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Food-beverage industry embraces new business model to overcome pandemic effects

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Customers buy Kido products at a supermarket.

 Compiled by Thiên Lý

Packaged food producer KIDO Group has opened a chain of stores in HCM City selling the Chuk Chuk brand of ice cream, milk tea, tea, coffee, and fresh bakery products with an investment of VNĐ100 billion (US$4.4 million).

With an additional 1,000 stores likely to be opened across the country by 2025, Chuk Chuk is expected to become a leading brand.

The company’s general director, Trần Lệ Nguyên, said the first outlets were opened in HCM City and then, by September, in Hà Nội and some northern provinces if the pandemic is controlled by then.

The timing is curious to say the least considering the economy has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nguyên explained that it was because there was a lot of vacant land in prime locations as many businesses closed down due to the pandemic.

The company considered this a precious opportunity to build a large chain of food and beverage (F&B) stores at a low cost, he said.

If in the past the company had to spend around $15,000 for a land plot in a prime location in District 1, the price has now halved, he revealed.

Market observers said despite the sharp decline many landlords had been unable to rent out their properties.

KIDO has already signed lease contracts for 10 properties at low rates.

It is among the businesses that have realised the great potential of the F&B market once the outbreak is controlled.

Meanwhile, countries around the world including Việt Nam are making great efforts to vaccinate their people so that the pandemic can be curbed soon.

Việt Nam’s middle class is expected to burgeon to 45 million by 2025, which would significantly increase F&B demand. Analysts in fact expect the market to double in the next two years from its size in 2019.

Analysts said the new entrants should have strategies to build brands, especially offline, since the pandemic has forced people to stay at home.

Some companies in the F&B sector have strongly pushed ahead with the mobile stores model, expanding their market share without having to incur rentals.

It is expected to become a new trend in the industry.

Livestock firms create feed-farm-food model

In May MEATLife, a subsidiary of Masan Group, decided to sell MEATDeli fresh pork and 3F chicken at all its 18 Vinmart supermarkets and nearly 500 Vinmart+ convenience stores in HCM City.

The two products have been extremely popular among customers, and driven the purchasing power at Vinmart’s chain up by 40 per cent.

MEATLife (MML) is the one of the country’s largest fully integrated platforms, and it says its goals are to drive productivity in the meat industry and ultimately directly offer consumers traceable, quality and affordable meat products.

It has been selling fresh chilled meat under the MEATDeli brand since 2018, and the product now is present at 1,606 points of sale nation-wide including more than 1,200 VinMart+ stores in Hà Nội and HCM City.

Japfa Comfeed Vietnam, another giant feed and poultry producer, is also speeding up its entry into the fresh food retail sector by developing a chain of stores.

The Indonesia-based company first came to Việt Nam in 1996 through a joint venture and then became a wholly foreign-owned company in 1999. Now, 25 years later, Japfa has become one of the leading companies in the feed and animal agriculture industry.

It has successfully built up a Feed-Farm-Food value chain with six feed mills, 300 professional poultry and pig farms and more than 20 stores in HCM City selling fresh meat and processed foods under the Japfa Brand.

The company is expected to increase the number of stores in the city to 40 this year.

It opened the G-Kitchen chain of stores in 2019. Now, two years later, the stores with G-Kitchen brand, which specialises in retailing chilled meat produced by Greenfeed’s closed process are present at 38,000 points of sale like supermarkets, convenience stores, e-commerce platforms, restaurants, hotels, and schools across the country.

GreenFeed is one of the 100 largest enterprises in the country, and produces animal, poultry and aquaculture feed under brands like GreenFeed, Higain, Hitek, FCR 1.5, Aquagreen, Panafeed, and Superwhile.

CP Vietnam Corporation, a subsidiary of Thailand’s CP Group, opened its first CP pork shop in August 2019 and now has 700 of them.

A spokesperson for the company said the chain had helped the company reduce intermediaries and sell directly to consumers with better quality and at more reasonable prices.

Analysts said however that the feed-farm-food model requires huge investments, meaning that only businesses with deep pockets could afford it.

They added that the entry of major livestock enterprises in retail means consumers have the opportunity to buy fresh meat products with good quality and clear traceability and, especially, at reasonable prices since the producers eliminate some intermediate processes. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/business-beat/986197/food-beverage-industry-embraces-new-business-model-to-overcome-pandemic-effects.html

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Businesses dig deep to make sure they come out on other side of pandemic intact

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A customer tries to book a quarantine hotel service on Traveloka app. Traveloka and many businesses in Việt Nam are making efforts to survive the forth wave of COVID-19 pandemic. — Photo

Thu Ngân

HCM CITY — Businesses in Việt Nam are making all efforts to survive the fourth wave of COVID-19 which is battering the country.

Giant food producer KIDO Group said in a recent press release it has adopted a number of solutions to adapt to the new situation and keep production going while also ensuring safety.

A spokesperson told Việt Nam News that to ensure uninterrupted production, the company has adopted the “3 on-site” model, which involves on-site production, dining and rest, for over a month.

It unfailingly complies with the provisions of the Government’s circular No 16 and 5K message, he said.

It is also preparing for life after the pandemic, he said.

“We are ready to bring new products and segments into the market immediately after COVID-19 is controlled.”

It plans to introduce the Vibev brand of products made in collaboration with Vinamilk.

Another plan is to introduce Chuk Chuk, a new food and beverage brand, opening 1,000 stores by 2025.

The company’s general director, Trần Lệ Nguyên, said the first market for Chuk Chuk would be HCM City, and stores would open in Hà Nội and some northern provinces by September if the pandemic is controlled by then, adding it would be present across the country by 2025.

Ride-hailing and delivery company Grab has rolled out a number of programmes to help customers buy foodstuffs.

To ensure the safety of its drivers and customers, it has tied up with the General Department of Vocational Education and Training to fully equip its drivers with the necessary skills and competencies.

They have also jointly built and standardised the training materials, and drawn up communication plans for raising awareness about vocational skills development for drivers.

Trương Anh Dũng, director general of the department, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on the Vietnamese economy, and drivers cannot be immune to it. This partnership helps resolve long-term problems for technological drivers, equipping them with the necessary skills to sustain and improve not only their livelihoods but also the quality of life of themselves and their families.”

Grab also has a programme to support disadvantaged people in HCM City in co-operation with Golden Lotus Foundation. It provides free meals to people economically affected by the pandemic or living in locked-down areas.

To start with, around 11,500 meals would be provided, it said.

Tourism is one of the many sectors badly hit by the pandemic, and many businesses in it have been striving to overcome the challenges they face. 

For instance, before the semi-lockdown began weeks ago some hotels had begun to offer co-working space to provide customers with a safe working environment.

Now, with stricter social distancing regulations, they have changed their strategy and offer quarantine facilities, and this has received strong support from customers.

Recently a Southeast Asian travel and lifestyle superapp, Traveloka, announced that it is working with the HCM City Department of Tourism to help the city’s residents find and book hotels and transportation to enable quarantine. 

Demand for quarantine facilities has increased along with the developments of COVID-19 in HCM City, and its quarantine hotel and transportation online booking and payment solutions are expected to help curb the spread of the pandemic by limiting direct contact between people, Traveloka said. 

They have been available since the start of August. 

Lê Trương Hiền Hoà, director of the HCM City Tourism Promotion Centre, hailed the partnership, saying: “With support from Traveloka, HCM City is the first city in Việt Nam to digitise the quarantine hotel booking process … and will extend it to international arrivals in the near future. 

“It also helps hoteliers switch their business model to survive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With the aid of the app’s advanced technologies, customers can easily access complete information about room types, prices and transportation options in real-time, and pay for it via Traveloka. 

Traveloka said it is partnering with more than 80 hotels and selected transportation partners across HCM City, including private cars and shuttle buses. 

MVV Academy, a pioneer organisation for comprehensive, on-site and advanced resource development solutions in Việt Nam, decided to organise training programmes to make its staff sales consultants and brand ambassadors to introduce its products to the public. 

It also recently launched MVV Uni, an advanced training platform that offers working professionals an interactive and flexible experience to support their various learning needs, and acts as a one-stop-shop with courses in all essential business skill sets such as leadership, sales, marketing, management, soft skills, and digital transformation.

“The COVID epidemic has disrupted many human resource training activities at Vietnamese enterprises,” Bùi Đức Quân, CEO of MVV Academy told Việt Nam News.

“Taking advantage of the strength of technology, combined with experience in content building and understanding of learner experience through operating platforms such as TopClass and Everlearn, we quickly built a solution, MVV Uni, to offer enterprises training programmes for their employees during Covid.

“Our ambition is to build a university community on the cloud.” —

 

 

 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1003623/businesses-dig-deep-to-make-sure-they-come-out-on-other-side-of-pandemic-intact.html

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COVID-19 forces banks to accelerate digital transformation

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The COVID-19 pandemic not only creates challenges for banks, but also pushes them to foster digital transformation to survive, experts have said.

COVID-19 forces banks to accelerate digital transformation
A customer makes payment via a QR code. The COVID-19 pandemic pushes bank to foster digital transformation to survive. — Photo laodong.vn

A recent survey by the State Bank of Vietnam found that 95 per cent of credit institutions in Vietnam have either implemented digital transformation strategies or are in the process of formulating them.

It is expected that in the next three to five years digital-only banks will have revenue growth of at least 10 per cent, while regular lenders will have more than 60 per cent of customers using digital transaction channels.

State-owned banks seek to digitise their entire system, while smaller banks have identified certain areas to improve service quality and the customer experience.

Commenting on digital banking development in Vietnam at an online talkshow IDG TekTalk on Tuesday, Phan Viet Hai, director of information technology and also the digital banking centre at Viet Capital Bank, said digital banks must create a superior customer experience by changing the way services are provided using technology.

Nguyen Quang Minh, deputy CEO, partnerships, Timo Digital Bank, said, “In addition to offering perfect and up-to-date financial products and services, we also have to really understand the market, customers’ needs and expectations and more importantly, identify the problems and difficulties they are facing every day in each transaction.”

Pham Quang Minh, general director of Mambu Vietnam, said banking services have changed greatly in the past few years. In Asia, including Vietnam, rising customer expectations for online and mobile banking services are the driving force behind the digital transformation of financial service providers.

Nguyen Van Tuan, deputy general director of VCCorp & founder of Bizfly Digital Transformation, said currently banks are not only competing with each other but also with rapidly growing fintech companies, which have created “amazing” services and experiences through digital technology and transformation.

For succeeding at the digital transformation, the determination shown by a bank’s bosses plays an important role, he said.

“Technology contributes only around 30 per cent to the success with the remaining 70 per cent being owed to other factors like the mindset of businesses’ leaders and digital transformation,” he added.

According to experts, banks still face challenges in digital transformation related to regulations on electronic transactions, data sharing, network security, and an inadequate legal framework among others.

They said completing a comprehensive legal framework would provide a fillip to digital transformation.

The standardisation of technical infrastructure is also very important to facilitate interconnection and seamless integration between the banking industry and others to form a digital eco-system, they added.

Yeo Siang Tiong, cybersecurity company Kaspersky’s general manager for Southeast Asia, said: “Digital transformation, in any sector, always presents new challenges, but especially for banks and for financial services. To put it simply, revolutionising banks’ way of doing transactions means overhauling their legacy systems including people, processes and technologies.”

Humans remain the weakest link, especially those who lack proper awareness of the simplest risks like phishing and spam, while employees require new training and third-party services should be assessed comprehensively, he said.

“When it comes to security, the endpoint should be the foundation and banks should have known this by now. Financial services should be looking at an adaptive approach in security, which should be proactive rather than reactive – ready before an attack happens.” 

Online transaction increases

Due to social distancing restrictions amid the pandemic, online payment has become more convenient than cash, and, with just a smartphone and banking application, users can save, borrow money, pay for electricity, water, television, and internet bills, buy movie and airplane tickets, make hotel reservations, or even buy vegetables or meat online.

Pham Tien Dung, head of the State Bank of Vietnam’s payment department, said online transactions in the first four months of the year jumped by 66 per cent in terms of numbers and 31.2 per cent in value year-on-year, including 86.3 per cent and 123.1 per cent on mobile phones and 95.7 per cent and 181.5 per cent using QR codes.

Statistics from the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam, show that in the first five months its automatic clearing house processed over 800 million transactions worth over VND8 quadrillion ($347.7 billion), an increase of 113 per cent and 169 per cent.

A recent survey by Visa also revealed strong increases in the use of e-wallets, contactless payment via cards and smartphones and QR Code. The year-on-year growth rate of the total e-commerce transaction value in the first quarter of 2021 rose by 5.5 times compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.

Source: Vietnam News

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/covid-19-forces-banks-to-accelerate-digital-transformation-763095.html

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COVID-19 affects progress of power transmission projects

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Workers at a construction site of a power transmission project. — VNA/ Illustrative Photo

Bùi Văn Kiên, deputy general director of the National Power Transmission Corporation (EVNNPT) talked to Vietnamplus.vn about solutions to remove difficulties and promote the disbursement of public investment as well as production and business amid the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading in many parts of the country. How does this affect the progress of power transmission projects?

Many provinces and cities are now under social distancing. The pandemic has greatly affected the management, administration and implementation of power projects.

EVNNPT units can not work with the local government to implement the projects due to social distancing.

Consulting units face difficulties in travelling, conducting field surveys, measurements and applying for forest conversion to other purposes.

Localities can also hardly implement compensation for site clearance projects.

Isolation regulations has also affected the purchasing, supply of materials and construction. While goods transportation services from abroad to Việt Nam are not available due to the pandemic. 

In addition, the price of construction materials is still increasing due to the impact of the pandemic, affecting the selection of contractors and the performance of related contracts. 

What has EVNNPT done to ensure the dual goals of both construction investment and pandemic prevention?

In order to ensure the dual goals, EVNNPT has sent many documents to the People’s Committees of provinces and cities, requesting continued coordination in implementing compensation for site clearance, creating favourable conditions for employees and  contractors in travelling, transporting materials and equipment and construction. So many difficulties and obstacles have been removed.

The units have also applied information technology in management, administration as well as handling problems arising during the implementation of projects by online meetings.

EVNNPT has requested consulting contractors to have appropriate solutions to reduce the impact on project progress such as hiring qualified subcontractors, and cooperating with other units.

Thanks to those efforts, EVNNPT has completed many power projects in Pleiku, Đắk Nông, Lai Châu, Thanh Hóa and Ninh Thuận.

For urgent power projects to be completed in 2021, especially renewable energy projects, what has EVNNPT done to ensure the projects are completed on time?

For key and urgent projects, EVNNPT has established a steering committee to run these projects smoothly, minimising the time to deal with related works. We regularly review the progress of projects to promptly solve problems that arise during implementation.

What recommendations does the corporation have for the Government to deal with difficulties?

The negative impact of the pandemic on the progress of power transmission projects is huge.

In order to help EVNNPT soon remove difficulties and complete projects on time, we expect the Government, ministries and local authorities to identify the electricity industry as an essential service, related to national energy security, socio-economy and people’s lives.

We hope that the travelling of workers and the transportation of equipment and materials for construction will be facilitated when meeting pandemic prevention regulations.

Ministries and agencies should soon have support policies due to the increased prices of supplies and materials as well as consider exempting responsibility for EVNNPT when it fails to meet the progress of projects due to the pandemic.

The People’s Committees of provinces and cities should also direct local departments, agencies and units to closely coordinate with EVNNPT and the project management boards to implement works related to power line routing, forest conversion and compensation for ground clearance. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1003784/covid-19-affects-progress-of-power-transmission-projects.html

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