Tra fish exports surge in seven months

The export turnover of tra fish soared 19.5 percent to 1.18 billion USD in the first seven months of 2018, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

In July alone, the country exported 182 million USD worth of tra fish, representing a year-on-year rise of 13.5 percent.

Major consumers of Vietnamese tra fish include China, the US, the European Union (EU), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

High export growth was seen in the UAE (up 133.5 percent), China (up 45.2 percent) and ASEAN (up 36.5 percent).

China remained the biggest importer of Vietnamese tra fish with 290 million USD, up 45.2 percent year-on-year, making up 24.7 percent of the total export turnover for this product.

The US came second with 250 million USD (up 11.5 percent) followed by the EU with 137.5 million USD (up 15.3 percent), accounting for 20.4 percent and 11.7 percent of the total figure, respectively.

Notably, the UAE surpassed Saudi Arabia to be among top 8 importers of Vietnamese tra fish with 32.5 million USD, recording a considerable growth of 133.5 percent.

In 2017, the UAE was the third largest importer of Vietnamese tra fish in the Middle East market with a value of 23 million USD, down 13.2 percent compared to the previous year. 

However, Vietnam’s tra fish exports to the UAE reversed with a sharp upturn in export value in the first months of this year, with increases shooting up by between 117-221 percent a month since March.  

The strong growth was attributed to the Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA)’s decision to suspend imports of fish, crustacean and other aquatic products from Vietnam.

The temporary suspension was based on the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)’s “Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease Report (Asia-Pacific Region) April – June 2017”, and the outcomes of the working visit to Vietnam by SFDA in late 2017.

Vietnam is the world’s largest exporter of tra fish, making up more than half of the global tra fish output. 

There is increasing demand for Vietnamese tra fish in Russia, the Middle East, and Asian countries.

HAGL Group, THACO ink strategic deal

The Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) Group and Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO) inked a strategic cooperation agreement in Ho Chi Minh City on August 8 in the presence of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Under the deal, THACO will be responsible for the overall restructuring of the HAGL Agricultural JSC with a total investment of approximately 12 trillion VND (514.7 million USD). In addition, THACO and Dai Quang Minh Real Estate Investment JSC, where THACO holds 90 percent of charter capital, will be responsible for the development of Phase 2 of the HAGL Myanmar project in the Southeast Asian nation, with total investment of 320 million USD. The project will be completed by 2020.

In his remarks at the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he is delight to see a leading industrial enterprise and a large scale agricultural model of Vietnam shaking hands in a large-scale hi-tech agricultural project. 

He expected that the cooperation between ambitious leaders of the two companies would help boost the development of agriculture and industry in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

He described the collaboration as a new inspiration for domestic companies to innovate, merge and cooperate for development.

The PM said he hopes that the agreement will set the model for the application of advanced technology in agriculture, and also the tendency to shift investment flows in agriculture and call on big businesses to invest in agricultural development.

Also at the event, Chairman of HAGL Group Doan Nguyen Duc and THACO Chairman Tran Ba Duong presented financial aid to Lao people affected by the Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam break last month. – VNA 

Developing product chains helps boost sustainable export growth

Printing and packaging exhibition to be held in HCM City, Japan becomes top investor in Vietnam, Dien Quang Lamp partners with US Qualcomm, Diesel up, gasoline unchanged in new price adjustment

Developing product chains is an important solution to sustainable export growth, heard a conference in Hanoi on August 8.

Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that product chains will help cut out intermediary, reduce goods’ prices, raise the added value, and improve competitiveness.

Hai noted that Vietnam’s exports have seen strong growth in both scale and production ability. Total export value recorded a year-on-year rise of 21.2 percent to 214 billion USD last year.

Notably, the export situation this year is forecast to have many opportunities for higher growth as commitments for international integration have been implemented, helping reduce import-export tariffs.

The efforts of the Government and ministries in administrative reform to provide a favourable business environment have aided export activities, he said.

In the first seven months of this year, total import-export turnover reached 264.3 billion USD, up 12.7 percent year-on-year, of which exports were valued at 133.6 billion USD, up 15.3 percent against the same period last year, equal to 56.5 percent of the year’s target.

 “This has been a bright point in the economy with high export turnover. However, there are shortcomings that pose challenges for the country’s exports,” he added.

He noted that protectionism became more common in the first months of the year.

In addition, the country’s exports have depended on foreign directed investment (FDI) enterprises, which accounted for 70 percent of total turnover. This was because Vietnam has not had an export value chain, he said.

As an example, a representative from the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association said the country’s garment export value rose from 15.8 billion USD in 2011 to 31 billion USD in 2017, accounting for 4 percent of the world’s total turnover.

However, the sector has mainly performed cutting and sewing in the global garment and textile supply chain. Vietnamese garment and textile firms have participated in simple outsourcing and lack the ability to provide packaging, resulting in low added value. The garment and textile industry has also relied on imported materials. The local companies have to import up to 86 percent of cloth for production and exports.

A similar situation has been seen in the agricultural sector.

Vietnam has high agricultural output. However, most of its products have not been exported widely due to limited processing capacity. Agricultural and seafood products have been mainly exported as raw materials.

Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed that the country has 700 agricultural chains certified as safe chains. However, only half of the total operates effectively.

Doan Anh Tuan, Chairman of The He Moi Tea Company Ltd, said most Vietnamese firms are small-scale and can not afford to invest in material areas and modern processing and packaging equipment.

“Moreover, local firms have not built their own brand names. The Government should have programmes to invest into technologies to create competitive products and take a firm foothold in the international market,” said Tuan.

Participants proposed the country build agricultural chains through consumption contracts between farmers, co-operatives and businesses to have stable material areas. In addition, it should develop breeds with high output and use science and technologies in farming, harvesting, preserving, processing and consumption.

Experts said the support industry could be the foundation for sustainable exports, so the Government should prioritise support industry development for sectors of mechanics, spare pare production, garment and textile and leather shoes.

The solutions could be effective if the business community participated, they said.

Previously, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a plan to improve the competitiveness of exported products in Vietnam to create a legal framework for sustainable exports.

The plan aims to increase value of key export staples by 20 percent by 2020.

It hopes to gradually increase exports of agricultural and seafood products to the EU, Japan and the Republic of Korea markets in 2016-20 with average growth rate of 8 percent a year.

HCM City seeks to improve traceability of agricultural products

Ho Chi Minh City is seeking to improve the traceability of agricultural produce sold through both modern and traditional retail channels to improve food safety.

By the end of this year, it aims to have all goods sold through modern distribution channels meet VietGap standards, have proper packaging and brands and be traceable through mobile phones, according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.

The city has been piloting ways to improve traceability of the products since January last year.

Cu Chi district’s Phu Loc Agricultural Cooperative has for instance been using QR code stamps, which allow customers to see the entire farming and transportation process.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has been organising training classes for farmers and providing them with equipment to upload data about product origin.

Binh Chanh district’s Phuoc An Agricultural Cooperative said ever since it began to affix the QR stamps the reputation of its products had been rising.

However, Phu Loc has to cope with many challenges: The wide variety of its produce means it requires skilled and meticulous supervisors, while maintaining the systems and restocking stamps are costly.

Data entry is not too efficient, with officials having to meet each farmer to collect data while traceable produce is not a priority for many retailers and distributors.  

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said most traditional markets, which account for most of the food distributed in the country, sell goods whose origins are not traceable and do not keep records or receipts.

Phuoc An said many farmers were still struggling to enter data using modern technology, and unstable internet connections in remote areas meant that uploading data could take a long time.

Dao Ha Trung, Chairman of the HCM City High Technology Association, said developing a comprehensive database for various vegetables and medicinal herbs and contacting all the provinces that supply produce to HCM City were extremely difficult tasks.

The association was working on using affordable technologies to help co-operatives improve their products’ traceability.

A representative of GS1 Vietnam, a barcode organisation, said many businesses in HCM City’s wholesale markets used barcodes to keep track of goods sold.

However, they did not have a consistent standard for product tracing and it planned to create one, it said.

According to a survey by the association, the city’s wholesale markets receive around 2.5 million tonnes of vegetables and fruits from other provinces.

After agricultural goods, the city will shift its focus to other foods.

Connectivity gives boost to Hanoi’s neighboring real estate

Printing and packaging exhibition to be held in HCM City, Japan becomes top investor in Vietnam, Dien Quang Lamp partners with US Qualcomm, Diesel up, gasoline unchanged in new price adjustment

Hanoi real estate market is witnessing a strong shift from the inner city to the outskirts and beyond.

Many areas on the outskirts of Hanoi have awaken up and emerged as new real estate spots thanks to the advantage of large land funds and more synchronized connectivity with the inner city. 

The Ecopark urban area, located in Hung Yen province adjacent to Hanoi, has attracted buyers becasue it spans on a large area and is well connected to the center of Hanoi through new brigdes across the Red river. 

Ecopark’s real estate products are ussualy highly demanded, even at the time the local real estate market was in the doldrums.

Representatives of Viet Hung Urban Development and Investment JSC, the investor of Ecopark, said that the attraction of Ecopark stems from not only the green design and synchronous infrastructure, but also from the varierty of products that range from low-cost to high-end and luxury.

The success of Ecopark is expected to attract more large developers and create a driving force for the whole region, as the Phu My Hung high-end project in District 7 Ho Chi Minh City did, said the representative.

Like Ecopark in Hung Yen province, the real estate market in Vinh Phuc province to the north of Hanoi has become increasingly bustling with a strong increase in both supply and demand. the capital town of Vinh Yen is becoming the center of the real estate market in Vinh Phuc, and holds strong potential for development in the future.

According to industry insiders, real estate in Hanoi’s neighboring provinces still has large room for development. Besides Hung Yen and Vinh Phuc, Thai Nguyen and Bac Ninh have also caught investors’ attention thanks to the presence of hi-tech industrial clusters and giants from South Korea and Japan.

In Thai Nguyen, by the end of the second quarter of 2018, up to 3,000 apartments, more than 400 villas, and a large number of land plots were sold.

In Bac Ninh province, more than 10,000 landed houses have been developed in new industrial zones and administrative areas such as Bac Ninh, Tu Son, Thuan Thanh, Tien Du, Que Vo, Yen Phong, with the absorption rate reaching 60%.

Connectivity in the northern region has become stronger with the government’s master plans. The prime minister in 2015 approved the plan for transport development in the northern key economic region until 2020 with a vision to 2030.

In May 2016, the prime minister approved the revised zoning plan of Hanoi and its surroundings until 2030 with a vision to 2050. One of the most important goals of the new planning is to provide a basis for the elaboration and adjustment of provincial and regional construction planning along the belt roads, inter-provincial highways, special areas and functional areas, general planning of urban areas, and technical infrastructure planning.

Those plans also serve as the basis for the development of urban centers and specialized urban areas that can be a driving force in the region by strengthening the linkage and effective utilization of the ring road system and economic corridors connecting and passing by Hanoi.

Vu Dang Dung from the Hanoi Real Estate Club, a member of the Vietnam Real Estate Association, said that the real estate market in the provinces surrounding Hanoi, especially those to the east and south, are benefiting from the infrastructure projects that are well designed and synchronous.

“Strategic decisions by the government have facilitated the infrastructure system in general, especially the transport infrastructure that connects Hanoi’s crowded center with areas previously thought to be remote. But the most important point is that the regional connectivity strategy has provided an opportunity for the real estate market in the provinces around Hanoi to boom,” Dung stressed.

HCMC tightens BT infrastructure investments

Following the land fund scarcity in HCMC and a lack of transparency in build-transfer (BT) investment projects, the city government is striving to ensure transparency in these projects and compliance with laws, according to a news report by Dau Tu Tai Chinh.

At a meeting on the city’s socioeconomic performance last month, HCMC Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong noted that the conversion of more than 26,000 hectares of agricultural land into non-farming land will follow a specific roadmap for each year.

Phong added that all the information will be made public so that people can monitor the developments.

In the past, HCMC has executed several large-scale infrastructure projects under the BT and build-operate-transfer investment formats, such as Phu My Bridge, Pham Van Dong Street, Saigon 2 Bridge, the expansion of the Hanoi Highway and the Tham Luong-Ben Cat wastewater treatment plant. There are now 18 BT projects in the city, with combined investments of VND59.2 trillion, and 130 investors have expressed their interest in cooperating with the State to execute BT projects, with total capital of more than VND350 trillion.

According to the HCMC chairman, land sites at prime locations will be auctioned to pool capital for infrastructure projects, even though investors want those sites in exchange for BT investments.

Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCMC Real Estate Association, stressed that partnerships with the private sector for infrastructure investments help mobilize large sums of capital.

However, Chau proposed public and transparent auctions and a restriction on contractor appointments in the case of public-private partnership and BT investments.

Under the law on management and the use of public assets, payments in terms of land for BT investors are no longer applicable this year, but many localities have failed to comply. The Ministry of Finance recently ordered localities to stop using public assets to pay BT investors until the Government’s decree on this matter takes effect.

According to Phong, HCMC needs significant investments of roughly VND850 trillion during the 2016-2020 period for infrastructure development, while the municipal budget can meet only 20% of the requirement.

Private firms hesitant to invest in wastewater treatment projects

Printing and packaging exhibition to be held in HCM City, Japan becomes top investor in Vietnam, Dien Quang Lamp partners with US Qualcomm, Diesel up, gasoline unchanged in new price adjustment

The number of private enterprises involved in wastewater treatment projects in HCMC is small, while the city needs at least 12 sewage treatment plants.

According to the city’s wastewater treatment plan, approved by the prime minister in 2010, the city aims to develop 12 wastewater treatment facilities: Tau Hu-Ben Nghe, Tay Saigon, Tan Hoa-Lo Gom, Nam Saigon, Dong Saigon, Bac Saigon 1 and 2, Tham Luong-Ben Cat, Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe, Binh Tan, Rach Cau Dua and Tay Bac.

However, only a few plants have been developed and put into operation, mainly using State capital and official development assistance loans. This includes a plant in Binh Chanh District and another in Binh Hung Hoa, with a daily treatment capacity of 141,000 and 30,000 cubic meters of wastewater, respectively.

In other parts of the city, untreated wastewater is still pumped straight into canals and rivers.

Sewage from districts 1, 3 and 10 as well as from Phu Nhuan, Go Vap and Tan Binh is still pumped into the Saigon River due to the lack of a wastewater treatment plant in the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe basin, although a drainage system has been developed there.

A consortium of Phu Dien Construction Trading and Investment JSC and Royal International Securities completed the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in the Tham Luong-Ben Cat area in District 12 last year. However, the plant, which has a daily capacity of treating more than 130,000 cubic meters of wastewater, has yet to operate as designed owing to the lack of a drainage system for wastewater collection.

Due to the city’s tight budget, the municipal government has called on private firms to invest in five wastewater treatment projects, which will be rolled out under the public-private partnership model.

The average investment required for a plant to treat 100,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day is nearly US$200 million.

Many investors, including Saigon Real Estate Infrastructure Investment JSC, Saigon Water Infrastructure Corporation, BPA Group and the United States’ Wontert Capital Fund, have expressed interest in the Tay Saigon wastewater treatment project, which is expected to have a daily capacity of treating some 150,000 cubic meters of wastewater and will require funding of VND7.7 trillion (US$331.1 million).

A consortium of Hoa Phong Company and Terran Projects Limited and another of Phu Dien and SFC Vietnam, as well as Samsung, have registered to execute the Binh Tan wastewater treatment project with a capacity of 180,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day.

According to the HCMC Steering Center of the Urban Flood Control Program, which is in charge of managing wastewater treatment plants, the city has sought investments in these projects since 2012, but many projects have stalled due to complicated administrative procedures and investors’ concern over capital recovery.

Some environmental experts noted that investors also pay attention to the time needed for site clearance and resettlement work as these could greatly affect the progress of the projects.

Meanwhile, investors proposed the city government promptly publicize the prices of sewage, drainage and treatment services in line with the Government’s Decree 80/2014/ND-CP on the drainage and treatment of wastewater.

The agencies advising the city government to approve wastewater treatment projects must have experience in this field of work.

In addition, the standards for these projects as well as regulations on the handover of land and on compensation should be clarified, according to interested private firms.

The HCMC government plans to hold a conference on August 9 to call for investment in flood control and wastewater treatment projects in the city in the coming years.

Diesel up, gasoline unchanged in new price adjustment

The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance issued a joint decision on fuel price adjustment, which came into effect at 3 p.m. August 7. The retail prices of diesel oil, kerosene and heavy fuel oil went up by VND205-296 per liter or kilogram, while gasoline prices remained unchanged, said local news reports.

The prices of RON95-III and bio-gasoline E5 RON 92 did not change. The price of the bio-fuel was maintained at the ceiling price of VND19,611 per liter, while the maximum price of RON95-III petrol reached VND21,177 per liter.

Meanwhile, diesel oil 0.05S added VND296 per liter, hitting a new high of VND17,539. The kerosene price picked up by VND205 per liter to reach VND16,379, and the price of heavy fuel oil 3.5S rose by VND257 per kilogram at VND15,013.

During this period of price adjustment, local fuel traders are allowed to tap the fuel price stabilization fund at the rate of VND1,194 for every liter of bio-fuel sold, VND554 for every liter of RON95 petrol and VND70 for every kilogram of heavy fuel oil.

Petrol prices have remained stable for the second consecutive period this year. On July 23, the prices of the bio-fuel, RON95-III and heavy fuel oil were subsidized by the fund to keep them from changing, while the prices of diesel 0.05S and kerosene had dropped by VND213 and VND69 per liter, respectively.

The ministries stated that the fuel price stabilization fund has been continually tapped to minimize the effects of global fuel price hikes on local fuel prices, as well as to help control inflation.

Dien Quang Lamp partners with US Qualcomm

Dien Quang Lamp JSC on August 7 inked a strategic cooperation agreement with American multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company Qualcomm to provide the local market with lighting solutions and equipment through their smartphone application.

Under the deal, Qualcomm acts as a strategic consulting firm that will transfer its technology to Dien Quang and is also a provider of processors, modules and new software, in line with the production orientation of the Vietnamese firm.

The two companies will work together to research and produce a central controller for the DQHome solution of Dien Quang.

The controller will be equipped with the most advanced processors and modules. It can integrate new technologies such as voice control, image analysis and electronic device adjustment, aligned with users’ habits and environmental conditions.

The development of DQHome is based on the needs and habits of the Vietnamese. This solution enables users to connect with and manage their home environment at any time and place through their smartphones, according to Dien Quang.

DQHome helps them to control household devices such as lighting systems, TVs, air conditioners and water heaters, individually, in groups or under setup scenarios.

Besides this, Dien Quang will employ Qualcomm’s latest technologies, such as Bluetooth 5.0, Mesh Network and Chipset to develop the Dien Quang Apollo solution for smart lighting.

This solution helps users to connect with, control and change the colors of their lighting clusters using their smartphones, creating new experiences for context-sensitive and family atmosphere lighting.

At the event, Dien Quang also struck an agreement with Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon.com that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms on a paid subscription basis. However, they did not disclose the details of the deal.

Japan becomes top investor in Vietnam

Japan has become the largest investor in Vietnam since 2017, with investments reaching US$ 9.11 billion, accounting for 25.4 percent of the total FDI, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ho Chi Minh City Branch (VCCI-HCM).

In the first six months, Japanese investor poured US$6.5 billion into projects, accounting for 32 percent of the total FDI in the country.

The country sees 1,600 Japanese firms that are operating in Vietnam. Nearly 70 percent of Japanese enterprises plan to expand their business and investment in Vietnam, especially in the fields of trade, high value-added product and consumer goods.

Printing and packaging exhibition to be held in HCM City     

The 18th annual Viet Nam International Printing & Packaging Industry Exhibition (VietnamPrintPack) will be held concurrently with the Food Processing Industry Exhibition from August 20 to September 1 in HCM City.

The exhibition features a number of seminars, including a discussion on “Developing 2D and 3D printing applications in the printing industry in Viet Nam” hosted by the Viet Nam Printing Association (VPA).

The event will feature 380 exhibitors from 11 countries and territories from Viet Nam, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Japan and China, among others.

They will include renowned companies such as Riekermann, ACE machinery, J&V Wonder Printing Viet Nam Co., Ltd, Sansin and Uchida

The companies will showcase their latest products and technologies, including printing machines and accessories, inks, printing materials, cutting disks, packaging machinery, raw materials, auxiliaries and coding and marking systems.

The exhibition is expected to attract more than 15,000 businesses from neighboring countries such as Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Bangladesh.

The show is supported by the Viet Nam Printing Association, Viet Nam Association of Mechanical Industry, Korean Packaging Trade Association, Printing and Printing Equipment Industries Association of China, and others.

It will be held at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center in District 7. 

Database on enterprises help prevent commercial fraud, fake goods

The Department of Planning and Investment of Đồng Nai Province has created a database of information about enterprises in an attempt to prevent commercial fraud and sale of fake goods.

Nguyễn Hữu Nguyên, deputy head of the province’s Department of Planning and Investment, said the database would include information on enterprises’ business licences, activities and violations of regulations.

The database is expected to help local agencies quickly find information about enterprises that violate regulations.

The province has been struggling to prevent smuggling and fake goods, according to the steering committee on combating smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods.

Nguyễn Ngọc Liên, vice chairman of Biên Hoà City in the southern province, said that most enterprises charged with violations were small scale and hard to control.

In addition, the procedures to apply for business registration certificates are too easy, and enterprises take advantage of this by changing their legal entity so they can continue to operate after being fined.

The province has detected more than 2,100 violations and handled 2,085 of them since the beginning of the year, according to the steering committee.

The total amount of penalties imposed on violating enterprises during that period was VNĐ350 billion  (US$15 million). 

Smooth waters for seaside porperty market    

Printing and packaging exhibition to be held in HCM City, Japan becomes top investor in Vietnam, Dien Quang Lamp partners with US Qualcomm, Diesel up, gasoline unchanged in new price adjustment 

Viet Nam’s seaside real estate market holds great potential for strong growth thanks to its development of tourism industry, impressive economic growth, and the efforts of Viet Nam in improving infrastructures.

Han Manh Tien, chairman of Viet Nam Association of Corporate Directors told the Viet Nam Seaside Tourism Real Estate Forum 2018 in Ha Noi on Saturday that Viet Nam had many catalysts for tourism growth.

The country has macroeconomic indicators favouring development growth; infrastructure improvements, especially with Phu Quoc and Van Don connected to the national grid; airport upgrades, relaxation of visa requirements, and the rise of the middle class which is becoming a main momentum for growth in the domestic tourism market.

“In addition, Viet Nam has a lot of market opportunities, especially when new developers want a piece of the “cake”. The biggest developers are also working directly with the Government to expedite large infrastructure projects, such as metro lines in Ha Noi and HCM City,” he said.

Michael Piro, chief operating officer of Indochina Capital said there were nearly 13 million international tourist arrivals last year, 29 per cent higher than 2016 with a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14 per cent per annum.

The highest number of visitors was from China and South Korea with the amount growing.

But, he added, Viet Nam should not rely on this too much.

The number of domestic tourist arrivals in Viet Nam last year was 73.2 million people, 18 per cent higher than in 2016, with a five-year CAGR of 16 per cent per annum.

Viet Nam’s air passenger traffic growth is highest in Southeast Asia, with a five-year CAGR of 17.4 per cent.

He said that those factors would greatly contribute to the development of Viet Nam seaside real estate, especially in young Vietnamese markets like Nha Trang, Da Nang and Phu Quoc beach resort markets.

In Nha Trang, the average daily rate (ADR) in both four-and five-star properties has remained flat. While demand has continued to increase, the lack of supply of branded properties has hurt the market’s performance. However, occupancy has remained extremely high, reinforcing the potential.

However, Viet Nam tourism must also face a number of challenges as overdevelopment is damaging Việt Nam’s pristine beaches.

Low-quality resort developments have started to flood the market. Good short-term results do not mean long-term success; therefore, developers need to continually adapt to avoid an outdated resort and create a timeless property.

Michael Piro also said that guaranteed returns in Viet Nam are unparalleled; certain developers are offering 8-12 per cent returns over a period of 8-10 years.

“No one in the world is offering this level of returns,” he said.

This could also suggest poor cash flow management as it is extremely difficult to generate these types of returns organically and cash management is an important aspect of real estate development. Guaranteed returns can be used, but its use should be restrained.

Sharing the ideas, Duong Thuy Dung, senior director of CBRE Viet Nam said while Thailand is a giant tourist hub in the region, seaside tourism here still has much room for development. Viet Nam is estimated to attract the most significant amount of cross-border investment for the next 12 months among APEC economies.

According to CBRE statistics, real estate products of Viet Nam’s coastal provinces are improving in both quantity and quality, especially in the four famous destinations, namely Ha Long, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc.

By 2020, the room stock of hotels, condotels and villas was expected to sharply increase by half to more than 34,000 rooms as in Nha Trang, and even double in Phu Quoc and Da Nang.

The hotel segment has shown excellent performance with the occupancy rate all above 60 per cent for four-star and five-star hotels. Resort products, including condotels and villas, also experience a high absorption rate of above 90 per cent.

It is estimated that by 2035, half of the Vietnamese population will be middle class, who are both potential investors and major customers for the tourism industry.

However, Dung also warns investors about chronic problems of the market. The legality of condotels still lacks consensus, and investors have to cope with such investment risks as profit commitments.

Environmental issues are also hard to ignore. Viet Nam’s tourism industry heavily depends on natural landscapes and elements, so environmental degradation like the garbage mountains in Phu Quoc or coastal erosion in Da Nang may put a grim future on these famous destinations.

The forum is by Theleader magazine each year aiming to contribute to planning, investment, management and sustainable developments. 

Tax collection in Can Tho rises nearly 10 percent in six months

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho collected about 5.13 trillion VND (220.3 million USD) of tax in the first half of 2018, up 9.9 percent year-on-year and meeting 51.08 percent of the projected target.

As of June 2018, nine among 14 sources of the city’s tax revenues hit at least 50 percent of the year’s estimate. Meanwhile, tax collections from foreign-invested and non-State firms were the lowest at 30.99 percent and 40.61 percent, respectively.

The sector will strengthen administration reforms this year to support tax-payers, said head of the city’s Tax Department Vo Kim Hoang.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Dung noted that since the beginning of this year, the city has held meetings and dialogues with local businesses to address their difficulties.

Local authorities have paid attention to building a clear, transparent and attractive business environment which in turn creates optimal conditions for investors and firms’ operation, as well as improve investment climate and competitiveness, he added.

Can Tho has seen robust growth in many areas. Notably, by the end of July, retail sales and services revenue of the city increased 11 percent against the same period last year, Dung said.

Can Tho to have more firms to export rice to China

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho will further support local businesses to increase the number of firms eligible to export rice to China, whose demand for the grain is still growing.

The remark was made by Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Minh Toai at a working session between Can Tho leaders and a delegation from the Chinese food association on August 8.

Wang Zhi Xi, Chairman of a food company based in Dongguan city of Guangdong province, said the rice demand in China is very big and tends to be on the rise. Sales at his business could reach up to 800 tonnes per day, or 300,000 tonnes per year.

The market is also shifting from cheap to high-quality and organic rice. Therefore, through local leaders, he hopes to seek suitable suppliers in the Mekong Delta.

Dao Viet Anh, Commercial Counsellor of the Vietnamese Embassy in China, said trade between the two countries has been developing in recent years, reaching 121.3 billion USD in 2017, up 23.4 percent year on year. China is the biggest trade partner of Vietnam, which also respectively ranks first and eighth among ASEAN and global trade partners of China.

China imported 3.99 million tonnes of rice in 2017, up 12.96 percent from the previous year. That included 2.26 million tonnes from Vietnamese, making up 56.72 percent of China’s total import volume. In the first half of this year, it purchased 1.78 million tonnes of the grain and cereal, including 850,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam.

However, Vietnam’s rice export to its neighbor is forecast to encounter difficulties in maintaining the growth trend seen in the past years, Anh noted, attributing the problem to China’s hike of rice import tariff since July 1, 2018, and fierce competition from other exporters.

Director Toai said at present, Can Tho has only four businesses eligible and licensed to directly ship rice to China. To increase the number of those companies, local authorities will help them professionalise the production process to ensure export rice will meet the two countries’ standards.

Local enterprises will also be assisted to seek partners through trade promotion and business-to-business events and build and register rice trademarks in China, he added.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau ranks third in FDI attraction in seven months

The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau ranked third among cities and provinces nationwide in FDI attraction with about 2.15 billion USD landing into local projects since the beginning of 2018.

The amount presented an increase of 30.6 percent against the same period last year. It included over 320 million USD added into 30 operational projects, such as a brewery with an annual capacity of 610 million litres of beer of the Heineken Vietnam Brewery at the My Xuan A Industrial Park, a steel manufacturing project of the Nippon Steel and Sumikin Pipe Vietnam and a kitchen appliance project of Kasmain Vietnam.

The province is currently home to 360 FDI projects with a total registered capital of more than 28 billion USD.

The province has attracted a number of large FDI projects suitable to its strategy to develop key industries like food processing, mineral processing, textile and garment and solar power.

To facilitate foreign investors in the province, local authorities pledged to continue improving business climate and intensify public administration reforms by streamlining unnecessary procedures.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau has set up an inter-sectoral working group to support investors in investment procedures while the provincial leaders have held regular meetings with local departments to promptly help enterprises resolve difficulties.

According to Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment Le Hoang Hai, the southern locality aims to lure 80 FDI projects worth an estimated 40 billion USD, and 90 domestic ones with a combined registered capital of about 100 trillion VND (4.29 billion USD) from 2017 – 2020. 

Vietcombank to sell OCB shares next month     

Vietcombank will sell all of its remaining 1.48 million Orient Commercial Bank (OCB) shares at an auction on September 6.

According to Vietcombank, at a starting price of VND18,876 (80 US cents) per share, the bank is estimated to earn nearly VND27.9 billion (US$1.19 million) if the auction succeeds.

The shares are bonus shares that Vietcombank received from OCB before its first auction to sell 13.2 million OCB shares held in December last year.

Earlier, in April, Vietcombank also succeeded in its second auction to sell 6.67 million OCB shares to 128 investors, including one institution. At this auction, the highest winning price was VND28,500 per share and the lowest was VND25,000, compared with the starting price of VND13,000 set by Vietcombank, helping the bank earn VND171.96 billion.

Offloading holdings at OCB is one of Vietcombank’s moves to comply with the central bank’s Circular 36, which allows commercial banks to hold shares in a maximum of two other credit institutions, with the stake in each not exceeding 5 per cent of the total equity of that institution.

Apart from OCB, Vietcombank also plans to divest from Eximbank and Military Bank as it currently still holds shares in these banks.

OCB reported impressive business performance in the first half of this year with pre-tax profit of more than VND1.3 trillion, rising 163.5 per cent year-on-year and meeting 65 per cent of the bank’s target set for 2018.

OCB plans to list 750 million shares on the HCM Stock Exchange during the late third quarter or early fourth quarter to increase in the bank’s market capitalisation to $1 billion.

BVSC honoured as Best Securities Advisory Firm     

Bao Viet Securities Joint Stock Company (BVSC) has been named Best Securities Advisory Firm – Vietnam by the UK’s International Finance Magazine.

The award is among many others included in the magazine’s International Finance Awards, which was launched in 2013 to recognise and honour the achievements and contributions of international financial-banking firms.

The latest edition of the awards credited BVSC’s achievements and efforts as a financial advisor, contributing to the development of the Vietnamese merger and acquisition (M&A) market, BVSC said in a statement.

In 2017, BVSC performed well and was one of the leading financial advisory firms in Viet Nam’s deals such as the VND9.87 trillion (US$438.8 million) merger between Thanh Thanh Cong Tay Ninh Sugar JSC and Bien Hoa Sugar JSC, and the divestment of State capital at Sai Gon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Corporation (Sabeco), in which the Government sold a $5 billion stake to foreign investors.

“That deal (for Sabeco) was not only a big one for Viet Nam but also for other regional markets, and it made a big contribution to the development of the Vietnamese financial market and raise the creditability of BVSC,” BVSC said.

BVSC was founded in 1999 and has emerged as one of the country’s top brokerage firms. It provides professional finance and investment products and services for all domestic and foreign investors.

International Finance is a premium financial and business analysis magazine, published by UK’s International Finance Publications Ltd.

With a discerning focus on emerging markets, International Finance provides news, analysis and commentary from a range of industry experts, contributors and writers. 

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