BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 4/4

March’s manufacturing output growth at 4-month high

Steel production at Hoa Phat Group. The headline Nikkei Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) posted 51.9 in March, up from 51.2 in February 


The Vietnamese manufacturing sector continued to see signs of robust growth during March, with output increasing at the fastest pace since November last year while total new business and exports also rose more quickly than the previous month.

The headline Nikkei Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) posted 51.9 in March, up from 51.2 in February, signaling an improvement in the health of the sector for the 40th successive month. Although registering below the 2018 average, the PMI was comfortably above the 50 no-change mark at the end of the first quarter, said a Nikkei report launched on April 1.

New orders rose for the fortieth month in a row during March amid increased customer numbers and growth of new export business. Moreover, the rate of expansion in total new orders was the fastest in three months.

The rate of growth in manufacturing production, meanwhile, quickened for the second successive month and was slightly faster than that seen for new business. This enabled firms to reduce their backlogs of work and add to stocks of finished goods. However, the latest depletion of outstanding business was only marginal and the slowest in the current three-month sequence of decline.

The increase in output was recorded in spite of a slight reduction in staffing levels in March. Panelists suggested that employee resignations had hampered their efforts to expand workforce numbers in response to greater workloads.

Andrew Harker, associate director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said: “While still some way short of the strong growth rates recorded last year, the manufacturing PMI data for March suggest that Vietnamese firms have weathered the recent slowdown in global trade and were able to continue to secure greater new order volumes and expand production.”

HIS Markit forecasts industrial production to grow 8.2% in 2019, with PMI data suggesting that the manufacturing sector will continue to contribute positively to this, Harker said.

As has been the case throughout 2019 so far, inflationary pressures remained muted in the sector at the end of the first quarter. Input costs rose marginally and at a pace that was well below the series average.

This lack of pressure on costs meant that firms were again able to offer discounts to customers. Charges decreased for the fourth consecutive month, albeit fractionally.

Manufacturers in Vietnam responded to higher output requirements by increasing their purchasing activity sharply, with the rate of expansion the fastest in the year to date. Stocks of purchases decreased, however, as inputs were used to support production growth. The fall in input inventories was the second in as many months.

Almost half of all respondents to the latest survey predict output to increase over the coming year. Strong optimism reflected expected improvements in market demand and investment in expanding productive capacity.

These factors are forecast to help firms meet their plans for higher output. Confidence was higher than in February and broadly in line with the series average.

HCMC voices concern over tax collection, land shortage

HCMC Party chief Nguyen Thien Nhan (2nd R) talks with delegates on the sidelines of a meeting on March 30. Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the HCMC Party Committee, voiced concern over the tax collections and land shortage at the meeting 


HCMC wants to boost the development of the service, trade, hospitality and healthcare sectors but faces a land shortage, while local authorities in the city have expressed concern over tax collections in the coming period, the municipal Party chief Nguyen Thien Nhan said at a meeting on March 30.

Addressing the meeting, the Secretary of the HCMC Party Committee said that tax collections had a close connection with the development of service sectors, which has been the key focus of the city for many years. However, the decline in available land has hampered development plans.

Accordingly, if the city does not quickly work out effective solutions, the development of service sectors may face many obstacles in the years to come, Nhan noted.

As for the growth rates of the city’s nine service sectors during the first quarter, three saw an increase, while those of the other six sectors---trade, banking, warehousing and transport, tourism, real estate and healthcare---dropped.

Nhan expressed concern over the fall as public demand in these sectors is on the rise.

Nhan also pointed out the city’s growing concern over attracting foreign investment. Investment from foreign entities in industrial processing zones accounted for a mere 1% of the city’s total foreign investment over the past decade, with investment in hi-tech parks making up some 16%.

Meanwhile, projects outside the city’s industrial, export processing and hi-tech parks attracted significant interest from foreign investors, who made up an astounding 82% of the total.

Aside from economic issues, the city may struggle to reach its targets. For instance, it is set to hit US$9,800 in gross regional domestic product (GRDP) by 2020, according to the municipal vice chairman, Le Thanh Liem.

However, with the GRDP in 2016 and 2018  at US$5,400 and US$6,000, respectively, the city’s GRDP may only reach an estimated US$7,500 next year, which is far lower than the initial target.

As for environmental protection, some 21% of the sewage in urban areas was collected and treated appropriately before being dumped into the environment. The figure may only rise to 30% by 2020 if some sewage treatment plants are put into service, thus it is hard for the city to beat its initial target of 80% of sewage being treated.

Vietnam raises over 14.2 trillion VND from G-bonds in March

Transactions at the State Treasury of Vietnam

The State Treasury of Vietnam mobilised more than 14.2 trillion VND (612.56 million USD) via 16 Government bond (G-bond) auctions on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) in March.

The total sum was 24 percent lower than the amount recorded in the previous month.

According to the HNX, some 27.5 trillion VND (1.18 billion USD) worth of bonds were offered, and the bidding volume doubled the offering in the month.

Successful bidders of five-year bonds will enjoy an annual yield of 3.7 percent, ten-year bonds between 4.7 and 4.72 percent, 15-year-bond between 5.02 and 5.06 percent, 20-year bonds between 5.2 and 5.56 percent, and 30-year bonds 5.8 percent.

Compared with February, the coupon rates of five- and 20-year bonds fell 0.17 percent and 0.36 percent per annum, respectively. Meanwhile, the rates increased for bonds with maturity of 10 years (0.02 percent), 15 years (0.06 percent) and 30 years (0.06 percent).

In the G-bond secondary market, the total volume of G-bonds sold by the outright method exceeded 765 million, equivalent to 83 trillion VND (3.58 billion USD), up 22 percent in value from the previous month. 

The trading volume through repurchase agreements (repos) reached more than 1.17 billion bonds, worth more than 118 trillion VND (5 billion USD), rising 54 percent in value month on month.

Foreign investors made outright purchases worth over 6.4 trillion VND (276 million USD), and outright sales of more than 3.1 trillion VND (133.7 million USD). Their repo sales were estimated at 198 billion VND (8.5 million USD), and there was no repo buys of foreign players in the month.

Ninh Thuan gives the go ahead to new solar power project

The People’s Committee in the south central coastal province of Ninh Thuan has approved the building of the 35-MWp Nhon Hai Solar Farm.

The plant, which has been invested in by Licogi 16 JSC at an estimated cost of 854 billion VND (36.7 million USD), will span 42 ha. Its construction is scheduled to begin in July this year and be completed within 24 months.

As planned, the solar farm will be fully operational in January 2021.

Recently, the Government issued Resolution No.115/NQ-CP dated August 31, 2018 on special mechanisms and policies to facilitate Ninh Thuan’s socio-economic development for the 2018-2023 period. Accordingly, the Government approved a plan to turn the province into one of the national renewable energy hubs.

Ninh Thuan is hoping to attract wind and solar power projects with total respective capacities of 1,429 MW and 3,912 MW by 2030. To realise this goal, the province is promoting investment attraction and creating the best possible conditions for investors.

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

Credit growth rate estimated at 2.28 percent in Q1

As of March 25, the M2 money supply had risen 2.67 percent, while credit to the economy had grown by some 2.28 percent compared to the end of 2018, according to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).

At a press conference in Hanoi on April 1, the central bank reported that in the first three months of 2019, exchange rates and the foreign exchange market remained stable, supported by the abundant foreign currency supply, good liquidity in the market, and credit organisations’ continued purchase of foreign currencies from their clients. 

These have created optimum conditions for the SBV to continue buying foreign currencies to add to foreign exchange reserves, it noted.

SBV Deputy Governor Nguyen Thi Hong said the central bank has set up credit growth targets for each institution with higher targets for banks fulfilling capital safety criteria ahead of schedule.

It has kept a close watch on credit growth at each institution so as to orient their lending activities towards prioritised fields, ensure that they provide favourable conditions for people and businesses to access, and control loans in foreign currencies.

Hong said that in the coming time, the SBV will continue to steer monetary policy towards ensuring that the M2 money supply and credit grow by about 13 percent and 14 percent, respectively, while taking into account actual developments in the market.

She added the SBV will keep closely monitoring the restructuring of credit organisations and the settlement of non-performing loans (NPLs), which must be aligned with measures to minimise new NPLs and improve credit quality.

The central bank reported that as of January 31, the whole credit organisation system had handled about 204.4 trillion VND (over 8.8 billion USD) of NPLs, equivalent to over 40 percent of the total of this kind.

HCM City Travel Fair, Happy Summer 2019, in April

Travelers visit Cu Chi Tunnels in HCM City.


The annual HCM City Travel Fair, themed “Happy Summer 2019”, will take place from April 11-14 at September 23 Park in District 1.

More than 40 travel agents, airlines and hotels will participate in the event, which is expected to offer nearly 70,000 inbound and outbound tours with discounts of 20-50 percent.

Tran Hung Viet, chairman of HCM City’s Tourism Association, said that tourism agencies from 30 cities and provinces would join the fair with price incentives and promotion programmes.

The HCM City Department of Tourism will launch nine city tours with incentive prices for students and workers in an effort to encourage domestic tourism.

As part of the city’s tourism stimulus programme, the new tours include attractions in the city’s downtown, and Can Gio and Cu Chi districts.

Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, deputy director of the city’s Department of Tourism, said the new low-cost city tours aimed to encourage students to learn more about the culture and history of the city as well as promote the city as a friendly, safe and exciting tourist destination.

Despite low prices, service quality of the tours remained unchanged, Hoa said.

Since the tourism stimulus programme was launched in November 2018, it has attracted more than 3,000 visitors, with foreign travelers accounting for 70 percent, she said.

Twenty-one travel firms and nearly 50 travel services providers have participated in the programme.


Projects to upgrade Cat Bi airport accelerated

Cat Bi International Airport


The Airport Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has accelerated the investment of key projects totalling about 3.6 trillion VND (155.23 million USD) at the Cat Bi International Airport in the northern port city of Hai Phong, according to the corporation.

Those projects include the upgrade of a second passenger terminal (T2) worth about 2 trillion VND to receive 10 million passengers per year and the first phase of the expansion of an airport apron worth 490 billion VND. 

In addition, there will be a project to improve the current apron with an investment of 140 billion VND and another to build a cargo terminal worth 300 billion VND. 

The construction of the T2 terminal is scheduled to start in August and it will be put into operation in Q4 2020.

Meanwhile, the capacity of the airport’s first passenger terminal (T1) will be raised to 3 million passengers a year. Once the T2 will be in use, the T1 will serve international flights only.

In 2018, Cat Bi International Airport welcomed more than 2.3 million passengers, a rise of 10.6 percent year-on-year, and received about 14,260 flights, up 10.6 percent.

Asia remains biggest import-export payment market of Agribank

Asian countries, including China, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India and Thailand, are the largest market for import-export payment services of the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank).

According to the bank, the region accounts for 74.35 percent of import-export payment through the bank, which hosts the highest number of agencies of 412 banks.

Currently, Agribank has 40 major international payment products, with some outstanding ones allowing easy payment from Vietnam to Laos, China and Cambodia.

The bank’s most popular payment method is Telegraphic Transfer Reimbursement (TTR), which accounts for 77.3 percent of transactions, followed by letter of credit (L/C) with 18.3 percent and documentary collection at 4.3 percent.

Agribank’s international payment services have so far covered 164 countries across the five continents, with the US being the biggest market with 2018 payment value of 1.6 billion USD, accounting for 14.5 percent of the bank’s total market share.

Japanese investors seek business opportunities in Hanoi

A group of Japanese businesses joined the Hanoi-Japan investment promotion conference on March 29 to seek new business and investment opportunities in the city.

“Japan is a top foreign investor in Hanoi with an accumulated registered capital of over $10 billion, making up 25.5 per cent of the city’s total FDI. Japan is also a leading ODA donor for Hanoi with 32 projects totalling nearly $3 billion,” Nguyen Doan Toan, Deputy Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee.

Considered a key partner, the city is attracting Japanese investment in high-tech industries, urban railway lines, tourism, high-tech agriculture, high-tech healthcare, education, environment, and trade centres.

“The city is committed to continue its administrative reform, thus further improving the business climate to facilitate Japanese business and investment plans,” Toan noted.

At the conference, a number of Japanese firms operating in infrastructure development and logistics showed strong interest in the local market. As part of the event, four memoranda of understanding on co-operation in investment promotion, tourism, and trade were signed between Japanese and Vietnamese companies.

In 2018, Japan invested in 131 new projects in Hanoi with a total registered capital of $4.7 billion, accounting for 89 per cent of the city’s total newly-registered capital. Outstanding projects were the $4.14 billion smart city and Nidec’s $400 million project as well as the $90 million Xuan Son waste-to-power plant.

So far, Japanese investors has developed several important projects in Hanoi, thus contributing to the city’s development. These projects include the Nhat Tan-Noi Bai Expressway, Nhat Tan Bridge, Noi Bai International Airport, and several industrial parks.

Japan is also Hanoi’s third-largest tourism partner with over 300,000 Japanese tourists arriving to the city in 2018.

Quang Ninh opens international school and life skills education centre

quang ninh opens international school and life skills education centre

The completion of modern facilities for education and learning, especially the co-operation to organise life skill education programmes, has demonstrated KinderWorld’s commitment to providing high-quality education programmes for local and international students in Quang Ninh and surrounding provinces.

KinderWorld Vietnam, a company of KinderWorld International Group, and its partner Outward Bound Vietnam (OBV) today jointly organised an inauguration ceremony for Singapore International School (SIS) and an introduction ceremony for Outward Bound Vietnam Life Skill Centre in Hung Thang Serviced Urban Area in Halong city, Quang Ninh province.

The event marked the completion of the second phase of establishing SIS Halong which consists of a new classroom area, increasing its maximum capacity to more than 970 students, along with a modern football pitch and other supporting facilities.

On this occasion, OBV, the life skill education partner of KinderWorld, officially opened its first camp site in Halong. This is the first life skill education camp model in Quang Ninh, providing educational programmes through exploration activities, group activities, and other essential life skills for local teenagers and young adults, and for businesses and communities in general.

After the event, students and their parents were invited to participate in various recreational activities at the Summer Festival organised at the seven-hectare campus area of the school.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ricky Tan, Chairman and CEO of KinderWorld International Group, expressed his appreciation for the help and support of the authorities of Quang Ninh in keeping the project on schedule.

Tan believed that Singapore International School and Outward Bound Vietnam Life Skill Education Centre would contribute positively to the development of the local community’s education, and that in the future, after all phases of the school’s establishment would be completed, it can accommodate up to 1,500 students.

“We believe the education programmes of Singapore International School will provide the students all essential skills in the era of globalisation, as well as the knowledge to preserve traditional values. Students from all ages are encouraged to challenge and overcome their personal limits, broaden their experience through the life skill education programmes provided by Outward Bound Vietnam,” affirmed Tan.

Nguyen Duc Long, Chairman of the Quang Ninh People’s Committee expressed his pleasure during the ceremony, as for the first time ever, an international school has been officially opened in Quang Ninh.

Long said, “Quang Ninh is currently seeing fast economic development, and is seeing improvements in its facilities with the international airport, a series of highways, and the specialised international port. The number of international visitors to Quang Ninh for recreation and business will be growing more and more, therefore, the need for world-class services is very high. Currently, the province has a Vinmec Hospital, which is the first world-class service provider, and Singapore International School will be the second one.”

“With these essential services, Halong, and Quang Ninh in general, will attract investors and workers to reside and work here. In only ten years, students graduating from this school will be the high-quality work force needed to respond to the high rate of development of Quang Ninh," Long added.

KinderWorld Vietnam JSC is a subsidiary of KinderWorld International Group, the largest foreign investor in the international education sector in Vietnam. Since the inauguration of the first international kindergarten in 2000, KinderWorld has expanded quickly and currently operates 15 international schools all over Vietnam, providing education programmes for students of ages raging from 18 months to 18 years through three brands: KinderWorld International Kindergarten, Singapore International School, and Vietnam Singapore International School.

In November 2018, KinderWorld International Group was awarded the ASEAN Business Award 2018 as the fastest growing Singaporean mid- and small-sized businesses, and became the best business in the ASEAN in the same sector.

Outward Bound was founded in 1941 in Aberdovey, Wales and is a non-profit life skill education organisation, operating in 38 countries, providing services for 250,000 people annually. Outward Bound Vietnam Life Skill School is a member of the International Outward Bound Organisation. In 2017, KinderWorld Vietnam and OBV has signed an agreement for OBV to be the life skill education provider for Singapore International School. Participation in OBV’s outdoor activities is an opportunity for students to improve their confidence, teamwork, patience, and communication and sharing skills.

Fisheries sector required to continue improving product quality

fisheries sector required to continue improving product quality hinh 0

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has urged the fisheries sector to build a safe and high-quality seafood brand, continue increasing the quality of products, maintain traditional markets and develop new ones.

Addressing a ceremony to mark the 60th traditional day of the sector in the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh on March 31, Dung affirmed that its development goals are to step up industrialisation and modernisation, achieve comprehensive and sustainable development, become a major commodity sector with appropriate production organisation forms and structure, gradually raise income and living conditions of farmers and fishermen, protect the ecosystem and contribute to defence and security.

He asked the sector to speed up disseminations for fishermen to obey Vietnamese law as well as international regulations on fishing and aquaculture that Vietnam joins.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that the volume of Vietnam’s aquatic products exceeded 7.4 million tonnes in 2018, a 5.6-fold increase compared with that of 1995. They have been sold to over 170 markets, with the total export turnover surpassing 9 billion USD last year, making Vietnam one of the world’s largest aquatic product exporters.

According to him, Resolution No.36 of the 12th Party Central Committee on the sustainable development strategy of the Vietnamese maritime economy until 2030 with a vision to 2045 sets a target of turning Vietnam into a strong sea-based nation which meets basic criteria on sustainable maritime economic development and take the initiative to respond to climate change, sea-level rise, coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion.

On this occasion, the Directorate of Fisheries was presented with the Labour Order, first class.

REE targets $240 million revenue this year

     

REE expects to make after-tax profit of nearly VND1.5 trillion this year. — Photo reecorp.vn


 Refrigeration Electric Engineering Co (REE) plans to earn nearly VND5.6 trillion (US$240.8 million) in revenue this year, up 10 per cent year-on-year.

The figure was released at the annual general meeting to approve business targets for 2019 held in HCM City on Friday.

Of the figure, revenue from its refrigeration electric engineering segment will account for the majority at VND3.6 trillion, or about 65 per cent. Meanwhile, the number from office leasing is estimated at VND836 billion, power and water utility infrastructure at VND772 billion and real estate is expected to reach VND369 billion.

It’s expected to make after-tax profit of nearly VND1.5 trillion, down 18 per cent compared with the same period last year, in which power and water utility infrastructure is set at VND685 billion, office leasing contributes VND390 billion, mechanical and electrical engineering segment brings in VND275 billion and real estate VND115 billion.

Speaking at the meeting, REE Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Mai Thanh said many shareholders asked why not set a higher target. “If we really want to set it high, we can do it, but it must use the plan from November to December 2018, based on objective factors in policy changes, so that it is close to reality.”

With the above target, REE expects a minimum dividend payout ratio of 16 per cent of charter capital this year.

Regarding operating capital, Thanh said that the company had mobilised capital through the issuance of bonds (US$100 million). In terms of each segment, the 2019 refrigeration electric engineering segment will not need additional capital, instead the company will focus on increasing investment in two areas of electricity and water utility infrastructure and real estate.

"It is estimated that this year will disburse all the capital mobilised. At the same time, with the cash balance as of the end of 2018, the company will disburse at least VND2 trillion," Thanh said.

In terms of office leasing, the company will have an additional 200,000 sq.m for lease this year, including a building in Ha Noi.

The office leasing segment is expected to contribute major growth to profit in 2019, when the central building in HCM City starts to record all revenue and profit, along with the contribution of another building, which has a 14,000 m2 rental space with average rental price of $17 per sq.m, coming into operation in the second quarter of this year.

REE also approved a plan to issue $100 million of non-convertible bonds, equivalent to about VND2.32 trillion, with the goal of developing office real estate projects for rent on its existing land fund in HCM City, and for payment of land use fees, land purchase, and development of land fund.

Bonds are expected to be issued to individual investors in the first quarter of this year.

As for electricity, the company aims to develop renewable electricity, including wind and solar power. It will also aim to buy shares in some power companies which have planned to divest in the future. However, the company refused to divulge further details at this time.

By the end of 2018, REE has invested in eight hydropower companies with a total designed capacity of 1,034 MW, three thermal power companies with a total capacity of 2,340 MW, one wind power company with a capacity of 24 MW and a power distribution unit with an output of 250 million kWh.

At the meeting, the shareholders approved the dismissal of Adrian Teng Wei Ann from the board. Instead, REE will elect Stephen Patrick Gore (British national, born in 1972) to take this position for the remainder of the 2018-20 term.

In 2018, REE made revenue of VND5.1 trillion, up 2 per cent and after tax profit of nearly VND1.8 trillion, an increase of nearly 30 per cent compared to 2017. With this result, the company will pay dividends at the rate of 18 per cent in cash for its shareholders on April 5, equivalent to about VND558 billion. 

HDBank announces 2018 results, profits up 66 per cent

     

An HDBank transaction office in HCM City. The lender achieved impressive growth last year, its audited results show. — Photo courtesy of HDBank


 The HCM City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank, or HDBank, has announced its audited financial report for 2018 with impressive numbers.

The bank achieved VND4.005 trillion (US$172.6 million) in pre-tax profit, an increase of 65.7 per cent over 2017 and its highest ever so far and exceeding the profit target.

The impressive growth was thanks to a sharp increase in non-interest income, with net profit from fees increasing 2.2 times to VND438 billion ($18.87 million).

Net earnings from foreign exchange trading also more than doubled to VND298 billion.

Net interest earnings were worth VND7.646 trillion ($328.8 million), a year-on-year increase of 20 per cent. Total operating income was VND9.44 trillion, up 25.8 per cent.

As of December 31 HDBank's outstanding loans were VND129.624 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 17.83 per cent. The bank’s outstanding loans alone were worth VND112.479 trillion, an 18.3 per cent increase, with HDSaison accounting for the rest.

The bank mobilized VND194.634 trillion in deposits. Its total assets topped VND216.057 trillion while owner’s equity reached VND16.828 trillion and return on equity and return on assets were at 20.3 per cent and 1.6 per cent.

As of December 31, the bad debts ratio (according to the State Bank of Vietnam’s Circular 02) of the parent bank continued to be tightly controlled at 0.97 per cent, the lowest level in the banking industry.

HDBank opened five branches and 40 transaction offices last year to increase the total number nation-wide to 285.

The number of consumer financial transaction points increased by 2,323 to 13,825 as HDB retained its leading position in the consumer finance industry in terms of network size.

The large networks help HDBank and HDSaison efficiently serve nearly seven million customers, especially in rural areas.

There were many outstanding achievements last year. For instance, the lender’s stock, which listed last year on the HCM Stock Exchange, code HDB, has become one of the 20 largest in terms of market capitalisation and a favourite among foreign investors.

One year after its listing, HDB has been added to the VN30 Index comprising the top 30 listed companies.

It has been conferred the Labour Award, second class. Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded the long-term local and foreign-currency deposit and issuer ratings for HDBank to B1.

HDBank is one of the largest contributors to HCM City’s revenues.

It won many awards last year, including for the 40 Most Valuable Brands in Viet Nam from Forbes, the “Best Companies to Work for in Asia” award from HR Asia, the “Retail Banking Award” from the Viet Nam Banks Association and the International Data Group, and the “Best Cash Management in the Asia-Pacific” award from Euromoney.

HDBank also embraces social and community activities, giving scholarships to thousands of students, donating health insurance cards to 14,000 near-poor people and funding cataract surgeries for thousands of poor patients.

It has also pitched in to help develop Vietnamese sports. Last year, for the eighth time, it organised the HDBank Cup International Chess Tournament, the largest international chess tournament in Viet Nam.

It also continues to sponsor the HDBank Futsal Prize (National Championship and Cup). 

Festival honors female entrepreneurs in Viet Nam

     

Beth Ann Lim, Head of Community Affairs, APAC, Facebook, speaks at the Women Innovation Festival in Ha Noi on March 30. 


Facebook, in partnership with the Women’s Initiative for Start-ups and Entrepreneurship (WISE), organised the Women Innovation Festival in Ha Noi on March 30.

The event aimed to honour the contributions of women, especially female entrepreneurs, to the country’s socio-economic development and kick-start the third year of #SheMeansBusiness, an initiative that celebrates and empowers women entrepreneurs in Viet Nam.

“We are glad to see that many Vietnamese women have overcome barriers and achieved remarkable business results and affirmed their important roles in society. We hope to inspire more women to become successful entrepreneurs,” said CEO of WISE, Tu Thu Hien, at the event.

“Facebook is a critical partner to help us achieve that goal and we look forward to continuing this strong partnership to inspire, nurture and support more success stories of female entrepreneurs in Viet Nam,” added Hien.

“Launched in 2017, #SheMeansBusiness has helped more than 3,000 women to build and grow their business online and achieve greater financial security. In 2019, we set a goal to expand the initiative to at least 4,000 women in Viet Nam, providing digital skills they need to grow as business owners and contributing to their local economies and communities,” said Beth Ann Lim, Head of Community Affairs, APAC, Facebook.

The event was attended by nearly 1,500 female entrepreneurs and Government representatives. It aims at inspiring more Vietnamese women, nurturing their dream of start-ups by providing capital, training, connecting female entrepreneurs and helping to close the gap on the untapped opportunity for millions of women.

Through a series of workshops, talks and experience exchange sessions from women leaders in business, the festival was a playground for female entrepreneurs to access new markets, new customers, new products and a chance to build a sustainable business.

According to the latest Future of Business report conducted by Facebook, the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), nearly 80 per cent of Vietnamese female entrepreneurs on Facebook say that social media was helpful to their business. They also benefited from community and mentorship. About 60 per cent said they have had a role model, of which nearly 67 per cent said that their role model was a woman. Vietnamese women have actively learnt and embraced technology to grow their business. 

Steel producer Hoa Phat targets US$3 billion revenue

     

Hoa Phat’s annual general meeting approved the revenue target of VND70 trillion in 2019. 


Hoa Phat Group targets after-tax profits of VND6.7 trillion on revenues of VND70 trillion (US$3 billion) this year.

The figures were announced after they were approved at the steel giant’s annual general meeting in Ha Noi last week.

Last year consolidated revenues were VND56.5 trillion and after-tax profits were VND8.6 trillion, up 21 per cent and 7 per cent.

The company’s general director, Tran Tuan Duong, said the profit target is 22 per cent lower than last year’s because the China-US trade war could have a considerable effect on the global and Vietnamese economies.

Besides, trade protection is on the rise in many places, competition is increasing and raw material prices and interest rates are rising, he said.

Steel is the group’s main business accounting for 83 per cent and 89 per cent of revenues and profits last year. Last year it produced a record 3.1 million tonnes of various kinds of steel and led the steel sector with a market share of 24 per cent.

It exported around 240,000 tonnes to 14 countries, up 51 per cent from 2017.

Its operations in other sectors like real estate and agriculture expanded, with revenues from housing and urban projects doubling. Hoa Phat hopes to sell the remaining apartments at its Mandarin Garden 2 and 70 Nguyen Duc Canh apartments this year.

After-tax profits from agriculture quadrupled. The company is the leader in the production of Australian beef with a 42 per cent market share.

Duong said: “Our revenue in 2019 is expected to be higher than that of 2018 since the first phase of the Hoa Phat Dung Quat iron and steel complex will become operational.

“Hoa Phat targets increasing its market share in the steel sector as soon as the project becomes operational. We could have higher profits thanks to a higher market share.”

The company’s chairman, Tran Dinh Long, said costs were rising.

“The price of iron ore increased from $60 to $85-90 per tonne, electricity tariffs and other costs were also higher though steel selling prices are unchanged.”

“HPG would still be a well-performing stock. I plan to buy more HPG shares in 2019.”

The company has received shareholders’ approval to pay dividends of 30 per cent rate in shares for 2019.

HCM City’s GRDP grows 7.64 percent in first quarter

Ho Chi Minh City recorded a gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth rate of 7.64 percent in the first quarter of 2019, equivalent to the pace during same period last year.

The figure was released at the 26th conference of the Executive Committee of the municipal Party Organisation on March 30.

Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem said during the first three months of 2019, the service sector’s proportion in the local economy has continued to increase, trading activities have kept developing, and agricultural production remains stable while the industrial production index has posted faster growth than a year earlier.

Additionally, trade and tourism promotion has been enhanced and resulted in positive outcomes, helping local businesses expand their markets and attracting more foreign investment to the city, he said.

However, there remain numerous difficulties and challenges facing HCM City, Liem noted, elaborating that the service sector, exports and imports recorded lower growth rates compared to the same period last year. 

Meanwhile, site clearance for some public investment projects is still sluggish, food safety ensuring at small-scale production and business establishments hasn’t received due attention, and the crime situation, especially drug crime, remains complex, the vice chairman added.

At the session, Politburo member and Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan recognised efforts by departments, sectors and districts of the city to fulfill development tasks in the first quarter of this year.

He said the local economic growth is “relatively all right” in general, but the city has yet to feel completely secure about sectors when they stand separately.

Specifying some key solutions, officials at the event said HCM City should push on with implementing the National Assembly’s Resolution 54 on piloting special mechanisms and policies to speed up the city’s development , make breakthroughs in administrative reforms, and boost IT application to provide smart city services for residents and businesses.

It also needs to improve its indexes of public administrative reform, provincial competitiveness, and provincial governance and public administration performance; promote its economic competitiveness; as well as strengthen defence, security and social order and safety, they added.

Phu Yen fish sauce to get brand name


With a 190 km coastline and abundant natural resources, Phu Yen province is well-known for its fishery products, including fish sauce. To make traditional fish sauce thrive, Phu Yen has set its eyes on getting its version a brand name

Ganh Do village is well-known for making the best fish sauce in Phu Yen. The village is home to more than 70 fish sauce making households. Each year, this village produces more than 2 million litres of the condiment. With help from Phu Yen’s Department of Industry and Trade, the Tan Lap fish sauce brand name has come to life.

Other than getting each household a brand name, Phu Yen has also developed a collective brand name for its fish sauce. The Phu Yen fish sauce brand is now produced by 33 businesses and processing facilities and they have to meet sufficient input requirements and hygiene standards.

By building a brand name for its fish sauce, Phu Yen is aiming to get its products to a broader range of consumers.


HCM City’s GRDP grows 7.64 percent in first quarter, Steel producer Hoa Phat targets US$3 billion revenue, Festival honors female entrepreneurs in Vietnam, Asia remains biggest import-export payment market of Agribank
 
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