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FPT Shop opens 30 laptop centres across the country



An FPT Shop laptop centre in Hà Nội. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — FPT Shop opened 30 laptop centres across the country on Friday.

The COVID-19 pandemic made a large number of consumers buy laptops to work from home, resulting in growth of 20-30 per cent of the whole sector last year, according to Nguyễn Thế Kha, Senior Director Mobility Groups of FPT Shop.

For FPT Shop, the laptop segment alone achieved 60 per cent growth, not only thanks to the sales of traditional products but also high-end segment, such as gaming laptops, which saw a three-fold increase in revenue compared to 2019, he said.

“With a breakthrough growth of 60 per cent last year, laptops were one of the major contributors to FPT Shop’s revenue and gross profit. Therefore, we have officially entered the journey of opening 68 laptop centres across the country in the first quarter of this year,” said Kha.

FPT Shop expected to open the 68 laptop centres and the laptop business to grow about 20-30 per cent in revenue compared to the same period last year. —



The rush of Pi: Vietnamese lured by ‘next Bitcoin’ dream



The rush of Pi: Vietnamese lured by 'next Bitcoin' dream

The user interface of Pi Network is displayed on a smartphone. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy.

Ignoring warnings from experts as well as previous scams, thousands of Vietnamese have been drawn to a new cryptocurrency called Pi.

“With only five seconds a day on your smartphone and no investment needed, you have a chance to receive a huge amount of money,” reads a post in the Pi Network Facebook group which has nearly 150,000 members, most of them Vietnamese.

The Pi Network, which describes itself on its website as “the first and only digital currency you can mine on your phone,” has become a popular topic of discussion on social media since the end of last year. Many users have invited others to download the app and mine the coin with just few taps.

As of March 2, Pi Network, said to be developed by two Stanford University Phds, was the 22nd most downloaded app on iOS in Vietnam. The Pi Network’s Facebook fanpage on February 19 claimed it had reached more than 13 million users worldwide.

“We no longer have a chance to own Bitcoin, so let’s switch to mining Pi. You lose nothing. After a few years, if the project succeeds, each Pi could be worth dozens of U.S. dollars,” said Duc Danh, a Facebook user in Ho Chi Minh City.

A new user receives one free Pi and starts with a mining speed of 0.1 Pi per hour, which will increase with more accepted referrals.

“I have invited eight friends to mine with me. Now I have more than 10 Pi, with a mining speed of nearly 0.3 Pi per hour,” said Nguyen Nhat, a Pi user, also known as a “Pioneer,” in Ho Chi Minh City.

But, except for the hope that Pi can become as valuable as Bitcoin in the future, Nhat and other Pioneers cannot answer questions about the current value and application of the Pi.

Social media users give different estimates about the Pi’s value, with some saying it is now worth $10-100 each.

There is currently no official trading market for Pi in Vietnam and no official exchange currency rate with the Vietnamese dong. Cryptocurrency remains an illegal means of transaction in the country.

Most experts have doubts about the potential of the new cryptocurrency and suspect that it’s a scam.

Dang Minh Tuan, a blockchain expert at the Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology in Hanoi, said that the Pi Network lacks the transparency of a typical blockchain project.

“The Pi Network has a smartphone app and servers to keep them running, so why don’t developers release its source code for the community to review?” he asked.

A typical cryptocurrency owner usually has a private key to access his or her funds, but Pi users do not, which means it is unlikely that they will be able to transfer or spend the currency, he said.

This also means that Pi currency only exists on servers and administrators can create as many Pis as they want, he added.

“At that point, the currency will have no value.”

Echoing him, financial expert Lam Minh Chanh, who has previously sounded warnings about similar financial scams like Onecoin and Skyway, said that Pi developers release few details about the currency and users seem to be expecting too much from it.

“Miners are unlikely to be rich. There is no free lunch.”

Although mining Pi is free, Tuan said that the visible loss of users is giving up their personal information, including full name, phone number and Facebook username. There are potential threats that the Pi Network app could steal even more information from a device.

Some other experts say Pi works like a pyramid scheme as users can only join the network with a reference code of another user.


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36 face charges for involvement in expressway’s deterioration



A section of the Danang-Quang Ngai Expressway in Phu Ninh District of Quang Nam Province is seen having potholes and cracks after a short period of use – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Investigators at the Ministry of Public Security have proposed the Supreme People’s Procuracy indict 36 people for their alleged involvement in the deterioration of the newly built Danang-Quang Ngai Expressway.

They were all accused of violating regulations on construction, causing serious consequences, the local media reported.

The investigative police agency has completed an investigation into violations at the Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), the management board of the Danang-Quang Ngai Expressway project and the relevant agencies.

Of the accused, 35 people are Vietnamese, including former VEC deputy general directors Nguyen Manh Hung and Le Quang Hao, and Hoang Viet Hung, former director of the project’s management board. The 32 others are employees and technicians of the project’s management board.

In addition, a Japanese person, Takao Inami, chief consultant and head of an office for consulting of the project and supervision of its execution, was proposed to be indicted.

According to the results of the investigation, the Danang-Quang Ngai Expressway project, whose investor is VEC, has a total length of nearly 140 kilometers. In the first phase, a 65-kilometer section from Danang City to Tam Ky City of Quang Nam Province was developed. The remaining 74-kilometer section was built in the second phase. 

The project, which required more than VND34.5 trillion in investment, is a national key project. Work on the project started in 2013. The first section was put into service in 2017, while the second section was opened to traffic the following year.

However, just weeks later, many sections were riddled with potholes, sparking public concern, so the Investigative Police Agency launched an investigation.

During the execution of the project, the investor, contractors, consultants and other relevant agencies failed to comply with the regulations on construction, according to investigators.

They also failed to meet the technical standards and design requirements, resulting in the severe deterioration of the road.

On the 65-kilometer section in the first phase, there are up to 380 potholes and cracks, or six potholes and cracks on average per kilometer of the expressway.

Besides proposing the indictment against the 36 people, the Investigative Police Agency has transferred documents on two packages to the Criminal Investigation Office of the Ministry of National Defense for further investigation.

Mai Tuan Anh, general director of VEC between 2011 and 2017 and chairman of the board of VEC in 2017-2020, has also been found irresponsible while performing his duties, affecting the project’s quality.

The Investigative Police Agency will address the violations of Anh and some other foreigners in the second phase of the investigation later.

Violations in the second phase of the project have also been separated for handling at a later stage.


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Quang Ninh reopens certain tourist sites as Covid-19 under control



Passengers wait at a boarding gate of the Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh Province before the recent Covid-19 outbreak. The province has reopened some tourist sites after the recent resurgence of the coronavirus – PHOTO: DAO LOAN

HCMC – After a long time of closure due to the resurgence of Covid-19, tourists from other parts of the country can now travel to the northern province of Quang Ninh as the provincial government has reopened a number of tourist sites, including the picturesque Halong Bay, but certain restrictions apply.

According to a decision on the resumption of some socioeconomic activities in the province, the provincial government required that all people traveling from Covid-19-hit areas to the province must be placed under quarantine at centralized centers and cover all fees incurred during the quarantine period. Meanwhile, those from other localities will just have to make health declarations.

Tourists on cruise ships visiting Halong Bay must not exceed half of their capacity, while those on cruise ships offering overnight stays in the bay, which are allowed to serve at their full capacity, must not hold large gatherings in public places in the province.

Conventions, seminars, wedding parties and cultural and sports events have also been allowed but anti-virus measures must be applied. Cinemas, karaoke and massage parlors, and bars will continue to remain shut.

The province has yet to allow the resumption of interprovincial passenger transport services but has permitted vehicles transporting workers, cargo and materials for production with sufficient documents on the cargo’s origin, people’s identification and health declarations.

The provincial government assigned the Department of Health to coordinate with the Department of Transport and other relevant agencies to review the pandemic prevention and control process at the Van Don International Airport.

At a recent meeting with the Government and the national steering committee for Covid-19 infection prevention and control, Quang Ninh Vice Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Hanh said the province would spend at least VND500 billion buying Covid-19 vaccines for local residents. To have the amount, the province will cut 10% of regular expenditures, minimize funds for asset purchases, meetings, training courses and visits, and mobilize money from other sources.

The Covid-19 outbreak has heavily hit the province’s tourism sector. In the first quarter of the year, Quang Ninh welcomed only 700,000 tourists, well below the target of 3.6 million.

In related news, Vietnam Airlines has plans to resume flights to the Van Don International Airport from today, March 3. Until March 17, the airline will operate a flight per week on Wednesdays to the airport.

From March 18 to December 31, the frequency will be raised to three flights a week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Flights will depart from the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC at 1 p.m. and from Van Don at 3:45 p.m.


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