Thứ Tư, 28 tháng 2, 2018

French consultant proposes Tan Son Nhat Airport expansion

ADPi Engineering, a French company which specialises in airport architecture and engineering, has proposed an expansion plan for Tan Son Nhat International Airport at a meeting chaired by Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The.
The meeting which was held on February 27 attracted representatives from the ministries of National Defence, Natural Resources and Environment and Planning and Investment.

ADPi Engineering's proposal for Tan Son Nhat International Airport's expansion plan

The said that the expansion of Tan Son Nhat Airport had drawn different opinions from ministries and agencies, so the ministry had selected ADPi Engineering as an independent consultant to develop an objective view on the issue. This is the final meeting about the airport’s expansion plan before the ministry submits the proposal to the government.
The French consultant said it was necessary to develop infrastructure at the airport to meet the demand of serving around 301,000 flights with a total number of 51 million passengers and 960,000 tonnes of cargo by 2025. The figure would reach 315,000 flights with 55 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo by 2030.
Meanwhile, the current infrastructure can meet 36 million passengers per year.
The firm recommended the necessity to restrict the airport’s maximum capacity at around 50 million passengers by 2025 to avoid the construction of the third runway which would be costly and cause environmental problems as well as noise pollution.
The consultant also suggested using the golf course which is located in the north of the airport to build hangars, cargo terminal and maintenance and repair areas. Meanwhile, more passenger terminals should be built in the south of the airport to easily connect with the existing terminals.
Dr. Duong Nhu Hung from HCM City University of Technology disagreed with the French consultant’s proposal, saying that the restriction of the airport capacity to 50 million passengers is inappropriate in the context of the increasing demand of passengers.
Meanwhile, Cao Xuan Toi from Aviation Technology Association said that the French consultant’s suggestion was feasible, as by 2025, Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai would have been put into operation, which would help to partially ease congestion for Tan Son Nhat Airport.
Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said that it was impossible to raise Tan Son Nhat International Airport’s passenger capacity to 70 million as it would lead to serious environmental pollution. However, it was essential for the consultant to specify what the impact would be of raising passenger numbers to 70-100 million.
The consultant also needs to analyse more clearly the impact of building terminals in the north or the south of the airport.
The noted that the Ministry of Transport will inform the government of the Tan Son Nhat Airport’s expansion plant this week.

Vietnam ministry seeks approval for license plate number auction


The auction will be carried out online with the proceeds added to the state budget
Vietnam ministry seeks approval for license plate number auction
An automobile with a memorable license plate number travels on a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security has submitted to the prime minister a plan on the auction of license plate numbers, which is aimed at contributing to the national budget.
Following the ministry's meetings with local authorities and relevant agencies, the auction scheme has been amended for a total of five times before being submitted to the central government for approval, Colonel Le Xuan Duc, deputy chief of the traffic police division under the Ministry of Public Security, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday.
Once the plan is passed, competent authorities will have to complete relevant laws, build a thorough bidding system, and adjust the management and registration of local vehicles.
The project is expected to be piloted in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, the northern city of Hai Phong, Da Nang City in the central region, and Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta, Col. Duc said.
Other localities will also be able to carry out the auction based on their requests, the police official added.
The numbers that will be eligible for the bidding fall into such categories as having three to five identical digits, having digits in an ascending order, or personalized numbers, namely owners’ dates of birth.

A car with a desirable license plate number in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
In accordance with the attached rules, each license plate number can only be used on one vehicle and shall not be resold or transferred to another owner after the auction, Col. Duc said.
If an owner wants to transfer his vehicle to another person, who lives in the same locality, the license plate is allowed to be kept the same, he continued.
However, if the new owner resides in a different province or city, he will be required to register for a new number.
The initial price for a plate number is decided by authorities of each locality, based on the real demand and local economic development.
The auction will be carried out online via an official website, on which information regarding the plate numbers, initial price, and results will be publicized.
Bidders will be allowed to join the auction as long as they have an account, a vehicle, and its legitimate documents.
The bidding will be carried out entirely on a voluntary basis, Duc stated, adding that the money gained from the process will be directed to the state budget.                                   By Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre News 
Vietcombank sell-down sends national airline crashing

Vietcombank’s recent move to put 7.6 million shares of Vietnam Airlines on sale is lauded as a shrewed decision.

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Vietcombank divested over $9 million from the share sale at the national airline

Over the time period of January 25-February 8, the commercial bank was reported to conduct the stock transaction which subsequently downsized the bank’s proportion of shareholding at the national airline from the initial volume of 22.4 million shares to 14.8 million shares, commensurate with a reduction in the bank’s shareholding from 1.83 per cent to 1.21 per cent.
As opined by the stock market’s analysts along the whole duration of the share deal, the commercial bank’s decision to divest such a hefty amount of stock at Vietnam Airlines was pondered as a “smart move” as the airline’s stock was regarded as an overweight on the domestic bourse with an unprecedented surging price of the ticker at VND70,000 ($3.07) per share.
Briefly after the sale, the airline’s stock price plunged below VND50,000 ($2.2), a drop of roughly 30 per cent. The bottom of the dive was VND44,200 ($1.94) on February 10-12.
After the abrupt divestment, Vietcombank’s stock price recovered mildly as it climbed back to VND52,800 ($2.31).
Previously, Vietcombank bought the national airline’s shares at its initial public offering at VND22,300 ($0.97). Consequently, the bank gained a total profit of VND210 billion ($9.21 million) from the divestiture.
Earlier, in late October 2017, Vietcombank was green-lighted to divest 19.8 million shares from Saigon Bank for Industry and Trade, Saigonbank, and Cement Finance Company (CFC).
Later on, on November 20, 2017, the commercial bank withdrew 13.2 million shares (4.3 per cent) from Saigonbank at the base price of VND12,550 ($0.55) and 6.67 million shares (10.9 per cent stake) from CFC at VND11,549 ($0.51).
From the latest two divestments from Saigonbank and CFC, Vietcombank secured a total of $15 million in proceeds, entering the top 48 most profitable banks in Asia.

Two-month FDI disbursement up 9.7 percent
Disbursement of foreign direct investment (FDI) increased by 9.7 percent to 1.7 billion USD in the first two months of 2018. 
The Ministry of Planning and Investment's Foreign Investment Agency also revealed that in the first two months of the year, Vietnam attracted FDI worth 3.34 billion USD, or 98.2 percent of the figure of the same period last year. 
Of this total, 1.83 billion USD came from manufacturing and processing firms, accounting for 54.6 percent of the nation’s total registered capital.
Construction ranked second with 345.4 million USD and estate trading ranked third with 312.1 million USD.
January saw nearly 1.25 billion USD of FDI poured into Vietnam, equal to 75.9 percent of the figure in the same period last year.
In 2017, Vietnam remained an attractive destination for foreign investors with total FDI capital registered in the country hitting a record high of 35.88 billion USD, up 44.4 percent year on year.
FDI disbursement last year also reached a record high, increasing by 10.8 percent to 17.5 billion USD.
Economy should shape Vietnam-India relations
Economy should lie at the heart of India-Vietnam relations, according to an article posted on the Times of India on February 27 on the occasion of the upcoming visit to India by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang from March 2-4.
Titled “Move on Economics: Vietnam President’s upcoming visit should boost bilateral trade and business ties”, the article cited a recent survey showing Vietnam was one of the fastest growing economies between 2007 and 2017. 
The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 6.7 percent last year with the total volume of trade reaching a record 425 billion USD, of which exports accounted for 200 billion USD.
Vietnam also received 33 billion USD in foreign investment in 2017, a factor that will spur greater growth this year. Even the World Bank estimates greater growth for Vietnam in 2018.
These accomplishments were a direct result of economic reforms called Doi Moi that Vietnam launched in the 1980s. 
Doi Moi laid the foundation for Vietnam to adopt technology and make significant improvements in its labour market. The Vietnamese economy gradually opened up, spurring growth. 
This gave Vietnam the confidence to conclude 16 bilateral and regional free trade agreements over a couple of years, the article said.
Today, Vietnam enjoys significant global value chain linkages with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, which is beneficial for Vietnam’s export growth of electronics, apparel, food and beverages.
All of these things make Vietnam an ideal economic partner for India in Southeast Asia, the article said, adding that this also makes the India-Vietnam relationship a key pillar of New Delhi’s Act East policy. 
Bilateral trade hit 7.6 billion USD in 2017, representing a year-on-year rise of 40 percent. However, there is still room for growth, the article stressed.
It emphasised that President Quang’s visit exemplifies the growing relationship between New Delhi and Hanoi as it comes just a month after Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc travelled to New Delhi for the Indo-ASEAN Commemorative Summit and India’s Republic Day celebrations, highlighting the importance of India-Vietnam ties. 
President Quang will be accompanied by a large group of entrepreneurs –demonstrating the economic aspect of the visit.
In fact, President Quang is expected to witness the signing of bilateral Memoranda of Understanding regarding a joint venture on a coal terminal in Vietnam, joint port development and cooperation in agriculture. 
The President will also preside over the launching ceremony of a direct air route between India and Vietnam.
Crab price highest in 5 years
The price of commercial crabs in Bạc Liêu Province as well as in other provinces in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta region has reached a record high since early this year.
The current price is double the price at the end of 2017.
The price rose sharply before, during and after the Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) holiday. During Tết, a kilo of crab was priced at VNĐ800,000, up by VNĐ400,000 compared to the end of last year.
Huỳnh Thanh Hương, a farmer in Nhà Mát Ward, Bạc Liêu City, said the current crab price in the province is the highest in the past five years. He said just before Tết, there was a fever spreading among the crabs, which resulted in low supply in the market.
He said with the current price hike, farmers rearing crabs have gained high profits.
According to the Bạc Liêu Province’s Department of Industry and Trade, the strong increase in crab prices in the past few days is due to low supply and high demand in both local and export markets. This season, however, is not suitable for harvesting crabs.
Meanwhile, provincial authorities have cautioned farmers to assess the situation carefully before investing in crab-rearing in the hope of making high profits. This will avoid over-supply in future, leading to a reduction in the current selling price. The authorities also suggested farmers not to rear low-quality crabs in poor production conditions, which will also lead to a fall in price.
Bạc Liêu has an aquaculture area of ​​some 130,000ha, most of which is used for farming shrimps and crabs.
PetroVietnam faces challenges in 2018
The rapid exhaustion of its main oil discoveries is putting the Việt Nam National Oil and Gas Group, better known as PetroVietnam, under great pressure to reach its oil exploration and production targets for 2018.
PetroVietnam produced 15.52 million tonnes of oil in 2017, surpassing its set target by 1.3 million tonnes. However, the country’s sole oil exporter has reduced its 2018 production target by one million tonnes, due to concerns over the depletion of natural oil resources.
Its general director, Nguyễn Vũ Trường Sơn, acknowledged that most of the oilfields have been exploited for many years and are in their final stages, with production declining by 15-30 per cent per year.
Bạch Hổ (White Tiger) field, the country’s largest and longest-producing oilfield, contributing about 60 per cent of the nation’s total oil production for PetroVietnam, is in a state of depletion and can only be explored in 4-5 years.
In addition, the rapid flooding, at over 60 per cent, in many fields due to intensive exploitation, such as Hải Sư Trắng (White Sea Lion), Tê Giác Trắng (White Rhino), Sư Tử Vàng (Yellow Lion) and Rạng Đông (Dawn), is posing a challenge that may reduce oil production in the coming years, Sơn said.
According to Vietsovpetro’s general director, Từ Thành Nghĩa, the largest problem facing the company is the sharp decline in output at its major oilfields, such as at Bạch Hổ and Rồng (Dragon), while new discoveries, such as Gấu Trắng (White Bear) and Thỏ Trắng (White Rabbit), are small fields with low reserves.
Therefore, the production plan of four million tonnes of oil per year remains a large challenge for the Russian-Vietnamese oil and gas exploration joint venture, Nghĩa said at PetroVietnam’s conference to set 2018 tasks.
The year 2017 proved to be the most difficult year for PetroVietnam’s exploration activities, when oil reserves increased by only four million tonnes, which was much lower compared to the strategic target of 28-42 million tonnes per year.
In previous years, PetroVietnam often invested over US$2 billion to drill 30-40 oil wells and replenish its oil reserves by 35-40 million tonnes per year, but from 2015 onwards, investments from the group and its foreign partners have decreased by five times.
“It all started with exploration,” said Nguyễn Quỳnh Lâm, PetroVietnam’s deputy general director, who is in charge of exploration activity.
Lâm said weak exploration would lead to oil shortages for other activities, including petrochemical refining, electricity and fertiliser production. He expected the Government would soon approve the group’s financial regulations, allowing it to extract money for the exploration fund.
While awaiting the Government’s approval, Lâm said PetroVietnam would continue to call for foreign funds for developing some oil and gas fields, and would give up its executive role, in exchange for needed capital.
Ngô Hữu Hải, PetroVietnam Exploration and Production Corp’s (PVEP) representative, said the company currently lacked at least $150 million for exploration activity in 2018. Its production target this year would also decrease by about one million tonnes of oil equivalent.
Hải said the company was implementing measures to improve the financial condition and rank projects to restructure its project portfolio, as well as break or relax investment agreements, along with reducing costs.
Vietnam, France share experience in organic agriculture
Close to 20 businesses from Vietnam and France gathered at a forum in Paris on February 26 to exchange know-how in organic agricultural production.
The event created an opportunity for Vietnamese firms to learn about France’s state management in the field. Vice versa, organic certification providers from the European country had a chance to study Vietnam’s investment climate to assist local businesses develop organic farming sustainably.
Participants agreed that the demand for healthy and environmentally-friendly agricultural products will become an inevitable trend in the coming time in many countries, especially developed nations.
Executive Director of Ecolink Pham Minh Duc said his company has successfully brought clean O Long tea grown in Vietnam’s northern province of Lai Chau to the French market.
He hoped to share his experience with policymakers through this forum to help them devise more proper financial and policy mechanisms to develop Vietnam’s agriculture and tea products in particular.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is actively implementing an agriculture restructuring project which pays special attention to creating environmentally-friendly and high added-value organic farm products for exports.
The ministry will promulgate appropriate policies to help production units and associations to speed up the development of organic agriculture and maintain ecological balance, especially in the light of international economic integration and climate change adaptation.
According to the Vietnam Organic Agriculture Association, the organic farming area in the country has been increasing, reaching about 77,000 hectares in 2016, 3.6 times higher than it was in 2010.
Currently, 33 out of the country’s 63 provinces and cities have organic farming models, with many offering high economic efficiency and higher incomes for farmers, contributing to agricultural restructuring.
Though it is modest compared to the total farming area, businesses and organisations are applying international organic standards and certified organic products are being exported to many markets, including the US and EU.
Organic agriculture offers advantages such as no pesticide residue, higher value of products, and greater likelihood of being accepted in choosy markets.-
Bac Ninh attracts over 130 mln USD of FDI capital in two months
About 130.29 million USD of foreign direct investment (FDI) has been poured into new and existing projects in the northern province of Bac Ninh since the beginning of 2018.
Of the total capital, 91.69 million USD has been channelled into 21 new projects while the remaining has been added to 35 existing ones, according to the Bac Ninh Industrial Zones Authority.
The authority noted the businesses with new investment mainly operate in the processing and manufacturing sectors.
It said the province has been working to boost the application of high technology in local industries, develop supporting industries to serve key sectors, and connect Bac Ninh businesses with FDI firms. 
The provincial administration has also held regular meetings with enterprises to remove difficulties, thus promoting investment attraction in industrial parks and clusters. A business support team was also set up to immediately address problems facing companies whenever it receives information.
Meanwhile, the province has overhauled relevant mechanisms and simplified administrative procedures in the fields with many problems arising such as land, construction, labour and customs so as to create the best possible conditions for businesses.
So far, the authority has granted 1,228 investment certificates, 810 of which to FDI companies, with total new and additional capital of over 16.75 billion USD, including more than 14.8 billion USD of FDI projects.
Bac Ninh, an industrial centre of Vietnam, is part of the northern key economic region, which also includes Hanoi, Hai Phong city and Quang Ninh, Hai Duong, Hung Yen and Vinh Phuc provinces.
Vietnam, US cooperate to produce goods from recycled fiber glass

 Vietnam, US cooperate to produce goods from recycled fiber glass, Lack of supporting industries highlighted, Kienlongbank appoints new general director, Standard Chartered VN allowed to increase charter capital

GFSI-MHE Manufacturing of Texas LLC from the US and Minh Hung Group will join hands to construct a plant to manufacture products from recycled fiber glass under a contract inked in Ho Chi Minh City on February 26.
Accordingly, GFSI-MHE Manufacturing of Texas LLC will transfer technology of producing goods from recycled fiber glass to Minh Hung Group.
The advanced technology will help recycle a huge amount of waste, mostly used composite and fiber glass like plastic containers, aircraft and boat covers and distribution boards, while creating environmentally friendly materials, bringing in high economic efficiency.
Lam Dao Hung, Chairman of Minh Hung Group, after technology transfer, both sides will build a plywood manufacturing plant in Tien Giang province with a total investment of 50 million USD. The plant is expected to be put into operation in 2019.
The country is currently home to 35 solid waste treatment plants with total designed capacity of 7,500 tonnes per day. It discharges some 28.5 million tonnes of solid waste every year. Most of the solid waste is buried at high costs, affecting the environment and wasting materials for the recycling industry.
Citi named Asia’s best digital bank by Asset Magazine
Citi has been recognised as Asia’s Best Digital Bank by the Asset Magazine for the bank’s digital progress which has contributed to a strong year of growth for the bank’s consumer franchise. 
Citi’s Asia Pacific Consumer Bank ended the fourth quarter of 2017 sustaining growth and profitability with the sixth consecutive quarter of revenue growth. For the full year 2017, Asia Pacific GCB’s revenues were up 7 percent at 7.3 billion USD and net income up 16 percent, according to the bank’s recent press release.
During 2017, Citi invested further in supporting its digital transformation in Vietnam. The bank pushed forward with a number of digital services aimed at improving the digital experiences for Vietnamese retail clients. The rapid adoption of mobile and other digital channels has transformed how and where Citi’s retail clients bank, sign up for cards or loans, pay their bills. 
In Vietnam, 97 percent of customers have opted for e-Statements. In 2017, Vietnam has also recorded an 78 percent year on year growth in downloads of the Citi Mobile ® App and Citi’s customers show strong engagement, with those who actively use the app increasing by 87 percent year on year. For digital acquisition, the 2017 digitally acquired cards has grown 29 percent year on year. This growth has been underpinned by Citi’s digital investments and growth in partnerships on leading digital ecosystems. 
In the editorial write up, the Asset said, “Citi continued to enhance its digital offering by developing intuitive tools to serve their customers across its footprint, and saw a significant number of digital onboarding acquisitions with many clients using its various digital channels.”
Lack of supporting industries highlighted     
More efforts should be made to develop supporting industries in HCM City to strengthen the competitiveness of domestic enterprises, according to Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon) newspaper.
The current dependence on imported materials has cost Vietnamese companies their competitiveness even in the domestic market, the newspaper said.
Businesses in HCM City imported 77 per cent of all the raw materials and feedstock they needed last year in sectors like garment and textiles, electronics and machinery production, according to the city Department of Industry and Trade (DoIT).
Nearly all garment companies import a significant ratio of their raw materials due to the low production by supporting industries.
Most companies in supporting industries are small- or medium-sized so they face difficulties such as lack of funds and modern technologies and equipment. Not surprisingly they are unable to compete with companies in other ASEAN member countries, an industry spokesperson said.
Nguyen Phuong Dong, deputy director of DoIT, said the city would speed up restructure of supporting industries.
Industrial parks and export processing zones in the city usually lease out sites of 5,000 square metres to a few hectares to attract big companies and reduce infrastructure cost whereas supporting industry companies only require small pieces of land, he said.
To resolve this problem, in 2015 the People’s Committee approved the construction of dedicated industrial parks for supporting industries at the Sai Gon Hi-Tech Park, Tan Thuan – Linh Trung Export Processing Zone, and Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park.
Measuring one to four hectares, these will be divided into small lots of between 300 square metres and 5,000 square metres to meet the needs of the small- and medium-sized companies that make up supporting industries.
A shortage of funds for investment in production is another problem facing domestic firms in supporting industries, hitting their competitiveness.
Higher land rents in HCM City compared to neighbouring provinces are the biggest barrier to doing business for domestic enterprises.
The average rent in the city is US$100 per square metre compared to $50 in surrounding places like Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An and Tay Ninh.
DoIT is planning to develop an industrial park for supporting industries using public money and rent out land at $50-60 per square metre, Dong said.
The city government would offer loans of up to VND200 billion ($9 million) for projects designed to develop supporting industries, he said. 
Kienlongbank appoints new general director     
Kien Long Commercial Joint Stock Bank’s (Kienlongbank) board of directors (BOD) has appointed Tran Tuan Anh the new general director.
Anh, who assumed office on February 24, was previously Kienlongbank’s deputy general director.
Anh has replaced Vo Van Chau, who was appointed BOD’s vice chairman cum general director on February 13, 2018. However, BOD decided to dismiss Chau from the position of the general director so that he could focus on his role as the vice chairman and set up an orientation plan for the 2018-22 period along with BOD members.
Born in 1976, Anh has a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance as well as a master’s degree in law. She is a graduate of HCM City University of Law.
She has earlier held positions such as deputy head of the Department of Real Estate Services, head of the Legal Department of HCM City Development Bank of Viet Nam and member of BOD cum deputy general director of Viet Capital Commercial Joint Stock Bank.
Anh joined Kienlongbank on October 8, 2013, as an assistant to the chairman. On July 2, 2014, she was appointed the deputy general director cum director of the Legal and Debt Settlement Department. On May 9, 2016, she quit the latter position but continued as the deputy general director.
By the end of 2017, Kienlongbank’s total assets reached over VND37.35 trillion (US$1.64 billion), a year-on-year increase of 22.67 per cent. The pre-tax profit of the bank reached nearly VND260 billion, up 71.2 per cent compared to 2016. 
TTC energy segment inks EPC contract with Sharp led consortium     
Gia Lai Electricity JSC, a member of TTC Group, on February 23 signed an engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract to implement Phong Dien Solar Power Plant in Thua Thien-Hue Province with a consortium comprising three contractors - Sharp Group (Japan), Sharp Solution Asia (SSSA, Thailand) and NSN Construction and Engineering JSC.
Sharp Group of Japan, which was established in 1912, leads the consortium.
After this EPC contract comes into effect, the consortium of Sharp – SSSA – NSN will officially become the contractor of the Phong Dien Solar Power Plant, which has a capacity of approximately 35MW and an estimated power output of 61,570MWh per year, nearly equaling the annual power consumption of around 32,628 households in Viet Nam.
Once completed, the plant will significantly contribute to promote local socio-economic development and add more renewable energy sources to the national grid system. Specifically, it will help reduce an estimated 20,503 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, contributing to environmental protection, as well as global efforts to limit global warming.
Nowadays, utilisation of green - clean energy source is a big innovation in the energy industry that brings the optimal solution to save power and positive effect to the environment. Solar power is becoming a sustainable development trend in the future and contributing to preserve the limited energy resources for the world.
The TTC energy segment, with its main unit being Gia Lai Electricity JSC, has relentlessly boosted investment in clean energy resources and implemented pilot wind and solar power models in some potential localities, besides investing in hydro power projects.
TTC plans to achieve the capacity of 1,000MW of solar power and 40MW of wind power, accounting for 73 per cent of TTC energy segment’s total power capacity, and 222MW of hydro power and 150MW thermal power, accounting for 16 per cent and 11 per cent of its total power capacity by 2020.
Previously, TTC planned to deploy 20 solar power projects in several provinces, including Tay Ninh (324 MW), Binh Thuan (300 MW), Ninh Thuan (300 MW) and Gia Lai (49 MW), with a maximum investment of up to VND20 billion (US$987,555) per MW, an IRR (internal rate of return) of at least 15 per cent and payback period of less than 12 years.
Signing EPC contract and corporating with Sharp – SSSA – NSN is a milestone for the TTC energy segment to leverage each other’s strengths for effective co-operation and development and increase benefits for the community in the context of climate change in Viet Nam.
This also provides the foundation for TTC energy segment to complete its clean energy development roadmap and expand the scale of operations in line with international standards.
This is also a solution to help Viet Nam's energy industry be ready for new development opportunities and cope with challenges in the future.
TTC is a multi-industry corporation with nearly 40 years of operation, consisting of four corporations, one segment, and over 150 subsidiaries and joint companies. It has investments in several industries including real estate, energy, agriculture, education and hospitality. 
Mongolian South Gobi boosts ties with Quang Binh
The visiting delegation from Mongolia’s South Gobi province led by its vice governor Batbold Khoroo and Quang Binh provincial leaders on February 26 discussed ways to step up bilateral cooperation in tourism, construction industry and training of overseas students.
Addressing the meeting, Mr Khoroo briefed the host on South Gobi’s socio-economic affairs and its advantages of mining, livestock, and tourism development. South Gobi province is one of the two largest contributors to the Mongolia State budget, he said.
He expressed his desire that the meeting will kick-start long-term cooperation between the two localities in the future.
Vice chairman of the Quang Binh provincial People's Committee Tran Tien Dung highlighted the existing sound relations between Vietnam and Mongolia, noting that this is the first time Quang Binh has welcomed such a delegation from Mongolia who are keen on cooperation in areas of particular strength of both sides.
He showed his delight at South Gobi’s proposal for stronger cooperation in their advantaged fields in line with leaders' expectation.
Tien also assured Quang Binh's readiness to provide South Gobi with information about businesses and investors in tourism, industry and agriculture for reference.
Vietnam accelerates reform to improve growth quality
The Vietnamese government has issued a resolution on socio-economic and budget management in 2018 focusing on achieving GDP growth target, promoting economic restructuring, and reforming growth models.
The Prime Minister has recently asked ministries and sectors to implement mechanisms to attract high-quality human resources to high-tech zones and protect business investment in Vietnam
Socialist-oriented economic reform has made Vietnam one of the world’s most successful market economies. The private sector has been promoted, the state sector restructured toward a market economy, and production, information technology, and high-tech business become key parts of the national economy. The poverty rate has fallen thanks efforts to reduce inequality.
There are three high-tech parks in Vietnam: the Hoa Lac High-Tech Park in Hanoi, the Da Nang High-Tech Park, and the Ho Chi Minh High-Tech Park. According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, these parks have attracted more than 200 projects with total registered capital of nearly US$10 billion.
The high-tech parks are intended to boost the development of high technology to serve local socio-economic development. 
During a recent visit to the Hoa Lac High-Tech Park, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, "I hope that the Hoa Lac High-Tech Park will contribute to the development of Vietnam’s science and technology in the context of the 4th industrial revolution and will be a place to build Vietnam’s startup ecology. Sectors at all levels should work harder to make the park successful.”
The Prime Minister asked ministries and sectors to issue guidelines, address obstacles, and revise the Law on High-Technology to boost the development of high-tech parks. 
"Policies and mechanisms need to be specified to attract researchers to hi-tech parks. You should identify obstacles and submit a list to Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam who will then discuss them with leaders of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Investment, and Ministry of Science and Technology. The Prime Minister is ready to address legal obstacles and will discuss them with other cabinet members to work out incentives to attract talents to high-tech parks. This issue is of great importance to building a startup ecology in Vietnam”. 
2018 will be a turning point in Vietnam’s international integration. Vietnam will need to further improve its investment environment, reduce costs to help enterprises achieve greater and more sustainable growth, strengthen the market economy, encourage enterprises to invest in science and technology, and take advantage of the 4th industrial revolution. The Vietnamese government will focus on administrative reform to help Vietnam match the ASEAN-4 group in competitiveness and business environment.
Tra fish prices hit record high amid material shortages
The prices of tra fish (pangasius) in the Mekong Delta is hitting a record high, exceeding 30,000 VND per kilogramme, bringing high profits to local farmers, but businesses are facing shortages of material fish.
A representative of a seafood processing firm in Chau Doc city of An Giang province said it needs up to 200 tonnes of tra fish a day. Due to increasing export demand, the company has come to many tra fish breeding farms but it is still facing shortages.
Duong Nghia Quoc, Chairman of the Vietnam Pangasius Association, said even owners of breeding farms are short of material tra fish due to a lack of breeding tra fish stocks.
The supply of material tra fish for export in 2018 will be limited, he said, adding that the prices of exported tra fish may remain high for the whole year.
Vietnam’s tra fish exports reached 1.8 billion USD last year, up 4 percent against 2016, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
China, the US and the EU were the country’s largest importers of tra fish.
Hanoi records 109 million USD in FDI in Jan-Feb
Hanoi attracts 109 million USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first two months of 2018, it was reported at a meeting of the municipal People’s Committee and departments on February 27. 
The People’s Committee also said that the city posted good growth in many sectors, including industrial production, sales of goods and services, import-export and tourism. 
The committee’s Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung requested relevant agencies to continue creating favourable conditions for investors. 
He said the city ensured a joyful and safe Lunar New Year holiday for residents, noting that local agencies and authorities promptly set to work immediately after the holiday. 
The chairman announced that the People’s Committee will conduct an inspection of operations at all public offices of the city, in order to prevent delay in handling documents, especially in sensitive fields such as planning and investment. The city will also accelerate the launch of more online public services, focusing in the fields of justice, labour and social affairs.
Other tasks include the planting of trees to realise the target of 1 million trees along streets and in parks and public places, and the development of diverse tourism products. 
The capital city welcomed nearly 375,000 visitors during the week-long Tet (Vietnamese New Year) festival from February 14 to 20, including 120,000 international tourist, up 13 percent and 30 percent, respectively from the same period last year. 
 The local tourism industry estimated to earn more than 1.28 trillion VND (56.5 million USD) during the biggest holiday of the year, up 19 percent year on year.-
Standard Chartered VN allowed to increase charter capital     
The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) on February 22 issued document No. 1104/NHNN-TTGSNH to allow Standard Chartered Bank (Viet Nam) Limited to increase its charter capital.
The plan to increase the charter capital from VND3.08 trillion (US$135 million) to VND4.215 trillion, was approved by the owner through the resolution approved on September 28, 2017.
SBV requires Standard Chartered Bank to build and control credit growth, in accordance with the bank’s plan but not exceeding credit growth targets announced by SBV.
In addition, the Governor of SBV requests the bank to increase its capital in line with the current provisions of the law. After increasing the capital, Standard Chartered Bank will be responsible for submitting the application for amendment of charter capital in the licence to SBV.
This document is valid for 12 months from the signing date. If the increase of chartered capital has not been completed within the permitted time limit, this document shall be invalidated. 
Trade counsellors praised for helping boost VN exports
Localities and businesses appreciate the efforts made by Vietnamese trade counsellors in helping the country’s businesses boost their exports, and want them to continue providing information in a timely manner.
Speaking at the 2018 Trade Counsellor Conference held in HCM City on February 26, Truong Quang Hoai Nam, Vice Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee, said his city’s exports last year increased by 15 percent over 2016.
“In addition to efforts made by businesses themselves, trade counsellors contributed to the success of the city’s exports by providing them with information.”
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said Vietnam’s exports reached a record 213.8 billion USD last year, an increase of 21.1 percent.
“There was certainly a contribution by trade counsellors, who besides helping businesses promote their products abroad, also verify information about their partners and provide support in case of trade disputes,” he said.
But there were still shortcomings in the system, and the biennial conference was held to review the previous two years and set goals for the next two, he said.
Delegates said information provided by trade counsellors in both directions was sometimes too general.
Besides, they sometimes stop at providing just addresses and phone numbers of businesses, he said.
“We need quick information and early market forecasts. We only get the information that the US changed its policy after the change. If we get the information a few months earlier, businesses could be more proactive,” Nam said.
The city and its businesses want to take part in trade fairs to promote its key products like seafood and rice, so trade counsellors and trade offices should evaluate trade fairs to tell businesses which ones they should participate in, according to him.
Lam Van Bi, Vice Chairman of the Ca Mau People’s Committee, suggested trade counsellors provide more precise market forecasts and information about technical barriers and competitors.
Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, wanted trade counsellors to help promote exports of key products like garment and textile and electronics.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade should organise seminars and conferences to enable businesses to understand more about CO (certificate of origin) and consumer habits in foreign markets, he said.
The city was focusing on developing infrastructure and logistics, and trade counsellors should help find investors in those sectors, he added.
Nguyen Canh Cuong, Vietnam trade counsellor in the EU and Belgium, said Belgium could help Vietnam, especially HCM City, train human resources in the logistics sector.
“We will be pleased to connect businesses and localities that have demand for logistics development with Belgium.”
Speaking about risks like trade disputes and online frauds, he said, “If businesses receive suspicious emails, they can contact the trade office to verify.”
According to Nguyen Hoang Thuy from the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia, the country is a potential market for Vietnamese products but has high quality requirements.
Vietnamese exports to the market have increased significantly but still remain low compared to potential.
Vietnamese businesses need to focus on improving product quality, diversifying export items, increasing export of value-added products and building brands for their products.
The conference was followed by a direct meeting between businesses and trade counsellors in the EU, Americans, Asia and Africa markets.
Finance Ministry asked to implement tasks from year’s beginning
National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan urged the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to perform its tasks right from the beginning of the year as 2018 is very important for the fulfillment of targets and plans for 2016-2020.
While working with the ministry’s leaders in Hanoi on February 26, the NA leader praised the ministry for maintaining the State budget and proposing policies and laws related to finance and budget collection-spending management.
In 2017, budget overspending, public and foreign debts were controlled, financial disciplines were ensured and the financial policy was tightened, she said. 
Obviously, budget overspending declined thanks to the implementation of the national five-year mid-term financial plan in 2016-2020, she noted.
As the MoF will be the only agency in charge of public debt management from July 2018, Chairwoman Ngan asked the ministry to actively coordinate with relevant agencies to well perform this task.
She also required the ministry to improve the management of incomes from equitisation and divestment, reorganise businesses under its management, enhance the management of budget collections under the law, and limit financial funds to focus resources on the State budget.
Minister Dinh Tien Dung affirmed that in the coming time, his ministry will continue to tighten financial disciplines and resolutely maintain national financial plans, considering it an important mission, while effectively implementing Resolution No. 25/2016/QH14 on the national five-year financial plan in the 2016-2020 period.
The ministry will restructure its apparatus in the fields of tax, treasury and customs right from the year’s beginning, he added.
Vietnamese, Chinese provinces foster cooperation
Senior officials of four border Vietnamese province and China’s Guangxi have met in the Chinese city of Guilin on the occasion of the Lunar New Year to increase exchange and promote cooperation between the sides.
The February 23-24 meeting, the third of its kind, saw Vice Secretary of the Party Committee of Quang Ninh province Do Thi Hoang, Secretary of the Party Committee of Lang Son province Lam Thi Phuong, Secretary of the Party Committee of Cao Bang province Lai Xuan Mon and Secretary of Party Committee of Ha Giang province Trieu Tai Vinh of Vietnam, and Secretary of the Party Committee of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Peng Qinghua.
Also on the occasion, the ninth session of joint working committee of the four border Vietnamese provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and a business forum of the localities took place.
At conferences and workshops within the framework of the New Year meeting, the Vietnamese and Chinese localities reviewed their cooperation since the second meeting last February in Ha Long city of Quang Ninh province, as well as the promotion of exchanges between border Vietnamese provinces and Guangxi 
They agreed to maintain the New Year meeting as an annual event, and exchange of visits to increase political trust among the localities. They also agreed that in 2018, the localities need to continue implementing common perceptions of the two countries’ leaders, deepening friendship exchanges and substantial cooperation, promoting the border areas' development and enriching the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
The localities’ leaders consented to foster cooperation in trade, construction of cross-border economic cooperation areas, upgrade of border gates and markets, cross border labour management, justice, agriculture, science, education, culture, health care, finance, toward lifting trade value between the Vietnamese provinces and Guangxi, which accounts for nearly 25 percent of the Vietnam-China trade turnover.
They reached consensus to submit the two countries’ governments a proposal on soon connecting railways and highways between localities, especially between Quang Ninh and Lang Son with Guangxi, to facilitate people’s travel and goods transportation.
The proposal also included cooperation between pairs of border gates, the pilot of one-stop border gate and extending time for goods clearance during peak periods as well as encouraging Guangxi businesses to invest in Vietnam, especially those with high and environmentally friendly technologies.
They also agreed to increase cooperation via the Party channel, enrich people-to-people exchange activities and organise youth friendship exchanges and festivals of people in border areas, as well as cooperation in press, combat illegal cross-border activities and maintain security and stability in border areas.
Some cooperation documents between Vietnamese and Chinese provinces were signed in the witness of the officials. 
Participants agreed to hold the 2019 New Year meeting and the 10th session of the joint working committee in Lang Son city, Lang Son province.
Vietjet Air to start operation at Changi Airport Terminal 4
Vietjet Air will officially shift its operation from Terminal 3 (T3) to Terminal 4 (T4) at Singapore’s Changi International Airport as from March 6, 2018. 
A representative of Vietjet said that the shift marks the carrier’s operational expansion at the Changi airport, which has been named the world’s best airport for five consecutive years, while helping reduce passengers’ time spent on transfer buses from the remote gate to the terminal. 
Since the launch of its first flight from Ho Chi Minh City in 2014, Vietjet has continuously increased the frequency of flights and opened more routes between Hanoi and Singapore, meeting travelling demands of people and helping to promote regional trade and integration, the representative said. 
T4 of the Changi airport served more than 1.6 million passengers and over 9,400 flights since it was put into operation on October 31, 2017. 
Aiming to “Consumer Airline”, Vietjet is continually opening new routes, adding more aircraft, investing in modern technology and offering more added-on products and services to serve all demands of customers. 
Vietjet is a pioneering airline that is loved by many for its exciting promotional and entertainment programs, especially during the festive season. With high-quality services, diverse ticket classes and special low-fare tickets, Vietjet offers its passengers flying experiences on new aircraft with comfy seats, delicious hot meals, beautiful and friendly cabin crews, and other interesting added-on services.
Vietjet is the first airline in Vietnam to operate as a new-age airline with low-cost and diversified services to meet customers’ demands. It provides not only transport services but also uses the latest e-commerce technologies to offer various products and services for consumers. 
Vietjet is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate. The airline was also named as one of the Top 500 Brands in Asia 2016 by global marketing research company Nielsen and the “Best Asian Low Cost Carrier” at the TTG Travel Awards 2015, which compiles votes from travelers, travel agencies and tour operators in throughout Asia and Asia’s Best Employer Brand by the Employer Branding Institute and World HRD Congress for many years. The airline was also rated as one of the top three fastest growing airline brands on Facebook in the world by Socialbakers.
Currently, the airline boasts a fleet of 55 aircraft, including A320s and A321s, and operates 350 flights each day. It has already transported more than 55 million passengers on a network featuring 82 routes in Vietnam and across the region to international destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia.              
Looking ahead, the airline plans to further expand its network across the Asia Pacific region. To prepare for this plan, Vietjet has signed agreements with the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers to purchase more brand-new and modern aircraft.