BUSINESS IN BRIEF 11/10

Tuong An Vegetable Oil gets new chairman

Tran Le Nguyen, CEO of Kido Corporation, has been elected chairman of Tuong An Vegetable Oil Joint Stock Company after the State Securities Commission allowed Kido to acquire a 65% stake in Tuong An.

At an extraordinary shareholder meeting of Tuong An yesterday, Nguyen and Nguyen Thi Hanh were picked as board members of the company to replace Duong Anh Tuan and Truong Huynh Bich who had resigned earlier.

Nguyen was elected chairman of Tuong An at a board meeting of the company after the extraordinary shareholder meeting.

Kido bought the 65% stake in Tuong An at VND78,000 per share, or VND963 billion in total. Kido is expected to complete the deal next week.

Tuong An is one of the leading cooking oil makers in Vietnam with annual revenue of VND4 trillion (over US$179 million). It has a factory in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and another in Nghe An Province, and a nationwide distribution network.

Kido has acquired a 24% stake in Vietnam Vegetable Oils Industry Corporation (Vocarimex) as part of its strategy to become a leader in the sector. Meanwhile, Vocarimex owns 27% of Tuong An.

Kido is one of the 30 biggest enterprises by market capitalization.

Panasonic Solution & Innovation Center Vietnam opens

Panasonic Corporation has announced the opening of its “Panasonic Solution & Innovation Center Vietnam” at the Thang Long Industrial Park in Hanoi’s Dong Anh district.

The center will act as the corporation’s factory automation showroom for Southeast Asia and will showcase highly-efficient manufacturing technologies and equipment.

In today’s highly digitized world, it said, demand for smartphones, wearable devices and other electronics is expanding rapidly and built-in printed circuit boards are a necessity for such products.

The center will present Panasonic’s suite of manufacturing technologies, such as auto-insertion and surface mounting machines for electronic components in high-density printed circuit boards.

On an area of 480 sq m, the center features not only Panasonic’s latest chip mounter and welding machine but also peripheral equipment from its partners, which include component towers and inspection machines.

This synergy highlights the importance of network compatibility and technological interconnectedness and their contribution to the success of Industry 4.0 and IoT-supported manufacturing lines. The center will be operated and managed by the Panasonic Vietnam Factory Automation Group.

Customers at the center can experience the actual manufacturing process for printed circuit boards and welding machines by bringing their own materials and electronic components for trial production.

The center is also equipped with a seminar hall and conference rooms to facilitate technical seminars and events relating to factory automation. Through these approaches the center aims to maximize value for customers.

Panasonic has already opened showrooms in Chicago, Bangkok, Jakarta and Munich as the company expands its factory solutions business globally.

Panasonic Vietnam was the first 100 per cent foreign-invested company to have a country headquarters in Vietnam.

The Panasonic Vietnam Group comprises Panasonic Industrial Devices Vietnam (PIDVN), Panasonic System Networks Vietnam (PSNV), Panasonic Appliances Vietnam (PAPVN), Panasonic AVC Networks Vietnam (PAVCV), Panasonic Eco Solutions Vietnam (PESVN), and the Panasonic Research & Development Center Vietnam.

The Group currently employs about 7,500 people. In Vietnam it places great emphasis on social activities surrounding education and the environment.

The Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development of diverse electronics technologies and solutions for customers in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, enterprise solutions and device industries.

Since its founding in 1918 the company has expanded globally and now operates 474 subsidiaries and 94 associated companies worldwide, recording consolidated net sales of 7.553 trillion Japanese yen ($68.7 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2016.

Committed to pursuing new value through innovation across divisional lines, the company uses its technologies to create a better life and a better world for its customers.

Tra fish surges on high demand of China

tra fish exports reach us$616 million in first six months hinh 0

Prices of unprocessed tra fish in the Mekong Delta have soared to VND20,000-22,000 per kilo, the highest in the year to date, owing to higher demand of China.

Nguyen Huu Nguyen, head of a tra fish cooperative in Chau Phu District in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, told the Daily that tra fish is sold at VND20,000-21,000 per kilo, up VND2,500-3,000 a kilo against a half month ago.

Tran Hieu Trung, a tra fish grower in O Mon District, Can Tho City, said tra had increased by an average of VND3,000 per kilo to VND21,000-22,500 per kilo over the past two weeks.

Nguyen said large tra fish have been sought after by many fishing enterprises thanks to high demand of the Chinese market.

According to statistics of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), tra fish exports to China neared US$172 million in the first eight months of this year, up 72% year-on-year.

China is likely to overtake the European Union (EU) as Vietnam’s second biggest importer of tra fish after the U.S.

With the price rise of VND2,500-3,000 per kilo, growers can make profit of VND1,000 per kilo.

Citi partners with Lazada

Leading global bank Citi has announced a new partnership in Southeast Asia with the Lazada Group, Southeast Asia’s leading online shopping destination.

This is the first time Citi has collaborated with an e-commerce site in Southeast Asia to offer region-wide promotions to benefit its card holders.

“We have seen that the rapid adoption of mobile and other digital channels has truly transformed how and where people bank,” said Mr. Anand Selva, Head of Asia Pacific Consumer Banking for Citi. “We are thus delighted to partner with Lazada to drive growth in our cards business via new acquisitions and increased customer loyalty.”

Under the new partnership, Citi card holders will enjoy a discount of up to 15 per cent on selected days when shopping on Lazada. Further, shoppers who sign up for a new Citi credit card will receive additional discounts on Lazada.

The partnership will be launched in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand in October ahead of Lazada’s Online Revolution campaign next month, the largest online shopping event in the region. 

In Singapore and Vietnam, Citi and Lazada already have an existing partnership. In Vietnam Lazada shoppers who sign up for a new Citi credit card will receive a Lazada e-voucher valued up to VND2 million ($87) until November 22.

Moreover, Citi card holders can also enjoy various benefits when shopping on Lazada, including ten-times reward points, a 5 per cent cash back or three-times PremierMiles, and access to the Citi PayLite program, with 0 per cent interest installment plans and no fees, to the end of the year.

“Our strategy in consumer banking is to be the world’s leading digital bank, which includes delivering a remarkable client experience in key digital ecosystems,” said Mr. Selva.

Citi is Asia’s leading credit card issuer, with over 16 million credit cards, and also offers consumer banking services across the six markets where Lazada operates. The partnership is expected to lead to further growth in Citi’s card business in the region and reinforces its objective to be more relevant in digital ecosystems where the bank’s clients are increasingly active.

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and territories. It provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Launched in March 2012, Lazada is pioneering e-commerce in the region by providing customers with an effortless shopping experience with multiple payment methods, including cash-on-delivery, and extensive customer care and free returns. It boasts a wide product offering in categories ranging from consumer electronics to household goods, toys, fashion and sports equipment.

It also offers brands and merchants a marketplace solution with simple and direct access to about 560 million consumers in six countries through one retail channel.

HCMC leads in housing ads

District 9 and Thu Duc district led the Top 10 list of housing ads in Ho Chi Minh City in the third quarter, according to data researchers DataFirst.

Its report on Ho Chi Minh City’s housing market for the third quarter comes from information collected from nine of the largest real estate ad websites in the city and which account for an estimated 85 per cent of all real estate ads in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City had 106,000 housing listings in the quarter, with District 9 topping the list with 11,864 followed by 10,769 in Thu Duc, 8,194 in District 12, and 7,226 in Tan Phu district.

The top four accounted for 36 per cent of all housing ads in Ho Chi Minh City, with its eastern area having a huge number of listings.

There were 40,119 ads for houses with prices from VND1.5 billion to 4 billion ($70,000 to $180,000), 22,993 from VND700 million to VND1.5 billion ($35,000 to $70,000), and 22,876 from VND4 billion to VND10 billion ($180,000 to $450,000).

DataFirst said that the number of those posting housing ads in Ho Chi Minh City during the third quarter fell by 50 per cent compared to the second quarter. It forecast this would change in the fourth quarter, however, as this is generally the most active period for housing transactions.

There were 6 million real estate advertisements in Vietnam during the first nine months, the report found.

Ho Chi Minh City headed the Top 10 list with 1.7 million, double the figure in the same period last year. Following were Hanoi with 720,000 ads and Da Nang 170,000, while the figures for Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Khanh Hoa provinces were in the tens of thousands. Ba Ria Vung Tau, Long An, Kien Giang and Quang Nam rounded out the Top 10.

Total real estate ads in the Top 10 cities and provinces accounted for 98 per cent of the total. Significant growth was seen in Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Khanh Hoa, Ba Ria Vung Tau and Long An.

DataFirst said its findings showed an increasing interest in the housing market and expects Ho Chi Minh City’s total for 2016 to be much higher. In 2015 there were 1.8 million ads, a three-fold increase against 2014.

Cienco4 & Thai investor partner up in industrial urban complex

The Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No. 4 (Cienco4) has signed a partnership deal with Thailand’s Hemaraj Land and Development Plc. to co-invest in the Hemaraj Industrial Urban Complex at the Dong Nam Economic Zone in north-central Nghe An province.

“The province will create the most favorable conditions possible in investment procedures and site clearance for the two investors to quickly begin the project,” Mr. Le Duc Cuong, Chief of the Nghe An People’s Committee Secretariat, told VET on October 7. “The investors will build the complex in multiple phases so site clearance will not be a major issue.”

The project covers 3,200 ha straddling Nghi Loc and Dien Chau districts with total capital of about $1 billion. The first of seven phases is expected to begin in 2017 and all construction completed by 2035, according to Mr. Cuong.

“The goal of the project is to build a comprehensive network of industrial parks, logistics bases, and urban areas in order to attract secondary investors to invest in factories and production and business areas,” Mr. Nguyen Tuan Huynh, Chairman of Cienco4, was quoted as saying.

A joint venture, called the Hemaraj – Cienco4 JSC, will be established to conduct the first phase of the complex on nearly 500 ha at the Nam Cam Industrial Zone in Nghi Loc district from the beginning of 2017 to 2021, Mr. Huynh said.

Cienco4 is a major player in the field of investment and construction of transport infrastructure and marks a new step in its development process with its association with Hemaraj.

According to Mr. David Richard Nardone, Chairman of Hamaraj, the company is a leader in infrastructure development at industrial zones, urban areas, and factories in Thailand.

It currently owns and develops eight industrial zones of international standard on a total area of 7,000 ha that house 600 companies from around the world, including major names in logistics, automobile manufacturing, energy, and other fields.

“With our capacity and experience in investment and construction and doing business in industrial zone infrastructure in Thailand and Cienco4’s financial capacity we hope to build the Hemaraj Industrial Zone into a model industrial zone in Nghe An,” Mr. Nardone said.

Under the investment agreement, the Nghe An Provincial People’s Committee will be responsible for organizing site clearance, compensation, and resettlement for the entire project area. The Hemaraj – Cienco4 JSC will pay site clearance and compensation costs while the province will pay for relocation.

Nghe An committed to providing incentives and investment support to the project and guaranteed that the sites for each phase will be connected to highways, for convenient access for investors and contractors.

The two investors have pledged to develop the industrial urban area in line with Nghe An’s development orientation and attract secondary investors to produce world-class products while protecting the environment and bringing economic efficiency towards sustainable development.

CaptiaLand opens sales at Feliz en Vista

CapitaLand and its partner the Thien Duc Co. have announced the opening of sales at its new residential project – Feliz en Vista.

This is CapitaLand’s eighth project in Vietnam. “The new project marks an important step for CapitaLand Vietnam as the company has made efforts to build up its brand,” said Mr. Chen Lian Pang, General Director of CapitaLand Vietnam. “We will complete the project per our commitments.”

On an area of 2.6 ha the project is located in Ho Chi Minh City’s spectacular District 2. It has three residential towers with 873 residential units and one serviced apartment tower, called Somerset, which will be managed by CapitaLand’s subsidiary The Ascott Limited, the world’s largest international serviced residence owner-operator.

The project has more than 100 facilities with unique and exceptional designs providing a mix of resort and active styles. It is expected to be completed by December 2019.

Feliz en Vista was the first project of CapitaLand Vietnam to receive the Green Mark Gold Award from the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore.  

CapitaLand Vietnam also has another seven projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The Seasons Avenue project in the Mo Lao New Urban Area in Hanoi’s Ha Dong district includes four 40-41 storey apartment towers with 1,300 apartments. Covering 1.3 ha, the project is estimated to be completed by 2018.

The Mulberry Land project has 1,478 apartments on an area of 24,466 sq m. Also in the Mo Lao New Urban Area in Hanoi, it was completed in 2013.

Kris Vue, with an area of 2,066 sq m, includes 128 apartments and is located in Nguyen Duy Trinh Street in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. The project is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2018.

The Krista, located in Nguyen Duy Trinh Street in District 2, includes 344 apartments on an area of 7,585 sq m. Sales are now open.

Vista Verde, with an area of 34,056 sq m on Dong Van Cong Street in District 2, includes 1,152 apartments and is estimated to be completed by 2017.

The Vista, located on the Hanoi Highway in District 2, has an area of 2.3 ha and includes 1,152 apartments. It has been completed.

PARCSpring, in Nguyen Duy Trinh Street, District 2, includes 394 apartments on an area of 6,730 sq m and has also been completed.

CapitaLand Vietnam has a presence in four major cities in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hai Phong and Da Nang, in the residential and serviced residences sectors. In the residential sector it has a portfolio of close to 6,000 quality homes in six residential projects in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. In the serviced residence sector its wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited, has a portfolio of more than 1,800 apartment units in 12 properties in the four major cities, making it the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in the country.

CapitaLand Limited is one of Asia’s largest real estate companies. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, the company’s businesses in real estate and real estate fund management are focused on its core markets of Singapore and China.

The company’s diverse real estate portfolio primarily includes integrated developments, shopping malls, serviced residences, offices and homes. It also has one of the largest real estate fund management businesses with assets located in Asia. CapitaLand leverages its significant asset base, real estate domain knowledge, product design and development capabilities, active capital management strategies, and extensive market network to develop real estate products and services. Its listed real estate investment trusts are Ascott Residence Trust, CapitaCommercial Trust, CapitaMall Trust, CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust, and CapitaRetail China Trust.

Major Binh Dinh tourism projects given green light

The Truong Thanh Development Investment Company Limited has recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Ben Thanh Tourist Services JSC and the Viet Finance Investment JSC to co-invest in the Casa Marina Islands Resort and the Bai Xep International Marine Resort in south-central Binh Dinh province.

Mr. Tran Buu An, Deputy Director of the Binh Dinh Investment Promotion Center (IPC), confirmed with VET that “the investment policy for both has been approved by local authorities.”

Under the agreement the three parties will jointly develop the Casa Marina Islands Resort and the Bai Xep International Marine Resort, which have total investment capital of around $36 million and are to be completed by August and December of 2018, respectively.

The Casa Marina Islands Resort is located on the two islands of Hon Dat and Hon Ngang, about 650 meters and 2 km from the coast, respectively. It will be built on an area of 41.3 ha and feature restaurants, bungalows, wharfs, climbing and diving services, electronic and gaming combining, as well as aquaculture and a marine creature preservation area.

It looks out over Bai Xep Resort, giving the two projects a certain harmony, and will have mountain-view resort villas and home-stay areas.

The Bai Xep International Marine Resort is located in an eco-tourism complex in Ghenh Rang ward, about 10 km from the provincial capital of Quy Nhon city, and will cover an area of 19 ha. There are many landscapes and beautiful beaches with strong development potential for eco-tourism and coastal recreation in the area. The fishing village of Bai Xep, known for its wild beauty, was voted among the 16 most amazing destinations in Asia by Business Insider Magazine.

The projects will contribute to the diversification of tourism products and tourism development in Binh Dinh province and the central region, which has been evaluated as having an important role to play in national tourism development in the 2020-2030 period.

Truong Thanh Limited is a unit of the General Security Agency at the Ministry of Public Security while Viet Finance Investment has strong financial potential and has reorganized its resources to focus on tourism development in the central region, including hotels, resorts, and amusement parks, and is pushing for the opening of new domestic and regional flights.

Ben Thanh Tourist is one of the leading travel companies in Vietnam, arranging for growing numbers of tourists to visit the central region every year. It has a skilled management team that will ensure the success of the projects and see them put it into operation as soon as possible.

A subsidiary of Truong Thanh, the Truong Thanh Quy Nhon JSC, has also proposed it invest in Service Tourism Area No. 9 to the west of Quy Nhon, which will be connected with the Casa Marina Islands Resort to form an eco-tourism complex.

The number of domestic and international travelers visiting Binh Dinh province has been increasing and pushing up demand for entertainment and relaxation facilities. Hon Dat and Hon Ngang Islands both have favorable natural locations with major potential for island tourism but are still seeking investors, according to the Binh Dinh IPC.

Vietnam Electricity Group turns down monument project

The Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) has just asked the National Power Transmission Corporation (EVNNPT) to stop work on a monument project which was intended to commemorate 250 workers who died while constructing the North-South 500kV transmission line.

Deputy general director of EVN, Dinh Quang Tri told Vnexpress Newspaper that the project was not their idea and they would not approve it.

“We’ve just heard about the project from the local media but we’ll turn it down if EVNNPT send their plan to us,” Tri said.

According to EVNNPT’s general director, Vu Ngoc Minh, the project was just an idea based on proposals from many former workers who had joined in the construction of the transmission line.

“We’ve not sent our plan for the EVN yet, but were just discussing it,” Minh said. “But now we’ve got the instructions from EVN and won’t go any further with the project.”

Minh also said that he wanted to thank the media and the public for their attention and comments on their proposal.

EVNNPT has recently had a meeting with authorities in Pleiku City in the central highlands province of Gia Lai on construction of the project.

According to the plan, the nine-metre monument would also have included exhibition rooms, meeting rooms and other functional areas.

The project has faced with lots of opposition from the public who said that the money should be spent on bringing electricity to more remote areas instead of that monument.

“We’ll never forget the workers who contributed their lives to bring light for us,” a reader commented on an article by Dan Tri. “But I’m sure they will also be happy when seeing that the money used for the monument can be switched to more practical purposes, such as building schools or bringing light to more areas.”

The North-South 500kV transmission line was a milestone in Vietnam’s electricity sector which helps provide enough electricity for the southern region.

The line’s Circuit 1, built in two years from April 1992 to May 1994, stretches nearly 1,500 km through 14 provinces from the northern province of Hoa Binh to Ho Chi Minh City.”

According to EVNNPT’s deputy general director, Tran Quoc Lam, some 12,000 experts, engineers and workers participated in the construction, management and operation of the project and 250 of them died in their work.

Oxfam warns Vietnam about FDI from tax havens

Oxfam International has raised warnings about foreign direct investments from international tax havens at a conference about tax and inequality held in Hanoi on October 7.  

Susana Ruiz from Oxfam said Vietnam and other developing countries were incurring USD170bn in damage each year because of international tax havens. About 50% of the FDI in Vietnam was capital from the tax havens so most of the profits are not being kept in Vietnam.

Even though Vietnam attracts a lot of investors, tax revenue is not high. Instead of paying 20-30% taxes in the countries they are operating in, corporations will bring the profits to countries with less than 1% or 0% tax.

Ruiz said the Panama Papers had revealed how offshore companies were created to avoid taxes. The tax money are making the rich richer and widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

According to Oxfam, 60% of global trade value is created between member companies. International corporations spend 5% of their profits to pay corporate income tax. But they don’t pay taxes in countries they are doing business and generating profit from. This profit is brought to tax havens.

The lack of transparency has helped to create virtual economies. Many tax havens such as British Virgin Islands got more FDI in 2013 than India and Brazil. 50% of FDI to India in 2014 comes from a building in Mauritius, a small country in the Indian Ocean.

Oxfam warned Vietnam to not receive FDI from countries have many tax loopholes.

In addition, there are huge amounts of money are unusually being transferred abroad. Vu Quang Viet, economist and former statistics expert for the United Nations, said from 2008 to 2013, USD33bn were illegally transferred overseas.

Over USD9bn was transferred overseas in 2009, the rate decreased in the next year but had picked up and kept rising. Nearly USD9bn was illegally transferred in 2013. Viet said such numbers could be explained by smuggling and corruption.

HOSE and StoxPlus organise “Vietnam Stock Market: On the Way to Emerging Markets” conference

Vietnam has attracted a lot of attention from foreign investors thanks to its sustainable economic growth in recent years and growth stories of private sector and public companies.

Vietnam, however, remains among few frontier markets in the MSCI category, which include Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. This has hindered Vietnam from drawing investment from big guys such as global financial institutions and asset management companies which have strategies to allocate their portfolio in global, regional or emerging markets.

Foreign investors can now have opportunities to increase up to 100 per cent of voting shares in a public company in Vietnam when companies have been in progress to change their foreign ownership limits (FOL) as allowed by current regulations. In addition to the FOL loosening, a number of other actions are now in the progress of implementation by related government agencies toward the promotion of Vietnam Stock Market to Emerging Markets (EM) classification by MSCI.

How are Vietnamese government agencies dealing with the progress? What are main constraints to loosen the FOL in Vietnamese public companies? And when can Vietnam’s stock market expected to be upgraded to EM status?

Addressing these concerns and as part of their cooperation, Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) and StoxPlus have conducted a comprehensive review on FOL for listed companies under VN100 Index on HOSE.

They have also conducted a survey to obtain opinions and feedbacks from more than 100 representatives of foreign institutional investors including large asset management firms who haven’t got exposure into Vietnam and who are awaiting for the change.

In addition to sharing from MSCI’s representative, Vietnamese government’s representatives and other speakers, HOSE and StoxPlus are also pleased to bring the key findings from their joint review of FOL on HOSE Listed Companies and Foreign Institutional Investor Survey via this conference.

The event receives technical support from the State Securities Commission, IFC, Nikkei Inc., QUICK Corp and Indochine Counsel.

This is the second annual conference organised by StoxPlus and HOSE with support from Nikkei Inc. and QUICK Corp. from Japan. There will be about 250 participants including representatives from investment and financial institutions from Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Thailand, Malaysia, US and EU attending this conference.

The event will take place on November 4, 2016 at HOSE’s Exchange Tower, 16 Vo Van Kiet street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

104 businesses get extra of $1.47 billion low interest loans in HCMC

Twenty one branches of Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) signed credit contracts to loan 104 businesses VND32.872 trillion (US$1.47 billion) at the low interest rate of 6-8 percent a year this morning in HCMC.

The event took place at conference on the Bank-Business Connectivity Program which has been implemented in the city since 2012 to solve difficulties for businesses.

The city’s program has been extended nationwide and the Government has taken it into the national target scheme on business development assistance by 2020.

For the last four years, the Bank-Business Connectivity Program has been implemented in 24 districts of HCMC and helped solve capital and interest difficulties for enterprises, contributing to production and trading development and economic growth.

VND160 trillion ($717.44 million) has been disbursed under the program since early this year.  The disbursement is expected to reach VND250 trillion ($11.21 billion) by the end of this year. Interest rate is from 7-8 percent a year.

Mekong Delta develops human resources

The Mekong Delta is taking a number of measures to develop high-quality human resources. 

The Steering Committee for Southwestern Region and the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) have realised the Prime Minister’s Decision 1033/QD-TTg on developing education and vocational training in the delta in 2011-2015via implementing a particular mechanism for the northwestern, Central Highlands, and southwestern regions. 

According to Le Hung Dung, vice head of the committee, since 2012, the region has enrolled 697 students from 22 border and island areas and disadvantaged districts in schools. 

The committee has also teamed up with universities to train 1,979 architecture and medical students in Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho city and Tra Vinh province. 

It has proposed the MoET entrust 26 universities and colleges inside and outside the region to forge connection in training over 4,000 post-graduates. 

Despite these efforts, some sectors still lack high-quality human resources, especially medicine and pharmacy. 

The region has only six doctors and 0.93 pharmacist per 10,000 people on average while the national average ratio is 7.5 doctors and 1.3 pharmacists per 10,000 people. As many as 332 medical stations in the region do not have doctors. 

According to the national strategy on protection and improvement of public health in 2011-2020 and with a vision towards 2030, the Mekong Delta must strive to train over 7,000 doctors and 3,000 pharmacists in the next five years. 

About tertiary education, the region has achieved its current target of training 190 students per 10,000 people (the country’s average level is 225 students per 10,000 people). It also set to have 450 students per 10,000 people by 2020. 

At a conference of the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region to summarise its six-month performance and launch tasks for the rest of the year, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bui Van Ga pointed to shortcomings in the region’s tertiary education such as lack of investment in training as well as forecast and survey of labour market demand, and the uneven distribution of health workers. 

To solve the problems, he said that the Steering Committee suggested the MoET and the Ministry of Health continue allowing regional provinces to join hands in training doctors to provide human resources for grassroots-level medical stations, thus facilitating people’s travelling and ease overload at central-level hospitals. 

Particularly, it is necessary to encourage the training of medical staff in specialised departments of tuberculosis, leprosy, mental diseases, anatomical pathology and forensic medicine, he added.

HCMC to boost development of support industry

The 2016 Metalex Vietnam was officially opened in Ho Chi Minh City on October 6, attracting the participation of nearly 300 enterprises from Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and other countries.

The Metalex Vietnam is considered as Vietnam’s international exhibition showcasing machine tools & metalworking solutions for production upgrade.

At the exhibition, Deputy Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem shared: “In order to develop further its support industry, the city has set up the center for Support Development (CFSD); showrooms for support industry products, many workshops at industrial parks and export processing zones.

Besides that, the city authority has issued support policies for the domestic enterprises, satisfied supply and demand between businesses in support industry and producers.

According to Chief of Japan External Trade Organization Takimo Koji, the rate of domestic supply from Japanese enterprises in Vietnam reached 32 percent in compared with Thailand (56%), China (65%).

PM urges ministries to find rice consumption solutions

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc  has urged relevant ministries and agencies to review rice consumption and propose solutions to purchase rice for farmers especially those in the Mekong Delta.

According to a document conveying the PM’s instruction from the Government Office, the PM asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, the State Bank of Vietnam and the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) to suggest specific solutions. 

The rice industry has faced many challenges and difficulties such as alluvium shortage due to low floodwater level, severe drought and salt intrusion, diseases and market shrink. 

This year, floodwater has not flown into the delta as much as it used to in previous years, failing a plan increasing autumn winter farming area by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development while over 200,000 hectares were damaged by drought and salt intrusion in the previous two crops this year.

The hardest hit provinces comprise Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Long An, Tien Giang, Soc Trang and Bac Lieu. Farmers will be more dependent on water release from the upper reaches of the Mekong River.

Many areas hit by drought and salt intrusion have reduced farming areas by converting into other crops and not sowing autumn winter rice. 

The ministry has forecast that this year rice output will reduce 700,000 tons compared to last year. 

Authorized agencies should keep a close eye on the situation, forecast where will be seriously affected by drought and salt intrusion and give farmers timely and reasonable advices to avoid possible damage, said deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh.

Vietnam exported about 3.76 million tons worth US$1.69 billion in the first nine months this year, down 16.4 percent in volume and 12.5 percent in value over the same period last year, reported the ministry.

China–the largest market of Vietnam saw a strong reduction while other rice export nations such as India, Thailand and Pakistan have stepped up shipping.

The Mekong Delta is estimated to produce 25 million tons of rice this year. Basing on this, VFA expected rice export volume to reach 7.58 million tons. 

However, experts have said that export volume will reach only 1.2 million tons in the fourth quarter and about 5 million tons this year.

Vietjet offers promotional tickets on celebration of Vietnam Women’s Day

In celebration of Vietnam Women’s Day on October 20, Vietjet expresses thousands of best wishes and presents 300,000 promotional tickets to all passengers from only US$0 under “12pm, It’s time to Vietjet” campaign on the three golden days of October 11, 12, 13, 2016 only at www.vietjetair.com.

The promotion applies for all international routes from Vietnam to cities: Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Taipei, Tainan, Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Yangon.

The travel period will be from November 1, 2016 to March 25, 2017 (excluding public holidays).  For the new route Ho Chi Minh City – Hong Kong, in particular, it will be from December 9, 2016; from December 12, 2016 for Ho Chi Minh City – Kaohsiung route and Hai Phong – Seoul route.

The promotional tickets can be booked from 12h to 14h at www.vietjetair.com (also compatible with smartphones at https://m.vietjetair.com) or at www.facebook.com/vietjetvietnam (just click the “Booking” tab). Payment can be easily made with debit and credit cards of Visa, MasterCard, JCB, and American Express and ATM cards issued by 29 Vietnam’s banks that have been registered with internet banking.

The Vietnam Women’s Day is becoming more meaningful as Vietjet will organize many interesting activities in celebration with female passengers such as gifts and flowers presentation, a famous boy band’s performance and lucky tickets drawing.

Vietnam’s stock market potential introduced to ASEAN brokers

Investment opportunities on Vietnam’s stock market were highlighted at the third ASEAN Broker Networking conference which took place on October 8 in Hanoi.

The event, attended by 42 domestic brokerage firms and 33 from within the ASEAN region, was held within the framework of the 25th meeting of chief executive officers of ASEAN stock exchanges that the Hanoi Stock Exchange hosted for the first time.

At the programme, Vietnamese brokers highlighted investment opportunities in Vietnam and their solutions to facilitate foreign investors to invest in the Vietnamese market.

Phan Anh Vu, Deputy Director of Vietcombank Securities, said that the government’s promulgation of Decree 60 on securities last year has permitted Vietnamese companies in non-strategic sectors to decide on their own foreign ownership limit.

He cited the example of several companies such as dairy producer Vinamilk, which has been approved by the State Securities Commission to raise maximum foreign ownership to 100%.

Vu added that Vietnam has a stable macroeconomic environment and the implementation of a wide range of free trade agreements would attract more capital inflows into Vietnam in the time ahead.

Nguyen Hoang Giang, CEO of VNDIRECT Securities Corporation, shared the view, saying that Vietnam might have failed to meet the government’s GDP growth target of 6.7% for 2016 but the economy is maintaining steady growth, projected at 6-6.5% during the 2016-2018 period.

He said after Vinamilk raised its foreign ownership limit to 100% in July, other companies, especially pharmaceutical ones, are likely to follow suit.

As part of its agenda, the event included one-on-one networking sessions where stock brokers met to learn about the business environment in their countries and explore opportunities for cooperation.

Seminar seeks to connect supply and demand in central regions

The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the central city of Da Nang co-hosted a conference on October 8 aimed at connecting supply and demand between the central region and the Central Highlands.

Representatives from industry and trade departments of 23 provinces and cities in the regions and over 500 enterprises from across the country joined the seminar.

The event aims to create motivation and a favourable environment for businesses to actively find partners in the market, helping them gradually improve renovation and cooperation links for rapid and sustainable development.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in recent years, local authorities have deployed more quality cooperation programmes to seize opportunities and respond to challenges thereby contributing to the socio-economic development of each locality. In particular, the industry and trade sector has always asserted its importance in the connection among local areas.

Connection between businesses in the two regions has been gradually increased in number and scale. The concerned parties have noted clear benefits from cooperation and connection, which have significantly reduced intermediaries and costs, while increasing profit.

Linkage and cooperation are among key catalysts to help attain regional sustainable economic development. Evidence has proved that the industrial production value of several localities in the region during the first eight months of 2016 has maintained a steady growth, with a higher growth rate over the same period last year, such as Quang Nam (26.6%), Dak Lak (11.7%) and Da Nang (11.6%). Total retail sales of goods and services during the eight-month period was estimated at VND370 trillion (US$16.7 billion), up by 11.5% year on year and reaching 64.7% of the 2016 set plan.

Delegates at the conference said that the connection of supply and demand was an efficient and necessary step to transfer goods to consumers quickly and efficiently. They argued that there should be active participation of private businesses and distributors in the linkage to help promote and enhance business performance and reputation.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai urged authorities in the region to continue promoting trade promotion programmes and create the most favourable conditions for businesses to expand exchanges and increase collaboration, while regularly surveying production and consumption and the purchase demand of businesses, as well as completing an integrated database to provide information for connecting supply and demand.

He also stressed the need to synchronously implement mechanisms and policies to support enterprises, apply new technologies aimed at improving product quality and connect banks, manufacturing enterprises and supply chains to support local businesses in meeting the requirements of distributors and the market.

The event witnessed the signing ceremony of a MOU on demand and supply connection among 40 units and enterprises in the region and across the country. Around 200 domestic enterprises also set-up booths showcasing their products and services at the seminar.

Vietnam’s derivatives market to launch in first quarter of 2017

The Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) is gearing up for the launch of Vietnam’s derivatives market, scheduled for the first quarter of next year.

Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, head of the Hanoi Stock Exchange’s derivatives market department, said on October 7 that the market’s first two products would be stock market futures and government bond futures.

The HNX plans to announce the templates for futures contracts in the fourth quarter of this year.

The exchange has also completed formulating and is collecting feedback on regulations for the listing and transaction of derivatives as well as the derivatives market’s member firms.

The draft regulations will be submitted to the State Securities Commission for approval in October or November.

The HNX also collaborated with the Vietnam Securities Depository to find a solution for the trading system and completed the hardware installation in September.

All of the system’s functionalities and adjustments are to be finalised this month before undergoing testing in November to prepare them for the launch of the derivatives market next year.

Philippines to import more rice from Vietnam

Philippine businesses have been allowed to import additional 293,100 tonnes of rice from Vietnam to ensure food demand during the 2017 between-crop period, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

The businesses are also permitted to buy a similar amount of rice from Thailand and 50,000 tonnes from China, India, Pakistan and other countries, with a total volume of 805,200 tonnes.

The time for delivery is set before February 28, 2017.

VFA Chairman Huynh The Nang said that this is a chance for Vietnamese businesses to boost rice consumption which is gloomy now.

In late August 2016, Vietnam won a bidding to provide 150,000 tonnes of rice for Philippines at a price of 424.85 USD per tonne.

Vietnam real estate association to convene fourth Congress

The Vietnam Real Estate Association (VNREA) will convene the fourth Congress for 2016-2021 on October 15 with 800 delegates and 30 international organisations taking part, it told a press conference in Hanoi on October 10. 

VNREA Vice Chairman Nguyen Van Khoi said the association has developed a network sprawling across the country with more than 3,200 individual and collective members. 

During the third tenure, the VNREA offered advices to the Ministry of Construction and other relevant units about amendments and supplements to the laws on real estate trading, housing and investment. 

It also hosted and co-hosted seminars and dialogues to clarify property market policies and present market hindrances to authorities. 

In the fourth tenure, the VNREA plans to elect a 91-strong executive board, including one Chairman, nine Vice Chairmen and 33 permanent members. 

Among five reports to the Congress, one will be presented by a representative from a major Japanese business which reflects its perspective on real estate investment in Vietnam.

Vietnamese, Mexican businesses seek partnership from TPP

Vietnamese and Mexican businesses met in Hanoi on October 10 to seek partnership opportunities brought about by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

Addressing the event, jointly held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Mexico State Coordinating Business Council (CONCAEM), Mexican Ambassador to Vietnam Sara Valdes Bolano highlighted the significance of cooperation between the two countries, especially after the TPP is signed and takes effect. 

Mexico is a traditional partner of Vietnam, she noted, adding that the two sides have deep mutual understanding as well as high demand for local products of each other. 

The meeting showed a common interest and a shared desire to boost bilateral cooperation, especially amidst international integration in both countries, said the diplomat. 

Participating Mexican firms – big names in trade, education, agriculture and agricultural machineries, and exhibition equipment, wished to study the Vietnamese market and share economic and trade information, as well as investment attraction policies, said Julio Rodriguez Trigueros, CONCAEM Director for External Relations. 

Meanwhile, Nguyen Vu Kien from the VCCI Department of International Relations said the Vietnam-Mexico cooperation, which was set up in 1975, is growing with various activities in trade and import-export. 

Two-way trade reached over 1.1 billion USD in the first half of this year, he noted. Vietnam mainly exported to Mexico accessories, footwear, computers, seafood and garments and imported electronics, machineries and equipment, and steel. 

Although bilateral trade ties have grown through years, potential partnership between businesses of both sides remained untapped, said Kien. 

He affirmed that Vietnam can act as a gateway for Mexican businesses to enter ASEAN markets, while Mexico can help Vietnam set foot in Latin American ones.

VN’s tuna exports surged

After three straight years of decline, Viet Nam’s tuna exports have turned around this year, according to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Total earnings in the first eight months were US$309.8 million, a 2.1 per cent rise from last year, it said.

Except in February the value rose every single month.

According to customs, fresh and frozen tuna accounted for 58.3 per cent of the exports as the ratio of processed tuna fell to 41.7 per cent from 45.6 per cent last year.

The US, EU, ASEAN, China, Israel, Japan, Canada, and Mexico were the largest markets, accounting for 88.2 per cent of the total exports.

Shipments to China increased by 68.5 per cent year-on-year. It was followed by ASEAN with a 26.7 per cent rise and Israel with 18 per cent.

But exports to the EU fell by 11.5 per cent.

ANZ merges HN branch with ANZ Bank Vietnam

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) successfully appealed to the State Bank of Vietnam to withdraw its Ha Noi branch operating licence.
The branch’s operations are being transferred to ANZ Bank Vietnam Limited.

The State Bank’s decision is effective as of October 5, 2016, after the governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam considered ANZ’s appeal to revoke the operating licence, which was given in 1992 to ANZ’s Ha Noi branch.

The ANZ Ha Noi branch is responsible for the implementation of the decision and further assets liquidation, in addition to other legal procedures.

ANZ decided to close the Ha Noi branch and incorporate ANZ’s operations in Viet Nam with ANZ Bank Vietnam Limited, a 100 per cent foreign funded bank founded in 2009.

ANZ Bank Vietnam Limited and ANZ’s foreign branch in Ha Noi were both operating side by side.

ANZ’s termination of the Ha Noi branch does not affect its strategy, operation and commitment to its clients in Viet Nam. ANZ Bank Vietnam Limited’s office in Ha Noi and HCM City and its internet banking system and call centre are still available 24/7.

ANZ has been voted the best foreign exchange products and services provider in Viet Nam, according to financial publication Asiamoney’s FX Poll 2016.

VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR

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