Thứ Tư, 13 tháng 6, 2018


Da Nang sets economic goals towards 2030

One more foreign investor flees from Hoa Sen Group, Hung Vuong Corporation reports loss of $12 million in second quarter, HCM City publishes info on real estate investors’ mortgage loans

The central city of Da Nang aims to have the GRDP growth of 9 – 11 percent and GRDP per capita ranging between 7,000 USD and 9,000 USD for 2018 – 2030.
The goals were mentioned at a workshop held by the municipal People’s Committee on June 11 to discuss the city’s development by 2030 with a vision towards 2045. 
The workshop gathered urban planners, economists and policy makers both at home and abroad. These experts shared hands-on experience from a number of local and foreign cities to give leaders of Da Nang a broader view of the city’s advantages, competitiveness, capacity to expand urban spaces in tandem with development of public transport, and how to build policies and raise capital for infrastructure development and develop the city sustainably.
To meet the achievements, Da Nang plans to achieve strong economic growth with breakthroughs by promoting Industry 4.0 and international integration; develop a local and regional hub for startups, innovation and creativeness; strive towards industrialisation and modernisation to motivate the growth and integration of the central and Central Highlands regions. 
In addition, it will ensure social welfare, maintain defence, security, and marine sovereignty and have a civilised urban lifestyle.
Da Nang is a young city with an area of more than 1,280 sq. km., including the Hoang Sa (Paracel) island district’s area, and a population of about 1 million people. The city is blessed with about 92 km of coastline and 11 public beaches. 
It looks to develop as a green, modern and smart city with unique identity.
To realise the goals, the city and FPT, a Vietnamese software giant, in April inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on building Da Nang as a ‘smart city’ for the 2018-20 period.
The MoU helps the city develop smart solutions in traffic, agriculture, English language training, health care and tourism.
The two sides also agreed to complete online service in traffic and agriculture to boost connection between the city’s administration and local residents, as well as to promote transparency in administrative procedure.
As planned, FPT will invest 15 billion VND (664,000 USD) to build pilot projects with smart applications in 2018-19.
According to Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, Ho Ky Minh, the MoU will help Da Nang improve administrative reform and transparency for local people, businesses and tourists, and build Da Nang as a ‘liveable’ city in the near future.
He said the city’s e-government system, which was launched in 2014, had been used by 225 agencies and 4,000 users. About 50 percent of public procedures were also posted online.
He said Da Nang’s IT infrastructure was now available for smart connections among air control, water, garbage, meteorology, and energy agencies. It could also provide earthquake and tsunami warnings, and data on flooding, erosion, sewage management, and bridges.
The city will be ready for 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) this year.
The central city has provided 1,196 online administration procedures, including one-stop shops, residential management, public transport and water supervision through the e-government system.
One more foreign investor flees from Hoa Sen Group
Hoa Sen Group’s newest dissident is major foreign shareholder Tundra, which has officially sold 1.36 million stocks, equaling 0.4 per cent of the charter capital of one of the Vietnamese largest steel makers. stated that foreign investor Tundra Vietnam Fund is not a large shareholder of Hoa Sen Group (code: HSG) since June 5, as its current ownership rate is 4.78 per cent (large shareholders are counted from 5 per cent).
Tundra’s divestment from Hoa Sen Group took place as the HSG stock has increased value three times to reach VND12,850 on June 5, after hitting the low-point in the past 52 weeks at VND10,600 on May 31. It is estimated that Tundra could earn VND17.5 billion ($770,925) from the divestment.
Many large shareholders of the steel giant have been completely divesting HSG despite the low stock price, as they were unoptimistic of the company’s future performance.
Most recently, Tam Thien Tam One Member Ltd., managed by Hoang Thi Hoang Xuan (the wife of Hoa Sen Group’s chairman Le Phuoc Vu), sold its entire 19.24 million HSG shares, equaling 5.49 per cent of the charter capital. The transaction was performed with the value of VND230 billion ($10.1 million).
In this February, Amersham Industries Limited sold 600,000 HSG stocks. The foreign investor made quite a deal, as the divestment took place quickly and earned about VND14 billion ($616,740).
In 2014, Vietnam Enterprise Investment Ltd. sold 300,000 stocks. After the transaction, the firm retained 7.9 million HSG shares, equaling 2.25 per cent of Hoa Sen Group’s charter capital, officially leaving the group of the firm’s largest shareholders.
In 2018’s first five months, Hoa Sen Group’s stock fell by 51.8 per cent, going from VND23,976 ($1.05) to VND11,550 ($0.5), scaring away shareholders. Thus, its market capitalisation was reduced by VND4.347 trillion ($191.4 million).
The firm’s first quarter financial report shows that its revenue growth increased by 23 per cent on-year but profit only reached VND87 billion ($3.83 million), only one-fifth of the figure from the same period last year.
Experts said that raising debts to maintain its market share (from 33.1 per cent in 2016 to 34.7 per cent in 2017) has reduced Hoa Sen Group’s rates of return.
Hung Vuong Corporation reports loss of $12 million in second quarter
Hung Vuong Corporation's (code: HVG) consolidated financial statement for the second quarter of this year showed falling business performance, while the price its stock goes for the same as a cup of road-side tea.
Revenue from sales and services in the second quarter was VND2.58 trillion ($113.66 million), down 55 per cent on-year. Gross profit from sales and services was VND116 billion ($5.1 million), equivalent to the same period.
Meanwhile, financial revenue was negative VND73.7 billion ($3.25 million) due to liquidating investment in subsidiaries. As a result, Hung Vuong lost over VND272 billion ($12 million), doubling its losses from the same period last year.
Consolidated gross revenue in the financial year’s first half (between October 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018) was VND5.812 trillion ($256 million), down 40 per cent on-year.
Revenue from the feed segment decreased by 15 per cent to VND1.473 trillion ($65 million), materials for animal feed processing reduced by VND1 trillion ($44 million) to approximately VND332 billion ($14.6 million), seafood declined by VND1.267 trillion ($55.8 million) to nearly VND768 billion ($33.8 million), while revenue of real estate increased to VND354 billion ($15.6 million).
Thanks to the VND7 billion ($308,370) first quarter profit, accumulated losses of the fiscal year’s first half were VND264.7 billion ($11.66 million). Up to date, the total accumulated losses of Hung Vuong are VND749 billion ($33 million).
With these bad business results, it is very hard for the "King of Pangasius" Hung Vuong to reach the VND800 billion ($35.2 million) profit target. Moreover, Hung Vuong is one of the companies most affected by the decision of the Department of Commerce (DoC) this year to apply export tax between $2.39 and $7.74 per kilogramme on pangasius.
In a document sent to the State Securities Commission to outline its plans to overcome the accumulated losses in 2018, Hung Vuong revealed plans of entirely divesting from subsidiaries like Sao Ta Foods JSC (FIMEX VN), and selling half of Viet Thang Feed JSC (code: VTF), including 24 per cent already sold to VinEco in last March.
This company will liquidate land plots at 765 Hong Bang and 94 Pham Dinh Ho in Ho Chi Minh City, as well as close some ineffective seafood processing factories due to a lack of materials.
On the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HSX), the price of HVG’s share is as cheap as a cup of tea at VND2.980, and Hung Vuong's capitalisation has been reduced to VND690.5 billion ($30.4 million). HVG’s share has been under supervision by HSX.
HCM City publishes info on real estate investors’ mortgage loans
HCM City is publishing information on activities of several real estate investors that have applied for mortgage loans secured by their property and land-use rights.
The city said it wanted to provide customers with more information about what investors were doing with their properties.
For instance, Hoang Phuc Real Estate Management Ltd applied for a mortgage loan for its The Western Capital project in District 6 with VPBank, while An Phu Long Real Estate Company applied for a mortgage loan for its D-Vela project in District 7 with the Joint-Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam.
Several real estate experts noted that, as the property market in HCM City has become more active, it is normal to see many real estate companies applying for loans for projects and using their projects as their own security.
However, there have been cases of companies using their mortgage loans for other projects rather than the projects used as security for those loans.
In addition, some companies are using property currently owned by customers for mortgage loans, or are selling properties used as security to buyers.
For example, many customers that had bought land plots in the Everluck Residence Project are involved in a dispute with the investor the Tuong Phong Real Estate Company.
They said the company had not provided them with red books (house-ownership certificates) and had used land plots sold to customers as security for mortgage loans for the company’s other projects.
The Everluck Residence project is seized for sales by a bank that Tuong Phong is borrowing capital, and many customers have voiced their complaints over the possibility of losing their land.
Real estate customers have been urged to carefully investigate the reputation and capability of real estate investors before making decisions on buying property or land.
Number of farm households in HCM City decreases: GSO
The number of agricultural households has decreased gradually in HCM City, according to a recent report on results of the Rural, Agricultural and Fishery Census conducted by the General Statistics Office.
It is due to increasing urbanisation, natural causes like climate change, and low incomes from farming, and many people working in the agricultural sector have switched to other vocations.
Agriculture used to be an important sector that provided jobs for thousands of people in the city since 1986.
But from around 2000 its importance began to decline, and the number fell from 140,045 workers then to 43,355 by 2016.
By July 2016, the rate of agricultural households (farming, forestry, fishing) in the city fell to 6.8 percent.  
One of the reasons for the decline is the lack of government support for agriculture.
Phan Quoc Hung of District 12 has grown orchids for 20 years. Recently, he and his father created an app to help grow fresh vegetables in plastic trays in apartment buildings.
But he has not received any financial support from local authorities. He said: “I have invested about 1 billion VND (44,000 USD) in my farm. But I need 3 billion VND to develop my business.”    
To develop their aquaculture potential, Can Gio and Nha Be districts plan to have 6,000ha of shrimp farms. However, each hectare requires up to 700 million VND to develop, meaning many farmers are unable to afford them, and the plan remains unfulfilled. 
The city rolled out several policies last year to support agriculture, especially people investing in clean agriculture and those using high technology.
A training programme has been instituted to train 3,000 agricultural workers in 2018- 2020.
Nguyen Hai An, director of the High-Tech Enterprise Training Centre, said: “Our goal is to become the top service centre for high-tech agricultural production. Our centre will provide legal consultancy and training for potential agricultural companies.”
Le Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, has instructed agricultural officials to draft a plan for developing agriculture from now through 2020.
Vietnam Blockchain Chapter launched
The Vietnam E-Commerce Association (VECOM) officially launched the Vietnam Blockchain Chapter (Vietblockchain) on June 8.
Given the challenges and also opportunities presented by blockchain for the global digital economy and for Vietnam, VECOM has recommended the country accelerate its research and apply blockchain technology in the field of economics, as it is now considered a fundamental technology for a digital economy.
VECOM therefore established Vietblockchain on April 23 and officially launched it at the Vietnam Blockchain Summit (VBS) on June 8, with the theme “From Technology to Policy”.
According to Mr. Bui Trung Kien, Head of Vinaphone’s online sales business, the chapter will be involved in increasing information dissemination and conducting training.
It will work with State management agencies and policy-making agencies on consulting on and reviewing policies as well as contribute to completing guidelines and legal norms to create a favorable environment for the research, development and application of blockchain technology in Vietnam.
Vietblockchain will also coordinate businesses, especially e-commerce businesses, to improve the ability to connect applications and also use blockchain technology in VECOM’s activities to bring economic efficiency to members.
It will also actively cooperate with other organizations and associations in training and guidance for students, the business community, and startups in Vietnam.
Vietblockchain will be a venue for VECOM members and organizations and individuals interested in researching and applying blockchain technology.
Fintech (financial technology) and fund raising, however, are not included in Vietblockchain’s activities.
VECOM expects the chapter will contribute positively to the application of blockchain technology in many economic sectors from 2018 to 2020.
Hai Duong exports about 9,500 tonnes of litchi
The northern province of Hai Duong has exported about 9,500 tonnes of litchi from the beginning of this year’s crop, according to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.
The department said they shipped about 9,340 tonnes of litchi to China, 120 tonnes to the Republic of Korea, and 40 tonnes to Australia, the UK and France.
Besides, the province sold 18,500 tonnes of litchi the domestic market, including major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong city, wholesale markets, trade centres and supermarkets.
According the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, in 2018, Hai Duong has about 10,500 ha of litchi, mostly in Thanh Ha district and Chi Linh town, which are expected to yield about 60,000 tonnes. Of the total amount, some 1,000 tonnes is qualified for export to the US, Australia and the EU, he said. 
Currently, 131.68 hectares of local litchi cultivation are qualified for exports to the US, EU and Australia. The province is also home to 334 hectares of litchi grown in accordance with VietGAP standards. The harvest time is from May 15 to the end of June.
Hai Duong litchi received the geographical indication from the Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Office of Intellectual Property in 2007. The local fruit was listed in the top 10 quality products in 2013 and 2014 and received the Gold Brand prize in 2015.
The Vietnam Association of Food Science and Technology granted a “trustful and safe food brand” certificate to Thanh Ha litchi in 2016. The same year, the ancient litchi tree in Thuy Lam village was recognised as the oldest of its kind in Vietnam.
 Besides the domestic market, Thanh Ha litchi has increased its presence outside the country. The fruit has been exported to Australia, Canada, China, France, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. 
Soc Trang secures nearly 123 trillion VND in investment
Nearly 123 trillion VND (5.4 billion USD) will be poured into 47 projects in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang, focusing on renewable energy, wind power, solar power, high-tech agriculture, and tourism services.
The information was heard at a press conference held in the locality on June 11.
According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Ngo Hung, the province’s investment conference in 2018 will be held on June 19 to introduce local socio-economic achievements, investment potential and preferential policies.
It will help mobilise both foreign and domestic capital for local rapid and sustainable development in the coming time, he said.
A ceremony to launch the province’s startup programme and an agricultural development conference are scheduled for June 18.
In April, a lot of investors operating in the fields of wind power, solar power and agriculture came to the locality to seek investment opportunities. 
The Ministry of Industry and Trade approved 22 locations with potential for wind power development in the province. These locations cover a total area of 35,740 hectares with plants holding a combined designed capacity of 1,470MW.
Investors have made fact-finding tours and mapped out projects at the planned locations.
 One more foreign investor flees from Hoa Sen Group, Hung Vuong Corporation reports loss of $12 million in second quarter, HCM City publishes info on real estate investors’ mortgage loans
Catfish skin - a promising export
Catfish is one of Vietnam’s major seafood exports with a turnover of 1.8 billion USD, and its skin, a waste product, is also being exported starting recently.
Research is increasingly indicating that catfish skin has many nutritious substances that are good for health like collagen and gelatin.
While processing, a plant produces five to eight tonnes of catfish skin daily. In the domestic market, it is sold at 10,000 VND (0.45 cent) per kilogramme for making animal feed, but since 2017, Co May Enterprise in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap has started exporting it to Singapore for 22,000 – 24,000 VND (around 1 USD) per kilogramme.
In Singapore it is made into a snack and sold at 136,000 VND (6 USD) for a small pack of 230g.
The company exports 50 -60 tonnes a month and plans to expand both the production of catfish and export of skin.
It will also carry out research on demand in various markets like the EU, Singapore and Malaysia, and build a plant to make the catfish skin snack.
Catfish processor Vinh Hoan has already built a plant for making 2,000 tonnes collagen a year from the skin.
“Each kilogramme of collagen fetches 25 USD on the global market while catfish skin only fetches 1 USD,” a Vinh Hoan spokesperson said.
The company earned 1 million USD from catfish skin exports last year, and plans to increase this to 5 million USD this year.
With 2.6kg of catfish only yielding 1kg of fillet, the rest of the fish is considered waste and processing plants have the responsibility of disposing of 700,000 tonnes of it every year.
The spokesperson said: “If the waste is taken and processed, it can bring a huge income to enterprises. Otherwise, it would become a burden on the environment.”
The price of catfish fillet in the EU and the US is very low at around 2.6 USD per kilogramme, while the cost of processing has doubled, meaning profits are very low for exporters.
Many are trying to diversify their products mainly targeting the domestic market. Besides the meat, the fat is processed for oil and the fish’s stomach is a popular dish, while other parts are mostly sold for making animal feed. Some of the other parts can be used to manufacture collagen and bio-fuel.
Processing company Go Dang has built a plant to process all catfish wastes and exports them to the Republic of Korea, Singapore and China.
But while there are 100 catfish processing plants in the Mekong Delta alone, there are still only a small number of plants processing wastes.
“Relevant authorities should [help] increase exports of waste and deal with the environmental aspect,” the spokesperson added.
HCM City: Home-businesses jump regulations
More than a year after it rolled out support policies to help household businesses become enterprises, only 3,950 out of 250,000 have done so, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Taxation has said.
Tran Thi Thanh Phuong, Director of Phuong Cat Tax Agency, said that tax agencies have offered free tax registration and tax return filing services to new enterprises and household businesses, under the department’s programme to support new enterprises.
Free counselling was offered in all districts, including outlying districts like Nha Be and Binh Chanh, she said.
For new enterprises, registration and certain annual fees for the first three years are waived under the 2017 Law on Supporting Small to Medium Businesses.
The city’s authorities have organised 250 counselling and encouragement events to raise awareness among people running household businesses.
But only 3,950 have upgraded their business status, with many others being reluctant to become enterprises since it could entail paying higher taxes and social insurance.
Mac Quoc Anh, Deputy Director and General Secretary of the Hanoi Small and Medium Enterprises Association, said some of the businesses might also want to remain being household firms since it would help them conceal their true income.
Nguyen Nam Binh, deputy chief of the department, admitted that many of the owners may also not be fully aware of enterprise-related regulations and procedures such as enterprises registration and keeping proper records.
Some household firms also find these regulations too complicated and prefer to stay small so that they do not have to deal with enterprise responsibilities such as obligations to employees or implementing regulations on environment, noise reduction or fire fighting.
Nguyen Duc Nghia, head of the HCM City Taxation Agency Club, said tax procedures are too complicated and enterprises often have to hire service providers, adding that the procedures need to be simplified to make them easier for small and new businesses.
Phuong said policies to support small and medium-sized enterprises are not well developed.
According to the department, there are many household businesses that are more than capable of becoming enterprises, including over 420 that employ more than 10 staff, which is illegal according to the current law, 14,800 that use invoices and over 21,000 with monthly revenues of 50-100 million VND (2,200-4,400 USD).
The city aims to have 1 million enterprises by 2020.
Working with foreign retailers helps local firms boost innovation
Thanks to their cooperation with multinational groups and foreign retailers, many Vietnamese businesses have been stepping up innovation to meet standards in both domestic and foreign markets, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said.
At a workshop of AEON Vietnam’s suppliers in Ho Chi Minh City on June 11, Hai said promoting the presence of made-in-Vietnam products in modern distribution channels is now an important task of the industry and trade sector. 
The Ministry of Industry and Trade always creates the best possible conditions for multinational groups and retail firms, including Japanese-invested AEON Vietnam, to develop in the country, he affirmed.
Hai urged AEON Vietnam to enhance coordination with local agencies to help improve the production and business capacity of domestic firms, as well as the quality of and requirements for Vietnamese goods, which, he said, is critical for the retail market of the country.
Some market research agencies reported that in the local retail market, consumers’ habits are being modernised while businesses are adopting more methodological production and business models. As a result, companies are gradually improving their competitiveness and further engaging in global supply chains.
Sharing the view, Vietnamese enterprises said boosting the purchase and export of goods through modern distribution channels create chances for them to change production and business models and better integrate into the world economy.
Through the distribution networks of multinational groups and foreign retailers, Vietnamese products are sold in the domestic market as well as other potential markets where these firms have distribution systems, they added.
Yasuo Nishitohge, General Director of AEON Vietnam, said after five years since it entered the Vietnamese market, AEON Vietnam has set up nine member companies operating in various fields and opened four trade centres. 
It is planning to inaugurate two other shopping malls in the capital city of Hanoi and the northern port city of Hai Phong and expand its shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Phu district in the time ahead, he said.
The firm is also going to open stores specializing in certain products like bread or bicycles, he said, noting that it wants to expand its investment and business network by cooperating with Vietnamese localities and companies.
AEON Vietnam also hopes to enhance cooperation with domestic and foreign suppliers to serve local consumers and increase Vietnamese exports to Japan and other Asian markets, Nishitohge added.
The workshop attracted 150 representatives of 75 potential suppliers in such industries as food, garment and household appliances.
Viettel launches its 10th int’l mobile phone service in Myanmar
The military telecom group Viettel has launched its 10th international mobile phone network, Mytel, in Myanmar.
Mytel, the fourth mobile phone operator in that country, is the brand name of Telecom International Myanmar, a joint venture between Viettel and two local partners, Star High Public Company and Myanmar National Telecom Holding Public.
It targets to become the biggest in the country in terms of both infrastructure and business.
It is the only network with a customer service channel with video calling in Burmese, English and Shan, the language of the 6-million strong Shan people. Other networks only have Burmese and English.
It already has in place more than 7,000 4G base transceiver stations (BTSs) and over 30,000km of fibre-optic cable that cover the entire nation, enabling it to provide a diverse range of services such as smart agriculture solutions (Nextfarm), traffic signal management system (Smart Light), an electronic wallet, route surveillance equipment and more.
At the grand opening ceremony, Viettel Group announced its no-international-roaming-fees policy in Myanmar for its subscribers in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and vice versa, the first of its kind in the world.
As of Mytel’s opening, Viettel Group’s registered overseas investment is over 2 billion USD. It has repatriated profits of 516 million USD to Vietnam.
Ornamental fish production reaches higher standards
The HCM City Fisheries Sub-department has selected four ornamental fish farms that meet conditions to produce ornamental fish under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.
The farms, Đồng Khởi Ornamental Fish Farm and Niềm Đam Mê Discus Farm in Củ Chi District, and AMR Farm and Xanh Tươi Ornamental Fish Farm in Bình Chánh District, produce ornamental fish for sale in domestic and foreign markets.
The Đồng Khởi Ornamental Fish Farm, which covers 4,000 sq.m in Trung Lập Hạ Commune’s Xóm Mới Hamlet specialises in producing neon ornamental fish, tiger barb and rummy-nose Tetra for exports.
The Niềm Đam Mê Discus Farm specialises in producing discus ornamental fish.
The sub-department has provided the farms with quality techniques that meet standards and focus on environmental protection, disease prevention, quality of ornamental fish seed and fish feed.
The city has exported 10.5 million ornamental fish worth US$12.7 million this year, up 14.8 per cent in volume and 10.6 per cent in value against the same period last year, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The city has exported 60 more fresh water ornamental fish species. Of the figure, more than 40 species have been produced artificially, while the rest are caught from rivers and springs.
Exports of marine ornamental fish, which have high value, account for 1 per cent of the city’s ornamental fish exports.
The city’s ornamental fish is exported to the EU, Asia, America, and South Africa.
Two ornamental fish trading areas are located on Nguyễn Thông Street in District 3 and Lưu Xuân Tín Street in District 5.
Võ Thanh Liêm, owner of the Dã Tượng ornamental fish shop on Lưu Xuân Tín Street, who has been in business for many years, said the sector is developing strongly.
Wholesale traders in other provinces and cities in the country are visiting HCM City to buy ornamental fish.
Discus ornamental fish tops the city’s list of ornamental fish exports, which has been identified as a key product of the city’s agricultural sector.
The city, which is the country’s largest ornamental fish producer, has about 88ha of land devoted to raising ornamental fish in outlying districts, with more than 290 households involved in production.
The Sài Gòn Ornamental Creatures Co-Operative in Củ Chi District has worked closely with 80 local ornamental fish farming households to have a stable quantity of ornamental fish for exports.
The co-operative exports about 1.9 million ornamental fish a month.
Nguyễn Văn Thủy, chairman of the co-operative, said that demand for ornamental fish huge from both domestic and foreign markets.
The hobby of breeding ornamental fish is no longer limited to those with high incomes, as average-income people can now join in the trade, he added. 
Vietnamese sticky rice sees price reduction     
The prices of Viet Nam’s sticky rice are facing a downward trend due to its over-supply and dependence on a single large market, according to the Department of Farm Produce Processing and Market Development under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Although it is now the beginning of the harvest of the summer-autumn crop, the sticky rice farmers are quite passive because they have few orders and few prospective buyers.
The statistics of Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) showed that, in 2017, Viet Nam exported 1.4 million tonnes of sticky rice, mainly to China.
Last year, as Viet Nam was expanding sticky rice production, China also quickly increased sticky rice cultivation. The current inventory of Chinese enterprises is quite large; therefore, promoting the export of sticky rice to China’s market in the near future is impossible, a sticky rice exporter to China revealed.
Due to the declining demand for sticky rice, its price declined sharply from US$530-540 per tonne in January-February to $460-470 at the moment. The domestic sticky rice price also fell sharply compared to other types of rice.
In contrast, the consumption of fresh rice IR50404 in the last winter-spring crop in the Mekong Delta has been quite "smooth". Domestic supply is not sufficient to meet all export contracts.
Therefore, prices of IR50404 rice in this region have continuously risen, setting the highest record in recent years. In some periods, the price of fresh rice IR50404 in the field was purchased by traders at a price of nearly VND6,000 per kg, up VND1,000 per kg compared with the peak price of 2017. The export price of this type of rice also rose significantly, higher than the price for rice from Thailand, India and Pakistan.
Looking at the contrast between the two types of rice, it is clear that the current crop structure in the country’s largest granary is not yet flexible enough to quickly adapt to meet market demands.
Dang Thi Lien, director of Long An Foodstuffs Company Limited, said that the problem of sticky rice cultivation has been discussed already. In the recent winter-spring crop, as her firm realised it was heavily dependent on the Chinese market, it called for farmers to shift their sticky rice cultivation to high quality rice variety Dai Thom 8 and agreed to collect all the output. However, farmers wouldn’t follow through, believing that the sticky rice market will recover soon.
According to Lien, warning enterprises is not enough; persuading growers to switch requires the participation of State management agencies as well as support from the press.
In order to avoid the oversupply of sticky rice and the undersupply of other types, MARD should coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the VFA to study the import market and the demand for each type of rice. Then they can provided information to farmers, enterprises and localities to make adjustments before the planting season, she suggested.
An expert in agriculture, Vo Tong Xuan, said market demand varies from year to year. This year, Indonesia and the Philippines are increasing imports, but it’s not certain that next year they will continue to import. Indonesia, for example, has not been importing rice for the past few years, but suddenly announced its purchase of 500,000 tonnes in early 2018.
Therefore, the Viet Nam Trade Commission in the countries should collect and supply information on the market demand of the host country to the MARD and MoIT for synthesis. From there, it is possible to analyse market demand.
In addition to providing market forecast information, some enterprises said that in order to improve the competitiveness of the rice industry, the State should have appropriate mechanisms and policies for businesses and farmers to actively approach the source of raw materials for export. 
Vinalines Logistics targets 10% profit growth in 2018     
Vinalines Logistics Viet Nam Joint Stock Company targets a total revenue of more than VND3.5 trillion (US$153.2 million) and a pre-tax profit of VND22 billion in 2018.
The figures mark a year-on-year increase of six per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.
This was revealed in a company document ahead of the 2018 shareholders’ meeting on June 15.
The firm also plans to produce 51,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of commodity output and a dividend yield of seven per cent.
According to Vinalines Logistics’ leaders, the market will face many difficulties in 2018 due to fierce competition from domestic and foreign competitors; therefore, the company intends to maintain a profit growth of three to five per cent compared to 2017. The goal in 2018 is to improve the quality of logistics services and expand the business area to upgrade the Vinalines Logistics brand within and outside the country.
Also in 2018, Vinalines Logistics will complete the final step to operate Vinalines Hoa Lac Logistics Joint Stock Company and deploy necessary procedures to build a warehouse, yard systems and a logistics centre at the Hoa Lac High Tech Park.
Last year, the firm recorded a total revenue and pre-tax profit of nearly VND3.29 trillion and VND19.8 billion, respectively. 
Thai Nguyen seeks investment in 65 projects     
The northern province of Thai Nguyen will publish a list of 65 projects calling for investment at the investment promotion conference to be held here on July 1.
Fifteen of these projects are related to the industry sector, 19 to the agriculture sector, 12 to the trade, culture, sports and tourism sectors, 15 to transport and urban area development, while the remaining are related to healthcare and education.
Among these projects are the infrastructure developments of 10 industrial clusters such as Quyet Thang, Ba Xuyen, Nam Hoa and Kim Son; a 220ha hi-tech farming in three communes of Tan Duc, Uc Ky and Xuan Phuong, a hi-quality tea processing plant covering 100ha in Dai Tu District and Dong Tam Dao eco-tourism complex spanning 5,000ha in two communes of Thanh Cong and Phuc Thuan.
Others include a 3ha agricultural and food market which will be home to 2,000 traders in Thai Nguyen City and Song Cong II urban area and service complex in Song Cong City.
In the past few years, Thai Nguyen has provided many incentives to investors, including those in land rental and clearance, infrastructure development, corporate income tax and others in trade promotion, personnel training and IT appliance and transfer.
The province has also drawn up a scheme on improving its investment climate from now until 2020, with a focus on speeding up administrative reforms, building new investment policies and attracting more investment capital.
In the first five months of this year, the province granted in-principle investment approvals to five projects, expected to cost more than VND3.4 trillion (US$124 million). It also licensed eight others, capitalised at VND1.8 trillion ($79 million).
Currently, the province is home to 900 valid projects with a total investment capital of some VND15 trillion ($658 million). Of these, 120 are foreign-invested, valued at $7.2 billion.
During a working session with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh late last week, provincial leaders proposed that the ministry support the introduction and connection with foreign diplomatic missions, international organisations, investors, business associations and potential foreign enterprises to help promote investment in the province.
For his part, Minh urged the ministry’s agencies and other relevant units to co-ordinate with Thai Nguyen’s departments and agencies to prepare for the upcoming investment promotion conference.
He also suggested the province focus on calling for investment in key areas as well as the best commitments on preferential policies for investors. 
VIB launches premium World MasterCard credit card     
Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIB) last week launched a premium credit card - VIB World MasterCard.
The card provides special offers on dining, travelling, relaxing and shopping to cardholders who often go on business or travel aboard.
By now, banks in Viet Nam have introduced many kinds of credit cards designed to meet the needs of each group of customers, ranging from common consumers to businesspeople.
“VIB World MasterCard credit card has been designed for the convenience and benefits of cardholders, specifically those who often travel within the country or abroad, be it for personal or business reasons,” VIB said in a statement.
VIB World MasterCard cardholders can use a credit limit of up to VND1.2 billion (nearly US$53,000), with an interest rate of zero per cent within 55 days.
Cardholders can get many offers at airports, such as free services up to four times per year in more than 850 VIP lounges around the world, and save while purchasing products or services from more than 400 of VIB’s partners that have eateries, spas and shopping stores at airports.
To mark the launch of the credit card, the bank will give 140 Accor Plus membership cards to VIB World MasterCard cardholders with the highest value of monthly spending. With the Accor Plus card, travellers can avail a free night stay in one of the 700 hotels and resorts in 18 Asia-Pacific countries, including Viet Nam.
Seven trips to Singapore worth VND50 million each will also be gifted to cardholders who have the highest value of total monthly transactions. 
Vingroup to produce smartphone Vsmart     
Property developer Vingroup on Tuesday announced its plan to produce electronic equipment, starting with the smartphone brand, Vsmart.
Implementing the strategy to expand its industrial production sector following VinFast’s automobile and electric motorbike manufacturing project, Vingroup has set up the VinSmart Joint Stock Company with a charter capital of VND3 trillion (US$131 million).
VinSmart will operate in two main areas: one is the production of smart electronics and the second is researching, experimenting and applying artificial intelligence (AI), automation and new generation materials.
Vsmart’s production plant will be built in accordance with international standards at the VinFast automobile and electric motorbike manufacturing complex in Dinh Vu-Cat Hai industrial park in the northern port city of Hai Phong.
In terms of technology, Vingroup is working with the world’s leading consulting firms to hire design consultants, seek qualified professionals, acquire design licences for smartphone components and purchase equipment for telephone production. The co-operation with leading partners will ensure that the smartphones are manufactured by using the most modern and advanced technology to optimise efficiency and ensure product quality.
In its second area of operation, VinSmart will also actively study and buy the copyrights of inventions and experiments in Viet Nam to bring these innovations to life.
Nguyen Viet Quang, vice chairman cum general director of Vingroup, said the group wanted to invest significantly in the research and application of new technologies to contribute to the emergence of Viet Nam on the world’s technology map. Participating in high-tech and complex sectors, such as smartphone manufacturing, confirms Vingroup’s determination to move towards knowledge- and science-based production that contributes to improving productivity of the domestic economy, Quang added.
By manufacturing smartphones and engaging in experimental research and application of advanced technologies, Vingroup not only plans to build a new future for the Vietnamese industry, but also contribute to the building of a solid knowledge-based economy by capturing the opportunities for growth from the fourth industrial revolution. 

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