive price when compared to other projects globally." The construction of the plant is set to create 20,000 jobs.

SCG has been investing in Vietnam since 1992 in many sectors such as cement, construction materials, packaging, and petrochemicals. Its revenues in the country were almost VND31 trillion ($1.33 billion) last year after rising by 20 percent from 2017.

Ecommerce offers lucrative space for SMEs

Export channels through ecommerce have opened up a fast growing business opportunity for firms, especially small and medium sized ones while acting as a method of branching out into foreign markets.

Cross-border ecommerce has yielded revenues of several trillions of USD in recent years with the figure expected to rise. Domestically the ecommerce scene has witnessed rapid growth in the past time, partly due to a young population and the dominance of smartphone users.

Vietnam’s ecommerce market made revenues of US$7.8 billion in 2018, a 3.5 fold increase against the figure of 2013.

Addressing Vietnam Online Business Forum 2019 held recently in Hanoi, Lai Viet Anh, deputy head of the Vietnam eCommerce and Digital Economy Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that if the current ecommerce growth rate of 30 per cent is maintained, revenues would touch US$13 billion by 2020.

According to a recently-announced Vietnam E-Business Index Report 2019, cross-border ecommerce has developed into an important channel for exports with some 32 per cent of Vietnamese small and medium - sized enterprises (SMEs) establishing business connections with foreign partners.

Currently many of the world’s largest ecommerce platforms such as Amazon.com and Alibaba.com have made overtures about entering the Vietnamese market.

Grace He, Alibaba's channel Manager in Vietnam, said that in recent years the Southeast Asian country has enjoyed a rapid economic growth rate while attracting large inflows of foreign investment and benefiting from better information technology development than regional peers.

Vietnam is one of Alibaba's largest markets throughout Asia and is also one of the top 10 countries for export of garments, footwear, seafood, and handicrafts. These products are also suitable for Alibaba's worldwide partners, said He.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the nation’s total trade turnover reached roughly US$482 billion last year.

Experts said that online export via ecommerce platforms would bring high levels of economic efficiency and is consistent with the capacity of Vietnamese enterprises, particularly SMEs.

They asserted that ecommerce enables local firms to send goods abroad at a low investment cost, claiming this is also an inevitable trend as worldwide importers are constantly searching for customers via the internet.

Data from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam show that only about 10,100 of enterprises among the total 517,900 firms nationwide are operating on a large scale, representing less than 1.9 per cent, while local SMEs account for 98.1 per cent.

German enterprises show voracious appetite for Vietnam

The German enterprises’ visit to look for investment opportunities showed that Vietnam is becoming an attractive destination for German investors and that those already present in the country are looking at bright prospects.


german enterprises get success in vietnam

Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee and Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy (right)



On March 25, at the German Embassy in Hanoi, Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, organised a meeting with the participation of Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung and numerous German enterprises.

Speaking at the meeting, Peter Altmaier said, “I am deeply impressed with the socioeconomic development of Vietnam. Germany wants to co-operate with Vietnam to continue to improve this growth.”

“I am also impressed by the achievements that German enterprises have made in this country. The German government always encourages enterprises to expand their investment as well as co-operation with local partners in Vietnam,” Peter Altmaier said.

In the framework of the meeting, Aone Deutschland AG from Germany and AquaOne Water JSC (Vietnam) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to operate water plants invested by Aone Deutschland AG with the total invested capital of $100 million.

In the afternoon of the same day, the German business delegation visited the Hanoi People’s Committee to look for investment opportunities in the capital.

The German delegation expressed great interest in Vietnam and Hanoi. Enterprises want to establish operations in the country via establishing strategic relations with local partners to build infrastructure projects.

At the meeting, chairman Nguyen Duc Chung welcomed investment from Germany, and affirmed called the co-operation between Aone Deutschland AG and AquaOne a symbol of the friendship and co-operation between the two countries.

Lazada sees high potential and fast growth potential in Vietnam

Lazada Group president Jing Yin highly appreciated the Vietnamese market, claiming it one of the most important markets of Lazada.

“We see huge and fast development potential in the Vietnamese market for Lazada based on a foundation of stable economic growth, high proportion of young people, and the high number of Internet users, and especially the high demand for home electronic appliances,” Jing told VIR during Lazada's celebration of its 7th birthday anniversary in Singapore on March 21.

He added that the South Asian market, including Vietnam, is very young therefore it creating and innovating advanced technologies which can bring more experiments to customers can be very effective.

Asked about plans to cope with counterfeit goods, Jing Yin said that the group has set out close regulations on controlling the quality of goods. Together with this, the group also set up an advanced security system and enlisted thousands of experts who can appraise and check the quality of all goods.

Lazada runs regular after-registration tests for all brands to select and remove brands which are not of an adequate quality for the platform.

Lazada has launched a range of initiatives to consolidate its business activities with the latest idea of combining shopping and entertainment in their platform.

Pushing the boundaries of e-commerce in Southeast Asia, Lazada is driving ‘shoppertainment’ to provide shoppers with a fun, interactive, and entertaining experience.

Lazada has also announced rolling out an all-encompassing series of products and services that will fire up the growth of its brands and sellers to win market share in the region by transforming them into “Super eBusinesses.”

The offerings, dubbed super-solutions, are aimed at resolving three pain points that brands and sellers face – branding, marketing, and sales.

“No seller is too small to aspire and no brand is too big to be a Super eBusiness. That is why we are thrilled to roll out super-solutions to help our brands and sellers become more nimble in digitising their businesses and reach customers easier,” said Pierre Poignant, Lazada Group’s chief executive officer.

At the same time, Lazada also formalised co-operation partnerships with 12 leading global lifestyle, technology, and fashion companies that will boost collaboration and strengthen their online retail presence.

Backed by Alibaba’s technology and logistics infrastructure, over the past year Lazada has been able to launch industry-leading tech innovations like image search function, consumer engagement games, and in-app live streaming to become the region’s only “shoppertainment” platform where people can watch, shop, and play.

Further promoting excellence in e-commerce, Lazada also handed out awards to top performing brands that have proven to be shining examples of “e-business.” Five awards were presented to outstanding brands and sellers that have been constantly innovating to drive new ways to reach their customers on Lazada.

Launched in 2012, Lazada is now present in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Personnel exchange to revert poor performance at Yeah1?

Will the exchange of Yeah1’s high-level personnel manage to turn around its performance after 13 sessions of falling on the stock market in the wake of YouTube’s announcement to terminate working with all its subsidiaries?  


personnel exchange to revert poor performance at yeah1

Yeah1's personnel changes include Nguyen Ngoc Hung, founder and CEO of Yeah1 Network, as a new deputy general director


Yeah1 Group’s board of directors has just decided to assign Nguyen Ngoc Hung, founder and CEO of Yeah1 Network, and new member Bui Huu Nhat as deputy general director effective March 18.

In addition, the board of directors also appointed Nguyen Van Nam to replace Le Thi Bich Hang as a member of the Internal Control Subcommittee from March 20.

The exchange of personnel is hoped to help Yeah1 overcome the crisis.

After YouTube’s decision to end co-operation with Yeah1, the YEG stock has been falling for 13 out of the last 16 sessions. As of the morning of March 25, YEG was at VND117,000 ($5) per stock, down 58 per cent against the time before YouTube’s announcement.

Previously, aiming to calm down shareholders, Yeah1 bought back 600,000 treasury stocks. In addition, chairman Nguyen Anh Nhuong Tong and deputy general financial director Vo Thai Phong registered to buy 150,000 YEG stocks.

The firm is at risk of losing major profit in 2019 if it cannot reach a new agreement with YouTube. An expert stated that once Yeah1 loses its CHSA with YouTube, its subsidiaries Yeah1 Network, ScaleLab, and Springme will no longer be a part of YouTube’s multi-channel network and be managed by it. Thus, Yeah1 will lose all revenue from YouTube, which accounted for 28 per cent of its revenue in 2018.

Italian equipment suppliers keen on local packaging market

Italian equipment suppliers bring the latest technologies to Vietnam's packaging and printing market.

Italy’s Uteco, the world-leader in the production of printing machines for flexible packaging, has been present in Vietnam for three years. Tran Viet Hai, sales director of Vietflex, a local distributor of Uteco, shared that Vietnam is a developing market with a robust packaging sector. In particular, flexible packaging for the food and beverage industry is projected to grow well in the country given that per capital consumption remains low. Many companies are investing in EU-imported machines to improve product quality for consumers.

He added that Uteco is supplying printing machines and laminating machines for food packaging, such as instant noodles and snacks. The company has recorded sales of €3 million ($3.42 million) after three years of launching in Vietnam. The figure is beyond Uteco’s expectations, given that the brand is quite new here.

Meanwhile, Italy’s Turatti Group, alongside with 21 other Italian companies, also attended ProPak Vietnam 2019 held in Ho Chi Minh City last week to showcase the latest solutions and technology.

Thanh Nguyen, the representative of Turatti in Southeast Asia, said that Turatti chose Vietnam to set up its headquarter in the Asia-Pacific three years ago due to the market’s huge potential. The firm has developed a facility based in Hanoi to serve growing orders in both Vietnam and regional markets.

According to Thanh, Turatti is specialised in designing and manufacturing machinery and complete lines for processing tropical fruit, vegetables, as well as for juice and puree making. In 2018, the firm posted a 15 per cent rise in revenue against 2017. It has also expanded investment and localisation rate in the country to meet the demand and supply more types of machinery.

Aldo Peretti, president of the Italian Manufacturers’ Association of Machinery for the Graphic, Converting and Paper Industry, said that the strongly developing market of Vietnam is tempting more international and European companies to this side of the world, and market data confirms the trend.

“There’s a growth in the food and beverage, healthcare, and personal care industries, a bright future for our business. Vietnam, a country where the demand for new technologies increases every day, is a great challenge for us. Italian companies are ready to boost the Vietnamese market with our Industry 4.0 know-how and the fame of ‘Made in Italy’ goods around the world,”he noted.

According to Paolo Lemma, Italian Trade Commissioner to Vietnam, most companies participating in Propak & Printech Vietnam 2019 have distributors, agencies, representative offices or branches in Vietnam. In addition, they are also seeking further opportunities in this emerging market, as well as consolidating co-operation with Vietnamese businesses – and are looking for new partners.

“In 2018, Italy continued to affirm her position as one of the leading manufacturers in the packaging and printing industry. In the first 11 months of 2018, the total export turnover of packaging and printing machinery for the Italian food, beverage, and tobacco sectors amounted to some €3.9 billion ($4.45 billion). The value of equipment and machinery exported from Italy to Vietnam was €25.2 million ($28.7 million), up 2.4 per cent from 2017,” said Lemma.

A large number of Italian packaging companies were present at the Italian Booth at Propak & Printech Vietnam in recent years. This year, the number of enterprises specialising in the food processing industry, particularly in fruit and vegetable processing, has increased remarkably.

This indicates that Propak Vietnam has brought co-operation opportunities for both Vietnamese and Italian businesses, as many Vietnamese enterprises want to be equipped with modern Italian machinery and technologies to improve product quality.

Lumitel poss 225% hike in pre-tax profit

     

A Lumitel store in Burundi. The market became the quickest for revenue to offset operating costs after just three months.



 Lumitel – the brand name of Viettel Group in Republic of Burundi, Africa – achieved pre-tax profit of more than US$7.3 million in 2018, showing a huge increase of 225 per cent from 2017.

The figure was announced at a ceremony held in Burundi on Tuesday to celebrate the company’s fourth anniversary of operation in the market.

In 2018, the number of subscribers increased by 278,000 – the largest gain in the past three years and the third consecutive year Lumitel has occupied 70 per cent of the country’s new subscriber market share.

Last year, its Lumicash e-wallet posted a four-fold increase in the number of new subscribers compared to 2017, bringing the total number of customers to 320,000, accounting for a leading market share in Burundi with 47 per cent. The Lumicash service is now profitable.

Lumitel set a record as fastest unit to bring in enough revenue to offset its operating expenses after just three months.

Lumitel had earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin up to 54 per cent, ranking second among Viettel’s international markets. It had a 54 per cent share in Burundi’s telecoms market, taking the leading position.

Lumitel also has the best urban subscription rate in Africa with 39 per cent of the total number of subscribers. Although it is not a wealthy market, Lumitel’s rate of subscribers with Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of more than $5 per month is up to 34.6 per cent of all subscribers, representing the highest rate among Viettel’s African markets.

Nguyen Huy Tan, general director of Lumitel, said Viettel must provide good quality services at very low prices because Burundi’s people are still quite poor. Lumitel has ultimately found a solution to meet both requirements.

“For example, Lumicash e-wallet service helps Burundi people pay taxes, fees and charges, electricity and water bills via mobile phones thanks to features specifically designed on a 2G network platform for the market,” Tan said.

Burundi is also the first international market of Viettel to offer an unlimited internal messaging package with a feature phone with the cost equivalent to only VND500 a day.

“However, we operate Lumitel in Burundi not only for revenue but also to contribute to promoting the country’s socio-economic development as well as building relations between the two countries in order to create a beautiful image of Viet Nam in this country,” Tan said.

"These successes are considered the foundation for Lumitel to continue to lead in the digital transformation in the East African nation. Lumitel has set a goal to become a leading company in digital services, transmission channels and digital payment." 

Hapro sells Chu Dau shares to BRG Group

 

Chu Dau pottery in Viet Nam. 


 Ha Noi Trade Corporation (Hapro) is planning to transfer 420,000 shares in Chu Dau Ceramic JSC to BRG Group JSC.

Chu Dau JSC is one of ten affiliates of Hapro. As of 2018, Hapro owned 51 per cent of Chu Dau JSC. After the transfer, the corporation will hold 30 per cent.

The shares, equivalent to 21 per cent of the company, will be sold for VND13,500 each, or VND5.67 billion (US$243,800) of the total. The transfer will be conducted within three months.

Chu Dau pottery dates back to the 13th-14th centuries, and flourished in the 15th-16th centuries. In the seventeenth century, Chu Dau pottery was lost due to a feudal war between the Trinh and Mac.

In 2001, Hapro decided to establish Chu Dau Ceramic Enterprise, which is now Chu Dau Ceramic JSC, with a charter capital of VND20 billion to restore this Vietnamese ceramic line.

Hapro is a member of BRG Group. BRG acquired Hapro through Motor N.A Vietnam Co., Ltd. with 65 per cent of charter capital. Two other major shareholders include An Phu Trading and Investment and Import Export Company Limited (17.7 per cent) and Thanh Cong Automotive Trading Company Limited (15.31 per cent).

Nguyen Thi Nga, chairman of BRG Group, is also currently the chairman of Hapro. BRG Group has invested in many high-end hotel, golf and real estate projects. 

Enough petroleum supply to meet domestic demand: Ministry

     

 

The domestic petroleum supply should meet local consumption demands. — Photo congthuong.vn



 The Ministry of Industry and Trade has said domestic petroleum supply is able to meet local consumption demand.

According to a press release issued on March 26, large petroleum trading companies and some departments of industry and trade have reported that companies have provided enough supply for the local market.

Companies have also committed to ensuring petroleum supply for domestic production, business and other consumption activities via their retail system.

In addition, traders must monitor changes to the petroleum supply, the ministry said. In case they have difficulty meeting domestic petroleum demand, they must report the issues to the ministry to find solutions.

The companies said that if the domestic supply could not meet the local demand, they will find reasonable imports to ensure enough supply for the market.

To ensure strict implementation of regulations on petroleum business, the ministry has also asked the General Department of Market Surveillance to strengthen inspection and supervision of petrol and oil trading companies and their retail system. The ministry will strictly handle traders who violate regulations. 

Taiwanese tourism eyes Vietnamese market

Taiwan targets to receive 1.5 million visitors from Việt Nam in 2019, Chen Jin-ling, Deputy Representative of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, said during a tourism promotion event on Wednesday in Hà Nội.

Many travel agents and representatives of destinations in Taiwan attended the event with the aim of introducing the attractions of Taiwanese tourism to Vietnamese enterprises.

“Việt Nam and Taiwan have many similarities in beautiful landscapes, friendly people and diversified culture. We expect that we can work together to attract more Vietnamese tourists to Taiwan.”

“We will join hands with Vietnamese authorities to provide favoured visa policy to create good conditions for Vietnamese tourists to Taiwan,” said Chen.

Derek Zhou, director of HCM City Office of Taiwan, said the establishment of HCM City Office early this month showed the special attention to promoting tourism in Việt Nam.

“Việt Nam is always an important market for Taiwan,” he said.

“We see the rapid growth in the number of Vietnamese tourists to Taiwan. In 2012, we received only 95,000 tourists. Last year, the number increased to one million visitors.” 

State Bank of Vietnam promotes credit programmes for rural areas

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) will launch more effective credit programmes to support agricultural production and improve local livelihoods, making contributions to boosting economic growth while wiping out black credit in rural areas.

SBV Deputy Governor Dao Minh Tu said high-tech agricultural development programmes as well as agricultural production in value chain to increase added value will be prioritised as part of the agricultural shake-up project.

“The SBV sees agriculture and rural areas as top priority in its credit programme. It has directed credit institutions to improve procedures for loan access and paid due attention to branching out mobile banking model in remote areas, creating favourable conditions for local people to have better access to capital and other banking services,” Tu said.

Currently, 70 commercial banks, more than 1,100 people’s credit funds and the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) provide loans for rural economic development. Credit services are available even in mountainous and remote areas thanks to the mobile banking models of the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) and transaction offices of the VBSP.

Tu said debt in the agriculture and rural sector has enjoyed steady growth in the past decade at 20 percent. As of December 2018, the amount was estimated at 1.78 quadrillion VND (76.72 billion USD), a quarter of all total outstanding debts. 

The VBSP is carrying out 20 credit programmes for impoverished households and policy beneficiary families, including 17 for agricultural development.

In past years, the credit programmes have provided farmers with capital to branch out their business, thus promoting growth of the agro-forestry-fishery sector, which stood at 3.76 percent in 2018, the highest level in six years.

However, Tu said lending in this sector is risky while there is no strong mechanism to hedge risks. This will affect the bank’s financial situation if borrowers are not able to clear their debts, especially when they face misfortune in their production.

Tu suggested relevant sectors evaluate and forecast market demands for agricultural products, enhance trade promotion and help agricultural firms find markets for their products.

Attracting preferential loans and financial support from foreign organisation is also a good measure to assure capital for the sector as well, he said.

Dong Nai province secures over 373 million USD in FDI

Inside an FDI firm in Dong Nai province 


The southern province of Dong Nai has attracted more than 373 million USD in 38 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects so far this year, accounting for 37 percent of the yearly plan.

During January-March, the province licensed 18 new FDI projects worth 152.6 million USD, and allowed 20 others to add an extra 220.5 million USD. 

According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, most of the projects are in supporting industry that is high-tech and environmentally friendly.

Noticeable projects include the 100-million-USD project by Korean-invested Chang Shin Vietnam at Tan Phu industrial park, and Japanese-invested Semba Tohka Vietnam Co.,Ltd at Long Duc industrial park worth 9.2 million USD.

Those with additional investment comprise Hung Nghiep Formosa project from Taiwan at Nhon Trach II industrial park, and the Republic of Korea’s Hi Knit Co.,Ltd project at Nhon Trach 6 industrial park, which got an extra capital of 92.7 million USD and 50 million USD, respectively.

The province has been home to 1,901 FDI projects with a total registered capital of 34.1 billion USD. Of them, 1,400 projects worth 28.9 billion USD are operational.

Flower expo underway in HCMC

The Vietnam International Floral Expo (VIFE) 2019 is taking place from March 26 to 28 at the Adora Center, 431 Hoang Van Thu St., Tan Binh ward, in Ho Chi Minh City. The exhibition introduces to the public 14 fresh flower works designed by 13 famous international designers and one representative from Vietnam.

Each designer attending the exhibition will have a space of nine sq m to showcase their work. Within the framework of the event are activities such as displaying 14 artworks made from fresh flowers, a professional flower design competition between 12 contestants from Vietnam, South Korea and Malaysia, a flower workshop guided by international designers, and the final awards night, with a Vietnamese “ao dai” fashion show and fresh flowers.

The event aims to bring Vietnam’s flower industry closer to the art of flower arrangement, increasing opportunities for local flower artists to contact and learn from the world’s flower industry. “VIFE is a bridge for young Vietnamese to confidently choose the professional flower industry as their future career,” said Ms. Mai Hoa, Chairman of VIFE. “These designers will become world famous flower artists in the near future. At the same time, through the program, I would like to introduce the beautiful flowers grown in Vietnam that can be exported and promote Vietnamese tourism to international friends. There are some flower artists here that are visiting Vietnam for the first time.”

Viet Go and the Multimedia JSC co-organized the expo for the third time. It is expected to attract over 30,000 visitors.


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