BUSINESS IN BRIEF 2/4
Vietnam Airlines opens Hanoi-Sydney air route
National carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) officially launched its non-stop route between Hà Nội and Sydney on Wednesday, making this the airline’s third route to Australia.
The nine hours and 35 minutes flight from Hà Nội will take off at 11.55pm every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The flight from Sydney will depart at 3.15pm in the summer and 2.15pm in the winter every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
The carrier will operate new-generation Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on the route.
Speaking at the launch of the route in Sydney, Việt Nam’s General Consul in Sydney Hoàng Minh Sơn said the route would help further boost trade and travel between the two countries.
He noted that the Australian Government had allowed the import of fruits from Việt Nam, which should be transported by air to ensure freshness.
Kerrie Mather, management and operation director at the Sydney International Airport, emphasised that the new route would help cement the bilateral relationship and meet the increasing travel demand from Sydney to Việt Nam.
Vietnam Airlines already operates daily flights from HCM City to Sydney and Melbourne. The new route has brought the carrier’s flights to a total of 17 flights per week.
ChoTot launches used car platform
Chotot.vn, a C2C e-commerce platform, officially announced the launch of its new service Cho Tot Xe, a platform reserved for the trading of used motor cars in Vietnam, on March 28.
Operating as a pilot since last October, Cho Tot Xe has had 10 million visitors, 100,000 news items published, and made 2.4 million connections between buyers and sellers.
Based on official figures as well as data analysis from advertising, Chotot forecast that the number of new cars to be sold would reach nearly 350,000 by 2020.
It also said that Vietnam’s second-hand car market has seen significant growth of more than 80 per cent since 2013, with 100,000 cars traded each year, which will triple to 300,000 by 2020.
With an average car price of about $20,000 on Chotot.vn, the company believes that the used car market will be worth up to $6 billion after three years.
The average 13-day period for an advertisement on Chotot before a transaction is completed shows that the market is operating actively.
Chotot also noted in its first quarter 2017 report on used vehicles that the three motor cars retaining their price are the Hyundai i10, the Toyota Vios, and the Toyota Innova.
According to Chotot’s figures on the used car market in the fourth quarter of last year, used cars are an average of $9,500 cheaper than new cars.
Chotot.vn was founded in Vietnam in 2012 and been a leading C2C e-commerce platform, with a product catalog that ranges from motorbikes to mobile phones, computers, household appliances, furniture, and pet goods.
It recorded impressive business results in 2016, with 1.2 million hits per day, up 35 per cent compared to the previous year, 1.1 billion visitors per month, up 100 per cent, and 2.5 million successful transactions per year, up 150 per cent.
Eximbank targets 2017 earnings of $26.35 million
The Export-Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank, HSX stock code EIB) has released a resolution from its Board of Management approving business targets for 2017, which will be submitted to its annual general meeting (AGM) on April 21.
Total assets are to reach VND150 trillion ($6.58 billion), mobilized capital VND120 trillion ($5.27 billion), and total outstanding loans VND108.8 trillion ($4.78 billion), with a non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of less than 3 per cent. Pre-tax profit is targeted at VND600 billion ($26.35 million), up 53 per cent compared with 2016’s result.
In another resolution released recently, the Board of Management approved a $100 million loan granted by the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) at market interest rates agreed upon by the two parties in each capital withdrawal. The maximum loan term is 18 months and the loan is unsecured.
The bank has received three candidate profiles for its Board of Management and will seek comments from the State Bank of Vietnam before the election at the AGM.
It expects to elect up to three new members, with the AGM to decide on exact numbers. Its Board currently has eight members.
Eximbank is one of the largest joint stock commercial banks in Vietnam, with charter capital of more than VND12 trillion ($527 million). Its unaudited consolidated financial results for 2016 showed pre-tax profit of VND390 billion ($17.13 million), up 542.25 per cent against 2015 and fulfilling 39 per cent of the targeted VND1 trillion ($43.9 million).
Its 2016 business results were disappointing as both lending and capital mobilization were weaker. The net interest margin (NIM) also narrowed, with net interest income falling. Other operating income was up and provision costs were down.
Manufacturing, processing inventory increases 12.5 percent
The inventory index of the processing and manufacturing field was up 12.5 percent in March compared to the same period last year, reported the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Some industries seeing inventory rates higher than the common level comprise motor vehicle making with 89 percent; electronic, computer and optic products with 79.6 percent.
The rate of paper and paper products in stock hit 51.5 percent, beverage 50.8 percent, nonmetallic mineral products 35.2 percent, furniture 29.3 percent, rubber and plastic items 28.1 percent.
During the first two months this year, the manufacturing and processing field posted the inventory rate of 74.3 percent.
Industries having high inventory levels include medicines with 113.4 percent, precast metal products except machines and equipment 111.5 percent and chemical and chemical products 102.8 percent.
Company prepares for export of poultry meat to Japan
The Koyu & Unitek Co Ltd has recently inaugurated a meat processing plant with a daily capacity of 50,000 chickens at the Long Binh industrial park in the southern province of Dong Nai, as part of its preparation to export poultry products to Japan.
The plant built at cost of 6 million USD has been equipped with advanced machinery imported from Japan and run following strict hygiene and food safety standards.
Chickens for production are sourced from a farm run by Nguyen Minh Kha in Nam Cat Tien commune, Tan Phu district.
Kha said he has taken part in the supply chain for poultry export to Japan for two years. He made sure his poultry is free from diseases and Japan-banned antibiotics.
The farm is expected to be scaled up to 720,000 chickens in next June or July from the current figure of 560,000. Most of its breeds have been imported from France, while feed has been provided by De Heus Vietnam.
The last barrier for Koyu & Unitek chicken meat products is animal quarantine from both countries.
Nguyen Van Quyen, head of the company’s export project board, said Koyu & Unitek is confident to pass the examination as its production chain is strictly in line with standards set by Japan.
The company expected to sell chicken products in the home market from April and ship its first chicken container to Japan in June or July.
Import-export earnings estimated over 89.3 billion USD
Vietnam was estimated to have an import-export value of 89.36 billion USD in the first three months of 2017, with the figure for March alone hitting about 33.7 billion USD, said the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
The three-month sum represented a 17.5-percent increase compared to the same period last year.
Of which, export reached 43.73 billion USD, up 12.8 percent year-on-year.
Computers, electronic devices and components recorded the highest annual jump, at 42.3 percent to reach 5.31 billion USD.
Garment and textile value increased 10.2 percent from last year to hit 5.63 billion USD, while phones and components shipments generated 7.39 billion USD, an annual decrease of 10.7 percent.
Tran Thanh Hai, Vice Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Export and Import Administration, noted that growing export value has contributed significantly to improve the balance of payments and boost GDP growth, while reflecting the recovery of domestic production.
Import of raw materials and machinery in service of local production and outsourcing accounted for 80 percent of the import value of 45.63 billion USD, which showed a 22.4 percent rise year on year, signaling a positive sign for the country’s export activities in the coming months.
Industrial production index grows slightly in first quarter
The industrial production index rose 4.1 percent in the first quarter this year, lower than the figures of the same period of previous years, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has said.
Mining experienced a drop of 11.4 percent while manufacturing and engineering was up 8.3 percent and electricity production and distribution hiked 9.4 percent.
Ha Quang Tuyen, Director of the GSO’s National Account System Department attributed the modest growth to food manufacturing and processing, which account for 15 percent of the index, posting a 4.4 percent growth rate, a far cry from the 8.6 percent rate in 2016. The electronics sector saw its production value down by 1 percent due to Samsung Vietnam’s 38 percent manufacturing contraction.
Industries that recorded high production value growth include metal (43.4 percent), prefabricated metal (14.3 percent); paper, paper products and apparel (11.6 percent), and apparel (11.4 percent). Meanwhile, crude oil and fuel, and coal mining were down 13.6 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.
Significant expansion was seen in the manufacturing of several industrial items, including television (43.3 percent), rolled steel (32.2 percent), crude iron and steel (23.2 percent), urea (18.5 percent), fresh milk (12.7 percent), and chemical paint (12.1 percent).
Cities and provinces registering industrial production indexes higher than the average level include Hai Phong (17.2 percent), Thai Nguyen (12.5 percent), Da Nang (10.6 percent), Hai Duong (9.3 percent), Ho Chi Minh City (5.9 percent) and Hanoi (6 percent).
In the meantime, Can Tho, Quang Ninh, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Bac Ninh and Quang Ngai ran a 3.3-11.7 percent annual decrease in the index.
Inventories in manufacturing and engineering as of March 1 went up 12.5 percent year-on-year.
The employees of industrial firms rose 2.2 percent annually, with those working for State-owned and non-State enterprises down 1.7 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, and for foreign-invested businesses up 4.4 percent.
Handicraft exporters seek to expand markets
Experts have advised handicraft businesses to improve workers’ competence and increase value-chain connectivity to expand markets.
They said Vietnamese handicraft products have been exported to such choosy markets as the EU, the US, the Republic of Korea, and Japan, with a total export turnover of nearly 1.5 billion USD per year.
Director of Hanoi Hung Anh Co., Ltd Trinh Tuyet Nga said European customers still favor handicrafts made in Vietnam due to their high quality and sophistication.
The EU would remain the main importer of Vietnamese handicrafts, she said, noting that her company has exported one container of fine-art handicrafts worth around 10,000 USD to the EU since the beginning of this year.
However, it is difficult for the company to handle big orders from foreign businesses due to financial restrictions and small-scale production while the EU has strict demands for quality, design and delivery of products, Nga said.
Most of Vietnamese handicraft exporters are small-and medium-sized enterprises; hence their trade competence is not high, and they lack of experience to make use of international trade opportunities.
The application of traditional methods also makes it difficult for businesses to produce and export handicrafts at the same time.
Ta Minh Hung, a trade promotion expert from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, held that it is necessary to improve the production value chain from manufacturing to selling the products as well as embrace links between production and trade to optimize production and consumption capacity.
For example, in the stage of production, he suggested boosting the application of technologies to increase output and quality, thus meeting the demand of big orders.
Regarding the commercial stage, it is essential to set up financially-strong companies to expand markets, he said.
He recommended encouraging potential domestic businesses to participate in international trade promotion programmes and trade fairs to popularize products, seek partners and open markets.
Vietnamese businesses are scheduled to attend the Mega Show – an international handicraft trade fair in China’s Hong Kong in October and France’s Paris in November 2017.
Selection of Vietnam’s best aquatic products kicks off
The Vietnam Fisheries Society and Vietnam Fisheries Magazine held a press conference on March 31 to launch the voting for the best aquatic products of Vietnam.
The title has been given twice in five years since 2009, honouring 100 units and individuals each time, said Nguyen Viet Thang, President of the Vietnam Fisheries Society. After three times, thousands of businesses, collectives and people have applied for the competition.
Its criteria cover economic and social benefits, technology application in production, along with resources and environment protection.
According to the organising board, the award aims to boost the quality of aquatic products as well as the use of technology in production, thus raising the fisheries sector's competitiveness.
The aquatic sector has contributed a large sum of foreign currency to Vietnam, from 285.4 billion USD in 1991 to about seven USD currently. It has become the strategic export of the country.
Besides, the sector also generates jobs in numerous fields, such as aquatic farming, fishing, processing and logistics, benefitting the economic development of localities.
Binh Duong promotes favourable business environment
The southern province of Binh Duong has set creating a favourable business environment a top priority to attract investment and improve its provincial competitiveness index (PCI).
The move is part of an investment attraction programme in the period 2016 – 2020, according to Mai Hung Dung, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’ Committee.
Accordingly, the province will hold more dialogues with enterprises to resolve problems they are facing and boost administrative procedure reform, including single-window system and online administration services.
Binh Duong has to date had 2,890 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth 27.1 billion USD.
In the first three months, the locality attracted over 1.34 billion USD of FDI capital. Of the total, 793 million USD was from 43 newly licensed projects and the rest was from 18 projects that got additional capital.
It is also home to over 26,500 domestic firms with a total registered capital of 198.2 trillion VND (about 8.7 billion USD).
During the first quarter, the province approved the setting up of 966 new enterprises with a total investment capital of 5.39 trillion VND (about 237.3 million USD), while allowing 166 operating ones to raise their capital by a total of 3.73 trillion VND (164 .1 million USD).
Binh Duong plans to attract partners with strong economic potentials to industries with high technology and high-added value, agro-industry and support industry.
Regarding domestic investment, the locality aims to have 23,000 new projects worth 110 trillion VND, doubling the period of 2011 – 2015.
It also will give priority to investment into industrial parks with well-prepared infrastructure.
PetroVietnam surpasses business targets in Q1
The Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) surpassed its business targets by 4-16 percent, especially oil exploitation, in the first three months of the year.
Total revenue of the group topped 117.1 trillion VND (5.14 billion USD), exceeding its quarterly plan by 16 percent. The group posted an after-tax profit of 5.1 trillion VND (224.1 million USD), 18 percent higher than its target or accounting for 30 percent of yearly plan.
During the period, PetroVietnam’s tax payment to the state budget was 20.8 trillion VND (914.1 million USD), 12 percent more than its goal and up 19 percent year-on-year.
The group produced about 6.47 million of oil equivalent, surpassing the three-month plan by 5.3 percent. Gas exploitation in the period reached 2.52 billion cubic metres, 5.7 percent higher than the target.
In the first quarter, PetroVietnam produced 5.44 billion kWh of electricity, 1.69 million tonnes of petrol and some 447,000 tonnes of nitrogenous fertilizer.
The PVN said that its industrial production value was estimated at 116 trillion VND (5.1 billion USD) in the quarter, surpassing the target by 7.4 percent and accounting for 27 percent of its yearly plan.
In a bid to fulfill plan for the second quarter and the whole year, PVN General Director Nguyen Vu Truong Son said that the group has focused all resources and measures on ensuring the effective operation of its five core areas of oil and gas exploration and exploitation, electricity, gas, petrochemical industries and high-tech services.
It will also continue strict management of oil and gas exploring and exploiting activities and giving priority to major projects like Ca Rong Do (Red Emperor) and Ca Voi Xanh (Blue Whale).
Particularly, the group will continue its business restructuring plan in 2016-2020 as approved by the Prime Minister.
In 2017, PVN strives to exploit some 23.81 million tonnes of oil equivalent, generate 20.1 billion kWh of electricity, and produce 1.52 million tonnes of nitrogenous fertilizer and about 6.8 million tonnes of gasoline.
Quang Ninh looks to improve public services for businesses
A conference took place in the northern province of Quang Ninh on March 31 to launch the implementation of the Government’s Resolution 19 on improving the business climate and national competitiveness.
Speaking at the conference, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Long said Quang Ninh’s provincial competitiveness index (PCI) was 65.6 points in 2016, ranked second nationwide.
The overall ranking jumped one place from 2015, he said, taking note of administrative shortcomings that led to lower places in a number of PCI criteria, including time costs, labour training, legal institutions, and transparency.
He urged local officials and public servants to do their best in providing quality services for residents and enterprises.
As heard at the function, Quang Ninh was set to continue to organise dialogues between provincial leaders and business representatives once every quarter, while district- and commune-level officials were encouraged to hold regular meetings with local businesses and promptly help them access land sources and handle difficulties.
All local policies and announcements on business administrative procedures would be made public.
IT application was considered a priority in building an e-governance system in the province, which would offer cost-saving online administrative procedures.
A hotline connecting businesses with relevant officials and an online support service to receive and process local feedback will be put in place.
Ta Duc Quyet, head of the Mai Quyen service firm, said administrative services in Quang Ninh have become more efficient in recent years.
In 2016, Quang Ninh attracted 567 million USD in foreign direct investment, up 30 percent year-on-year.
FPT Online signs MOU with Japanese firms
FPT Online has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with two Japanese companies specifically aimed at expanding its footprint in the television and entertainment segments.
fpt online signs mou with japanese firms hinh 0 The Japanese companies are Okura Co. Ltd and Pia Corporation.
Over recent years, Japan has been the most important market for FPT, which accounts for more than 50% of its top line revenue. This relationship is expected to further help FPT gain market share and boost revenue in the island nation.
Saigontourist to offer huge discounts at int’l travel expo
Saigontourist Travel Service Company has announced that it will offer discounts of up to nearly US$230,000 for visitors at the Vietnam International Travel Mart – VITM 2017 scheduled for April 6-9 at the International Exhibition Centre in Hanoi.
This is the fifth time the company has participated in the event. Saigontourist plans to offer US$272 in discount for each tourist booking inbound and outbound tours along with vouchers for huge discounts on services at luxury resorts.
Visitors to the pavilion of Saigontourist will also have a chance to win a free Da Nang-Bay Mau Coconut Forest Tour valued at about US$210 with and get discount vouchers on air ticket bookings and car rentals.
Ancient city starts essential oils plant from local herbs
Thanh Ha Industrial Park in Hoi An city has started construction of its first-ever essential oils plant, which will be used for domestic products and export.
The province said the plant, which covers on 2,500sq.m, with a total investment of VND90 billion (nearly US$4 million), will be the largest essential oil manufacture plant in Viet Nam, after the ones built in Ha Giang, Nghe An, Vinh Phuc and Yen Bai provinces in the north.
Project director La Ngoc Anh said the plant will start production in the third quarter this year, with a capacity of 1 million units of essential oils for cosmetics from local herbs each year.
According to the project’s investor, the Viet Nam Natural Cosmetics Company, the company exports 15,000 litres of essential oil from local herbs each year to Asian and European markets.
As scheduled, the plant will use various herbs such as basil, mint, coriander Chinese parsley, citronella and other cosmetic herbs from Tra Que village for essential oil production. The plant will also produce shampoo, shower cream, skin cream, soap and perfumes with natural aromas.
Tra Que village, with area of 18ha, was allocated for organic vegetable farming under a brand name recognised by the Intellectual Property Rights Office of Viet Nam in 2009.
Nguyen Van Dung, Chairman of Hoi An City People’s Committee, said natural oil production will develop the Tra Que brand, making it a favourite destination for safe farm products.
He said the village can be part of a value chain that extends from farming to oil production.
HCM City to offer soft loans to manufacturing firms
The HCM City People’s Committee plans to offer low-interest loans of no more than VND200 billion (US$8.8 million) with a maximum seven-year term to enterprises operating in the manufacturing or support industry.
The aim is to reduce the number of imports by helping domestic companies buy more advanced equipment that can make high-value products.
Vietnamese enterprises and business groups operating under the Enterprise Law and Co-operative Law, and non-business units having investment projects, are eligible to receive the loans.
The city would cover 70 per cent of the interest rate on loans taken out for construction projects and 85 per cent of the interest for equipment and technology projects.
If companies need more than VND200 billion and a longer loan term, the People’s Committee will consider each case and seek support from other sources.
For loans in foreign currency, the city’s budget will support interest on loans at exchange rates issued by the State Bank of Viet Nam.
The city will cover 100 per cent of the loan’s interest rate for projects related to environmentally-friendly equipment and renewable energy or the latest automatic technologies (controlled by computer software).
Half of the interest rate will be covered for projects that include construction of exhibition centres and provision of gas and chemicals for factories and research laboratories. Projects on design, research and development of products for supporting industries and industry in general will also pay only 50 per cent of the interest.
Interested enterprises can register at the city’s Department of Industry and Trade. The city’s People’s Committee said it would issue a decision on each project submission within 15 days.
Dong Nai: Investors eye industrial parks beyond centre
Industrial parks located in mountainous areas or far from downtown Dong Nai province have caught eyes of more investors since early 2016 thanks to local efforts to develop transport infrastructure.
According to the Dong Nai Industrial Zones Authority (DIZA), Long Khanh Industrial Park in Long Khanh town welcomed 43 projects, worth more than 100 million USD since the beginning of last year while over 80 million USD from 11 projects landed in Nhon Trach III Industrial Park in Nhon Trach district. Four investment projects bumped more than 130 million USD into Dau Giay Industrial Park in Thong Nhat district.
It was estimated that the money poured in these IPs in combine accounted for over 40 percent of the total newly-registered investment of the province.
DIZA deputy head Mai Van Nhon said all the three parks are situated far from Bien Hoa city of the southern province. The locations seemed to make them less attractive than others as only few businesses, mostly in textile and footwear, settled there in the past.
Roughly 30 percent of land in Long Khanh Industrial Park was leased to ten investors in 2015, seven years after the park was rolled out in 2008. But thing has changed, the industrial park has seen a dramatic rise in leasing applications over the last year, leading to a demand for more land. The province has proposed the government to expand the estate by 200 hectares, added to the existing area of 180 hectare, Nhon said.
He noted fast infrastructure development that has made the IPs more accessible by roads is the main reason behind that. Additionally, Bien Hoa city, Trang Bom and Long Thanh districts where industries were earlier developed have become short of worker supply so that investors had to turn their head to other areas with larger labour pool.
Dong Nai currently hosts 32 industrial parks, covering a total area of 10,240 hectares, of which approximately 4,900 hectares, or over 71 percent, have been leased.
By the end of 2016, the province had 1,253 valid foreign invested projects with total registered capital of 25.7 billion USD, with the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China) and Japan being the largest investors.
Vietnam’s FPT Japan hailed for strengthening bilateral ties
FPT Japan, a branch of Vietnam’s largest software producer FPT Software, has been hailed for its outstanding contributions to promoting the country’s IT potential to the world and boosting Vietnam-Japan ties.
It was presented a certificate for merit on March 30 by Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan during his working visit to Japan.
As a Vietnamese IT company leading in discovering new markets, FPT has helped enhance the status of Vietnam, said Minister Tuan at the event that took place in FPT Japan’s office in Tokyo.
He also expressed his hope that FPT Japan will continue its development and every staff will be an envoy to deliver culture and spirit of Vietnamese, thus tightening friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Japan.
Vietnam will continue to collaborate with the Japanese government to promote career guidance programmes, training for IT engineers, and research on new technologies, Tuan added.
For his part, Tran Dang Hoa, Director of FPT Japan, thanked the Ministry of Information and Communications and Vietnamese Embassy in Vietnam for supporting FPT Japan since its inception 12 years ago.
FPT Japan is now one of the 50 top IT firms in Japan with earnings of 128 million USD in 2016, a year- on- year increase of 49 percent, he said.
It is also the biggest foreign company in Japan in terms of staff with 760 employees working at four offices in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka, Hoa noted, adding that the firm plans to expand its size to 2,000 – 3,000 employees.
The firm will continue working to become one of the 40 largest IT companies in Japan, contributing to strengthening relations between the two countries.
Talk helps businesses access agricultural processing technology
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on March 30 held a dialogue on agricultural product processing and export with 30 domestic businesses to help them gain access to advanced technology in the world and in Switzerland in particular.
Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that the processing of agricultural products brings about the highest economic value, but it is currently the weakest phase of Vietnam.
Therefore, the event was held to introduce Switzerland’s technology to participating enterprises, so they can choose appropriate technology for their production.
The ministry will help connect the two sides, Cuong said, emphasising the possibility of holding visits by the two countries’ businesses in order to boost intensive processing of farm produce.
In the time to come, the MARD will usually organise talks with businesses to help them deal with difficulties in production, he added.
Ambassador Duong Chi Dung, head of Vietnam’s permanent delegation in Geneva, Switzerland, introduced participating businesses to technology currently applied by Swiss groups and companies.
Dung also affirmed to help connect the two countries’ enterprises in order to increase the quality of Vietnamese farm produce.
At the event, many enterprises paid attention to advanced technology and showed their hope to collaborate with Swiss groups and companies.
They also proposed the ministry remove difficulties they face in mechanism, policy and product distribution.
mVisa to come out later this year
Visa Vietnam on Thursday announced that its mVisa, a quick response (QR) code-based payments service, will soon be expanded to merchants and consumers in 10 countries, including Viet Nam.
mVisa is a mobile payments solution that brings the benefits of easy and secure digital commerce to financial institutions, merchants and consumers, helping accelerate global migration from cash to electric payments.
The new payment service will also help merchants reduce their investments in expensive point-of-sale infrastructure.
Sean Preston, Visa country manager for Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos, announced that his company was working with banks and merchants so that the service could come out late this year.
On the same day, Visa announced its 2016 Consumer Payment Attitudes Study, which said that consumers in Viet Nam were increasingly leaving their cash at home, with 62 per cent preferring to use electronic payments.
“When asked why they are carrying less cash the majority of consumers said this was because of greater usage of cards and safety concern of carrying cash,” the study said.
Visa said that its findings come on the back of an announcement that the Vietnamese Government plans to make transactions almost totally electronic by 2020 with the goal of having only 10 per cent of all transaction conducted.
The company’s survey also showed that 83 per cent of respondents said they shopped online at least once a month, an increase of 11 per cent over 2015.
It also uncovered positive attitudes towards some of the less frequently discussed aspects of electronic payments.
For instance, 77 per cent of Vietnamese respondents had a favourable view of services that use automated payments to eliminate the physical process of paying, such as taxi apps.
In addition, 72 per cent said that they were comfortable with the use of biometrics such as fingerprints and face recognition for payment authentication.
The survey, conducted in October last year, was an online study of payment behavior and trends across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Viet Nam and the Philippines.
Respondents were people above the age of 18 with a monthly personal income of VND5 million and above.
Newly-licensed firms rise, but GDP growth slows
Vietnam licensed 26,478 new businesses in the first quarter of this year worth VND271.2 trillion (USD12.3 billion).
Small and medium-sized enterprises account for97% of the total number of newly-licensed firms during the first quarter of this year
The number of newly-licensed enterprises in the January-March period increased 11.4%, compared to the same period of last year, while the capital increased 45.8%.
Pham Dinh Thuy, head of the GSO’s Industrial Statistics Department, small and medium-sized enterprises account for up to 97% of the total number of newly-licensed firms during the first quarter. The average capital of each enterprise is VND10.2 billion (USD45,450).
Meanwhile, GDP growth between January and March was estimated at 5.1%, compared to 5.48% during the same period in 2016 and 6.12% of 2015.
The lower GDP was attributed to the impact of environmental and natural disasters along with the slowdown in the mining industry.
Vietnam has set a target of 6.7% GDP growth this year.
Enfinity wind power project to start construction in October 2018
Enfinity Ninh Thuan’s delayed $266-million wind farm project in the central province of Ninh Thuan is going to start construction in October 2018.
Enfinity’s plan on implementing the project has recently been approved by the related government agencies of Ninh Thuan following the meeting between the company and Ninh Thuan authorities on March 28 to resolve all the issues to enable Enfinity to make progress on the project.
According to the plan submitted to the provincial People’s Committee, the project is going to have three phases. The first phase entails installing six wind turbines with the combined capacity of 20MW that will go into operation in February 2019.
The second phase will consist of 14 additional wind turbines with the combined capacity of 46MW to be put into operation by June 2019.
The project will be completed in September 2019, with 18 additional wind turbines with the capacity of 60MW. In total, the project will add 124.5 MW to the national grid and construction will take a total 29 months.
By February 2018, the project will finish getting approval from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on its feasibility study.
The Enfinity wind power project by Belgian company Enfinity received its investment certificate in March 2011 with the total investment capital of $266 million, an area of 533.1 hectares, and capacity up to 124,5MW.
Color galvanized steel sheet exports hit by anti-dumping duties in Thailand
The Vietnam Competition Authority at the Ministry of Industry and Trade has received information from Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce that the country’s Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Committee has issued a final decision on an anti-dumping investigation of color galvanized steel sheet imports from Vietnam.
Thailand will apply anti-dumping tariffs from 4.3 per cent to 60.26 per cent on color galvanized steel sheet products imported from Vietnam for five years.
The anti-dumping measures will be effective from the date of publication in the Government Gazette. Color galvanized steel sheet products HS 7210.61, 7212.50, 7225.99 and 7226.99 imported from Vietnam will be subject to tariffs ranging from 6.2 per cent to 40.49 per cent and applied to aluminum-zinc alloy coated steel plates from five major producers and other Vietnamese producers.
Experts in the steel industry said that in 2015 and 2016, iron and steel were two of the most-dumped goods. Prolonged cases not only cause direct economic losses but also cause Vietnamese enterprises to face the risk of loss of markets and export declines.
In 2015, Vietnam’s steel products faced a series of anti-dumping cases in many countries in Southeast Asia and around the world.
Continued litigation and the imposition of antidumping tariffs may result in the loss of export markets and a decline in production.
Siemens launches new version of TIA Portal
Siemens has officially launched the new Version 14 of the TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal in Vietnam, which will shorten the time to market for machinery manufacturers and increase the productivity of end-users.
Version 14 of the engineering framework is enriched with a wide range of new functionalities for the digital enterprise and the requirements of Industry 4.0.
“There can be varied machinery and system components in an engineering process, making it complex and challenging to manage,” said Mr. Tindaro Michele Danze, Digital Factory and Process Drives Division Lead and Vice President at Siemens Vietnam. “With added features such as simulation via a digital twin, an open interface system and cloud solutions, processes and data can be seamlessly integrated via the TIA portal, reducing commissioning time and redundant workflows and increasing flexibility.”
He added this would be especially beneficial to manufacturers in Vietnam, which have recently seen an emergence of new players in the industry. “Through our various conversations with customers, we are beginning to see that manufacturers in the food and beverage (F&B), cement, water and wastewater as well as chemical sectors are starting to realize the need to digitalize in order to remain competitive by reaping the benefits of increased production flexibility, higher levels of efficiency, and reduced time-to-market of their innovation cycle,” he said.
The TIA Portal interacts with other systems and exchanges data through open interfaces. The Team center gateway has a new interface for product data management in Team center, the Siemens data collaboration platform for design, planning and engineering. Users can easily create model-based programs with a new interface to Matlab/Simulink.
The cloud-based engineering is also new. From their private cloud, users can access the plant controller with the new TIA Portal Cloud Connector, or use Mind Sphere, the Siemens cloud solution for industry, for additional digital services from Siemens. Another new feature is PLCSim Advanced with interfaces to simulation software, such as Plant Simulation and Process Simulate. A Simatic S7-1500 controller can be simulated as a digital twin with PLCSim Advanced to achieve efficient, virtual commissioning.
Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 165 years. The company is active in more than 200 countries, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization.
One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is No. 1 in offshore wind turbine construction, a leading supplier of gas and steam turbines for power generation, a major provider of power transmission solutions, and a pioneer in infrastructure solutions as well as automation, drive and software solutions for industry. The company is also a leading provider of medical imaging equipment, such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems, and a leader in laboratory diagnostics as well as clinical IT.
NA to consider draft law on restructuring and supporting NPLs
State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Governor Le Manh Hung has said that the Draft Law on Restructuring and Supporting non-performing loans (NPLs) will be considered at the next National Assembly session.
The National Financial and Monetary Policy Advisory Council, headed by Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue, held its first quarterly meeting of the year on March 29. The restructuring of credit institutions (CIs) and dealing with bad debts were identified by members as important tasks.
Reporting on monetary and banking operations in the first quarter of 2017, SBV Deputy Governor Nguyen Thi Hong said that the interest rate was governed by sound liquidity regulation and instructed CIs to reduce costs, improve business efficiency, and be able to reduce interest rates on loans.
The SBV continues to control credit growth in line with credit quality improvements, focusing on production and business sectors, priority areas, and strict control of risky areas, to create conditions for customers to access credit.
Credit growth has been sound since the beginning of the year, with a positive credit structure, and positive credit programs and policies have been actively implemented. Money supply for the economy in the first quarter increased to serve capital requirements a reasonable level and were completely controlled.
Inflation is at stable monthly average, which shows that current monetary policy is heading in the right direction.
Council members concurred with the results of fiscal and monetary policies as well as the coordination of these policies, which contribute to macro-economic stability, economic growth, and inflation control. However, Council members also pointed out that the handling of difficulties and obstacles, vigorously promoting the process of economic restructuring, especially the restructuring of ICs, and dealing with bad debts are among the most important measures to contribute to macro-economic stability, curb inflation, stabilize interest rates and exchange rates, and boost economic growth in the time to come.
At the meeting, Governor Hung added that the SBV has finalized the draft restructuring plan for CIs associated with dealing with bad debts for the 2016-2020 period and has developed a draft law to restructure and support the handling of bad debts. It was proposed that the draft law be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and approval at its next meeting.
Saigontourist to fully divest from Jetstar Pacific
The Saigon Tourist Corporation (Saigontourist) has secured approval from the Ministry of Finance to sell 363,775 shares in Jetstar Pacific to existing shareholders in the second quarter of this year.
Jetstar Pacific has charter capital of VND3,522 billion ($154.8 million), or more than 32 million shares with a par value of VND110,000 ($4.8) per share, according to the shareholder register for November 7, 2016.
Shares to be offered by Saigontourist account for 1.14 per cent of charter capital and will have a starting price of just VND15,000 ($0.66) per share, or 14 per cent of the face value.
If the auction is successful, Saigontourist will receive some VND5.5 billion ($241,700). If existing shareholders do not buy all shares, there will be a public bid.
The current shareholding structure at Jetstar Pacific has Vietnam Airlines as the largest shareholder, with 22.04 million shares or 68.85 per cent, together with Qantas Asia Investment Company (Singapore) Pte. Ltd with 9.6 million shares or 30 per cent, and former CEO, now CEO of Air Mekong, Mr. Luong Hoai Nam, with 4,490 shares, or 0.014 per cent.
Vietnam Airlines became the largest shareholder in Jetstar Pacific in 2012, after the former racked up years of losses. Jetstar Pacific then updated its fleet, moving from older Boeing 737 aircraft to Airbus A320 aircraft. It first announced its earnings in 2015.
As at September 30, 2016, revenue in the first nine months of last year stood at nearly VND3.96 trillion ($174 million) and after-tax losses at VND346 billion ($15.2 million), with a negative earnings-per-share (EPS) of VND10,813 ($0.47). Recent dividends are not available.
Total assets are VND3.753 trillion ($164.9 million). Liabilities account for 90 per cent, or VND3.34 trillion ($146.8 million), of which nearly VND1.8 trillion ($79.1 million) is short-term debt and finance leases. Accumulated losses have reached 3.69 trillion ($162.2 million).
Dat Xanh invests $209mn in Quang Nam resort project
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the Quang Nam Provincial People’s Committee have officially assigned the Dat Xanh Group (DXG) to implement the Opal Ocean View Resort project.
Located in Hoi An, the project covers an area of 185 ha and has total investment capital of VND4.6 billion ($209 million).
The project is strategically located adjacent to Cua Dai Beach, the Nam Hoi An Resort, and the Quang Nam Vinpearl Resort Complex.
It includes villas, a beach resort, and a hotel, with synchronized technical infrastructure.
The project is one of six key projects in Quang Nam province.
It will contribute to boosting the existing tourism potential, increasing revenue from tourism, services and urban real estate and being a driving force of local economic development.
DXG was one of the ten largest real estate development companies in Vietnam in 2016, according to Vietnam Report, and it has developed rapidly in recent times.
The company has set a target of becoming one of the ten largest real estate development companies in Southeast Asia in the near future.
Quang Nam authorities recently granted investment decisions and licenses to 33 projects with total registered capital of $15.8 billion at an investment conference.
Investment is going to many sectors, including industrial production, urban development, tourism, training, and hi-tech agriculture, with strategic cooperation agreements also signed for the development of the automotive industry and mining and gas processing.
It attracted 30 projects last year, bringing the total number of valid projects to 135 with capital totaling nearly $2 billion.
Thanks to the will of the local people to turn the province’s sandy soil into fertile land, Quang Nam is now one of the Top 20 localities in Vietnam, with rising GDP, and ranks 10th among all cities and provinces in terms of budget revenues.
First quarter’s FDI pledges to Ho Chi Minh City reach US$575 million
Foreign investors pledged nearly US$575 million to Ho Chi Minh City in the first quarter of 2017, up 56.7% over the same period last year, according to the municipal department of planning and investment.
In the first three months up to March, the city granted new investment licences to 141 projects worth US$133 million while US$89 million was poured into existing projects.
The Ho Chi Minh City authorities also approved 401 cases where foreign investors contributed capital or bought shares and equities in enterprises in the city worth a total of US$352 million.
Malaysia was the largest investor, accounting for one third of investment, followed by Japan, the Netherlands and Thailand.
A breakdown of the sectors shows that information and communications technology was the largest beneficiary, attracting US$51.77 million, more than three times the figure during the same period last year.
Ho Chi Minh City said it has implemented an online system since late 2016 to facilitate investors to apply for investment licences, apply to contribute capital, buy shares or equities in local firms.
To date the city has received 432 dossiers and is planning to roll out a second phase that expands the service to other procedures related to foreign investment.
In the first quarter of 2017, Ho Chi Minh City also saw 7,947 newly established enterprises with aggregate capital of VND99.475 trillion (nearly US$4.4 billion), up 14% in terms of the number of enterprises and 61.7% in terms of registered capital.
In addition, nearly 11,000 enterprises adjusted their capital, adding VND49.453 trillion (US$2.2 billion).
Vietnamese startups mobilize $205 million in 2016
The community of Vietnamese startups mobilized the record high capital of US$205 million last year, according to statistics by Topica Founder Institute.
The funds reduced about 25 percent over 2015 and increased 46 percent over the previous year.
Startups from financial technology took the lead with the total raised amount of $129 million.
In 2016, there were seven funds raising deals with the value of over $10 million. They number includes four deals with capital exceeding $15 million.
Foreign investors continued transgressing domestic firms in both the number of deals and capital amount.