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Tet flower sales move online amid COVID fears



Florists are paying more attention to selling online for Tet this year since the COVID-19 pandemic means customers are unwilling to visit shops.

Sau Hai Orchid Farm in HCM City’s Thu Duc City advertises flowers for Tet on its Facebook page. Flower sellers this year are focusing on online sales. 

Huynh Van Hai, owner of Sau Hai Orchid Farm in HCM City’s Thu Duc City, usually sells at a local flower market, but this year he is focusing on online sales to limit close contact, he told Viet Nam News.

“Last year, I took my flowers to the market, but I could not sell much since people were reluctant to come and buy due to COVID. It was a waste of rent.

“This year the number of people visiting my farm to look up flowers, or even just take pictures, is down by half from normal years. Only customers who actually want to buy flowers come.”

Buyers can visit Hai’s Facebook page or call him to place orders, and he offers advice and sends videos to help them choose.

Oanh, who owns a flower shop in HCM City’s Hoc Mon District, told VnExpress online newspaper that she plans to sell all 200 flower pots this year through e-commerce platforms instead of at popular flower-selling streets as she usually does.

So her flowers are cheaper this year since she does not have to rent space.

People buy flowers for Tet, especially the yellow apricot blossom, either to decorate their house or use as offerings in their ancestral altars.

While it is a Tet tradition for families to visit shops to carefully handpick the best flowers to bring home, this year many are reluctant to go out.

Nguyen An Phuong of HCM City’s District 2, told Viet Nam News that she would not visit flower shops this year.

“I have an elderly mother at home, so even though I am fully vaccinated, I am worried about accidentally infecting her. Every year I would go out and handpick flowers myself, but this year I think I will just buy them online.”

Nguyen Hung, a florist in Hoc Mon District, told Tuoi Tre newspaper, “Everything is sold online, not just Tet flowers, because of the ongoing pandemic.”

Flower shops in other provinces are also focusing more on online selling.

Nguyen Van Thu, owner of a flower shop in Binh Duong Province, told Viet Nam News that customers have been visiting the shop’s social media pages to browse for long-lasting flowers such as moth orchids and pigeon orchids.

“Due to the strong development of social media, our flower buyers are gradually switching to online shopping. Our number of direct customers is falling, and they are mostly new, infrequent visitors.”

But he said that the number of customers is still lower than last year due to COVID limiting businesses’ budgets and events, which reduces demand for flowers.

Selling regional speciality foods online

Businesses selling foodstuffs for Tet are also moving online this year.

Nguyen Binh Khiem, who runs a chain of store in Can Tho City selling Mekong Delta specialties such as dried shrimp and sausages, said around 70 per cent of his orders are through social media and telephone, and so he plans to focus on them.

Nguyen Kim Thuy, director of Ky Nhu Co-operative Group in Hau Giang Province, which hopes to sell around 30 tonnes of processed foodstuffs for Tet, said that the group is running advertisements on Zalo and selling its goods on e-commerce platforms.

“Our direct sales this year are lower than other years, but online sales are rising.”

Huynh Thanh Phong, director of the Hau Giang Department of Industry and Trade, said his agency has been helping businesses and co-operative groups sell online.

Source: VNS



Upgrading the market for the sake of all participants




An employee passes electronic boards showing share prices inside Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange in HCM City. — VNA/ Photo Hữu Khoa

HÀ NỘI — An upgrade to emerging status will not only help the stock market develop quickly, transparently and sustainably, but also attract huge foreign capital inflows, said experts. 

Recently, the Government has directed to purge the market and improve the trading system’s capacity, showing its determination to enhance the quality of the stock market.

The refinement is to protect investors and open a door for the Vietnamese stock market to be upgraded from a frontier to an emerging market.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has taken an interest in the development of the capital market and the stock market, including the matter of upgrading the market. 

During a trip to attend the ASEAN-US Special Summit, on May 16, the PM visited the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) – the largest stock exchange in the world – hoping it supports and shares experience to develop an effective and sustainable stock market in Việt Nam, and successfully build a regional financial centre. 

PM Chính also expected the NYSE and its Vietnamese partners to foster a sustainable, mutually beneficial partnership, contributing to making the Việt Nam-US comprehensive partnership more substantive and effective.

On the occasion, PM Chính witnessed the awarding ceremony of two cooperation documents in the fields of finance, banking and investment funds between Vietnamese and US partners, including a cooperation document between the Vietnamese State Securities Commission (SSC) and the NYSE regarding support to upgrade the country’s stock market and build a mechanism for investors to participate in both stock markets.

Previously, the PM chaired a conference on developing a safe, transparent, efficient and sustainable capital market to stabilise the macro-economy and ensure major balances of the economy.

At the conference, PM Chính also asked the Ministry of Finance to immediately solve the order congestion situation and invest in technological innovation and digital technology application, while urgently implementing measures to upgrade the market from frontier to emerging status to attract investment capital, especially foreign investment.

Dominic Scriven, head of the Việt Nam Business Forum’s (VBF) Capital Markets Working Group, said that the move to purify the market is a great effort and determination from the Government.

As the goal is to build and develop a safe, transparent and sustainable securities market, cleansing the market will ensure the interests of businesses and genuine investors, increase the stock market’s appeal, and attract more investment capital flows both at home and abroad.

Meanwhile, Phạm Lưu Hưng, chief economist of SSI Securities Company (SSI), said that the move to purge the market in recent years raised expectations that the upgrade process will be easier. Hưng hoped that in the next assessment, the Market Rating Organization (MSCI) will note some positive comments about what Việt Nam has done.

According to Minister of Finance Hồ Đức Phớc, the ministry is currently working with international organisations to deploy solutions to upgrade the stock market by 2025 as per the set roadmap.

Huge foreign capital inflows

Analysts believe that the upgrade from frontier to emerging status will be an important driving force for the market.

Zafer Mustafaoglu, World Bank (WB) Practice Manager for Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation (FCI) for East Asia and Pacific, said that the capital market development is a long-term effort, and there is still much work to be done in Việt Nam.

Upgrading to emerging market status is not only an improvement in position, but also signals strong enhancement in quality with a solid market foundation.

Upgrading to an emerging market also attracts the attention of high-ranking international investors to Việt Nam. In the stock market, upgrading to an emerging market could result in an additional US$10 billion in new investment for the country. The first year alone can receive an additional $2-5 billion.

According to Nguyễn Minh Tuần, General Director of AFA Capital Investment JSC, the criteria for upgrading from frontier to emerging status focus on two main factors – size and liquidity of the market (quantitative) and market access (qualitative).

In terms of size and liquidity, there are four criteria which are the number of companies included in the Standard Index, total market capitalisation, floating capitalisation and market liquidity. Việt Nam has almost met three standards, he said. 

The main issue is qualitative standards. In the latest ranking in June 2021, there are nine criteria that the country has not yet met, including the ownership rate, ownership restrictions and equal rights of foreign investors.


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EVN accelerating projects to gear up for hot season




EVN workers checks electricity equipment. — VNA/  Photo

HÀ NỘI — Vietnam Electricity (EVN) said it is accelerating power generation and grid projects, especially urgent infrastructure, to ensure supplies in the hot season.

The State-owned group said in the first four months of 2022, the firm and its subsidiaries had started work on 30 projects and put into use 31 grid facilities between 110kV – 500kV.

It cited meteorological forecasting centres as saying that heatwaves this year are likely to appear in the northern and central regions later than usual, but won’t be too severe.

Power demand in the north is unlikely to rise sharply in May, and daily consumption will be around 805 million kWh.

EVN noted that this month, it is working to guarantee supply for production and business activities as well as daily life, especially the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) and the 15th National Assembly’s third session.

It is maintaining high water levels at multi-purpose hydropower plants in the north, operating thermal power plants in the region, and importing about 540MW of electricity in May.

Its subsidiaries were also requested to ensure power supply in the dry season, ready manpower and equipment for any possible incidents due to natural disasters, and recommend people, agencies and factories use electricity in a safe and economical manner.

In April, the entire EVN system produced 22.62 billion kWh of electricity, up 1.9 per cent year-on-year. That added up to a four-month figure of 85.65 billion kWh, increasing 6.2 per cent. —


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Deputy Finance Minister Nguyễn Đức Chi takes charge of the State Securities Commission



Deputy Finance Minister Nguyễn Đức Chi. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Minister of Finance Hồ Đức Phớc had assigned Deputy Finance Minister Nguyễn Đức Chi to take charge of the State Securities Commission (SSC) from May 19.

In a dispatch to the SSC, Minister Phớc stated that Deputy Minister Chi will manage the commission during the consideration and completion of personnel for the commission.

Earlier on May 18, the Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission announced the inspection conclusions and Party disciplinary measures on the SSC Party Committee in the 2015-20 tenure and relevant individuals. Right after that, the Ministry of Finance directed the SSC, stock exchanges, the Việt Nam Securities Depository and relevant agencies to review and implement measures to remedy the violations and shortcomings.

Specifically, the ministry dismissed Trần Văn Dũng from the position of the Chairman of the SSC, while giving a warning to Vũ Bằng, former secretary of the SSC Party Committee in the 2015-20 tenure and former SSC Chairman.

Warnings were given to Nguyễn Thành Long, secretary of the Hà Nội Stock Exchange Party Committee; and Nguyễn Sơn, chairman of the management board of the Việt Nam Securities Depository for their wrongdoings during their tenures. —


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