BUSINESS IN BRIEF 23/11

Vietnam tops ASEAN in trade with Canada

Vietnam tops ASEAN in trade with Canada, Industrial production to rise 8% in 2017: MoIT, Standard Chartered offers support to Vietnamese SMEs, MBBank, Shinsei Bank sign co-operation agreement

The value of Vietnam’s trade with Canada in the first nine months of this year remained largest of all the economies in ASEAN, according to figures released by Statistics Canada.

Trade between the two countries reached nearly US$3.062 billion in the first three quarters of 2016, far ahead of second-place Thailand, which registered US$2.229 billion in trade with the North American country.

During the period, Vietnam’s exports to Canada jumped 14.8% year on year to US$2.757 billion while its imports from Canada fell 26.8% to US$350 million.

Vietnam’s largest export earner was electric and electronic equipment, raking in US$904 million, followed by footwear products, which brought in US$305 million.

Meanwhile Canada’s main exports to Vietnam were seafood, soybeans, oil seeds, fertilisers, equipment, machinery and fur.

According to Hoang Anh Dung, Vietnam’s trade counsellor in Canada, Vietnam’s 14.8% increase in trade with Canada was fairly satisfactory because most ASEAN countries posted negative trade growth with Canada and total ASEAN exports to Canada fell 19.1%.

He also stated that Vietnam had jumped by one place to fifth among Asia’s largest exporters to Canada, behind China; Japan; the Republic of Korea; and Taiwan, China.

Statistics Canada data showed that the country’s exports and imports in the first three quarters of 2016 fell 7.6% and 4.8% to US$287 billion and US$303 billion, respectively.

Bitel – a symbol of Vietnam-Peru cooperation

After two years in operation, Bitel, a mobile operator in Peru owned by Viettel, has reached 2.8 million subscribers and is already making a profit. The company has also become a bridge of cultural and economic cooperation between Vietnam and Peru.

In a meeting with Viettel Peru staff as part of his visit to Peru to attend the 24th APEC Summit, President Tran Dai Quang said that Bitel was a highlight of overseas investment by Vietnamese enterprises.

Peru’s total land area is 1.2 million square kilometres, four times larger than that of Vietnam, but its population is just under 31 million. Peru’s natural landscape is complex and is divided into three regions: deserts in the west, the Andean highlands and the Amazon jungle. Among countries where Viettel has a presence, Peru is more economically developed than Vietnam with a GDP per capita three times larger than Vietnam. As such Viettel considers this as a challenge to test its aptitude, and if successful, the company will expand to other developed markets in Europe and Latin America.

Bitel is the fourth largest mobile operator in Peru. Prior to Bitel, there were already three operators with significant resources. Mindful of the difficulty when investing in the South American country, staff members of Viettel Peru have made great efforts to carry out the project. Its investment totals US$372 million, compared with more than US$1 billion by other operators.

After two years in Peru, Viettel’s current revenues have reached a monthly average of nearly US$15 million. Revenue growth in the first half of 2016 was twice the figure during the same period in 2015 while revenues from 3G services also increased by more than four times. Bitel’s subscription growth is 41%, more than five times the average growth of the telecommunications sector in Peru. The company currently has 2.8 million subscribers, all are 3G enabled.

Bitel began to make a profit in October, exactly two years after it was first put into operation; compared with usually four to five years for other companies. In the meantime, Entel, the third carrier to launch in Peru, is still making a loss after ten years.

Bitel has the largest network of optical fibre with 25,000 kilometres of cables and the second largest wireless coverage with 3,500 cellphone towers. Bitel is the only operator in Peru to skip 2G to provide 3G services right from the beginning and is currently preparing to launch 4G services. Bitel has also been rated as the best internet service provider in Peru. To support Peru’s hosting of the APEC Summit, Viettel Peru completed the installation of nearly 1,500 4G base stations in just 20 days, ensuring that the Peruvian capital of Lima is entirely covered with high-speed 4G services.

Viettel Peru is also a socially responsible enterprise with many community support activities such as providing free internet access to 4,500 schools where nearly one million pupils are attending. Bitel is the only telecommunications firm in Peru to provide this benefit. Bitel also offers free services to healthcare facilities and local authorities. Viettel Peru is employing 1,600 people and creating jobs for another 10,000 people indirectly. Viettel Peru currently has a staff of 100 Vietnamese employees who hold key management roles or who are technical experts, while the rest of the positions in the company are occupied by Peruvians.

Bitel has become a bridge for cultural and economic cooperation between Vietnam and Peru. When Bitel is mentioned, Peruvians think of Vietnam. Bitel has the love of local residents because of its contributions to bringing high-speed internet to remote areas, and is highly valued by the Peruvian government for its widespread optical fibre network. Bitel has initiated a revolution in pricing, helping local residents enjoy high-quality telecommunications services at affordable prices, helping to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas that other carriers failed to do years ago.

Industrial production to rise 8% in 2017: MoIT

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has mapped out next year’s development plan for the industrial sector and forecast an 8 per cent rise in industrial production, against this year.

In its report on the direction and solutions for the industrial sector, the ministry has also forecast a 6-7 per cent increase in exports in 2017. The proportion of trade deficit against total trade turnover will be maintained at less than 5 per cent.

The total revenue from retail sales of goods and services is also expected to rise by around 10 per cent next year.

The ministry said its calculations are based on research reports on global economic growth in 2017, announced by international organisations to date. Global economic growth is expected to rise next year, depending on the movements of financial, crude oil and securities markets as well as volatility in some countries.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) have forecast that the world economy will rise by 3.5 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively in 2017, against 3.2 per cent and 2.9 per cent in 2016.

For Việt Nam’s power industry, the ministry has forecast that the industry will produce 99 billion kWh of electricity and will have to buy an additional 179.8 billion kWh in 2017, up roughly by 13 per cent against this year.

According to the ministry, after gaining a significant growth in the mining and lighting industries over the past few years, 2017 will be negative for them.

The oil and gas sector is expected to exploit only around 14.8 million tonnes of crude oil next year, down 12.9 per cent against this year. However, the output of gas will rise by 10.8 per cent to 11.3 billion cu m.

The output of the coal industry is expected to remain unchanged at 38.3 million tonnes in 2017. However, this sector, as well as the engineering industry, will be affected because of low prices globally.

Among the heavy industries, the steel sector is expected to have an output of 5.6 million tonnes of unprocessed steel, up 16.6 per cent, while rolled steel is forecast to rise by 18 per cent to 5.84 million tonnes.

Forecast for the fertiliser industry is optimistic, with there being enough output to meet not just domestic demands but also for exports. The output of urea fertiliser will inch up by 2.2 per cent to 2.01 million tonnes, while NPK fertiliser will rise 2.4 per cent to 2.67 million tonnes.

The textile-garment and footwear industries are also expected to have more opportunities in 2017, as a number of new free trade agreements will take effect. The ministry is, however, concerned that domestic small- and medium-sized firms will face more challenges at the same time.

Fierce competition has also been forecast for the beer-alcohol-beverage industry owing to the presence of more foreign brands in the country. The industry’s output next year is estimated to be 3.92 billion litres, up 8.2 per cent against 2016.

Vietnam, Australia hold high-level dialogue on agricultural policies

Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources convened the first high-level dialogue on agricultural policies in Hanoi on November 22. 

MARD Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh said agriculture plays an important role in the socio-economic development of Vietnam and Australia has continually been a big partner in agricultural development. 

Many programmes with Australia have been carried out in such fields as rural clean water and climate change response, especially in the Mekong Delta and coastal areas which are the most vulnerable, he added. 

The Vietnamese ministry wants Australia to continue sharing experience in policy making so as to tackle hindrances and promote bilateral trade in agricultural products, he added. 

Deputy Secretary of the Australian department David Parker said the dialogue is a chance for the two sides to enhance their access to each other’s agricultural product markets and discuss ways to raise product quality. 

At the event, an Australian trade counsellor said Australia has exported a considerable volume of cattle, milk products, grapes, oranges and tangerines to Vietnam over the past years. It is considering support to people in northern Vietnam in cultivation techniques and participation in the agricultural product market. 

In the last two decades, Australia has conducted studies on gum and thorn tree varieties to help with Vietnam’s afforestation. The plantation of these species has greatly contributed to the production and export of timber and wood products in Vietnam. 

Australia is stepping up investment and science-technology applications in animal food production, fish and dairy cattle farming in the Southeast Asian nation. In October 2016, Vietnam’s An Vinh group also came to Australia to invest in farming cattle. 

Nguyen Quy Duong, deputy head of the MARD’s Plant Protection Department, said bilateral trade in agricultural products has grown well in 2015 and 2016. Vietnam imported 35 million USD worth of fruits and vegetables from Australia between January and September this year. Meanwhile, its exports of fruits and vegetables approximated 17 million USD. 

Notably, Vietnam has shipped more than 10 tonnes of mangoes since July and 30 tonnes of lychees to Australia this year, he noted. 

However, the trade balance is tipping to Australia when it comes to livestock products. Vietnam has purchased a large volume of cattle but yet to export any animal products to Australia, according to deputy head of the MARD’s Animal Health Department Nguyen Thu Thuy. 

Tran Dinh Luan, Deputy General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries, said Vietnam has strength in aquaculture and fishing, and it hopes to export raw shrimp to Australia. 

In 2015, Vietnam shipped about 500 million USD worth of agricultural products to Australia and imported the same value of agricultural products and production facilities.

First RoK trade fair kicks off in HCM City

A trade fair showcasing products from the Republic of Korea (G-Fair Korea) opened in Ho Chi Minh City on November 22.

The fair, the first of its kind in Vietnam, draws the participation of over 80 RoK businesses. It features four main types of products including electronics and electrical products for domestic use, consumer goods and food, machinery and industrial materials, and beauty and health products.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vice Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem said that the G-Fair Korea offers a good chance for locals to use high-quality products from the RoK.

The two-day event also serves as a venue for businesses from both countries to meet and seek cooperation opportunities, especially in the manufacturing of hi-tech products, he added.

Spoke high of the Vietnamese market, RoK Consul General to HCM City Park Noh Wan affirmed Vietnam is the third largest economic partner of the RoK and a leading destination for Korean businesses. 

He also lauded HCM City as the most potential consumption market of the RoK in Vietnam.

To date, the RoK has operated 1,280 projects in HCM City with a total investment capital of 3.9 billion USD.

Standard Chartered offers support to Vietnamese SMEs

One of the major activities of Standard Chartered Vietnam is to support Vietnamese small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), affirmed Rajeev Chalisgaonkar, the bank’s Global Head of Business Banking.

Speaking at a workshop on enhancing Vietnamese SMEs’ access to capital and technologies in Ho Chi Minh City on November 22, Rajeev Chalisgaonkar said the bank will assist the enterprises in capital management, business expansion and profit improvement.

Such solutions have been exclusively designed for the SMEs to facilitate their banking transactions, thus helping them fulfill their long-term targets, he said.

Standard Chartered Vietnam has implemented a preferential credit package worth 330 billion VND (roughly 14.52 million USD) in an effort to promote business activities of SMEs in HCM City.

The package will mainly be used to realise the Bank-Business Connectivity Programme and remove financial difficulties faced by the businesses. Standard Chartered Vietnam has been the first foreign bank to take part in the programme.

Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vo Tan Thanh described SMEs as the backbone of the national economy and highlighted the significance of cooperation between the VCCI and the bank in assisting the businesses to access capital and technologies in the context of economic integration.

The collaboration will help the firms grasp business opportunities and achieve their targets at both domestic and foreign markets, he said.

Russia – potential market for Vietnam’s farm produce

Russia is a potential market for aquatic and agricultural products and consumer goods from Vietnam, especially when the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Free Trade Agreement took effect, many experts have said. 

Vietnam – Russia trade accounts for 80 percent of the Southeast Asian country’s total trade with the EAEU, which groups Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan . 

As the Vietnam-EAEU deal came into force on October 5, 2016, Russia now boasts even bigger potential for Vietnamese goods, particularly aquatic and agricultural products, garment and footwear, which are strong export commodities of Vietnam. 

Bilateral trade has grown strongly recently with Vietnam’s exports to Russia surging almost 20 percent year-on-year in the first 10 months of 2016, Tran Viet Phuong, deputy head of the Division for Russia and SNG countries at the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Europe Market Department, said at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh on November 22. 

He said the FTA brings about numerous tariff advantages for Vietnam’s key exports to Russia. It is a considerable opportunity for businesses to promote exports to Russia and expand market shares in other EAEU markets. 

Tran Duc Hanh, a market research specialist, noted Vietnamese companies own certain advantages when entering the Russian market. While they will benefit from tariff cuts as Vietnam is the first country to ink an FTA with the EAEU, Russia is a large market with high demand for food and consumer goods. 

Vietnam and Russia have different strong export items, and therefore they can avoid competition. Aside from effective distribution networks run by Vietnamese people in Russia, the two Governments are also working to enhance their comprehensive cooperation, he said. 

Hanh also pointed out certain challenges such as high shipping expenses due to the geographical distance, along with differences in business culture, language and payment practice. 

To optimise advantages generated by the Vietnam-EAEU agreement, Vietnamese firms should proactively learn about rules of origin, apply appropriate regulations to improve competitiveness, and align their goods to Russia’s requirements, said experts. 

Trade between Vietnam and Russia is estimated at 4 billion USD a year, which is expected to reach 10 billion USD by 2020.

Quang Ninh sees foreign investment surge in 2016

Foreign investors poured 567.3 million USD in registered capital into 12 new projects and eight existing one in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh so far in 2016. 

The figure represented a surge of 30.4 percent from the same period last year. 

The FDI projects include a 77.41-million-USD textile-garment-dying complex in the Texhong Hai Ha Industrial Park and a 310-million-USD project on developing a seaport and industrial park complex in the Dam Nha Mac area, Quang Yen town . 

In terms of domestic investment, in 2016, 21 new projects and seven capital adjustment projects were licensed with combined capital of 17.8 trillion VND (798 million USD) in the province. 

Among them, remarkable projects include the FLC Ha Long complex (nearly 2.5 trillion VND), phase 1 of the multifunctional seaport project on Hon Mieu island (1 trillion VND).

In total, Quang Ninh has attracted a total of over 30 trillion VND (1.35 billion USD) in investment capital in 2016. 

The results have shown that the investment environment in Quang Ninh continues improving. 

The province has pushed forward measures to support enterprises in implementing the Government’s Resolution 35/NQ-CP on May 16, 2016 on developing enterprises until 2020. 

Quang Ninh also provided assistance to startups and enterprises’ efforts to reform technology while adopting policies to stimulate investment in infrastructure of industrial clusters in the province. 

The provincial authorities have established consulting teams to timely handle difficulties and arising problems for enterprises, and made efforts to improve investment promotion activities, with several investment promotion events held in Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan.

First hardware, hand tools expo to open in HCM City

Products of internationally renowned hardware and hand tools makers such as Bosch, Elora, Onishi, Bawa Tools, Kynko, Hazet, Matador will be showcased at an exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City from November 30 to December 3.

The Vietnam hardware and hand tools exhibition, the first of its kind in Vietnam, was announced at a press briefing in Hanoi on November 22.

Speaking at the event, Nguyen Khac Luan, Director General of the Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company (Vinexad), the organiser of the event underlined the significant role of Vietnam’s support industry in the global value supply chain.

More and more foreign groups established their manufacturing and assembling factories in Vietnam with the hope to reduce transport costs and risks, which creates opportunities for domestic spare part producers, Luan said.

According to Luan, the event will see the participation of 152 enterprises from 17 nations and territories across the world, including India, Austria, Poland, Taiwan (China), the US, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Netherland, the Republic of Korea, Italy, China, France, Switzerland.

The exhibition will focus on four main sectors, which are tools – DIY, building hardware, fasteners and securities, and locks and fittings.

The event will help connect buyers and sellers as well as present an opportunity for them to have direct access to advanced products and technologies, Luan said.

The event also gives enterprises in the sector an overview of the hardware and hand tools market, Luan added.

In the framework of the exhibition, several seminars on the value chain link in support industry and marketing.

Policies needed to spur e-payment     

Viet Nam should develop breakthrough policies to create momentum for the further development of electronic payments to meet the growth of e-commerce, said Pham Nguyen Minh, director of the Institute for Trade Research and Development under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Minh told the conference on the future of card payment and electronic money held in Ha Noi yesterday that the development of card payments and e-wallets in Viet Nam had not met its potential and taken advantage of e-commerce. The slow development could affect e-commerce in particular and the country’s socio-economic outlook in general while increasing costs for local cash management.

“E-commerce has become a growing trend across the world, thus making card payments and e-wallets a popular payment method in many countries, including Viet Nam,” he added.

Card payments take up the highest proportion of the e-payment sector despite the slow growth rate. According to a World Bank report, in 2014, card payment revenue was US$979 billion and would increase to $989 billion by 2019. E-wallets would see a surge and become the second most popular payment method, with revenue of $674 billion, by 2019, from $387 billion in 2014.

In Viet Nam, another report from Banking Viet Nam showed that by the end of last month, the number of issued cards was 99.5 million. Viet Nam has around 17,000 ATMs and 30,000 devices accepting cards. In 2015, there were up to 22.2 million customers paying by cards.

The revenue from card payment has also been on the rise. The revenue increased from more than VND724 trillion in 2011 to VND1.6 quadrillion in 2015.

Credit cards have been diversified. Most international brand names such as American Express, Visa, MasterCard, JCB, Diners Club, Discover and UnionPay now provide services in Viet Nam.

The director said the card payment market and its potential in Viet Nam have seen strong growth. However, there are still shortcomings as the issue of credit cards has paid attention to the quantity but not quality. The proportion of local cards, though currently accounting for a high rate at 91 per cent, has a tendency to decrease in the card structure.

Meanwhile, most card payments were made through ATM (85 per cent) while the remaining payments were e-payments. The rate of cards under operation was 60-70 per cent.

Dr Le Huy Khoi from the institute said the Vietnamese people’s habit of using cash has dominated, especially in rural areas. The ATM system has not been distributed evenly despite rapid development. ATMs have been mostly located in urban areas.

In addition, the lending interest rate through cards has been at a high level, together with annual fees, cash withdrawal fees and foreign exchange fees.

Dr Nguyen Thi Nhieu said the Government should review legal documents to develop the market which is expected to hold huge potential for the young population, high rate of mobile phone users and internet together with the continuously improving technology infrastructure.

Management agencies and businesses should provide more services that avoid cash to encourage people to use cards.

Credit institutions should ensure the security of the payment system while strictly implementing regulations to minimize risks.

Experts also proposed regulations on businesses requiring payments through banks to increase transparency of their income and tax management.

Banks were asked to enhance investment in modern technologies, especially card devices while improving card service quality. They should also gradually reduce interest rates and fees to encourage people to adopt card usage.-

Pact boosts Viet Nam-Russia trade: officials     

The Viet Nam – Eurasian Economic Union free trade agreement, which took effect last month, offers Vietnamese firms the opportunity to boost exports of garments and textiles, footwear, wooden products, seafood, and farm produce to Russia, a conference heard in HCM City on November 22.

Tran Viet Phuong of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s European Market Department said trade with Russia increased strongly last year to nearly US$4 billion and is expected to top $10 billion by 2020.

Russia is the largest and most promising market of the five EAEU countries – the other members being Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan — accounting for 80 per cent of the bloc’s total trade, he said.

Viet Nam is currently Russia’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia, but the numbers remain modest compared to the potential, accounting for around 1 per cent of their respective trade, he said.

Under the trade deal, nearly 90 per cent of tariff lines have been cut or reduced, with 60 per cent being removed soon after it took effect, offering Viet Nam a massive advantage in competing with other countries in exporting to this region, including Russia, he said.

Tran Duc Hanh, a market research expert, said with a population of 142.4 million, Russia has large demand for consumer products, many of which are Viet Nam’s strengths.

Vietnamese and Russian exports do not compete with each other but are complementary, she told the conference held by the HCM City Institute for Development Studies’ WTO Centre and the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City.

Phuong and Hanh agreed that Vietnamese exports of seafood, farm produce, garment and textile, footwear and wooden products to Russia would increase sharply soon thanks to the lower tariffs.

But the bloc has a safeguard measure to prevent a surge in exports of rice, wooden products, footwear and garment and textiles, and Vietnamese exporters must pay attention to this, Phuong said, adding that his agency would inform businesses as soon as it gets a warning from the Russian side that the limit has been reached.

There is no import duty on many Viet Nam’s garment and textile products up to 1.5 times the average volume of the last three years. If this is exceeded, the EAEU would conduct an investigation to decide whether to apply MFN (Most Favoured Nation) tariffs, he said.

Hanh said the potential notwithstanding, firms are encountering difficulties in exporting to the bloc, including high transportation costs, payment issues and the language barrier.

Phuong said Vietnamese businesses should peruse the agreement to capitalise on export opportunities.

They should do market research and improve their product quality to meet the market’s needs, he said.

Bui Kim Thuy of the ministry’s Import-Export Department spoke about the rules of origin for various kinds of products under the trade deal, saying Vietnamese firms must meet them to enjoy the tariff incentives.

Business executives urged Governments on both sides to soon develop bilateral payment methods to facilitate trade. 

520 enterprises to participate in Vietnam Expo 2016     

Vietnam Expo 2016, to be held in HCM City between November 30 and December 3, is expected to attract 520 businesses from 20 countries and territories according to Nguyen Khac Luan, general director of Vinexad.

Based on its successes over the last 13 years, the exposition this year will continue to forge a crucial commercial bridge between Vietnamese and international businesses, where they can meet, cooperate and boost commercial and investment development between Viet Nam and the world, Luan told the press at a briefing here yesterday.

Luan said the expo would cover a total exhibition space of 9,500sq.m.. Indonesia will be the Country of Honour at this year’s event, and it will display products and advanced technology from over 60 typical Indonesian businesses.

Ibnu Hadi, the Indonesian ambassador to Viet Nam, said, “After a period of research and investigation, we chose Vietnam Expo 2016 in HCM City as the best place for our businesses to meet and interact with Vietnamese businesses to exchange and enhance cooperation between the two countries.”

Viet Nam has become an important economic partner of Indonesia, as demonstrated by the strategic partnership agreement signed in 2013. In terms of Indonesian investment in Viet Nam, as of the end of 2015, trade turnover between the two countries was recorded at US$5.6 billion. Both sides aim to raise their bilateral trade volume on the basis of the high economic growth of the two countries, said the ambassador.

In the last 10 months this year, Indonesian total trade value with Viet Nam reached $4.4 billion. Indonesian export value to Viet Nam reached $2.27 billion while Indonesian import value from Viet Nam reached $2.12 billion.

Vietnam Expo 2016 will have 600 booths displaying products related to the paper industry and other sectors such as cement, building materials, real estate and furniture and equipment, as well as lubricants and car parts, pharmaceuticals and medical products, food and beverages, agriculture and fisheries and textiles and garments.

One special highlight of the event is the exclusive exhibition space, named Ecotech Vietnam, for presenting environmentally friendly technologies. Here, visitors will find comprehensive solutions for all environmental issues, including management, protection, recovery, applications in daily life and production.

Within the framework of this expo, there will be an international workshop hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology on the role of new technologies in the global integration of SMEs. 

Committee to launch general economic survey     

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) has issued a decision establishing a central steering committee to launch a general economic survey next year to serve the country’s economic management.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc authorised MPI Minister Nguyen Chi Dung to lead the committee, which will also include officials from the General Statistics Office, State Treasury, General Department of Taxation, and National Defence and Health ministries.

The committee will build plans to survey various aspects such as production and business results, the application of information technology, the situation of labourers and their incomes, and enterprises’ access to credit.

The MPI will collect information on the operations of businesses, associations, unions and administrative and non-productive agencies between March 1 and May 30, 2017.

It will gather information on individually-run production and business units, which are not involved in agriculture, forestry and aquaculture, in July 2017.

Data related to individual units dealing in agriculture, forestry and aquaculture have already been assembled this year.

Preliminary data for next year will be publicised in December 2017 before the official results are announced in the third quarter of 2018. 

MBBank, Shinsei Bank sign co-operation agreement     

Vietnamese MB Bank and Japanese Shinsei Bank on November 21 signed joint-venture and equity-transfer agreements to transfer its capital at MCredit Company to the Japanese partner.

MB Bank has maintained 100 per cent of its capital at MCredit after the successful execution of the restructuring of Da River Finance Joint Stock Company.

Under the agreement, MB Bank will transfer 49 per cent of its capital at MCredit to Shinsei Bank. The two parties expect to complete the joint venture in consumer finance in 2017 by establishing the MB Shinsei Consumer Finance Company Limited.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Yukio Nakamura, vice chairman of Shinsei Bank, said the company believed that co-operation between Shinsei Bank, which has experience in the consumer finance sector, and MB Bank, a prestigious player with risk management experience in Viet Nam, would produce new opportunities and value as well as improve MCredit’s competitiveness in the market.

“We highly appreciate the development potential of the consumer finance market in Viet Nam. The project is of major importance to Shinsei Bank in the foreign markets,” he added.

Le Huu Duc, MB Bank’s chairman of the management board, said the joint venture would be a key factor in MCredit’s successful development, based on Shinsei’s modern technologies and diverse experience.

“The project will not only benefit MB and Shinsei Bank but also contribute to building a healthy credit organisation system in Viet Nam. It will also enhance economic co-operation between Viet Nam and Japan,” he said.

Shinsei Bank operates in the banking, investment and insurance sectors. It has more than 50 years of experience in consumer finance through its subsidiary company, Shinsei Financial, which occupies the third place in the Japanese market in terms of consumer finance and ranks among the best companies for technological solutions in the sector.

MB Bank is a diversified financial group with a network of over 250 transaction points nationwide and two foreign branches in Laos and Cambodia, as well as subsidiaries in securities, insurance and fund and asset management. 

Ford reports record sales in Viet Nam     

Ford reported sales rose by 14 per cent year-on-year in October to 2,430 units, its best-ever monthly numbers.

In the year-to-date the US company has seen sales soar by 50 per cent to 23,527 vehicles, in the process remaining one of the fastest growing in Viet Nam.

“Our full line-up of class-leading Ford vehicles continues to attract a wide range of Vietnamese customers who appreciate the unmatched value in their respective segments” Pham Van Dung, managing director, Ford Vietnam, said.

The wide appeal of the segment-defining Ranger continued in October with monthly sales rising 13 per cent year-on-year to 1,136 units.

Sales of the EcoSport, which remains the best-selling compact SUV, rose 40 percent to 501 units. Customers continued to appreciate the EcoSport’s unique combination of small-car practicality and the agility of an SUV.

The Transit commercial van also delivered a record month with 605 units, pushing the year’s sales up 36 per cent to 5969 units. 

eScooter sharing system launched at 3 universities with Bosch’s assistance     

A system to share eco-friendly scooters has been launched at the HCM City University of Technology under a joint project with Bosch, the Da Nang University of Science and Technology, and the Vietnamese-German University.

Following the introduction in the HCM City university, the system will next be launched at the other two universities in December.

In this pilot project, students of the three universities can use 18 eScooters for free within their campuses by registering online at http://bosch-green-challenge.com.vn/.

A fully-charged vehicle can travel up to 80km at a maximum speed of 45km per hour.

The German company has provided more than VND4 billion (US$ 182,000) for this pilot project.

The students working on this project won the 2015 Green Challenge contest organized by Bosch and the three universities.

Vo Quang Hue, manging director of Bosch Vietnam, said through this project, Bosch hopes to establish closer links between businesses and academia to boost research.

The system, if properly implemented, would help solve challenges related to public transportation and environmental protection in large cities, and be one of the solutions for building smart cities, he said. 

Vietnam-Laos investment cooperation thrives

Vietnam and Laos have enjoyed thriving relations in economics, trade and investment with annual average growth of 20 percent over the past five years.

At a recent dialogue with Vietnamese businesses in Vientiane, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith spoke highly of their investments, which are contributing to Laos’ socio-economic development. 

He pledged to create the best conditions for Vietnamese investors to operate in the country. 

Vietnam is the third largest investor of Laos, while Laos attracts the most investment from Vietnam among 64 countries and territories where Vietnamese businesses are investing in. 

According to the Vietnam Business Association in Laos, which was established in 2010 with over 300 members at present, Vietnam’s direct investment in Laos constantly increased from 2011-2015 in the number of projects and registered capital. 

As of September, Vietnam had 266 licensed investment projects worth 5.1 billion USD in Laos, 1.3 times the number of projects and 1.26 times the total investment capital in 2011. 

While operating in Laos, Vietnamese enterprises have abided by Lao State law, paid tax to the Lao State budget and generated jobs for tens of thousands of locals. 

Vietnamese investment projects have contributed to increasing the Lao Government’s budget collection by 240-260 million USD per year, while creating 35,000 jobs. The figures are expected to reach 350-400 million USD and 45,000, respectively, in 2017. 

The signing of the Vietnam – Laos border trade agreement last June served as an important legal tool to drive two-way trade forward. 

The Lao Prime Minister called on Vietnamese businesses to invest in Laos to bring mutual benefits. 

The birth of the ASEAN Community in 2015 along with the development of the sub-Mekong regional transport corridors and economic connectivity has opened up new horizons for the two countries’ cooperation in investment.

Agro-fishery-forestry exports to China rise in first 10 months

Vietnam’s agro-fishery-forestry exports to China hit 26.4 billion USD in the first 10 months of 2016, a rise of 6.3 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). 

China currently accounts for 20 percent of export value of Vietnam’s agro-fishery-forestry products, with main products including rubber, cassava, cashew, fresh vegetables and seafood. 

At a meeting of the steering board on agricultural market and trade association in Hanoi on November 22, MARD Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam requested agencies to boost agricultural exports, while avoiding shortages of goods and price increases in late 2016. 

He added that MARD closely monitor essential products, food safety and imported agricultural materials near Tet Holiday (Lunar New Year).

Foreign banks express interest in infrastructure projects in HCM City

Banks from the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Japan have expressed their interest in providing capital for infrastructure projects in HCM City. 

In a meeting with Le Van Khoa, Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, on November 22, Hong Young Pyo, Vice Chairman of the RoK’s Export-Import Bank (KEXIM), said the lender is interested in infrastructure and transport projects in Vietnam and HCM City in particular. 

KEXIM wants to fund the urban railway route No 4b-1 (to Tan Son Nhat International Airport) and phase two of the urban railway route No 5. 

Hong also expressed his interest in investing or providing capital for other infrastructure projects in HCM City like the construction and transfer of technology operating the urban railway routes and the smart traffic operation centre. 

Lauding KEXIM’s goodwill, Khoa said HCM City expects the bank to soon complete legal procedures to disburse capital to complete the feasibility study for phase two of the urban railway route No 5. 

Besides, KEXIM should consider providing additional official development assistance from the RoK government’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund, he added. 

He asked the bank to assist HCM City to seek additional incentive capital from multilateral credit organisations like the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank to implement phase two of the whole urban railway route No 5 after the Korea International Cooperation Agency Team completes its final report in December, 2016. 

The same day, in the meeting with Senda Tetsuya, General Director of the HCM City branch office of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Khoa said HCM City has been calling for investment in infrastructure, transport, wastewater treatment and flood prevention. 

Senda Tetsuya said he wants to provide capital provision for key projects in HCM City while meeting with representatives from the city’s departments and sectors to increase cooperation and funding in potential areas.

Co To moves to maximise maritime economic potential

Co To island district in the northern province of Quang Ninh boasts great potential for developing its marine economy.

Over the past many years, the district has focused on seafood exploitation and processing, marine services and tourism, creating breakthroughs in economic growth and economic structure transfer. 

In addition to 4,000 ha of natural land, Co To island district owns a large fishing ground of 300km2 together with more than 50 islands. It is home to thousands of high economic value marine species such as lobster and abalone as well as nearly 1,000 species of fish.

The island district also boasts great tourism potential with beautiful beaches such as Van Chay, Hong Van and Bac Van.

Local authorities have taken measures to tap maritime economic potential, including assisting fishermen in using new farming techniques and building new boats as well as calling for investment in high quality aquatic production.

In addition, the district has harmonized production, processing and consumption to ensure environmental protection and sustainable development. 

Investment has been poured into infrastructure such as upgrading and expanding water reservoirs and establishing the Gulf of Tonkin Fishery Logistics Centre.

As a result, in the 2010-2015 period, the archipelago’s aquatic output hit over 50,200 tonnes with a total value of 441 billion VND (nearly 20 million USD). 

In recent years, many new sea farming models have been applied, typically tidal-fed aquaculture, which increased income of local households.  

The district set up two fisheries unions with more than 200 members and 38 seafood processing establishments with a total production of 850 tonnes per year.

It also strived to boost its sea-island tourism, turning Co To islands into an attractive destination. In 2014, the total number of visitors to the islands hit 100,000, 20 times above the figure in 2010, while tourism revenue reached about 100 billion VND. In 2015, the locality welcomed 170,000 tourists, up 70 percent against 2014.

Thanks to sea-based economic development, Co To has seen remarkable changes in socio-economic development, with improving locals’ lives. Between 2010 and 2015, the district’s economy grew 13.35 percent per year and its budget collection reached 59.2 billion VND. Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita hit 35 million VND per year.

The rate of households accessing the national power grid reached 98.3 percent while the rate of those using clean water was 73 percent.

Co To was also the first island district in the country recognised as a new-style rural area. It was the 17th district in Vietnam to achieve the title. 

From now to 2020, Co To has set a number of goals to continue tapping its maritime economic potential. It aims to maintain aquatic production at 8,000 – 10,000 tonnes per year. The added value of the fishery sector is targeted to hit 160-170 billion VND by 2020, making up over 30 percent of total GDP, while the average growth of the sector is expected to reach 12-13 percent per year. 

The locality has been calling for investment in building several aquatic processing establishments as well as developing local brands such as squids and sea cucumbers.

According to the island district’s master plan on tourism development by 2020 with a vision to 2030, Co To strives to become a high quality eco-marine tourism centre and an internationally-standardised recreational hub in the next four years.

It plans to receive 150,000 tourists, including 17,600 foreigners, earn 605.6 billion VND in revenue and generate 2,900 jobs in 2020. It expects to lure 220,000 tourists in 2030, including 50,000 foreigners, with total revenue of 1.7 trillion VND and generate 3,400 jobs.

Exports to Saudi Arabia drop sharply

Exports to Saudi Arabia fell by 24.61% to US$335.9 million in the first ten months of this year, according to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Most export products to the market, even key items saw a decline, such as telephones and components (down 39% to US$100 million, accounting for 44% of total export value), seafood (down 11.85% to US$51.6 million) and garment (down 15.24% to US$40.7 million).

Steel suffered the deepest decrease of 97.13% to US$457,000, trailed by machines, equipment and tools (down 71%).

In the reviewed period, export items to Saudi Arabia included telephones and components (44%), seafood (22%), garment (18%), wood and timber products (8%) and others (8%).

Spain – largest importer of Vietnam processed bivalve molluscs

Exports of bivalve molluscs to Spain in ten months leading up to November hit US$13.2 million, a year-on-year increase of 26.5%, according to the statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Spain accounted for 20% of Vietnam’s total bivalve molluscs exports and ranked first among EU importers of Vietnam molluscs.

In the first eight months of this year, Spain imported US$419.5 million worth of bivalve molluscs, US$377.3 million higher than the same period last year. Peru was the biggest supplier of bivalve molluscs for Spain last year, but it came fourth this year. Vietnam ranked 11th among suppliers of bivalve molluscs for Spain in the first eight months.

On average, processed bivalve molluscs to Spain in eight months was priced at US$1,581-1,807 per ton.

Kusto Home to officially introduce Bora Bora tower in HCM City

Apartments in the Bora Bora tower, the tower in phase II of Kusto Home’s Diamond Island project will be introduced on November 26.

Diamond Island has six towers, typical apartments  with single, double or triple bedroom, Pool Villas, Garden Villas and Sky Villas. Each tower is smartly located and designed to bring the best values to the residents.

Bora Bora, expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018, consists of 261 typical apartments with one, two or three bedrooms with apartment sizes ranging from 51-142 square metres and Pool Villas, Garden Villas and Sky Villas with private pool and garden. The tower is the combination of natural terrain, feng shui principles and modern designation.

Diamond Island is the only island with vast green spaces and proximity to nature. It also provides plentiful spaces for family activities and recreation with the green density 16 square metres per person, beyond the standardof most famous green countries in the world such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea, offering desirable fresh air with 86.5 per cent of the total 8-hectare area covered by green space and community facilities.

Set along the shores of the Saigon River, Bora Bora is where dwellers can enjoy the best view of sunrise as well as the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City. The view is therapeutic, can relieve cancer, strengthen bones and improve brain functions for elders. 

At Bora Bora, residents can relax at the pools, or take part in exciting tennis or basketball games at a range of excellent facilities for families, including a 2300 square-metre resort swimming pool including a 50-metre lap pool, riverside promenade, BBQ Garden, Infinity Pool, Zen garden, Outdoor Jacuzzi, Spa and Sport Complex. Amenities for children include the Pirate ship Water Park, Outdoor Library, Music and Art Academy, Astronomy Castle and a 1000 square-metre international pre-school.

In addition to emphasising green living, safety and an ideal environment for all generations of Diamond Island residents, Kusto Home also takes importance in the selection of imported equipment from famous brands such as Hafele digital door lock, Kohler sanitary equipment used for all bathrooms to bring international quality to each apartment.

Headquartered in Singapore, Kusto Group is an international investment private holding company with diversified investments in oil and gas production, energy, civil construction, real estate development… Currently, Kusto Group is present throughout South East Asia including Vietnam, China, Thailand, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey and Georgia.

Kusto Home is also investing into Coteccons, construction materials (VCM in Quang Binh) and medical (Icare, Medelab). With strong financial strength, combined with experience in the development and management of real estate in many other countries, Kusto Home desires to bring customers quality products and the best place for living.

Hardware expo ready to unlock its doors in HCM City

With the aim of bringing more opportunities for Vietnamese to approach advanced and hand products in both manufacturing and daily life – Vietnam Hardware & Hand Tools Expo 2016 (November 30-December 3) – is ready to open its doors.

Speaking at a press conference on November 22 in Hanoi, the organizers said the Expo at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre promises attendees a truly international showcase with a huge selection of the latest products, services and technologies from more than 152 exhibitors from 17 countries. 

The exhibition focuses on four main tool segments: tools; do it yourself and building hardware; fasteners; and securities, locks and fittings. In addition, there are special seminars on opportunities for resellers to promote and develop products.

The event not only creates opportunity for collaboration and exchange between buyers and sellers, but also give them direct access to advanced technologies and products, said the organizers.

They said, the first of its kind expo in Vietnam is expected to attract more than 5,000 specialized visitors from across the country and representatives from major brands including Bosch, Elora, Onishi, Bawa Tools, Kynko, Hazet, and Matador.

VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE

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