BUSINESS IN BRIEF 19/11
Gold prices fall, Vietnamese dong weakens
Gold prices slumped in the local market on November 18 while the prices of the US dollar soared in the unofficial market.
Compared to the previous day's rate, a tael of gold or 1.205 ounces of the brand SJC lost 140,000 VND (6.2 USD) in the selling side, trading at 33.28 million VND (1,480.9 USD).
On the buying side, the price of each tael also declined 140,000 VND (6.2 USD), trading at 33.05 million VND (1,470.7 USD).
The gap between selling prices and buying prices on November 18 was 230,000 VND (10.2 USD). The gap from early this week was about 100,000 VND (4.4 USD).
On the same day, Bao Tin Minh Chau Gold and Jewellery Company and Doji Gold both listed their selling prices at 33.24 million VND (1,479.1 USD) while the buying prices were listed at 33.2 million VND (1,477.4 USD) and 33.18 million VND (1,476.5 USD), respectively.
Meanwhile, reuters.com reported that gold prices globally hit their lowest in nearly six years as the dollar rose and investors braced for the first US interest rate rise in nearly a decade next month.
On the global gold trading website Kitco.com, the price of gold slipped another 14.3 USD per ounce to end at 1,069.80 USD per ounce or 1,304.3 USD per tael.
Thus, the price of one tael of gold in Vietnam was about 177 USD higher than that on the world market.
In the foreign exchange market, while the dollar prices were stable in most of the commercial banks, the rates soared in the unofficial market, passing the ceiling price of the State Bank of 22,547 VND per dollar.
The commercial bank of Vietcombank sold each dollar for 22,500 VND and bought at 22,420 VND, the same rate as November 17.
Meanwhile, Quoc Trinh Gold and Jewellery Company in Ha Trung street, which is popular for currency exchange in Hanoi, bought each dollar for 22,630 VND and sold each for 22,680 VND.
Gasoline prices drop slightly in Vietnam
Retail gasoline prices in Vietnam were reduced by one percent at the request of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade on November 18, following the global downward trend.
Vietnam's most popular gasoline grade 92-RON now sells at VND17,052 (76 US cents) per liter.
Meanwhile, the bio-fuel grade E5, which has been heavily promoted by the government, is priced at VND16,559 (74 cents) per liter thanks to the one-percent decrease.
Mazut price was decreased by 0.8% to VND9,488 (42 cents) per liter.
The price of diesel oil was maintained at VND13,945 (62 cents) per liter.
However, kerosene price was increased by 0.9 percent to VND12,647 (54 cents) per liter.
The ministries said the price of 92-RON gasoline in Singapore, Vietnam’s major supplier, was sold at $57 a barrel on average over the last 15 days, down 1.7 percent from the previous fifteen-day period.
Vietnam among attractive destinations for APEC CEOs: PwC
Vietnam is among the top three countries most attractive to CEOs in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) bloc, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey finds.
Half of the business leaders surveyed by the U.S. giant auditor have plans to increase investments in the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore in the next 12 months, according to the results from PwC’s 2015 APEC CEO Survey.
The survey polled 800 leaders of top companies from 52 countries with operations in 21 APEC economies from June 23 to August 21 to “learn their concerns, their reasons for optimism, and the direction they are headed,” PwC said in a survey report on Monday.
The participating APEC economies are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S., and Vietnam.
Although down from 67 percent last year, the majority of the CEOs, or 53 percent, still plan to increase investments in the APEC region over the next 12 months, according to the survey results.
The survey found that there is also a clear reallocation and diversification of investments within the region, with China, the U.S., and Indonesia remaining the main draws for CEO business investments.
“The Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore economies are attractive to APEC CEOs… and across the Pacific, Chile and Peru are also attracting more investors,” Dennis Nally, chairman of the PwC International Ltd., said in a statement.
The CEO confidence in 12-month revenue growth declined sharply from the 2014 survey, due to such key factors as an economic slowdown in China, uncertain U.S. interest rates, regional geopolitical tensions and growing concerns about cyber security, according to the report.
The survey indicated that only 28 percent of the Asia Pacific CEOs are “very confident” in revenue growth in 2016, whereas 90 percent of the respondents said a rise in regional geopolitical tension would have a negative impact on their business.
“At the start of our work, confidence levels were similar to 2014, but this quickly changed as the U.S. Federal Reserve prepared to raise interest rates and China devalued its currency,” Nally said.
However, APEC CEOs are still looking to expand into new APEC venues as a testament to their ability to balance volatility against opportunity, according to the survey.
Business leaders in the APEC region are also pinning their hope on greater access thanks to many trade arrangements.
For instance, the ASEAN Economic Community, slated for establishment by the end of this year, offers greater promise at the moment for 35 percent of the CEOs.
Meanwhile, 24 percent said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) accord, if fully implemented, will create more opportunities for their organizations than other regional trade projects, according to the survey.
“The lower the tariffs, the more trade will increase,” the report said, citing one technology executive from New Zealand, one of the 12 TPP economies.
The TPP deal, which aims to liberalize commerce in 40 percent of the world's economy, was finalized on October 5, and is now pending approval by lawmakers in all the participating countries, which include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam.
Binh Duong, Emmen city step up cooperative ties
The southern province of Binh Duong and Emmen city in the Netherlands will enhance friendship and expand cooperation across economics, trade, tourism and investment as stipulated in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in the Vietnamese locality on November 17.
Accordingly, the two sides will prioritise promotion programmes while creating favourable conditions for the working groups to conduct market researches to help boost trade activities and investment partnerships in accordance with each locality’s potentials and strengths.
The localities will work together to support the operations of small and medium-sized enterprises.
At the MoU signing ceremony, Emmen Mayor Cees Bijl expressed his impression over Binh Duong’s robust economic development.
He commented that the collaboration between provincial authorities and key enterprises has given a momentum to the development process.
He hoped that the province’s investment attraction policies will open up opportunities for enterprises from both localities to foster cooperation and investment.
The Netherlands ranks seventh out of 40 countries and territories investing in Binh Duong, with 21 projects worth 683 million USD.
In 2015, three Dutch projects in the locality adjusted their capital up by 178.5 million USD.
Dong Nai’s dried rambutan reaches French market
Binh Loc Cooperative in Binh Loc commnue, Long Khanh town, the southern province of Dong Nai has exported 2 tonnes of dried rambutan to France, opening up a new development trend for the rambutan growing sector in the locality.
According to Phung Thanh Tam, Chairman of the cooperative, the fresh Java rambutan grown to VietGap standard were purchased by a French partner with a price of 5,500 VND per kilogramme, higher than the domestic maximum price of 4,000 VND.
He said that the French side, who was satisfied with the quality of the batch, took samples of soil and water in the locality for testing as part of its plan to support Binh Loc in expanding rambutan areas meeting the GlobalGap standard for the French market from 2016.
Currently, Binh Loc has the largest rambutan area in Dong Nai with over 1,200 hectares. Of the total, 12 hectares are cultivated to the VietGap standard, including 6 hectares of Java rambutan.
Once receiving assistance from the French partner, the cooperative will develop Java rambutan fields with high quality and productivity towards GlobalGap standard.
Dong Nai has total 11,000 hectares of rambutan. In early this year, the province started building geographical indications for over 6,700 hectares.
Vietnam works to spread steam generator use
A signing ceremony was held in Hanoi on November 17 for a project on promoting the use of efficient boilers in Vietnam with the collaboration of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The project will be carried out by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and UNIDO from November 2015 to October 2019.
Main beneficiaries from the initiative are boiler makers and industrial producers in the paper and pulp, textile, food processing, chemical and rubber processing industries.
The increasing use of these steam generators will pose less negative impact on the environment and reduce fuel costs, thus enhancing the competitiveness of domestic industrial enterprises.
The project will help Vietnam save more than 467,000 tonnes of oil during the 10 years after the end of the project, from 2019-2028. Meanwhile, on the global scale, it will contribute to cutting CO2 emissions by 1.8 million tonnes.
After four-year implementation, target outcomes include establishing regulations and guidance on boiler quality standards and improving technical capacity of State agencies, industrial players, and boiler manufacturers and suppliers.
First batch of rice to arrive in Indonesia next year
The first batch of 50,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam and Thailand will arrive in Dumai port in Riau province, Indonesia, early next year, Antara news agency said on November 16.
The batch is part of one million tonnes of rice that Indonesia will import from Vietnam and Thailand, the world’s two leading rice producers.
The Indonesian government decided to import rice to ensure food supply in the market and stablise prices of necessary commodities for more than 250 million citizens of the archipelago country.
According to the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, the prolonged drought from August to November this year caused considerable losses to Indonesian rice production, which is forecast not to achieve the yearly target of 75.5 million tonnes.
Indonesian Bureau of Logistics (Bulog) Director Djarot Kusumayakti said Indonesia’s amount of stock rice until December 2015 is only at 62,000 tonnes. The country needs from 1.5 to 2 million tonnes of rice to meet the demand before the new harvest early 2016.
Vietnamese, Czech enterprises seek cooperation
A Vietnam-Czech business forum was held on November 17 in Hanoi with the aim to create opportunities for Vietnamese and Czech enterprises to further links in trade and investment.
Addressing the function, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Doan Duy Khuong said bilateral trade have enjoyed stable growth in recent years, hitting nearly 295 million USD in 2014, up 23 percent compared to the previous year.
He said that the figure is expected to reach 1 billion USD in the near future as the two sides take full advantages of cooperation opportunities and support from their governments.
President of the Czech Senate Milan Stech said that his country is willing to bring to Vietnam expertise and advanced technologies in mechanics, energy, transport, and health care.
The Czech Republic welcomes large investment projects in the mechanical sector, he said, adding that the country wishes to increase its goods imported to Vietnam and attract more Vietnamese workers in the future.
Co-hosted by the VCCI, the Czech Chamber of Commerce and the Czech Embassy in Vietnam, the forum brought together a crowd of Vietnamese firms and nearly 20 Czech enterprises operating in the fields of chemicals, insurance, mechanics, construction, medical equipment, and automation.
Exporters ponder ways to penetrate new markets
The US and Latin American countries have huge demand for products made by sectors in which Vietnamese companies have advantages, but they need to study these markets carefully to enter them, a forum heard in HCM City yesterday.
They also need to improve quality to meet the demands of these markets, attendees told the Export Forum organised by the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City.
According to Nguyen Duy Khien, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's American Market Department, the US's imports have grown as it increasingly focuses on exporting services.
Apart from agricultural products, the US has high demand for items like garment and textile, footwear, wood products, seafood, and electronics products and accessories, he said, adding that Vietnamese firms are strong in these industries.
Trade between the US and Viet Nam was worth US$36.3 billion last year, of which Viet Nam's exports accounted for $30.6 billion but only 1.3 per cent of the US's total imports.
The lower tariffs in the US following accession to the TPP would create an enormous advantage for Viet Nam vis-a-vis its competitors since many of them are not part of the deal, Khien said.
Amcham executive director Herb Cochran said Viet Nam was the largest Southeast Asian exporter to the US, accounting for 22 per cent of shipments from the region.
"Unfortunately, most of the exports are from FDI companies. We want to help Vietnamese companies participate in the global supply chain."
Vietnamese firms should find a way to join the foreign-owned companies' global supply chains to get a part of the export pie, he said.
To penetrate the US market, Vietnamese firms would need to understand the rules, he said.
Then they would have to find partners to help them, find customers and understand what customers' rules are, which would be in addition to the nation's safety rules, he said.
Khien said the advantages with regard to import duties under the TPP notwithstanding, businesses should also cut costs to make their products more competitive.
Latin America, which consists of 33 countries and a population of 600 million, had high demand for primary processed products and consumer goods, Tran Duy Dong, deputy head of the American Market Department, said.
Viet Nam trades with all countries and territories there, with Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Columbia being key partners.
Two-way trade had increased strongly, reaching $9.5 billion last year, an increase of 40.7 per cent over 2013, Dong said.
But the lack of market information, high transport costs, issues related to payment, fierce competition from Chinese and Indian goods, and trade barriers in some markets were among the difficulties Vietnamese firms face, he said.
More efforts should be made to provide Vietnamese exporters information about these markets, he said.
Delegates said Vietnamese businesses should take part in overseas trade fairs and exhibitions to do market research and find new business partners.
Ca Mau prioritises sea economy
The southernmost province of Ca Mau has adopted a comprehensive five-year plan for infrastructure projects to promote the local maritime industry, according to Mai Huu Chinh, director of the Ca Mau Provincial Department of Planning and Investment.
Chinh said poor infrastructure was the key factor preventing foreign and domestic investors from coming to Ca Mau, one of four provinces within the key economic development region of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.
Under the plan, a sea port on the province's Hon Khoai island will be constructed within the next five years. This project will require an investment of about US$2.5 billion. When it is completed, the Hon Khoai port will be able to handle ships weighing up to 250,000DWT and is expected to serve as a major port in the Cuu Long River Delta.
As part of its infrastructure development plan, Ca Mau wants to build its coastal line and sea into "an open economic zone", with an aim of galvanising the province's economic development.
Over the next five years, Ca Mau will also focus its investment on the development of its three most important sea ports: the Song Doc port in Tran Van Thoi District, Khanh Hoi port in U Minh District and Bo De port in Nam Can District.
"These sea ports will serve as locomotives for economic development in the province," Chinh added.
Ca Mau is the only province in Viet Nam that is surrounded by the sea on three sides, with a coastal area stretching 254 km. The province is also located along the southern coastal corridor linking Viet Nam with Cambodia and Thailand.
With an aquaculture area spread over 296,000ha, Ca Mau Province is one of the largest localities nationwide with a high potential for aquaculture development, particularly shrimp farming.
On average, the province yields over 441,000 tonnes of aqua products annually, with shrimp accounting for 34 per cent.
Ca Mau's aqua products have been exported to more than 40 countries and territories worldwide. Its export turnover last year reached $1.3 billion, and exports are expected to be even higher this year.
In addition to its strong fishery industry, Ca Mau has great potential for oil and gas exploration, with an estimated amount of about 170 billion cubic metres in the gas fields. As a result, Ca Mau is one of the largest centres producing electricity and fertiliser in Viet Nam.
However, the biggest challenge that the province faces at present is the shortage of capital in infrastructure development. Construction of the Nam Can port has been ongoing for several years, but due to a funding shortage, the project has not been completed.
According to Chinh, the province in particular is facing a shortage of airports and sea ports.
"This is the biggest hurdle, which makes the investment cost in the province so high," Chinh said.
Inspectors uncover banking violations
The inspectorate body of the State Bank of Viet Nam has conducted 6,555 inspections on credit institutions in the past five years and uncovered many violations in the banking sector.
According to the central bank, results of the inspections, which were conducted from 2011 to September 15, 2015, have helped it boost the restructuring of the banking system in the past year.
The inspections focussed on non-performing loans (NPLs), asset quality, and implementation of restructuring, apart from appraisal on real capital and financial status, and obeying legal regulations of credit institutions.
According to the central bank, through these inspections the central bank received a more accurate appraisal on quality, effectiveness and safety of credit institutions, which will enable it to take suitable restructuring measures on each credit institution.
A number of serious violations related to debt restructuring and classification, as well as risk provisions which were taken by credit institutions to conceal their non-performing loans resulting in incorrect business performance results, were revealed thanks to the inspections.
Many risks, shortcomings and legal violations by credit institutions mainly in credit activities, financial investments, dominant shareholders, and high NPLs, apart from poor business performance, and a weak governance system, have been uncovered through these inspections.
Based on the inspections, the central bank's inspectorate also decided to impose 724 administrative violation cases for a total fine of VND12.7 billion ($570,000).
The inspectorate also sent documents of some cases with criminal intent to the police to handle it in accordance with the legal regulations.
According to experts, the central bank is on track to settle shortcomings of the banking system including weak banks and bad debts, under a scheme to restructure credit institutions from 2011 to 2015.
National Financial Supervisory Committee Vice Chairman Truong Van Phuoc hailed the better banking management quality, which was possible thanks to manpower and financial support following mergers and acquisitions.
Since 2011, 17 credit institutions and 2 branches of foreign banks have shut down through mergers, acquisition or dissolution, according to the central bank.
According to government data, the NPL ratio in the banking system fell to 2.93 per cent at the end of September, below the 3 per cent target set to be achieved by the end of 2015.
New Country General Manager for Lenovo
Global technology leader Lenovo appointed Roy Ng as Country General Manager of Vietnam on November 16, replacing Mr. Nguyen Minh Son, who held the position since January 2013.
“We are fully committed to Vietnam, which a key market for us in the region,” said Dr. Harry Yang, Vice President & General Manager, Lenovo South East Asia Region: “With Roy’s leadership experience and business acumen I am confident we will enjoy continued business growth and gain a strong foothold in the market.”
Mr. Ng will be responsible for continuing the expansion of Lenovo’s business in Vietnam and oversee operations, strategic planning, business development, sales, and relationship management with key channels in the country.
He joined Lenovo in 2014 from Hewlett-Packard (HP), where he was Country Category Manager for their Printing and Personal Systems business unit in Vietnam, and brings more than 12 years of experience in the technology industry to his current position.
Lenovo is a $46 billion global Fortune 500 company and a leader in providing innovative consumer, commercial, and enterprise technology. Its portfolio of high-quality, secure products and services covers PCs (including the legendary Think and multimode YOGA brands), workstations, servers, storage, smart TVs, and a family of mobile products such as smartphones (including the Moto brand), tablets, and apps.
Divestments of State capital below target
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) have met 37% of the target set by the Government to divest capital from non-core operations in the past three years.
The Steering Committee for Enterprise Reform and Development reported at a conference in Hanoi last Friday that SOEs withdrew a combined VND13.7 trillion (US$618 million) in January-October. Of the sum, divestments from the property, insurance, securities, financial and banking sectors accounted for nearly VND5 trillion.
From 2012 to October 28, SOEs took back a total of VND22.87 trillion from their original investments of VND16.45 trillion in non-core business operations. The amount withdrawn from the five sectors made up VND8.7 trillion of the total, meeting 37% of the target (VND23.32 trillion) though the Government chose the end of this year as the deadline for SOEs to complete divestments.
According to the report, ministries have not submitted measures to cope with difficulties in divestments to the Government. Meanwhile, unfavorable conditions on the financial and stock markets have affected the sale of State stakes.
As many as 175 SOEs were restructured in the first 10 months of this year and the Government approved equitization plans for 159 firms of them. From 2011 until now, 471 SOEs have been restructured and 408 of them have been equitized.
The pace of divestment is low, according to the committee, because relevant ministries, agencies, localities and firms have been negligent in carrying out the approved equitization plans for SOEs under their management.
On top of that, share sales by SOEs at their initial public offerings have not produced as good results as expected. In January-October, an average of just 38% of the total volume of shares offered for sale by SOEs found buyers.
A number of ministries like the ministries of natural resources-environment and information-communications or provinces such as Nam Dinh, Binh Duong and Tien Giang have not equitized any SOEs in the year to date. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has let only two out of a dozen SOEs go public while six out of 21 SOEs in HCMC have been restructured and equitized.
Hanoi to sell VND2 tril. bonds
The Hanoi Department of Finance is working on a plan to issue municipal bonds worth VND2 trillion (US$89.4 million) with tenors of five and 10 years.
The city’s second bond issue this year is scheduled for November 19. The proceeds from the debt sale will be used to fund social and infrastructure projects.
The bond will have a face value of VND100,000. Interest will be paid annually and principal upon maturity. They will be registered at the Vietnam Securities Depository and tradable on the Hanoi Stock Exchange.
The city government will decide coupons for the coming bond issue based on interest rates at the commercial banks majority owned by the State and the market situation at the time of bond sale but will not be lower than those of Government bonds.
The coupon is expected to be equal to those of G-bonds plus 80-100 basis points. According to Bao Viet Securities Company, banks favor five-year bonds due to long-term cash flow risks.
In late August, Hanoi sold five-year bonds valued at a total of VND2 trillion with a coupon of 7.2% per annum.
According to the Hanoi Department of Finance, the city’s budget collections in 2015 may be 3.5% higher than the year’s target. The city’s public debt is capped at 150% of investment capital for basic construction projects.
Currently, Hanoi’s public debt is estimated at VND17 trillion. The city will have to pay VND4.4 trillion in debt next year and has already arranged money for this obligation.
The government of Hanoi City plans to issue municipal bonds worth a total of VND4 trillion this year to raise funds for key projects. The sale this week aims to mobilize money for road, railway, wastewater treatment and hospital projects.
FabMax, SHTPLabs partner to develop hi-tech human resources
The Saigon Hi-Tech Park Research and Development Center (SHTPLabs) and Dutch firm FabMax B.V (FabMax) have clinched a cooperation agreement on human resource development for the domestic semiconductor industry.
The two sides struck the deal at the third annual international conference organized by the Saigon Hi-tech Park (SHTP) authority last week. The event was attended by scientists and experts in information technology and semiconductor sectors as well as local and foreign professionals in the field of high technology.
Under the agreement, both parties will upgrade and use SHTPLabs at SHTP in HCMC’s District 9 for some investment projects of FabMax, including human resource development programs for the local semiconductor industry. The programs comprise technical training courses ordered by domestic and foreign firms.
The SHTPLabs and FabMax will also partner with Dutch Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) for vocational training programs, preparatory and advanced courses. In addition, the two parties will join hands with HCMC and foreign institutions for training programs.
Notably, SHTPLabs and FabMax will join a program to develop human resources for the CNS microchip project invested by Saigon Industry Corporation (CNS). The project is estimated to cost VND6.6 trillion (US$294.7 million) and will be located at SHTP.
As part of the cooperation deal, FabMax will research and develop refurbished products based on original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products at SHTPLabs. The two sides will carry out R&D programs for new products and test new technologies.
The deal with FabMax is part of a major program SHTP is implementing to help improve the quantity and quality of human resources for hi-tech enterprises inside and outside the hi-tech park.
At the event, the SHTP authority struck a deal with SOS Co. Ltd. to develop a pilot geographical information system (GIS) for better information management. This is regarded as a solution to back the SHTP’s units and departments and enhance the management efficiency in the fields of investment, planning, construction and environment in SHTP.
Draft circular specifies rules for mineral exports
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has drafted a circular stipulating that only some qualified businesses are eligible to export minerals.
The draft says enterprises exporting minerals should be established and run as per the Law on Enterprises as well as the Law on Commerce.
The companies should not have violated laws and regulations relating to minerals, environment protection and mineral exports or have temporarily suspended their export activities. Minerals meant for export should be processed as per quality standards and be in the list of exported minerals.
The draft also stipulates that exporters having minerals with less than 0.05 per cent thorium and uranium have to apply for the licence given for the export of radioactive materials, as granted by the science and technology ministry.
The ministry said local mineral exporters would have to follow normal customs procedures, while showing the original documents and copies declaring certification of quality and analytics on the quality and standard of each mineral consignment for export. Records proving the legal origin of the mineral exports will also be required.
In addition, exporters have to report about the quantity of their previous mineral exports.
The draft says customs officers at border gates have to take samples of each mineral consignment to check their quality to prevent the export of raw minerals.
Businesses will have to pay for the tests in laboratories that follow the Viet Nam Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (VILAS).
Enterprises that violate regulations about the declaration of mineral quality will be punished as per current laws and will be prevented from exporting minerals till they get the ministry's approval.
Four kinds of minerals, allowed to be exported on a limited basis till 2020, are titanium slag type 1 and type 2, reverted illuminate, concentrate rutile ore and white marble lumps.
Binh Duong’s industrial parks eye more productive operation
The southern province of Binh Duong moves to attract hi-tech and environmentally-friendly investment projects into industrial parks to serve its sustainable development through 2020.
Head of the provincial management board of industrial parks Tran Van Lieu was speaking at a ceremony to mark the 20th founding anniversary of the authority in Binh Duong on November 12.
The locality will prioritise the support industries that are able to join the global productions chains and the spearhead industries such as electricity, electronics, telecommunication, information technology, and mechanical engineering, he revealed.
It plans to improve the operational efficiency of industrial parks and reinforce their infrastructure connectivity with the southeast and southern key economic zone.
Binh Duong is now home to 28 industrial parks covering 9,500 hectares, which are expected to increase to 35 spanning 13,764 hectares by 2020.
According to the management board, the annual average revenue growth in the industrial parks stood between 30-35 percent over the years.
Between 2011 and 2015, businesses grossed about 32.5 billion USD in revenue, including 15.5 billion USD from exports, contributing some 800 million USD to the local State budget.
Nearly 12,000 workers have been employed on an annual basis since 1995, increasing the total number of employees at the industrial zones to 240,000 at present.-
Japanese firms look to promote investment in Da Nang city
More than 120 Japanese businesses attended a workshop in Tokyo on November 12 to study investment opportunities in Vietnam’s central Da Nang city.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong told the businesses that Da Nang has topped the country’s provincial competitiveness and information-communication technology index for years.
He pledged that the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan will provide across-the-board assistance to the Japanese businesses.
Former Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam cum Director of Vietnam Economic Research Institute, Yushita Hiroyuki, raised the fact that Japanese businesses had once concentrated more on the northern and southern parts of Vietnam than the central region.
However, in recent years, Japanese companies are keen to explore the investment climate in the central region, especially Da Nang – which lies at the end of the East-West economic corridor connecting Myanmar, Thailand, Laos with the East Sea.
With its favourable geographical position, Da Nang could serve as a logistics destination and effectively support Vietnamese northern and southern parts alike, he said.
The city also is a magnet for tourists as it is blessed with world heritage sites and beautiful beaches, he added.
Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Huynh Duc Tho committed to creating all favourable conditions for Japanese investors to study trade opportunities in the city.
During the workshop, Japanese businesses were introduced to the city’s urban and socio-economic development orientations and hi-tech parks as well as seaports and airports, and the wage policy for workers and land lease.
Earlier, Tho worked with President of the H.I.S Group Hirabayashi Akira who said Da Nang will become a direct rival to China’s Hainan island, Indonesia’s Bali, and even Japan’s Okinawa in the near future.
The President revealed that his group plans to invest in 10 hotels in Vietnam and hopes that Da Nang will play a key role in the plan.
He pledged to push ahead with the launching of the Osaka – Da Nang direct air route and opening more charter flights between Da Nang and other Japanese localities.-VNA
Vietnam suspends import of wheat from Ukraine
Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on November 12 decided to suspend the import of wheat from Ukraine.
Ukraine’s wheat containing Sitophilus granarius Linnaeus, the wheat weevil, which is subject to Vietnam’s plant quarantine, has been cited as the reason behind the decision, which will be put in place within 60 days.
The MARD assigned the Plant Protection Department to closely supervise imported batches of wheat during the time the decision has yet to take effect and informed Ukraine’s authorised plant quarantine agency for taking proper corrective measures.
The department will also examine and confirm corrective measures by Ukraine and report to the MARD.
Rice export deals hit record level in October
Exporters signed contracts to sell nearly 2 million tonnes of rice overseas in October, exceeding the figure of the same period last year by over 22 percent and a record volume for one month.
The outcome is attributable to the winning of bids to sell more than 1.5 million tonnes of rice to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Cuba.
According to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), in the last ten months, Vietnam exported over 5 million tonnes of rice, a slight decrease of 6 percent year-on-year. The export price also dropped by 24.03 USD per tonne.
Asia maintained its position as Vietnam’s biggest rice importer, despite an annual decline of 11.2 percent in the market share to 71.58 percent. Africa, Australia, and Europe showed greater demand for Vietnamese rice with higher imports recorded during the period.
The VFA anticipates 6.34 million tonnes of rice will be shipped abroad in 2015, excluding cross-border sales estimated at 1.64 million tonnes.
320 firms gather in 13th Vietnam Expo in HCM City
About 320 domestic and international companies will showcase their products at the 13th Vietnam International Trade Fair (Vietnam Expo) in Ho Chi Minh City from December 2-5.
The fair will take place at Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC), featuring around 350 booths of exhibitors from 20 countries and territories worldwide, including the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, China, Rumania, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, said Nguyen Khac Luan, General Director of the National Trade and Advertising Joint Stock Company (Vinexad), the event organiser.
The 5,000-sqm expo will be divided into three main exhibition sections – International Pavilion, Bicycles and Spare Parts, and Hand Tools – Hardware.
This year, Sri Lanka will participate for the first time, bringing to the fair high-quality multi-functional paints and coatings, natural skin-care products alongside a wide collection of jewellery and gems, Luan noted.
According to the general director, the Vietnam Expo has proved itself as an effective platform for Vietnam’s and overseas enterprises to seek opportunities in trade, investment, technological transfer and business partnership and gain access to more markets.
In addition, the 4 th Vietnam International Bicycle Exhibition (Vietnam Cycle 2015) will be held alongside the Vietnam Expo at the same location.
The event, the only of its kind, is organised under the patronage of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Asia Bicycle Alliance, Vietnam Auto Motorcycle Bicycle Association (VAMOBA) and Vinexad.
Visitors will be offered trial rides on the latest generation of electrical bicycles and motorbikes at the event.-
Masan opens $53 million factory in north
A new factory belonging to the Masan Group, called Masan MB (MMB), was opened on November 11 in Nghi Loc district, northern Nghe An province. With VND1.2 trillion ($53.59 million) in investment on an area of 6.3 ha within the Nam Cam Industrial Zone, it will produce instant noodles and fish sauce.
It is the first fish sauce production facility of Masan in the north of Vietnam. The current designed capacity is 600 million instant noodles packs per year and 120 million liters of fish sauce. MMB also meets the Class A standard (the highest in Vietnam) in terms of wastewater treatment and aims to conform to HACCP, ISO:14000, ISO:9001 and OHSAS:18001 standards by 2016.
Over the course of ten years, running at the full designed capacity, Masan Group expects to save VND400 billion ($17.86 million) in logistics costs compared to transporting products from its southern manufacturing facilities to the north. It also expects to benefit from corporate income tax incentives offered by the province, saving VND3 trillion ($133,980).
The new facility in Nghe An is part of Masan Group’s efforts to establish a deeper manufacturing footprint around Vietnam to be closer to consumers, be better able to manufacture branded food and beverage products that cater to regional tastes, generate economies of scale, and benefit from the latest world-class equipment and practices.
MMB is expected to employ approximately 1,000 workers at the factory and provide opportunities for them to advance to higher skilled jobs and professional positions. Masan Group is also implementing a special program to support the relocation of existing Masan employees who are from Nghe An to return home and work for MMB. As part of its belief in giving back to the communities where it operates, the company will also be launching a scholarship program worth VND200 million ($8,932) for students in the province and will provide them with career opportunities upon graduation.
“The commissioning of Masan MB is special to Masan Group because many of our colleagues are from Nghe An,” Deputy CEO of Masan Group and CEO of Masan Consumer Corporation, Mr. Seokhee Won, said. With MMB the group can make a positive contribution to socio-economic development in the province, he went on. “Masan MB will help us better serve our consumers and is part of our purpose of improving the spiritual and material lives of consumers each and every day,” he added.
Masan Group is one of Vietnam’s largest corporations and a leader in the branded food and beverage sector and the animal nutrition value chain.
VIB reports solid nine-month performance
The Vietnam International Bank (VIB) achieved a pre-provision profit of VND747 billion ($34.2 million), while the bank’s pre-tax profit reached VND370 billion ($17 million) in the year to end of September, up 58 per cent on-year, according to the bank’s newly released third-quarter financial statement.
Its total lending book stood at VND51.3 trillion ($2.35 billion), up 18 per cent on-year against the same period last year, including VND44.3 trillion ($2.03 billion) of loans to customers, up 16.2 per cent compared to early 2015.
In October 2015, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) approved the maximum credit growth limit of 25 per cent for VIB in the year, from the previous limit of 20 per cent.
Deposits from customers cane to VND50.2 trillion ($2.3 billion), up 2.5 per cent; specially, non-term deposits jumped 21.1 per cent. Though lending growth is positive, the bank’s total assets decreased by VND8.15 trillion ($374 million), mainly because VIB decreased most of its deposits on the interbank market in the background of market uncertainties. In addition, VIB also re-structured the government bond portfolio to better suit its investment strategy.
In terms of risk management, the bank’s non-performing loan ratio now stands at 2.34 per cent, down by 0.18 per cent against early this year.
VIB is one of the first banks that have completed the debt trading plan with state-owned Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC). The bank’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) continues to remain at 18 per cent - the highest level among Vietnamese large-scaled banks.
As one of the 10 banks selected by SBV to implement the Basel II risk management standards, VIB has soon kicked off this project with highly experienced experts from its strategic shareholder, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), and Backice and HPT companies.
In a recent ratings report released by Moody’s, VIB continued to lead the credit ratings among 10 largest local banks by remaining the highest baseline credit assessment of B3 together with few other counterparts.
Noticeably, among the banks rated B3, VIB is the only local bank that has its outlook increased by Moody’s to “Positive”. In the third quarter this year, VIB became the only bank in ASEAN to win “The Best Segment Solution Award” from MasterCard, a leader in global payments.
Besides, VIB also won the award “Vietnam’s outstanding innovative digital banking product in 2015” for its MyVIB mobile banking app from the International Data Group (IDG).
Kangaroo Group develops market in Indonesia
Vietnamese household appliance producer Kangaroo Group plans to make strong investment in Indonesia as this is a potential market with increasing demands for top-quality commodities, said General Director of Kangaroo Group Nguyen Thanh Phuong at the customer conference held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The group organised a meeting with more than 500 agents in Indonesia when attending the international exhibition on food and beverages InterFood Indonesia 2015 from November 11-14.
Kangaroo’s products have been present in the Indonesian market for over a year through Vietnam’s trade office in Jakarta and its representative office in Indonesia has operated in over four months with stellar performance, Phuong said.
He revealed the group’s intention to build a plant in this market, adding it is now seeking suitable partners to develop business through distributors’ existing customer networks.
Since its inception 12 years ago, Kangaroo has developed nearly 100 lines of appliances such as meat grinders, blenders, food bubbled ozone decontamination, fans, steam cookers, among others. With 2,500 agents nationwide, Kangaroo products have been on shelves in almost all supermarkets in the domestic market.
In a bid to become a leading trademark in Southeast Asia in the next three years, the group is making efforts to fulfill its targets regarding markets, human resources and product capacity to meet increasing demands.