Vietnam welcomes Japanese investors: investment minister





Vietnam wants Japanese enterprises to seek business and investment opportunities in the country, said Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung at talks with Chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Akio Mimura on April 13.

Dung emphasised the important role of the JCCI and its Chairman in encouraging Japanese enterprises to invest in Vietnam.

Mimura expressed his desire for regular seminars and working sessions between the two countries’ managers and businesses.

Earlier, the Vietnamese minister chaired a talk with several JCCI leaders and entrepreneurs, during which he answered questions about investing in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese Government will create favourable conditions and make clear legal documents to faciliate foreign investors’ operations, he affirmed.

He told participants that Vietnam is welcoming more investors in socio-economic development, especially in infrastructure, as the country needs at least 40 billion USD for the work over the next five years.

Discussing the automobile industry in the context of tariffs being eliminated from automobiles imported from ASEAN countries by 2018, Dung said that the Vietnamese automobile market is developing rapidly.

He asked Japanese businesses to reduce manufacturing costs and strengthen cooperation with Vietnamese enterprises.

Within the framework of his visit to Japan, Minister Dung also held talks with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Seko Hiroshige.

HCM City calls for travel firms’ cooperation to boost tourism

Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong has called for travel companies’ cooperation to attract 7 million foreign tourists to the city in 2017.

At a meeting with tourism firms on April 13, he said the city’s tourism development is partly driven by travel businesses and accommodation providers.

He pledged the best possible conditions for their operations to turn tourism into a spearhead industry.

This year, HCM City will upgrade museums and entertainment centres, accelerate the construction of a safari park in Cu Chi district and develop sea tourism in Can Gio district to attract visitors and encourage their spending. It has also devised a human resources development programme for tourism.

Phong asked the municipal Tourism Department to design a tourism development strategy until 2030 and beyond, or else the industry won’t develop fully. The city’s leaders are ready to invite foreign experts and organisations to assist in outlining this strategy.

At the meeting, representatives of many travel companies and hotels gave opinions on tourism products along with various types of tourism. They also pointed out obstacles facing businesses in the industry.

HCM City welcomed about 5.2 million foreign tourists in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 10 percent.

By the end of 2017’s first quarter, there were more than 1,170 travel companies in the city, including 575 foreign ones, mostly in districts 1, 3 and Phu Nhuan.

22 listed firms post over VNĐ1 trillion net profit     

Twenty-two listed companies, or 3 per cent of the total listed firms in the securities market, recorded a post-tax profit of more than VND1 trillion (US$44.4 million) each in 2016.

The biggest earners included dairy producer Vinamilk (VNM), steelmaker Hoa Phat Group (HPG) and brewer Sabeco (SAB), who posted net profit of VND9.4 trillion, VND6.6 trillion and VND4.47 trillion, respectively.

The growth of net profit was 21 per cent for Vinamilk, 100 per cent for Hoa Phat Group, and 22 per cent for Sabeco.

Other companies that also posted trillions of dong in net profits included property developer Novaland (NVL), construction group Coteccons (CTD) and Refrigeration Electrical Engineering (REE).

Novaland earned a net profit of VND1.7 trillion, an increase of 274 per cent over a year; Coteccons posted a rise of 94 per cent in its net profit to VND1.4 trillion; and REE was able to increase its net profit by 28 per cent to VND1.1 trillion in 2016.

These companies have also announced their targets for 2017. Vinamilk projects a net profit of VND9.7 trillion, REE has forecast a post-tax profit of VND1.1 trillion, and Novaland sees its post-tax profit rise by nearly 90 per cent to VND3.1 trillion.

The banking sector continued to prove that it is one of the key industries in the economy, with five banks making trillions of dong in net profit, including Vietinbank (CTG), Vietcombank (VCB), BIDV (BID), MB Bank (MBB) and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB).

A recent report released by Vietnam Report on the 500 biggest Vietnamese companies said that local firms are highly confident of their performance in 2017 as production, income and profit are expected to be better than last year.

Analysts said that more stable macroeconomic conditions would further strengthen the confidence of the local business community, and offer new opportunities and motivations for Vietnamese companies to expand and improve operations.

Experts urge private economy boost     

Viet Nam needs a number of large and medium-size firms in order to mentor and push forward small businesses, which are the backbone of a healthy economy, according to General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pham Thi Thu Hang. She spoke Thurday in Ha Noi at a workshop on developing the private economy.

“There will be leading enterprises standing on the top of the pyramid to direct other enterprises to push up the economy,” said Hang. She said State-owned enterprise encroachment on private business operations must be minimised, and policies must be formulated to drive up the private sector and develop its competitive capacity.

The seminar, jointly held by the Central Theoretical Council, Vietnam Association of Consumer Goods Development and Hanoi Business Association, was aimed at evaluating the situation of private economic development, breaking down barriers and creating conditions for the private economic sector to boost sustainable operation.

Deputy Chairman of the Central Theoretical Council Nguyen Van Thao said Party and State policies and mechanisms had created the legal basis and favourable socio-economic environment for developing the private sector. In the past two years, the startup movement had been accelerated. More than 110,000 businesses were established in 2016 – the highest figure in recent years.

Employing 85 per cent of the workforce, the private sector grew at an average rate of 10.2 per cent per year in the 2003-15 period, contributing about 39-40 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Thao said the private sector had initially formed a number of large-scale private economic groups, but it had not yet become a key driving force for the economy because most business models were intended to turn individual households into enterprises.

“A majority of private businesses are operating on a small scale, with low and out-of-date technologies and slow renovation. Their financial capacity, labour productivity, business efficiency, product quality and competitiveness are weak,” said Thao.

A presentation at the seminar reported that there are more than 80 per cent of private businesses operating in trade and services, over 10 per cent in industry and only 1 per cent in agriculture.

Agreeing to the measures needed to develop the private economy, the rector of Viet Nam National University’s School of Economics and Business, Nguyen Hong Son, emphasised the importance of building and implementing national industry policies, which would focus on developing the private economy, encouraging the appliance of modern technologies and renovation and creativeness.

According to the director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, Nguyen Dinh Cung, the Government has adopted policies on the development of the private businesses. These include encouraging investment in areas subject to sustainable development; accelerating divestment, restructuring, equitisation of State-owned enterprises; building a level playing field for various types of businesses in the Vietnamese market; fostering investment in advanced technologies; renovating and raising the quality of vocational training; and supporting large private businesses to expand to overseas market.

Joint action can fight corruption

Việt Nam needs radical collective solutions to promote the fight against corruption and foster a healthy and transparent business environment, Deputy Secretary General of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said at a conference on Wednesday in Hà Nội.

Vinh said transparency must be placed at the heart of business integrity and every company should exercise integrity by using the toolkit for resisting corruption – an initiative to bolster an incorruptible business environment.

The time is ripe for Việt Nam to strengthen collective bsiness actions as a way to tackle corruption and improve profitability, according to the Centre for Social Governance Research (CENSOGOR).

Collective actions stem from the principle that corruption can not be tackled unilaterally but require a wide stakeholder engagement from businesses, Government agencies and society.

CENSOGOR executive director, Nguyễn Thị Kiều Viễn, said collective actions provide opportunities for businesses to use the power of the group to tackle systemic corruption issues, such as demands for bribes.

With increased attention to collective actions by enterprises amid the country’s deepening international economic integration, a lot more can be done to foster business integrity in Việt Nam, Viễn said.

She said enterprises were both the victims and the cause of corruption, citing the Provincial Competitive Index 2016 showing that 66 per cent of firms paid unofficial charges to Government officials and 59 per cent of foreign direct investment companies paid unofficial charges when clearing goods through customs.

Collective actions are proven effective anti-corruption solution because of significant benefits, Viễn said.

For companies, collective actions help protect reputations and brand names. For the economy and society, the benefits would be increasing capital efficiency, improving the business environment and competitiveness as well as strengthening social trust and reducing the costs of corruption.

Viễn said that enterprises would need to synchronise measures at three levels – internal, company-to-company and company-to-authority to proactively engage in the fight against corruption.

In addition, Government should improve the legal system and adopt policies to encourage initiatives in corporate anti-corruption, she said.

According to Đinh Thị Bích Xuân from VCCI, a project on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in fighting corruption in Việt Nam was being implemented to promote collaboration and ensure integrity in business.

Under the 2014-19 project, an online toolkit is being developed as an useful channel for businesses to study and exchange experience and connect in fighting against corruption. The toolkit is expected to be ready this month.

At the conference, experts also shared insights into business integrity in Malaysia and the Philippines. 

HCM City bolsters investment, tourism links with Kansai region

Ho Chi Minh City organised a conference in Osaka city on April 13 to promote its investment and tourism partnership with the Kansai region of Japan.

At the event, standing Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem said Japan is a big trade partner of the southern economic hub of Vietnam with trade approximating 5 billion USD in 2016.

Japan is also the fourth largest investor in the city with more than 1,000 projects worth 3.55 billion USD. Many projects are invested by major firms from Osaka such as Panasonic, Kintetsu, Matsushita, Sharp and Sanyo.

Liem called for Japanese businesses, especially those in the Kansai region, to invest in transport infrastructure, health care and human resources development, which are also the strengths of Japan and Osaka prefecture.

Expressing the willingness to invest in Vietnam, Masayuki Matsushita – a vice chairman of the Kansai Economic Federation – said up to 20 percent of Japanese firms investing in Vietnam are from the Kansai region.

At the meeting, Vietnamese and Japanese enterprises shared information about HCM City’s economic situation, investment attraction policy and tourism potential, and discussed cooperation in those fields.

A memorandum of understanding on tourism development cooperation was signed between the HCM City Department of Tourism and the culture, sports and tourism division of Osaka city’s Economic Strategy Bureau. Accordingly, the two cities will coordinate to organise promotional programmes, facilitate tourism exchanges, and share information about their tourism industry.

Earlier, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Dinh La Thang and other officials of HCM City met with business associations of Kansai so as to enhance bilateral economic links.

PM pledges optimal conditions for investors in tourism

Vietnam always creates optimal conditions for investors in the country, especially in tourism, vowed Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a meeting with executives of Sun Group, one of the major investors with large tourism projects in Phu Quoc island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang on April 13.

The PM lauded the firm’s investments in many huge projects across Vietnam, including the world’s longest suspension cable to Fansipan Mountain in northern Lao Cai province, saying these have created jobs and contributed to socio-economic growth of many localities as well as the development of Vietnam’s tourism trademark.

Sun Group has run tourism and resort projects in Lao Cai, Phu Quoc, Da Nang and Quang Nam.

The group’s tourism and resort projects in Phu Quoc include JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay, Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort and Premier Residences Phu Quoc Emerald Bay.

Highlighting the Party and State’s policy to turn tourism into a spearhead economic sector, PM Phuc suggested that the firm and other investors should work to introduce unique and impressive tourism products that are supported by locals.

He also praised the authorities of Phu Quoc island district and Kien Giang province for adopting mechanisms to attract giant firms to invest in tourism infrastructure in Phu Quoc, regarding the move as a valuable experience in tourism development for localities.

He noted that Vietnam enjoyed a growth of 20 percent in the number of tourists in 2016 and 30 percent in the first quarter of this year.  

In the first quarter of 2017, Phu Quoc island welcomed about 553,500 visitors, a surge of 82.7 percent year on year, including 139,000 foreigners, up 53 percent over the same time in 2016.

The same day, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also laid flowers at the Phu Quoc Martyrs’ Cemetery, which is the resting place of over 3,500 martyrs who laid down their lives in the island.

During his visit to Kien Giang, the PM is scheduled to hold a working session with leaders of the province on the development of Phu Quoc special economic zone.

Vietnam Airlines offers cheap deals in epic summer sale

Vietnam Airlines is offering one-way flights on domestic routes for as little as US$18 in an epic summer sale that got underway this week.

Travel experts are pumped about the sale of US$18 tickets for round trip economy fare on the Hanoi-Can Tho route or the US$23 cost of a roundtrip ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to sparkly Nha Trang.

There’s also a US$27 price tag on flights from Hanoi to Hue or US$31 on the Hanoi to Danang route that’ll really get travellers pumped plus many more similar deals on domestic flights for routes just about anywhere in the country.

These are mind-boggling deals for summer long getaways that’ll have travellers scoring big in savings, with higher prices on weekends and holidays. 

350 exhibitors to take part in int’l automobile fair in HCM City

Over 350 domestic and foreign exhibitors are scheduled to show off at the 13th Saigon Autotech & Accessories International Exhibition in HCM City from May 25-28, according to the organiser, Asia Trade Fair & Business Promotion (ATFA).

Covering an area of 15,000 sq.m, the exhibition will feature about 700 booths run by domestic and foreign firms from the United States, Japan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the European Union (EU).

On display are automobiles, motorcycles, electric and sport bikes, accessories & spare parts, car maintenance services and new-tech engines and smart parking solutions.

Several popular names in the support industry, such as JaanE, Vina AHA, Yabanchain, Okatsune, Van Phuoc and Lotus Viet, will take part in the event.

A business matching event will be held on the sidelines of the exhibition to provide a platform for domestic and overseas producers and service providers to share experience, promote their products and seek partners.

HCM City to host international food and hotel exhibition

More than 520 domestic and foreign businesses are gathering in Ho Chi Minh City for the Food&HotelVietnam2017 April 25-27.

According to BT Tee, general manager of SES Vietnam Exhibition Services, the Vietnamese tourism industry is set to grow for the foreseeable future as Vietnam continues to establish itself as a leading holiday destination in Southeast Asia. 

In the period between 2010 – 2016, the average annual growth rate of international visitors to Vietnam was reported to be higher than that of the 2006 – 2010 period. It is further predicted that the country expects to receive up to 17-20 million international visitors and 82 million domestic visitors by 2020.

This steady growth in both international and domestic tourism has accelerated the opening of more international-branded properties and tourist accommodation establishments in Vietnam. 

Statistics show that by the end of 2016, there is a total of 21,000 accommodation facilities with a total of 420,000 rooms across the country, up 11 per cent in the number of facilities and 18 per cent in the number of rooms compared to 2015. Among them, there are 797 three to five-star hotels with more than 80,000 rooms, including 104 five-star hotels, 230 four-star hotels and 463 three-star hotels.

“At a time when the tourism and hospitality sectors continue to flourish, the biannual Food&HotelVietnam trade event provides a valuable sourcing opportunity for the products and services catering to the food and hospitality industries, ranging from the finest and most unique food ingredients, to food service, kitchen and catering equipment, hotel amenities and software solutions,” he noted.

Within the framework of the exhibition, the conference program covers a series of industry topics so delegates can glean in-depth knowledge, keep up with the emerging trends and further understand evolving customer needs to stay ahead of the curve.

This year, the Vietnam Hotel Association will join forces with Food&HotelVietnam to organise Vietnam Hotel Business and Investment Conference with an estimated participation of over 300 senior delegates from luxury hotels. 

The conference expects to offer opportunities for industry insights, knowledge share, best practices and business networking with various professionals from all facets of the hospitality industry.

Other highlights of the show include the highly-regarded culinary and barista competitions – opening up a wealth of opportunity for participants to test their skills in an intense and action-packed series of challenges.

Pressure builds up on Vietnamese economy over slow GDP growth

With Vietnam’s economy slowing down in the first quarter, the government has requested that state-run corporations and associations pull out all the stops to help the country achieve the full-year GDP growth target.

Vietnam logged a 5.1 percent GDP growth rate in the first three months of this year, the slowest quarterly pace in three years.

Fearing that the low Q1 growth would prevent Vietnam from meeting the full-year 6.7 percent target, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung chaired a meeting on Tuesday with major state enterprises to find a solution for boosting economic performance.

“GDP growth plays a crucial role as it creates bigger economic values, generates more jobs and shortens the development gaps between Vietnam and other regional countries,” the deputy premier said at the meeting in Hanoi.

Vietnam must post respective growth rates of more than 6.2 percent, nearly 7.3 percent and about 7.5 percent in the remaining three quarters to be able to meet its GDP target, according to the General Statistics Office.

The expectations are now placed on the oil and textile and garment sectors, the country’s biggest foreign currency earners.

Vietnam plans to exploit some 12.28 million metric tons of crude oil in 2017, but the Ministry of Industry and Trade is considering increasing production by one million tons to contribute to the ‘GDP boosting’ plan.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong said this is not a tall order as production already topped 3.46 million metric tons in the first quarter.

“If oil price in 2017 averages US$55 a barrel, we will post a revenue of VND450,000 billion [$20.09 billion], exceeding our target by more than VND12,000 billion [$535.71 million],” Do Chi Thanh, deputy general director of the oil and gas giant PetroVietnam, said.

Hopes for boosting exports for stronger GDP growth are also pinned on the footwear and textile and garment sectors.

Vinatext, Vietnam’s textile and garment giant, sets a ten percent growth target for 2017, seeking an export income of around $31 billion.

However, general director Le Tien Truong said the road is bumpy ahead for the company to achieve the target, even though its first-quarter growth was 12 percent.

“Production grew 12 percent in the last quarter but our profit was the same as last year,” Truong said, pointing to regional competitors such as China, India and Indonesia.

Those countries have depreciated their currencies against the dollar by 12-14 percent, whereas the USD-VND exchange rate remains stable.

“Should the government adjust the forex rate by 7-8 percent, our textile and garment sector will be more competitive,” he said.

The same pressure is on the footwear sector, with tough competition particularly from China, according to the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (LEFASO).

“With China recently investing heavily in automation, some Chinese footwear companies now need only 40 workers for a production line instead of 120,” LEFASO deputy chairman Diep Thanh Kiet said.

LEFASO raked in $16 billion from footwear and handbag exports in 2016 and targets to take revenue to $17.5 billion this year, though Kiet admitted the goal may not be met due to the above challenges.

Vietcombank to issue bonds worth VND8 trillion     

The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) has approved Vietcombank’s proposal to issue bonds worth VND8 trillion (US$353 million) in 2017.

The bonds’ interest rate will be determined by Vietcombank, but it will have to be in accordance with current market interest rates and the central bank’s regulations for interest rates in each period.

Vietcombank can sell its bonds to local and foreign individuals and organisations. However, credit institutions and their subsidiaries and foreign banks’ branches are not allowed to buy bonds from the primary market.

The bank will also be permitted to buy back these bonds. The SBV requires Vietcombank to maintain the safety ratio when purchasing the bonds back. If bonds are calculated in tier 2 capital, their acquisition must comply with all current regulations.

In 2016 too, Vietcombank had issued bonds worth VND8 trillion to the public and to financial institutions after getting a nod from the SBV.

In all, 10-year, non-convertible bonds worth VND2 trillion were offered to the public without collaterals; and bonds worth another VND6 trillion were used to raise tier 2 capital. The interest rate was calculated as reference rate plus 1 per cent, and the rate applicable for the first year was 7.57 per cent. 

Deputy PM urges development of State-run businesses

The renovation and development of State-owned enterprises in 2017 and beyond should be accelerated in a more practical manner, focusing on essential fields such as defence and security.

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue made the statement at a recent meeting of the Steering Committee for Business Renovation and Development in Hanoi.

He requested ministries, localities, economic groups and State companies to continue implementing resolutions of the Party, Politburo, and National Assembly as well as directions of the Government and the Prime Minister on State-run firms.

The Deputy PM urged them to revise, supplement and finalise legal documents on equitisation and sale of State capital, while speeding up equitisation and avoiding capital losses.

He called on businesses with poor performance to be dealt with strictly according to Resolution No.5/NQ-TW issued at the fourth plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee in November 2016.

In the future, it will be necessary to finalise measures to handle weak Ministry of Industry and Trade businesses, he said.

The Steering Committee for Business Renovation and Development is responsible for inspecting the arrangement, renovation and development of State business operations, he added.

The Deputy PM asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to coordinate with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Justice to ensure investors implement legal documents on transferring capital without compensation in business contracts, and report to the Prime Minister before May 10, 2017.

The steering committee will work with the Government Office and relevant agencies to prepare for a meeting between the Prime Minister and business community.

Though 96.5 percent of State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) have been equitised so far, only eight percent of State capital has been sold.

In the first quarter of 2017, the country equitised eight SOEs.

As of March 25, ten SOEs with combined book value of 71.8 billion VND (3.14 million USD) were equitised, earning the State 72.8 billion VND.   

VN is leading exporter to Canada in ASEAN

Việt Nam recorded a trade surplus of US$455.5 million with Canada in the first two months of this year. 

Two-way trade reached $717.7 million, a year-on-year rise of 117 per cent. 

Canada’s exports to Việt Nam surged unexpectedly in January and February, according to trade counsellor of the Vietnamese Embassy in Canada Hoàng Anh Dũng. 

The country exported goods worth $131.1 million to Việt Nam in the period, representing a year-on-year rise of 105.4 per cent. 

High growth was seen in commodities such as coal ($38.3 million, up 52.7 per cent), cereals ($38 million, up 1.1 per cent) and flight training equipment and spare parts ($6.8 million, up 3.7 per cent). 

Meanwhile, Việt Nam exported goods worth $586.6 million to Canada, a yearly increase of 6.6 per cent. 

Việt Nam’s staples included machines and electronic equipment ($147.7 million), footwear ($9.6 million), apparel products ($63.6 million), woven products ($61.2 million) and timber products ($46.6 million). 

With these figures, Việt Nam maintained its leading position in ASEAN in terms of export turnover to Canada.

Bình Phước plans industrial clusters for $260 million

The southern province of Bình Phước plans to establish 35 industrial clusters in its 11 districts and towns by 2030, whose combined capital requirement will be VNĐ5.9 trillion (US$260 million).

Of the 35 clusters, 21 would be constructed on 583 hectares of land in the 2020-25 period, said Huỳnh Anh Minh, vice-chairman of the People’s Committee.

From 2025 to 2030, another 14 industrial clusters will be set up across another 580 hectares.

Industries that will be developed within these clusters include agro-forestry products processing, manufacture of rubber and plastic products, metal products, electronic products, engine vehicles, textiles and apparel. These clusters are expected to create around 30,000 jobs.

Till now, the province has 12 industrial parks and one economic zone, 11 of which already have infrastructure investors – nine have been built and are calling for investment, according to the provincial department of planning and investment.

Bình Phước has, up to now, attracted 159 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with an investment capital of around US$1.2 billion, which are valid.

The province is promoting industrial development to boost socio-economy growth and to achieve industrialisation and modernisation. Localities are working to create a favourable climate for investors in industry and services. 

Over 24 million USD for transport project in Quang Nam

The central province of Quang Nam has spent more than 550 billion VND (over 24.2 million USD) on constructing 10.5 km of road to connect the locality’s coastal belt road with National Road 40B and the Da Nang-Quang Ngai expressway. 

The road, named Dien Bien Phu, will go through An Xuan, An My, Tan Thanh, An Phu and Tam Phu wards of Tam Ky city and Tam Dai commune of Phu Ninh district. 

It is scheduled to open to traffic in 2018, connecting traffic networks in Tam Ky and Phu Ninh with national roads and expressways, and facilitating rescue activities in the rainy season and in incidents caused by climate change in eastern coastal areas.  

The road is also expected to contribute to meeting the sustainable development and modernisation targets of the locality, especially Tam Ky city.

CMC to set up subsidiary in Japan

CMC, a leading telecom group in Vietnam will establish a subsidiary in Japan in coming June, said CMC Corp CEO Nguyen Trung Chinh.

cmc to set up subsidiary in japan hinh 0 At a meeting with Secretary of Hanoi Party Committee Hoang Trung Hai on April 13, Chinh said the subsidiary company will supply IT products and services for Japanese market.

Chinh said CMC is willing to help Hanoi develop into a smart city with an e-government and implementing programs to stimulate IT innovation and research.

The CMC representative asked the city for assistance in building high quality research centres and giving priority to support services for technology trends like robotics, AI, IoT, Cloud and network security.

CMC is currently building four key labs for the technologies. 

New alliance shakes the world of entertainment

Live Entertainment, Yan Media Group, and 123Go join forces in the fields of event organisation, communication, and ticket delivery.

The tie-up will offer a complete solution for every brand, creating a breakthrough in media and the hospitality and event management sector.

Live Entertainment has successfully organised numerous large-scale events, like Disney On Ice, Escape Music Festival, Yan BeatFest, and Music Republic. YMG, the first and only multi-media entertainment corporate in Vietnam, will ensure the shows will be aired on television and other digital platforms, while 123Go, a subsidairy of VNG, will be responsible for delivering tickets for the programmes.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Nghi, director of Live Entertainment, said that the firm faced many obstacles in ticket delivery and payment collection. Joining up with YMG and 123Go will help Live Entertainment solve these challenges, creating a better experience for customers.

She added that they have plans to bring more international entertainment programmes to Vietnam as well as develop their own Vietnamese content.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Hoanh Tien, deputy director of VNG and the representative of 123Go, stressed that the Vietnamese e-commerce market is expanding with the strong growth of online transactions. “We need to develop new entertainment products and services to catch up with the trend,” he said, adding that 123Go provides convenient methods of payment and ticket delivery. In addition to offering tickets offline, the firm also sells online tickets via ATM, credit card, and Zalo Pay.

‘I’ve never aimed at being a billionaire’ – Vietjet CEO

CEO of Vietnam’s rising budget carrier VietJet said her main goal in business is not money or a “billionaire” title, which she received last month as the only self-made woman billionaire from Southeast Asia.

‘i’ve never aimed at being a billionaire’ – vietjet ceo hinh 0 “To be honest, I’m not used to it yet,” Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, 46, said during the Forbes Vietnam Women Summit 2017 on April 12.

“During my 30 years in business, I’ve never counted my money and I’ve never aimed at being a millionaire or billionaire,” Thao said.

She said she did not grow up poor and thus earning money was never her primary goal. Her main concern, she said, is to build a strong stand for her business.

Thao studied economics and finance in Soviet Russia in the 1980s. She founded VietJet, the country’s only private airline, in December 2011, after starting her career trading commodities in Eastern Europe and Asia.

The “bikini” airline, nicknamed after its unique yet controversial promotional campaign for depicting a female crew in bikinis, now makes up 41 percent of the domestic air travel market, only one percentage point behind the national carrier Vietnam Airlines.

It went public on February 28 and, in less than a week, reached the market value of US$1.8 billion, ahead of Vietnam Airlines’ US$1.7 billion.

Thao said her carrier is not competing directly with Vietnam Airlines. “We create our own customers. We do not take them from others.”

She said around 30% of VietJet’s passengers never flew before and more than half of their air routes are brand new.

Meet food and beverage companies from over 40 countries at THAIFEX

THAIFEX – World of Food Asia – organised by Koelnmesse – the leading trade fair organiser in the food industry is taking place from May 31 to June 4, 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Visitors can expect a mega show congregation of at least 45,000 industry professionals, 2,000 exhibitors and representation from over 40 countries across the five-day event.

Several Vietnamese food and beverage (F&B) businesses show their interest in this one-stop trading platform to boost Vietnamese F&B products internationally. Returning exhibitors Vinamilk, Dan On Food, Rita Food & Drinks, Minh Phong Green & Agricultural Products J.S.C have participated in THAIFEX- World of Food Asia for more than five consecutive years.

Besides are new players such as Seafarm Liability Limited Company, Lotus Rice Ltd., and more. Vietnamese exhibitors also see an impressive 55 per cent increase in space area in 2017 as well as a new seafood pavilion.

Following the rapid population growth and mass urbanization in Asia in the last decade, the traditional demand for food in the region has changed drastically. 

Not only does the Asia-Pacific region have some of the fastest growing F&B industries in the world, with projected year-on-year growth rates averaging 11 per cent, there has also been increased attention to healthier living and demand for better labelling and packaging.

In an answer to this prevailing trend, THAIFEX 2017 showcases distinguished features, including an additional 13,500 square in event space, making it the largest-ever trade fair in the F&B industry; identifying 11 key industry trends for 2017, of which organic foods is forecast to make waves this year; a newly instated ‘THAIFEX Innovation Zone’ to showcase the wide range of innovative food products and product designs from the region; and a series of specialised trade fairs and workshops, conferences on current hot F&B topics.

“THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2017 marks the fifth consecutive year VINAMILK is participating in a trade show on the international scale,” said Vo Trung Hieu, international business director of Vinamilk. “This year, besides a focus on our key products at the Vietnam pavilion, we are excited to introduce our organic milk to consumers.”

“THAIFEX-World of Food Asia is a great platform for us and over the past five years, it has grown exponentially in size and reach. Participating in the show offers us a great opportunity to introduce and share our products to both Thai and international consumers. On top of that, we are also able to expand our reach and work with new and emerging markets in the region,” he added.

PVEP, SK Innovation and Murphy complete agreements for block 15-1/05

The US Murphy Oil Corporation, Korea’s SK Innovation and their Vietnamese partner PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corp has completed the transaction of participation right on the petroleum sharing contract for block 15-1/05 in Cuu Long basin offshore Vietnam.

The ceremony of the completion agreements in respect of the petroleum sharing contract (PSC) of block 15-1/05 was signed among those above parties on April 11, 2017.

According to PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corp (PVEP) vice president Cao Huu Binh, this signing ceremony was an important milestone for the long – term comprehensive and strategic collaboration between PVEP, SK and Murphy.

The certificate of investment registration was approved by Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade in which PVEP and SK Innovation will transfer totally 35 per cent of their interest in the PSC of block 15-1/05 to Murphy Cuu Long Bac Oil Co. Ltd.

According to PVEP statement, the tight collaboration between all parties, especially the experience in oil and gas sector of Murphy and SK Innovation will help the contractors achieve and put more and more discoveries into production, along with expanding the exploration in the entire block.

After the ceremony, the contractors will actively carry out the work in order to put Lac Da Vang discovery into production as well as other additional exploration in the entire block.

Additionally, the parties will also discuss the co-operation in the opportunities of 16-2, 17 and other blocks at the potential Cuu Long Basin.

PVEP has exceeded its production targets assigned by the government and PetroVietnam for the first quarter of 2017.

Ho Chi Minh City aims to welcome 7 million foreign visitors in 2017

Ho Chi Minh City set a target of welcoming seven million international visitors in 2017, announced the Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, Nguyen Thanh Phong, at a conference between the City’s leaders and travel businesses on April 13.

In order to achieve the target, the cooperation and contributions of travel enterprises in the City are essential.

The City is focusing on upgrading and renovating museums and amusement parks and urgently building a Safari Park in Cu Chi district as well as developing marine tourism in Can Gio district and wharves, contributing to creating favourable conditions for enterprises to draw visitors.

The city has also set out programmes to develop human resources, particularly for tourism sector and is urgently developing a strategy for the development of the city’s tourism sector by 2030.

At the conference, many representatives from travel businesses, hotels and accommodation establishments made comments on the determination of key tourism products as well as plans for major projects in association with modern infrastructure to develop the MICE (meetings-incentives-conventions-events), culinary, medical and inland waterway tourism models.

The enterprises also raised their ideas related to applying for certification of star rating of hotels.

In addition, several travel enterprises emphasised the unfair tourism trade competition via internet, causing losses to customers. They also proposed that the relevant agencies should promote strict solutions and sanctions, avoiding the tarnishing of the City’s image in the eyes of foreigners.

In the first quarter of the year, Ho Chi Minh City has had more than 1,700 travel businesses, including 575 international ones.

Positive shift in RoK’s investment in Vietnam: KOTRA Hanoi chief

Investment from the Republic of Korea (RoK) in Vietnam is being spread across a wider range of fields as Korean investors now consider Vietnam not only a for-export manufacturing workshop but also a potential consumption market.

Park Chul Ho, General Director of the Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA)’s Hanoi office, made the remark during a recent interview with the Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times).

He said Korean businesses’ interest in Vietnam is stronger than ever, noting that Vietnam with open policies has maintained good economic growth. The Vietnam-RoK Free Trade Agreement, effective from December 2015, has also boosted bilateral trade.

Since the deal took effect, the RoK’s imports from Vietnam rose by 27 percent within a year and enjoyed the same growth rate in the first two months of 2017 compared to a year earlier.

Trade surged 90 times from 500 billion USD in 1992 to 45.1 billion USD in 2016, turning the RoK into the third biggest trade partner of the Southeast Asian nation last year.

At a recent meeting between Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and RoK Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, the two sides aimed for bilateral trade to hit up to 100 billion USD by 2020. KOTRA will step up investment and trade promotion activities to realise the target, Park said.

As RoK investors considered Vietnam an important manufacturing centre, they focused investment in the manufacturing industry. However, they have been shifting to more sectors such as goods distribution and education. 

This is a positive development as it can create opportunities for Korean firms to partner with Vietnamese peers in multiple fields, according to the KOTRA Hanoi chief.

RoK companies have invested in 19 areas in Vietnam, mostly processing and manufacturing (35 billion USD), real estate (8.2 billion USD), and construction (2.7 billion USD).

Despite a decline in recent years, manufacturing still makes up the biggest proportion of Korean investment in Vietnam. It is forecast to retain this position as many RoK factories are being moved to Vietnam due to the degradation of China’s investment climate.

Manufacturing-related services are set to develop in the near future, Park Chul Ho said.

Distribution, wholesaling, retailing, science-technology and infrastructure are also expected to attract stronger investment.

Park hopes that with such changes, the two countries’ enterprises will develop new industries and make inroads into global markets by cooperating in more diverse sectors.

VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR

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