BUSINESS IN BRIEF 17/11
VNPT launches communication joint-venture in Myanmar
Within a visit framework to Myanmar, Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan yesterday attended in a launching ceremony of StreamNet Company in Yangon capital.
The opening made at cooperation between Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) and Elite Telecom Public Company Limited in Myanmar.
Speaking at the ceremony, the minister emphasized the StreamNet company's establishment is from negotiation and cooperation efforts between VNPT group and Elite Public Telecom Company.
Chairman of VNPT's Members' Council Tran Manh Hung said that VNPT opened its representative office in Myanmar in 2014, aiming to develop its investment and business activities in Myanmar.
By 2015, VNPT became a partner of Elite Telecom Puplic Company. In September, 2017, StreamNet Company was officially established with total investment capital of US$ 15 million in the first phase, of these, VNPT contributed 67 percent and Elite Telecom was 33 percent over total capital.
After StreamNet company is put into the operation, it will provide communication services including FTTx, Leased Line VPN, IP transit, satellite system, email, web hosting to the people of Myanmar.
Italy Airways opens charter flights between Milan and Phu Quoc
Neos Airways said it would open charter flights from Milan (Italy) to Phu Quoc of the Southern province of Kien Giang from December 19 to April, 2018.
The flights will schedule every week on Wednesday using Boeing 767-300ER with 250 seats.
Earlier, Bangkok Airways opened flight route connecting between Bangkok-Thailand to Phu Quoc island district –Kien Giang province with four flights per week.
Phu Quoc island district is expected to attract more international visitors in the upcoming time.
Hà Nội to promote development of support industry in 2017-20
The capital city of Hà Nội has launched a development plan for support industries during the period 2017-20 with a vision to 2025 to promote development of enterprises within the industry.
According to the Hà Nội Department of Industry and Trade, the plan will focus on developing three key areas, including production of parts, auxiliaries for hi-tech products, along with the garment, textile and footwear industries.
The city will develop support programmes that match the ability of enterprises, requirements of multinational corporations, and that meet international standards in the field of support industries. It will also develop enterprises in the support industry, reaching international standards in production management and product quality.
The plan will establish production systems with connections among suppliers and multinational corporations, foreign enterprises, producers in Hà Nội, and other places nationwide.
Hà Nội will promote supplies in the key northern economic region, especially among industries having high demand for auxiliary products. These include automobile and motorbike production in Hà Nội, Vĩnh Phúc, Bắc Giang and Hải Phòng; mechanical products in Hà Nội, Vĩnh Phúc, Thái Nguyên and Hải Phòng; and mobile phones in Bắc Ninh, Thái Nguyên and Vĩnh Phúc.
To assure the plan is successful, the city will continue to offer more efficient support for enterprises and link Vietnamese enterprises with foreign businesses.
The city will also seek investments for the parts supply industry, supporting enterprises in human resources development and technology transfers, reforming administrative procedures, and improving the investment environment.
Currently, Việt Nam is home to about 0.3 per cent of the approximately 500,000 enterprises operating in the parts supply industry, including 200 enterprises in Hà Nội.
According to experts, the parts supply industry has not developed as expected due to poor awareness about the industry, lack of capital and technology, and low investment.
Also, implementation of policies on encouraging development of the support industry has not been as efficient as expected.
HDBank invites foreign shareholders before listing
Vietnam’s Housing Development Bank will offer 20 per cent of its shares to overseas investors, before getting listed in early 2018.
The pre-listing share sale is expected to raise $300 million for the bank, which counts Vietnam’s first female billionaire Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao as the major shareholder.
HDBank said that it would list on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange in early 2018, after completing the auction. Unlike other lenders in Vietnam, the bank does not seek a single strategic investor who normally holds 15 per cent of the shares.
Instead, it will court four overseas investors, offering less than 5 per cent of ownership to each.
This process is similar to what budget carrier Vietjet did last year when it sought foreign shareholders before listing. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao is currently the airline’s CEO, besides holding the majority of the shares at HDBank.
In particular, Thao’s Vietjet conducted an initial public sale according to international standards, helping the airline’s stocks to attract overseas investors and rise by 26 per cent following the listing. Vietjet is also paying generous dividends to shareholders this year, a testament to its positive business results.
Back to HDBank, it seems that the lender is on track to receive foreigners’ attention, as the overall banking system in Vietnam has been recovering well this year.
Thao previously told the media that HDBank is planning to expand to other provinces in Vietnam, particularly to rural areas where locals are still new to financial services. The bank has hired Goldman Sachs as the strategic adviser for this deal.
“We want to target the 70 per cent of the Vietnamese population that has never used any financial services before. HDBank aspires to become Vietnam’s top digital retail bank in the next five years,” said Thao.
The lender’s stock is traded on the over-the-counter market at VND29,000 ($1.2), with limited supply.
For the first nine months of 2017, HDBank reaped VND1.91 trillion ($84 million) in pre-tax profit, of which the parent bank earned VND1.7 trillion ($74.8 milion). This result, which is 1.5 times higher than the entire year of 2016, marked the bank’s highest achievement so far.
Assets under management reached VND174.5 trillion ($7.6 billion), a 26-per-cent increase from the same period last year. Bad debt takes up less than 1.14 per cent of all outstanding loans.
HDBank’s return-on-assets ratio is 1.18 per cent, while returns-on-equity stood at 18 per cent as of the third quarter of 2017.
VIMO.vn E-Wallet makes shopping easier for Chinese tourists
VIMO.vn E-Wallet announced on November 13 the first intermediary payment unit that allows Chinese travelers to use WeChat Pay (Weixin Pay) e-wallets to make payments in Vietnam dong (VND) at VIMO-accepting stores when traveling to Vietnam.
Any store in Vietnam can install the “VIMO Merchant” app from phones or tablets and then register a bank account to receive sales revenue at https: //merchant.vimo.vn.
When Chinese tourists pay for a purchase, the vendor enters the order information and the payment amount in VND to generate a QR code. The tourists then use the WeChat Pay e-wallet installed on their phone to scan the QR code of the seller to complete the cashless payment transaction within seconds. The store receives the payment to its bank account in Vietnam within two working days at most.
WeChat Pay also has its own procedures to suggest shops and stores accepting VIMO Merchant Payments to Chinese travelers, which will help increase sales revenue for local businesses.
WeChat Pay and Alipay are the two dominant e-wallets in China, with growth of 20-fold over the last four years, reaching nearly $2 trillion in 2016 from 1 billion regular users.
Almost all activities, such as dining, shopping, entertainment and travel, can be paid for by scanning the QR code through the WeChat Pay and Alipay payment apps on mobile phones.
Following the wave of Chinese tourists traveling abroad in recent years, WeChat Pay and Alipay are also competing aggressively to expand their payment acceptance networks in Europe and Southeast Asia.
“Vietnam is one of the most attractive destinations in the region for Chinese tourists, estimated to reach 3.5 million people this year and bring in revenue of some $3 billion,” said Mr. Do Cong Dien, General Director of VIMO.vn. “After a period of inquiry and negotiation, in early June, VIMO signed an e-payment agreement and connection with Tenpay Payment Technology - the owner of WeChat Pay - with the aim of bringing convenience to Chinese tourists as well as bolstering tourism revenue in Vietnam.”
Vimo is now expanding its cooperation with many overseas partners in countries with a large percentage of tourists coming to Vietnam every year, such as South Korea.
After six months of testing, VIMO.vn has nearly 500 shops accepting QR Code payments via WeChat Pay, of which more than 50 belong to seven corporations at five international airports catering to direct flights from and to China.
“After the pilot of VIMO Merchant at certain stores at international airports, sales to Chinese visitors have grown several times in just a few months,” said Mr. Nguyen Quang Tuan, Deputy General Director of the Song Viet Group, which provides non-aviation services at most domestic and international airports in Vietnam. “Based on that achievement, we will be implementing VIMO Merchant extensively at all Song Viet stores nationwide before the end of the 2017 and early in 2018.”
VIMO is the first intermediary payment unit cooperating with WeChat Pay to allow Chinese travelers to make payments in Vietnam.
Vietnam, Norway share experience in aquaculture cultivation
Norway, the world’s leading seafood exporter, shared its experience in applying advanced technology for aquaculture farming and processing at a conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on November 14.
Harald Naevdal, trade counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Vietnam, said that along with using high technologies and a modern management system, Norway has paid due attention to seeking markets for its seafood.
Norwegian enterprises are willing to share their experience with Vietnam so that the country can develop its aquaculture sector sustainably, he noticed.
Tran Dinh Luan, Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that despite Vietnam is always in the world’s top countries in terms of aquaculture cultivation, the country has yet fully tapped the sector’s potential.
He hoped that exchanging information and experience with Norway will help Vietnam promote effective aquaculture farming.
Else Marie Stenvik Djupevag from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries underlined that in Norway, various production and cultivating areas are zoned off based on environmental evaluation to reduce risks for aquaculture development.
Meanwhile, Oyvind Fylling-Jensen, Managing Director of the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, stressed that bio-tech should be deployed in breeding, genetic and nutrition research, which will bring efficiency in aquaculture farming and processing chain.
Last year, Vietnam had 1.3 million hectares of aquaculture farming areas with total productivity of 3.65 million tonnes. Key importers of Vietnamese seafood are the US, the EU, the Republic of Korea, and Japan.
Learning academy TEKY conducting ICO
The first STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) initial coin offering (ICO) in the world is being conducted by Vietnamese learning academy TEKY from November 11 to January 14.
Two hundred and eighty million TEKY coins are up for sale, with a target of raising as much as $25 million, a senior executive at the company confirmed with DEALSTREETASIA and also emphasized that buyers from Southeast Asia, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and India are on the radar.
The sale consists of two sessions, with a pre-sale open until December 10. Up to 40 per cent in bonuses will be offered to buyers in this session, while 25 per cent in bonuses will be offered to buyers in the ICO public sale from December 15 to January 14.
TEKY Coin owners can use the digital currency to purchase smart toys and technology devices at TEKY’s e-retail shop, MEK.store, which is expected to be launched in March next year, or apply for a STEAM course at a TEKY Academy in Southeast Asia.
After the ICO, TEKY will be listed on the Token Exchange to serve the needs of international technology exchange.
The first two TEKY facilities were established in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in 2016 with investment from Vietnam’s Electronics Technology NextTech, also an e-commerce ecosystem developer.
The market for IT training is estimated at some $500 million in Vietnam, with approximately 21 million K-12 students, about 40 per cent of whom are from the two cities.
Many people anticipate virtual currencies will flourish in Vietnam. As one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, many of its citizens now have access to smartphones but have never utilized traditional banking services.
Vietnam is examining an increase in investment and businesses transactions with digital money, the scale of which is undoubtedly escalating.
Vietnam attends India international trade fair
Vietnam is participating in the 37th India International Trade Fair (IITF) held in New Delhi as a partner country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on November 14, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind described Vietnam as a pillar in India’s Act East Policy.
He expressed his belief that the IITF, which lasts till November 27, will help reinforce the bilateral trade relations.
Meanwhile, India’s Minister of Trade Suresh Prabhu highlighted Vietnam as an important trade partner of India.
According to the Vietnam Customs, two-way trade reached 5.62 billion USD in the first nine months of 2017, a year-on-year rise of 43.4 percent.
The Indian Ministry of Industry and Trade expects the bilateral trade to hit 10.73 billion USD at the end of this year.
Nearly 3,000 enterprises are taking part in the trade fair.
Property and tourism investment becomes Quang Ninh’s strength
Investment has been poured strongly into property in the north-eastern border province of Quang Ninh, seeing the engagement of major property groups, BIM group, VinGroup, Sun Group and FLC, as a few to name.
Prominent projects include the Vinhomes Dragon Bay, worth 12 trillion VND (528.4 million USD), Marina Ha Long urban area, which was built at the cost of 2 billion USD, SunWorld Ha Long Park worth 7.8 trillion VND (343.46 million USD), FLC Ha Long costing 3.4 trillion VND (149.67 million USD), Mon Bay Ha Long worth 5 trillion VND (220.1 million USD) and Ha Long Star (550 million USD).
Apart from those million-US dollar projects, the property market in the province’s Ha Long city has been thriving with the appearance of new resort-tourism products which are more suitable with local people’s demand.
The first condo hotel (condotel) project named Citadines Ha Long was recently launched in the city, along with the Green Bay Premium hometel project. The project, the first of its kind in the city, allows owners with certificates of land use right to acquire long-term ownership and decide whether they want to stay or put their houses out for rent.
The constructions are set to be officially completed and handed over to customers in the fourth quarter of 2017.
In another move, the province has made efforts to speed up the implementation of Ha Long – Hai Phong expressway, Bac Luan II bridge, Van Don international airport, Van Don economic zone, Ha Long – Van Don and Van Don – Mong Cai highways, FLC Ha Long golf course and resort, Quang Hanh mineral hot spring resort, among others. Some projects will be put into operation at the end of this year or in early 2018.
The Van Don international airport is scheduled to be completed and operating in late 2017 and it is estimated to serve two million passengers each year.
These efforts aimed to reel in more visitors to explore interesting destinations in the locality. The number of visitors to Quang Ninh is predicted to continue to surge in the coming time.
Vu Duc Ngoc, Director General of the G5 Property said that the number of tourists to Ha Long city alone has escalated over the recent years, hitting an average of about 7.5 million people per year. Occupancy rate in hotels from three- to five-star reached between 60 and 70 percent, he added.
A series of large-scale tourism projects worth a total 61 trillion VND (2.7 billion USD) will be built in the Van Don Special Administrative – Economic Unit of Quang Ninh in 2018, according to Deputy Head of the management board of Quang Ninh economic zone Hoang Trung Kien.
The overall plan on developing Quang Ninh tourism by 2020 and with a vision toward 2030 has made positive impacts on local tourism activities via attracting a series of new investment projects from strategic partners such as BIM Group, Vingroup, Sun Group, My Way, Tuan Chau and FLC. The active investment in tourism products from such businesses has brought facelift to the local tourism industry.-
Can Tho, RoK’s Gimcheon discuss future cooperation
The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and Gimcheon, the central city of the Republic of Korea discussed their future cooperation in trade, investment and social welfare in a meeting between the two cities’ leaders on November 13.
Chairman of the People’s Committee of Can Tho Vo Thanh Thong hosted a reception for Mayor of Gimcheon Park Bo Saeng in which he briefed his guest on the local socio-economic development, noting the RoK has been assisting the city in two ODA projects – the Vietnam-Korea Industrial Technology Incubator and a project supporting the city in agricultural mechanisation.
Can Tho, the Mekong Delta’s economic hub, looks to enhance partnership with the region’s developed economies, particularly the RoK, Thong said, adding that the city welcomes all Korean investors to explore business opportunity here.
Park, for his part, said Gimcheon wants to boost cooperation with Can Tho in the fields of economics, culture and education for mutual development.
The Korean city wishes to set up partnership between Gimcheon University and local leading universities such as Can Tho University, Nam Can Tho University and Vo Truong Toan University, he noted. Can Tho would be the first in the Mekong Delta to have links with Gimcheon University after the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi, Hanoi Polytechnic College, and HCM City Vocational College of Technology.
He unveiled that Gimcheon plans to coordinate with travel agencies in Vietnam to introduce more tours to popular destinations in the Korean city, for example community-based holidays or those with a wide range of activities like horse riding, mountain hiking, and sightseeing at ancient relics.
The city also wants to boost cooperation with Can Tho in infrastructure development and high technology with the aim of helping improve the partner’s competitiveness and backing its shift from agriculture to support industry.
By October, the RoK has operated nine FDI projects, worth 247 million USD, in Can Tho, mainly in the fields of sport equipment, electronic games, retailing and wholesale and counseling services in industrial development and investment.
Tax refund on H-shaped steel products
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has sent a document to General Department of Customs on tax refunds for H-shaped steel products which were eliminated from paying temporary anti-dumping duties.
Accordingly, H-shaped steel products meeting with one of conditions including height of more than 704 mm or width of more than 304 mm or size of 100m and 55 mm or 120 mm and 64 mm will be refunded the temporary anti-dumping paid duties.
The ministry also said they would not collect temporary anti-dumping taxes on H-shaped steel products meeting with the above conditions.
Earlier, the ministry on August 21 and August 24 promulgated the Decision 3283/QD-BCT and 3299/QD-BCT on imposing anti-dumping duties on H-shaped steel products imported from China with HS code of 7216.33.00, 7228.70.10, 7228.70.90.
Can Tho to have US$663 million smart city
The southern city of Can Tho’s leaders held a meeting on Tuesday with An Tin Group for a “smart city” in Vo Van Kiet Street with investment of VND15 trillion (US$663.7 million).
Nguyen Duc Tho, An Tin Group’s chairman, said they planned to build the smart city with total area of 300ha, of which, a half would be used for residential areas, 25 per cent for commercial centres and the rest for offices for rent.
Tho said architects from Singapore would design the city to fully make use of natural resources with an aim to effectively manage energies, reducing pollution and improving the quality of life for people.
Vice chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Truong Quang Hoai Nam asked their Centre for Trade Promotion and Exhibition to be in charge of all procedures for the construction. The city would create favourable conditions for the group to implement the project.
Nikkei Asian Review Forum starts
The Nikkei Asian Review Hanoi Forum, taking place in Ha Noi today, aims to commemorate and recognise Viet Nam and Japan’s strategic investment partnership as the former constantly enhances its global status as a leading economy in the ASEAN region.
The Forum is jointly organised by Japan’s NIKKEI Inc. and the Embassy of Japan in Viet Nam, with support from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, as an ideal opportunity for Viet Nam to showcase its new economic strategy. It will highlight the Nikkei Asian Review’s findings on the country’s progress.
Today’s event features keynote speeches from high ranking Vietnamese government officials and representatives from leading Vietnamese and Japanese companies. They will share their views on concrete strategies for continued development and increased prosperity in the near future with approximately 150 attendants.
Speakers from established financial institutions such as international investment funds, banks, insurance companies and development organisations, including the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group, the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Vietnamese Office and members of the Japan Business Association in Vietnam will also be contributing their insights at the forum.
Since 2013, the Nikkei Asian Review, published by Japan’s NIKKEI Inc., has been bringing pan-Asian perspectives and insights to their wide base of global readers, following 300 must-watch companies across the region, based on market capitalization and growth potential and providing up to date coverage and in depth analysis.
Targeting Viet Nam’s increasing purchasing power as a growing economy with over 50 million people in the labour force, Japanese companies have focused their investment in Vietnamese manufacturing, consumer electronics, automobile, and retail sectors.
Agreement to promote sale of safe agricultural products
The Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development on Monday signed an agreement with the Cooperative Union of Agriculture Consumption to develop production and distribution linkages for agricultural products.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tran Thanh Nam, said that increasing added values of farming products and reducing production costs were major problems in agricultural production, which required the development of a value chain.
In addition, it was also important to develop large-scale and stable raw material areas and improve awareness of the cooperatives’ members.
Le Van Tam, chairman of Lam Sơn Joint Stock Corporation, which had built a sugar production linkage with cooperatives and farmers since 1990s, said that enterprises should have stakes at cooperatives to enhance accountability. The preferential interests should also be provided to farmers, he said.
According to Ma Quang Trung, Director of the Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development, there were around 400 value chains established nationwide but the demand for cooperating between cooperatives and enterprises remained huge.
Both sides were still confused about the operation models and accountabilities, Trung said.
The Department of Cooperatives and Rural Department and the Cooperative Union of Agricultural Consumption completed a project on building and developing a value chain of Vietnamese safe agricultural products, which was submitted to the government for approval.
Under the project, regional and inter-regional centres connecting production and distribution of Vietnamese safe agricultural products will be established.
These centres will also supervise the product quality to ensure origin, food hygiene and safety.
This will also help promote a safe and transparent agriculture market, as well as exports of Vietnamese agricultural products.
Agricultural Bank of China now in Ha Noi
The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) agreed in principle to allow the Agricultural Bank of China to open a branch in Ha Noi, Governor Le Minh Hung said.
Hung was speaking at the meeting with the China Banking Regulatory Commission’s Chairman, Guo Shuqing, in Ha Noi on Monday.
Hung proposed to the two sides to enhance co-operation in supervising the cross-border entities to ensure safety and efficiency of the banking system and to create conditions for these entities to contribute to boosting the investment-trade relations between the two countries.
On Sunday, the two banks signed a memorandum of understanding about information exchange in banking supervision, which replaced the memorandum of understanding signed in 2008.
Agricultural Bank of China is the third largest bank in China and in the world by total assets.
The bank had total assets estimated at US$2.82 trillion.
ABT to acquire stake in Sao Ta Foods
Ben Tre Aquaproduct Import and Export JSC (ABT) will likely purchase a 20.1 per cent stake in shrimp exporter Sao Ta Foods, equivalent to 54.28 per cent of Sao Ta Foods’ capital
Sao Ta Foods is one of the most-effective subsidiaries under Hung Vuong Corp. The shrimp exporter reported the best-ever result with estimated pre-tax profit of VND125 billion in the fiscal year 2016-17, an increase of 25 per cent over the yearly target and up 60 per cent year-on-year.
If the transaction is successful, Sao Ta Foods will become an associate of Ben Tre Aquaproduct, focusing on shrimp processing and exporting.
Ben Tre Aquaproduct focuses on tra fish and oyster farming. Its performance is getting worse this year with the nine-month profit reaching just VND15.6 billion, a sharp decline compared to VND40 billion earned in 2016’s nine months.
Two companies selected as strategic investors for IDICO
The Ministry of Construction (MoC) has announced the names of two institutions qualified to become strategic investors of the Vietnam Urban and Industrial Zone Development Investment Corporation (IDICO).
They are US-based SSG Corporation and Bitexco Group.
Kinh Bac City Development Share Holding Corporation was not selected due to the lack of essential documents, including the guarantee certificate and evidence to prove it has enough capital for the stake purchase.
The MoC will also release its blockade on Kinh Bac’s deposit of VND162 billion (US$7.1 billion) set for the purchase.
The shares offered to strategic investors are being negotiated at VND23,940 ($1.05) per share, equal to the average winning price at the company’s initial public offering (IPO) on October 5.
IDICO sold its entire offering of over 55.3 million shares, equivalent to 18.44 per cent of its capital, at the IPO. Foreign investors purchased 75 per cent of the total shares.
Under the equitisation plan, the State will retain 36 per cent stake in IDICO after the IPO but will divest entirely by the end of 2018.
IDICO has charter capital of VND3 trillion ($132.2 million), of which 45 per cent stake, or 135 million shares, will be offered to strategic investors.
SSG Corporation and Bitexco Group have registered to buy some 90 million IDICO shares and 45 million shares are "open" for purchase after Kinh Bac was ruled out.
MoC said the two chosen investors may register to buy an additional maximum 15 per cent of IDICO’s charter capital and at least 5 per cent of capital. The deadline for registration is November 15.
TPBank to finalise list of shareholders for IPO
Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) will finalise the list of shareholders on November 20 for its planned initial public offering (IPO).
Accordingly, TPBank will collect shareholders’ opinions in a written document for the listing, no later than the end of this month.
Earlier, Do Minh Phu, the bank’s chairman, said at the shareholder meeting in April that the bank planned to make the IPO this year without citing specific time as it wanted to stablise performance before listing.
In the first nine months of the year, TPBank posted positive results with pre-tax profit of some VND807 billion (US$35.7 million), triple that of the same period last year and surpassing the target by 3.5 per cent.
The bank targeted pre-tax profit of VND780 billion this year, increasing 10.3 per cent from last year.
By the end of September, its total assets reached VND114.5 trillion, increasing 8.2 per cent from the beginning of the year.
Its lending in the period was VND56.7 trillion, representing an increase of 21.6 per cent year-on-year, while deposits rose by 6.9 per cent to VND58.9 trillion.
Accountants warned on marginalisation
As digital technology transforms businesses and economies across the globe and increasingly affects the accountancy profession, it is imperative for members to equip themselves with the skills to deliver higher-value services or risk becoming marginalised by automation and artificial intelligence.
The statement was made by David Lyford-Smith, technical manager of Information Technology Faculty, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), at a conference held in Ha Noi on Tuesday.
Digital technology powered by exponential growth of computing power opens a whole new world of opportunities, according to the manager. This allows for unprecedented innovations in financial services resulting in a higher level of operational efficiency and access to entirely new markets. A good example of the technology that is changing today’s global business landscape is ‘blockchain’- a system of universal entry book-keeping where a transaction or a single input of data can be easily viewed by or shared with many parties on the same network in a systematic and secure manner.
"If a marketplace or system is running on a blockchain, the nature of assurance that is needed will change. You don’t need assurance that your asset exists or that your records agree with others’ because that’s certain in a blockchain environment. So instead the focus of assurance turns to the tie between the blockchain record and the physical world, and more generally to the economic reality of the transaction that is seen in the blockchain," Lyford-Smith said.
"For example, a blockchain might give you certainty over the timing and amount of a purchase of some goods, but it can’t assure you of the condition of those goods," he added.
One much-cited use of blockchain is in land registry. The provenance and transfer of geographical assets is a great fit for its transparency, verifiability and ability to publicly show who has previously owned, sold and divided land.
These days, finance and business processes are increasingly moving online. Some finance functions have recently focused on increasing operational efficiency through sophisticated capabilities such as automation, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing.
For instance, some are using virtual assistants instead of finance staff in answering questions from suppliers on invoices and payments.The world is also seeing a renewed focus on shared service centres, global process hubs and outsourcing, where economies of scale justify substantial investments in extensive process automation.
To take advantage of these new emerging opportunities, it is important for accountants to look out for the key trends including big data, crypto currencies, distributed ledger systems, payment systems, mobile money, and also new platforms connecting providers and users of financial services as well as analytics-based financial services.
However, along with new opportunities, comes the growing fear that traditional approach to financial reporting and routine accounting tasks are steadily being taken away by automation and artificial intelligence.
Members of the profession are not adapting to the new technological trends quickly enough to take advantage of the new available platforms and risk becoming marginalised.
Sharing his view on the future role of accountants, Lyford-Smith said: ‘I think what will happen is not that accountants will disappear, but that the definition of an accountant will evolve and that the profession as a whole will move to the higher-value adding activities such as assurance over complex areas, analysis, prediction, and advisory services’.
Nguyen Canh Thang, deputy head of Sectorial Economic Laws Division, Department of Civil and Economic Laws, Ministry of Justice, said that currently, transactions related to virtual currency such as Bitcoin had been used by many individuals, but the protection or adjustment of the transaction was not yet regulated by law.
The rules on external assets were very specific, however, virtual property is currently not regulated.
According to Decision No. 1255/QD-TTg on virtual currency, electronic currency and virtual property, electronic currency is considered a means of payment. "Electronic currency is displayed as an electronic wallet with a 1: 1 conversion rate with the real cash that it is legally recognised by law. The things which are not regulated will not be considered electronic money, for example, bitcoin is not considered electronic money used in payment,” Thang added.
Thang also suggested that the law need to have clear provisions to ensure fair dealing for traders. "Virtual property is a very broad issue compared to virtual currency and electronic currency. If virtual property is considered as real property, the goods will involve many other issues, especially tax,” Thang told Viet Nam News.
The event was organised by ICAEW in Viet Nam and drew the participation of representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the General Department of Taxation and experts in financial sector.
Ford sees rising number of vehicle sales despite new tax policy
Ford Vietnam saw an increase in October retail sales from the previous month to 2,282 vehicles amid a slowdown in industry sales as customers delay purchases ahead of the new tax policy slated for January.
Led by the Ranger, Transit, and EcoSport, the company’s year-to-date sales have risen slightly versus last year to 23,634 vehicles, representing a market share of 10.4 per cent.
“Our sales remained steady in October as the overall demand continued to slow ahead of the new excise tax policy’s implementation,” said Pham Van Dung, managing director for Ford Vietnam.
The Ranger model delivered an exceptional month with retail sales rising 13 per cent from the prior month to 1,425 vehicles. It continues to lead Viet Nam’s pickup segment with year-to-date sales that have increased 7 per cent to 12,159 vehicles.
The popular Transit reached October sales of 360 vehicles and year-to-date sales of 4,929 vehicles.
Both the EcoSport compact SUV and Explorer premium SUV continued to lead their respective segments.
The EcoSport delivered October sales that rose 5 per cent from the prior month to 280 vehicles, driving its year-to-date sales up to 3,205 vehicles. The Explorer recorded sales of 75 vehicles in October with year-to-date sales reaching 981 vehicles.
Year-to-date sales of the sporty Focus increased 21 per cent to 874 vehicles, including October sales of 74 vehicles.
VN’s largest textile and garment expo attracts hundreds of int’l brands
A total of 400 exhibitors from 14 countries and territories will show their latest technologies and machines at the 17th edition of Viet Nam’s leading textile and garment trade fair in HCM City from November 22-25.
The Vietnam International Textile & Garment Industry Exhibition and the Vietnam International Textile & Apparel Accessories Exhibition (VTG 2017) will be held at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre.
Most of the exhibitors are from mainland China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam.
The country’s textile and garment sectors had $14.58 billion in outbound shipments in the first six months of the year, representing a significant annual increase of 11.3 per cent.
A number of seminars will be held during the trade fair. Some of the highlights will focus on how Viet Nam prepares for free trade areas; the impact of the 4.0 industrial revolution; and the future for the market in changing times.
Coffee sector strives for US$6 billion export turnover
The coffee industry should improve output, quality and added value for an export turnover target of US$6 billion by 2030, said Lương Văn Tự, chairman of Việt Nam Coffee and Cocoa Association.
Tự told the press meeting to introduce the first Việt Nam Coffee Day held in Hà Nội on Tuesday that the coffee industry has been growing impressively over the past three decades. Việt Nam’s coffee output made up just 1 per cent of world market shares in 1991, but that figure rose to nearly 20 per cent in the 2015-16 crop year.
However, the industry has been affected by climate changes. Last year, the sector suffered the most severe drought in the past 30 years. Meanwhile, the areas of old coffee trees, which need to re-plant in the next five years, was up to 160,000 ha. The re-farming progress has been slow in the Central Highlands region.
He said the industry should make great efforts to fulfil two main targets including maintaining its place as the second biggest producer and exporter of coffee beans in the world and stepping up the processing of instant and roasted coffee. These aim to increase export value from the current $3 billion to $6 billion by 2030.
The chairman added that the coffee industry needed a big capital and comprehensive solutions to increase output and product quality.
“If the investment speed in instant and roasted coffees is faster, time to meet the $6 billion target would be shortened. Currently, many foreign groups have been investing in Việt Nam’s coffee industry due to its abundant material areas and preferential tax,” he said.
For example, Indian Tata Coffee Limited invested in an instant coffee processing plant with a total investment of $60 million in the southern province of Bình Dương.
The organiser of Việt Nam Coffee Day said the first event is scheduled to take place in Đà Lạt City in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng from December 9-11.
The event, featuring many products of Việt Nam’s famous coffee localities nationwide, is described as an opportunity to promote products to domestic and international consumers, raising the value of Vietnamese goods in the international market.
An international conference on the development of the coffee sector is scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the event, with the participation of representatives from coffee-producing countries and the International Coffee Organisation (ICO).
APEC, potential market for Vietnam’s garment-textile
Major member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, including the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and China, could make up 74-75 percent of Vietnam’s total garment-textile export turnover in the coming time.
Director General of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) Le Tien Truong said this year, the apparel sector continues to maintain good growth in the four APEC markets and the European Union (EU).
Vietnam’s apparel export to the US has increased by about 6.5 percent so far and is expected to reach approximately 13 billion USD this year, accounting for 13-13.5 percent of the market shares.
Truong said before 2016, Vietnam had only four billion-USD markets, namely the US, Japan, the EU and the RoK; however, this year China has become a key market of Vietnam.
He noted that Vietnam’s garment-textile exports to China increased 30 percent to hit 670 million USD in the first eight months of 2017.
Countries from the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), including Russia – an APEC member – recorded growth of 90 percent. Export to Russia is likely to surpass 200 million USD in 2017, making the country one of the top 10 garment-textile markets of Vietnam.
Pham Xuan Hong, President of Ho Chi Minh City’s Association of Garment, Textile, Embroidery and Knitting, said Russia is expected to be a billion-USD market for the apparel sector in the next 4-5 years.
He suggested businesses developing markets in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and India.
Chairman of the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association Vu Duc Giang said the expansion of markets should go with the development of technology and brand names to create more competitive products in the global arena.
According to the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (VITAS), the garment-textile exports earned 23 billion USD in the first nine months of 2017.
The sector targets 30.5 billion USD in revenue in 2017, much higher than that of the previous year (28.1 billion USD).
Vietnam has less to gain from CPTPP: expert
Vietnam will not benefit as much from the newly created Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in comparison to the original TPP.
The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to increase by a mere 1.32% under the CPTPP, compared to 6.7% had the US still been part of the deal, experts say.
The original TPP agreement was signed in February 2016 and included the U.S. alongside Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, with the intention of expediting the flow of goods and commerce throughout the region.
In January 2017, the US pulled out of the trade pact, forcing the remaining 11 members to renegotiate parts of the deal under a new name, TPP-11.
On November 11, the TPP-11 ministers, who met in Vietnam’s central city of Da Nang, reached a consensus to move forward with the deal under the new name of CPTPP, and leaving room for the possible return of the US in the future.
Twenty provisions of the new accord are pending further negotiations before any final approval.
Though relieved by the positive outcome of the renegotiation of the TPP, Vietnamese experts do not jump for joy just yet.
“The results of our analyses reveal that Vietnam will not benefit as much from the new trade deal, at least in quantitative terms, while there are only 11 members,” said economic expert Tran Toan Thang, from the National Center for Socio-Economic Information and Forecasting.
According to Thang, the US’ withdrawal from the trade agreement has shattered Vietnam’s prospects of increasing its GDP by 6.7%. Without the US, the country’s GDP rise will be a mere 1.32% under the CPTPP.
Vietnam’s exports are forecast to grow by 4% following the expected ratification of the CPTPP, compared to 15% while the US was party to the original trade agreement, Thang said.
The respective figures for imports are 3.8% and 10.5%, he added.
“This means that, compared to TPP-12, Vietnam’s benefits from joining TPP-11 have decreased significantly in the absence of the US.”
Nevertheless, even with 11 members, the CPTPP is still a welcome boost to Vietnam’s growth, commerce, investment, and domestic policy reform, he said.
Nguyen Dinh Luong, Vietnam’s former chief negotiator in the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement, said it would be unlikely for the US to return to the negotiating table in the immediate future, though the possibility has not been ruled out by the participating CPTPP economies.
The desire of US President Donald Trump to enter bilateral trade deals with former TPP members also might be difficult to realize, Luong said, as the countries’ economic interests were mostly tied to multilateral economic deals.
“It’s therefore necessary for Vietnam to implement domestic reform, especially to curb corruption, if it wants to meet the high standards set out by the US should it decide to return to the trade pact,” Luong said.
Thứ Sáu, 17 tháng 11, 2017
Communication promoted on climate change adaptation in Mekong Delta
Can Tho - A communication strategy on the Mekong Delta Plan was launched at a workshop in Can Tho city on November 15.
Drought dries up a rice field in the Mekong Delta due to impacts of climate change. (Photo: VNA)
The event was jointly organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Vietnam, and the Can Tho University.
It was part of activities in the framework of the agreement on strategic partnership on climate change adaption and water management between the Governments of Vietnam and the Netherlands, funded by the Netherlands Enterprises Agency.
The workshop introduced a comprehensive publicity campaign on the Mekong Delta Plan in all 13 regional city and provinces, including lecturer training programmes and training courses targeting delegates from the 13 localities.
Pham Phu Binh, Director of the ministry’s Department of International Cooperation, highlighted the important role of the Mekong Delta in the nation’s economic development. However, he said the impacts of climate change, unplanned development and overuse of natural resources have put the region’s future at risk.
The Government and international community have developed strategies and programmes to adapt to and minimise climate change impacts, including the Mekong Delta Plan, Binh said.
Addressing the event, Dutch Consul-General to HCM City Carel Richter said the plan maps out disciplines on sustainable development for the Government of Vietnam to follow, taking into account the two factors of economic development and environment protection.
The plan has received support from the Vietnamese Government, sponsors, and partners, he added.
According to the Can Tho University, the Mekong Delta contributes 18 percent of the nation’s GDP, mostly in agriculture and fisheries. However, the region’s future is being threatened by climate change and economic development. The Mekong Delta is said to be one of the world’s five deltas hardest hit by climate change.
The plan is expected to help the Mekong Delta adapt to climate change challenges and turn them into opportunities to develop sustainably, thus ensuring locals’ stable and well-off lives as well as preserving the region’s traditional cultural value, said Deputy Rector of the university Tran Trung Tinh.
Hanoi considers raising increased road rental fees
Hanoi authorities have considered tripling pavement rental fees in order to restrict private vehicles and reduce pavement violations.
Many pavements and roadbeds in Hanoi used as parking lots
The move is aimed to contribute to raising the city’s budget revenues and also encourage the construction of smart parking lots.
Under the proposal of the Hanoi People’s Committee, the pavement and roadbed rentals for car keeping at 12 major streets in Hoan Kiem District will be raised from VND80,000 (USD3.63) to VND240,000 (USD10.9) per square metre per month.
The rentals for other streets in Hoan Kiem District will be increased to VND150,000 (USD6.81) from VND60,000 (USD2.72) per square metre per month.
Meanwhile, the fees will be adjusted to VND135,000 (USD6.1) from VND45,000 (USD2.04) per square metre per month for motorbike keeping at 12 major streets in Hoan Kiem District. For other areas, the rentals will be raised to VND90,000 per square metre per month from VND45,000.
According to Thai Tien Dung, deputy head of Hanoi Tax Department, Hanoi kept pavement and roadbed rentals unchanged for many years. So, the higher rentals are aimed to restrict private vehicles amid the city’s serious traffic jams and help to add to the city’s budget revenues.
This would also encourage firms to invest in smart parking lot projects.
However, Nguyen Xuan Thuy, former director of Transportation Publishing House under the Ministry of Transport, said that Hanoi’s centre city was facing a serious shortage of parking lots, so, the pavement rental increases are not suitable. It would be more important to consider the construction of underground parking lots to serve people’s demand. The government needs to have preferential investment mechanisms to encourage investors for these projects.
Lawyer Tran Tuan Anh from Hanoi Lawyers Association said that increasing the pavement rentals is a way to raise the city’s budget, however, it was vital for Hanoi to think of how to use and manage this source of funding in an effective way to avoid waste.
However, Dr. Dao Ngoc Nghiem, vice chairman of Hanoi Urban Planning and Development Association, supported the proposal, said it is totally appropriate for Hanoi’s current condition.
Nguyen Nguyen Quan, Head of Urban Division of the Hanoi People's Council, said that Hanoi People’s Committee had submitted the proposal to the municipal Council for consideration. Municipal authorities will seek public opinion on the proposal.
Awards honour Vietnamese talents nationwide
Hanoi - The Vietnam Talent Awards 2017 were presented in Hanoi on November 16, honouring persons with practical inventions and initiatives.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (centre) and Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan (first, left) present the first award in the field of IT (Photo: VNA)
The awards honoured people in the fields of information technology, science-technology, health care – pharmacy, environment, and talent encouragement.
Notably, up to 289 IT-related entries were submitted to this year’s contest. The top winner in IT was a team from the Da Nang-based Duy Tan University who created a programme that applies 3D virtual reality technology to simulate the human body for teaching, learning and researching activities in health sciences.
The Vietnam Talent Awards 2017, the 13th edition so far, were initiated by the Vietnam Association for Promoting Education. Since its launch, the awards have received entries from thousands of IT talents and hundreds of scientists, from octogenarians to primary students.
Addressing the awards ceremony, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed that the prosperity of each nation is closely associated with talents. He noted the awards have encouraged learning and creativity among people of all ages.
He congratulated the award winners, describing them as prime examples of the devotion, creativity and wisdom of Vietnamese people.
Mentioning national development amid Industry 4.0, PM Phuc said the country will grow if it makes use of development opportunities, or else it will lag behind. It’s time for young people to start their careers and intelligentsia to join hands to innovate for a bright future.
PM Phuc added that a learning and creative society is an ideal environment for the development of Vietnam and also an important driving force for building a growth-enabling and action-oriented Government.
The Vietnam Talent Awards are sponsored by the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and Training, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, and the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations.