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 Vietnam receives foreign cargo ships on first day of Lunar New Year

The STARSHIP URSA of Marshall Island

Vietnam welcomed two foreign commercial vessels, STARSHIP URSA of Marshall Island and CMA CGM J. ADAMS of Malta, to ports in Ho Chi Minh City and the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau on February 12, the first day of the Lunar New Year, according to the Vietnam Maritime Administration (VINAMARINE).

A representative from the authority said in the first months of 2021, the maritime industry has recorded strong growth.

Despite difficulties posed by the COVID -19 pandemic, Vietnam still recorded impressive growth in trade, especially exports to Europe and America, because of the high demand from these markets.

The increasingly modern and comprehensive seaport infrastructure and transport system have also created a momentum for the maritime industry’s development.

The operation of deep-water seaports will promptly replenish container berth infrastructure to serve the growing demand of customs clearance

In order to meet the increasing cargo transportation demand in recent times, VINAMARINE has directed sea port authorities to coordinate with State management agencies to speed up the processing of administrative procedures for ships.

It has also worked with management agencies of ports and shipping companies to develop marine safety plans to allow port calls by large ships./.

First dragon fruit lot exported to China in new Lunar Year

Some 190 tonnes of dragon fruits were shipped to China through Kim Thanh II International Border Gate in the northern province of Lao Cai on February 12, the first day of the lunar New Year.

According to the Lao Cai Border Gate Customs Sub-Department, the lot, the first to be exported to China in the lunar New Year, was worth 2.8 billion VND (121,512 USD).

Departing from the Mekong Delta province of Long An, the lot was transported through the border gate in a safe manner with quick customs clearance and strict implementation of preventive measures against COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, 1.15 billion USD worth of goods was transported through Kim Thanh International Border Gate, including 606 million VND worth of exports. In the year, 337 million USD worth of dragon fruits were exported to China through the gate./.

Vietnam maintains stable exports to Israel in 2020

Vietnam earned an estimated 700 million USD from exporting goods to Israel in 2020 despite difficulties and obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the  Vietnamese Trade Office in the Middle East country.

The figure showed a slight reduction from 774 million USD reported last year. This is said to be a positive result in the context that the Israeli market witnessed fluctuations, disturbances and difficulties amid political instability and negative impacts from the pandemic.

Notably in November last year, Vietnam’s export value to Israel surged by 27.2 percent compared to the previous month, reaching 51.04 million USD.

Turnover of most key export items rose strongly in the month, with coffee up 108.6 percent, footwear (35 percent), phones and accessories (31 percent), and textiles and garments (21.4 percent) cashew nuts (16.9 percent), and seafood products (3.3 percent).

Israel, with a population of only 9.3 million, is the third largest export market of Vietnam in the Middle East, after the United Arab Emirates (UAE ) and Turkey./.

Khanh Hoa’s tourism sector looks forward to rebound in 2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic has costed Khanh Hoa province a negative growth of 10.5% and budget collection shortage of over 25%. Tourism is the hardest hit sector in the locality. The locality has sped up several stimulus programmes to rock the market in the coming time.
Around 138 tourism and hospitality firms and over 1,100 accommodation facilities now operate in Khanh Hoa province. Many of them shut down during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the picture was not so gloomy due to Vietnam’s success in containing the pandemic. Local tourism sector still survived with revenue from domestic visitors.

In the coming time, Khanh Hoa province looks to introduce stimulus tourism packages and new tourism products and services to attract visitors. In the instant future, it has deployed a contest for new logo and slogan for Khanh Hoa’s tourism sector to renew the province’s image in visitors’ eyes.

COVID-19 vaccines have sparked hope of economic recovery globally, especially in tourism industry. Khanh Hoa province, whose spearhead economic sector is tourism, is also looking forward to a big rebound in 2021./.

Bamboo Airways announces pre-tax profits of over 17 million USD

Bamboo Airways has recently announced its pre-tax profits of over 400 billion VND (17.38 million USD) in 2020, up 34 percent year-on-year.

The airline attributed the profit to the favourable conditions thanks to the Government’s drastic and effective pandemic prevention and control measures, and its own proactive and prompt solutions to overcome difficulties.

It is currently operating nearly 30 aircraft, including the most modern types such as Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, A321NEO ACF and Embraer E195. The fleet is expected to reach 50 this year.

Last year Bamboo Airways transported a total of over 4 million passengers, up 40 percent in the numbers of flights and passengers against those of 2019.

HCM City aims for 33 million tourists in 2021

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The southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City has set a target of welcoming 33 million tourists with total revenue of more than 4.3 billion USD in 2021.
In an effort to develop HCM City to become a leading tourism city in Asia, the city’s tourism department has planned new tourism products and events to attract more visitors.

Some notable events include the 8th HCM City Ao dai Festival and HCM City Tourism Day, along with tours at old Sai Gon’s relics.

Last year, the city’s tourism market suffered greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic. The total number of international visitors to HCM City in 2020 was 1.3 million, down 84.8 percent year on year, while the number of domestic travellers to HCM City was 15.8 million, a decrease of 48.4 percent year on year.

Total tourism revenue was estimated at nearly 3.7 billion USD, down 39.6 percent compared to 2019./.

Vietnam gains cassava export growth in 2020

Vietnam gained growth in the export of cassava chips and cassava-made products in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development.

Exports last year reached 2.76 million tonnes, earning 989 million USD, an increase of 9 percent in volume and 2.4 percent in value compared to 2019. However, the average export price of those products reduced by 6 percent to 358.3 USD per tonne year on year.

In December alone an estimated 330,000 tonnes with a value of 118 million USD were exported.

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic did cause problems for the cassava production industry according to the department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, but it was still one of the few agricultural products with a positive growth in export value.

The exports of cassava chips in 2020 reached 640,000 tonnes, earning 139 million USD, up 60 percent in volume and 75 percent in value over the same period last year. The average export price for this product reached 217 USD per tonne, up 10 percent.

Tapioca export was estimated at 2.1 million tonnes with a value of 850 million USD, down 1 percent in volume and 4 percent in value over the same period in 2019. Its average export price reached 401 USD per tonne, down 4 percent.

According to the department, China was the largest export market with the total volume of cassava chips and cassava-made products reaching 1.9 million tonnes, earning 772 million USD. That’s an increase of 11.5 percent in volume and 2.7 percent in value compared to 2019.

Taiwan and Malaysia were also two other largest export markets of Vietnamese cassava with the growth in export value of 15 percent and 3 percent year on year, respectively, in the first 11 months of 2020.

In China market, Vietnam is currently the second largest supplier of both cassava chips and tapioca, according to China’s General Department of Customs./.

Online trade promotion helps businesses adapt to COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 around the world created difficulties for businesses in promoting their products and seeking new customers but many were prompted to change trade promotion strategies and adapt.

Bui Thi Thanh An, Vice Director of the Trade Promotion Agency at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said nearly 50 national-level trade promotion programmes were cancelled or postponed last year due to the pandemic.

This had a major effect on export activities and the economy in general, she said.

To address the situation, the agency has sped up the introduction of information technology (IT) and changed how trade promotion activities are held.

Since March when COVID-19 spread globally, the agency has changed all trade promotion activities to online. More than 500 international online trade conferences have now been organised, along with more than 1 million online trade exchanges.

These events helped connect more than 2,000 businesses with foreign partners in different markets, An said.

The agency has also coordinated with foreign customers based in Vietnam, such as AEON and Central Group, to organise special “weeks” featuring Vietnamese products, through which many goods have been selected for sale in foreign-owned supermarket chains around Vietnam and then headed to foreign markets.

It has also made use of social networks and Vietnamese trade offices abroad to support businesses seeking markets, An added. Such efforts contributed to maintaining export growth and speeding up economic recovery, while helping enterprises remain updated on market developments, trends, and demand, she added.

Though online trade promotions have become more common since the pandemic broke out and were initially considered just a temporary solution, experts and enterprises agree that they will now become a key part of the trade promotion ecosystem.

Vietnam’s economy is heavily reliant upon exports, so the country must adapt to sudden disruptions to international trade. Taking advantage of IT platforms to seek trade opportunities is considered the most feasible option at this time.

Zacharie Blondeau, Sourcing Director at Source of Asia, said business-to-business (B2B) is the most effective method of connection, but in certain contexts, such as pandemics and travel restrictions, businesses should actively connect online.

An underlined that even after COVID-19 is fully brought under control, online trade promotions will continue to be organised.

The Trade Promotion Agency is developing digital technology-based platforms to create a new promotion ecosystem comprising of online trade fairs and exhibitions and online databases and origin tracing, creating the conditions necessary for enterprises to access trade promotion programmes at the lowest cost and with the greatest efficiency.

She advised businesses to regularly participate in online and direct trade exchanges, conferences, and workshops, while actively digitalising their operations by improving websites and joining large and reputable e-commerce platforms./.

Fresh impetus could spur on Vietnamese economic growth in 2021

Vietnam is capable of achieving a higher GDP growth rate than the set target of 6% in 2021, providing it accelerates reforms and draws up proper plans for economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 period, according to economist Nguyen Dinh Cung, former Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management.

Cung, who is also a member of the Prime Minister’s economic advisory think-tank, underlined the need to immediately launch stimulus packages in an effort to bolster the economy, promote the development of new sectors, and mobilise all resources for a more dynamic economy.

The country’s successful containment of COVID-19 in 2020 coupled with its recent socio-economic development achievements indicate the resilience of the national economy, especially the business resilience shown by local firms during this challenging period.

It’s the Government’s prompt response and timely support for local firms that helped the country to record several major economic achievements last year, the economist told VOV.

Cung also pointed out that while the global economy slipped deeper into recession due to COVID-19, Vietnam was one of few economies that enjoyed positive growth last year.

“The 2.91% growth rate in 2020 will create the prerequisite for the country to even beat the 6% target as set by the National Assembly for this year should the government continue with radical reforms and a thorough economic recovery plan,” said the economist.  

According to Cung, 2021 is the first year Vietnam starts implementing the freshly-concluded National Party Congress’s resolution and the new socio-economic development strategy ti;ll 2030. Therefore, he expressed his belief that this year’s breakthroughs will lay a solid foundation for future socio-economic development.

The economist went on to underscore the importance of facilitating the sustainable development of the private economic sector, accelerating efforts of institutional reform, and launching new stimulus packages aimed at aiding the economy.

“Institutional reform must be stronger and more comprehensive with a focus on simplifying administrative procedures, improving the business climate, and carrying out radical reforms to raise the market level of the economy, especially the allocation and use of resources in an effective manner,” he noted.

As part of efforts to help the private economic sector develop steadily and become an important driving force for Vietnamese economic development, Cung stressed the need to make stronger transformations, liberalise the domestic market, reduce costs for enterprises, and re-allocate resources towards building a wealthy and strong nation.

The economist also called for the removal of barriers faced by businesses, whilst protecting their legitimate rights and interests, along with fine-tuning the legal system and facilitating the application of science and technology for further development.

It is essential to form and develop large private economic groups that can boast great potential and stringent competitiveness in both regional and international markets, he suggested, anticipating with the goal of having at least two million enterprises by 2030, the private economic sector can contribute between 60% and 65% to the country’s GDP by this date.

Local businesses increase production capacity for Tet

An array of local businesses have devised plans in which they offer promotions and ramp up communication activities in an effort to serve people before, during, and after the Lunar New Year festival or Tet.

Many domestic businesses have increased their production capacity to meet growing demand for goods during Tet
Enterprises are also trying to ensure that their production and business activities meet relevant regulations regarding COVID-19 prevention and control measures in accordance with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s direction.

A wide variety of food and beverage products at stable prices will be distributed to supermarkets, shops, traditional markets, and e-commerce channels, with an abundant supply of goods.

According to the Department of Industry under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, at present most firms operating in the processing and manufacturing industries have temporarily halted production ahead of Tet, with the exception of a few enterprises involved in the paper and cement industry. Indeed, a handful of companies will maintain a certain output throughout the holiday period due to the specific characteristics of production lines that require regular operation.

Furthermore, some businesses in other industries such as electronics and car production will still maintain operations as a part of their production lines, although they will not complete any new products.

As a labour intensive industry, garment and footwear enterprises must employ many workers from different localities throughout the country, meaning that they have to give their employees time off for the Tet holidays, according to the Government’s announced schedule. Despite being impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the industry still recorded positive growth compared to the same period from last year.

Most notably, the textile production index and garment production index recorded respective increases of 16.6% and 9.9% compared to the same period from last year. Indeed, textile and garment export turnover in January was estimated to be US$2.6 billion, an annual rise of 3.3%, while footwear export turnover of all kinds in January hit an estimated US$1.8 billion, up 26.4% over the same period from last year.

Electronic businesses are therefore catching up with the trend of shifting production from multinational electronic corporations, thereby opening up plenty of opportunities to participate in the global supply chain.

By January, the domestic electronics industry had grown by 38% compared to the same period from last year. As such, local electronic businesses will take Tet holidays according to the schedule announced by the Government and will not have to maintain continuous production over Tet.

With regard to fertilizers, due to the preparation for cultivation in the Winter-Spring crop over the first days of the Lunar New Year, the price of various fertilizers tends to increase. Providing that the total amount of fertilizer meets demand and there is no shortage of goods, there will also be no price hike.

Moreover, the power supply to the national power system has come up with a plan to ensure that there are no problems in the power source and grid, especially before, during, and after Tet.

Milk consumption to grow by 7% this year: securities brokerage

Milk consumption is expected to increase by 7 per cent this year, analysts at SSI Securities Corporation have said.

They said it is based on a baseline scenario that assumes the pandemic would be controlled by mid-year and there would be no more social distancing.

They also forecast the prices of existing SKUs (stock keeping unit) would not increase this year.

But they admitted demand among low-income consumers could be impacted given the fact that COVID-19 has hurt them, and companies like Vinamilk and Vinasoys have seen downtrading in the first nine months of last year.

In contrast, premiumisation would continue as middle- and high-income groups are less impacted, and are more open to consuming higher quality dairy products, they said.

“We assume dairy raw material prices will increase by 4 per cent in 2021. Also, higher oil prices in 2021 are likely to affect packaging and shipping costs.”

The study also found that investors are paying more attention to environmental, social and governance criteria when investing in dairy companies.

As a result, the sector has begun to diversify its products, including shifting to plant-based beverages.

According to market research company Euromonitor, the dairy industry was worth VND135 trillion (US$5.84 billion) last year, an increase of 8.3 per cent from 2019, thanks to the rapid growth in the yogurt and fresh milk segments.

Currently, modern distribution channels only account for 10-15 per cent of dairy sales, but analysts expect it to outpace traditional channels.

Recognising the trend, companies are now focusing on the former, they said.

But according to SSI, it would mean lower profit margins due to the fierce competition between a multiplicity of brands.

The dairy industry is expected to see more M&A deals this year after a number of them involving leading companies took place last year, such as Vinamilk’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Moc Chau Milk and the acquisition of IDP by investment consultant Blue Point and asset management firm VietCapital.

Both acquired companies saw profits skyrocket after the deal.

Moc Chau’s net profit grew by 68 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2020 and IDP’s was up nearly 34 per cent.

There is fierce competition in the market with the appearance of new players, the SSI report said, adding that Masan Group has recently launched new dairy products, B’fast cereal milk, while Vitadairy has been expanding rapidly in the powder milk segment. 

Saigon Hi-Tech Park seeks to attract investment in tech, supporting industries

The Saigon Hi-tech Park will create favourable conditions to attract investment in the tech and supporting industries this year, its head has said.

Dr Nguyen Anh Thi, head of the board of management of Saigon Hi-tech Park (SHTP), said the park has this year set an FDI target of US$200 million.

It recently issued investment registration certificates to two major hi-tech projects.

They include $19.5 million by US company Arevo to manufacture 3D-printing machines and carbon fibre and nanotube-reinforced polymers for 3D printing and provide software services.

Korea’s SNST and Finger Vina have invested $1 million to produce high quality integrated circuits.

Last year Hong Kong company TTI, Inc., a wireless industrial electrical equipment manufacturer, invested $650 million in the park and is looking for local suppliers to increase its use of local parts.

It plans to set up a plant and an R&D centre with the intention of making Viet Nam its new manufacturing base.

It wants to increase investment in manufacturing for export, while simultaneously developing German-standard training schools to improve the quality of the Vietnamese engineering workforce.

It is set to encourage companies to relocate to Viet Nam to join its supply chain.

The plant will manufacture hand-held power tools with integrated technology for designing and manufacturing control devices, electronic transformers, mechanical engineering products, and others.

As part of its efforts to attract investment, the park has organised high-tech supporting industry development programmes to help local firms link up with lead firms, through business matching activities between foreign and Vietnamese enterprises, and with export processing zones and industrial parks around the country.

The park has also developed 162,000sq.m of high-rise factories for local firms in supporting industries, according to Thi.

Hua Quoc Hung, chief of the HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA), said his agency has set an investment target this year of $550 million in industrial parks and export processing zones.

Science and Technology Park

Speaking at a recent meeting Thi said the park would focus on building a ‘world-class’ science and technology park.

It has a vision of laying the foundation for development of high-tech industries in HCM City, he said.

“We aim to create an environment to improve the quality of human resource training as this is the most important factor in production.”

He said it is important to enhance links between educational institutions, businesses and the park.

In the last 20 years various types of science and technology park models have sprung up globally such as innovation centres, incubation centres, innovation towns, and public science and Al technology urban areas.

In 2011 the city began consulting experts for building the park at a cost of more than VND4.3 trillion ($185 million).

The new park will tie up with educational and research institutes as part of a city programme to improve the quality of human resources, especially in new technologies.

Central city to develop hi-tech supportive industries

Plans are in the pipeline to build an industrial park in Da Nang dedicated to supportive industries.

It is part of the Government’s master plan of industrial park development from 2030-2045.

It will be built on the edge of the Da Nang Hi-Tech Park.

Head of the city’s Hi-Tech park and the Industrial Zones Authority (DHPIZA), Pham Truong Son said the decision was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, and the 58.5ha supportive industries park will offer investment for domestic and foreign businesses.

Son said the supportive industry park, which is sandwiched between the Hi-Tech Park and Da Nang Information Technology Park in Hoa Vang District, has completed 85 per cent of infrastructure since 2016.

He said Da Nang has yet developed supportive industries – one of the disadvantage factors of the city in luring investment from domestic and foreign investors.

Son said the city wants to boost the development of supportive industries over the next decade.

The city has been building a development plan on three new industrial zones – Hoa Cam, Hoa Nhon and Hoa Ninh on total 880ha – for approval by the Prime Minister.

According to DHPIZA, the construction of the three new IZs would be soon commenced in 2021.

The city has called for investment for infrastructure works on the three new IZs in 2020-23 with an estimated investment capital of VND13.8 trillion (US$604 million).

The new IZs have been designed as ‘green’ and ‘clean’, and hopes to attract hi-tech and environmentally-friendly industries.

The Da Nang-based Sunshine Aerospace components manufacturer plant, which was invested by the Universal Alloy Corporation from the US worth $170 million, began operation after one year of construction in March of 2020.

Da Nang’s industrial infrastructure projects offer advantage location for investors as it boosts connection of key traffic routes including the Da Nang-Quang Ngai Expressway, the Chan May Economic Zone in Thua Thien-Hue, the Chu Lai Economic Open Zone in Quang Nam and Dung Quat Economic Zone in Quang Ngai Province.

The Hi-tech Park and IZs would be a magnet for global industrial firms and producers, offering flexible land rent, land clearance, income tax and import tax policies.

Investors with projects valued at more than $133 million will enjoy a 10 per cent tax rate for 30 years, according to DHPIZA. 

Struggling shopkeepers at HCM City traditional markets learn to sell online

With traditional markets in HCM City struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more of their shop owners are looking to sell their goods on online channels such as delivery apps and social media.

According to the management of Ben Thanh Market in District 1, most stalls except those selling fresh produce have few customers, especially handbag, clothing and handicraft shops.

Demand has dropped by 80 per cent compared to the same time last year, and around half the stalls remain closed.

An Dong Market in District 5 is suffering a 90 per cent drop despite a recent renovation that has greatly improved its appearance.

Nguyen Thanh Chau, head of the management of Thai Binh Market, said sales were down by half and some stalls that closed down had not even reopened for Tet.

Traders learn online selling

Traders in markets have been looking at selling online. Truong Thi Hue, who sells clothes at An Dong Market, said for the past two months her daughter had been showing her how to use Facebook and Vietnamese social media Zalo to sell her products.

Nguyen Thi Thai Trang, another clothes seller in the same market, said after she took part in an online Cho Lon Market fair last September, she was able to network with many businesses, including Co.opmart, which greatly benefited her business and her employees.

She has asked An Dong Market also to organise online market fairs.

Foodstuff, fruit and vegetable traders in Ben Thanh Market are selling their products via delivery service Grabmart.

Duong Thi Thanh Thuy, a confectionery seller there, said while her family business had been relying on customers and tourists over the last 60 years, she now had to make use of technology.

According to Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh, a beo (water fern) cake seller in the market, doing business through food delivery service boosts her income by around 30 per cent helping it survive COVID-19.

Some traders said selling online had not been profitable so far since it was still new to them, but, nevertheless, these were new channels and in the long run could be more profitable.

Ben Thanh Market is working with the District 1 Information Technology Centre to improve its website to help traders sell their goods online.

Tran Huy Cuong, director of District 5’s Centre for Economic Development and Labour Supply Assistance, said the district had organised online fairs to help traders get used to using online channels. They were also being taught how to use social media to sell their goods, take photos and write about their products, he added.

According to Associate Professor Pham Khanh Phong Lan, head of the city Food Safety Management Board, many Tet food items are being sold online, a low-cost method that limits close contact during the pandemic, but safety risks are involved since there are no checks.

While traders on large online platforms are monitored, small ones that operate on social media such as Facebook are not well monitored, and so customers should look for trustworthy sites to shop.

The city reduced shop rents in traditional markets by half for the last six months of 2020.

Pandemic reveals enterprises’ view of responsibility

The unprecedented challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted more than ever the importance of responsible crisis management and sustainable development at enterprises.

Viet Nam’s successful containment of the virus significantly helped leverage the image of the country and its enterprises globally, according to Vo Tri Thanh, director of the Institute of Branding and Competition Strategy. It also confirmed the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, associating enterprises’ brands with social responsibility and sustainable development, he said.

“Many enterprises, not only large ones but also small and medium-sized enterprises, shared the burden with the Government and citizens during the time of crisis,” he said.

“Their sense of responsibility towards the community and society will certainly be recognised and be a very good basis for post-pandemic recovery and development.

“We saw Vietnam Airlines bringing Vietnamese abroad home, while Viettel, VNPT, and FPT lowered telecommunications fees. Electricity of Vietnam cut power prices, Hapro and Co.op Mart stabilised prices, and many other companies joined hands in the fight against COVID-19.”

In August, Vingroup gave the Ministry of Health DrAidTM software and attached devices to provide prognosis assistance in novel coronavirus treatment. The first AI software introduced helps to rapidly identify abnormalities based on upright chest X-rays in less than five seconds and adds to the accuracy of test results, reduces false negatives, and assists in enhancing treatment consistency and knowledge transfer from central-level doctors to grassroots-level doctors.

The country’s leading real estate conglomerate also donated 3,200 ventilators to the Ministry of Health to help combat COVID-19 and sponsored chemicals for 56,000 COVID-19 PCR tests in Da Nang City, Hai Phong City, and Bac Ninh Province.

Towards sustainable development

Developing sustainably, contributing to growth, and ensuring social welfare would be at the core of enterprises’ development, said Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Never in history have we seen the world change so quickly and considerably,” Loc went on. “The world is changing constantly, requiring that every government, every economy, and every enterprise be resilient and innovate to keep up with the speed of change and develop sustainably.

“It is in the historic challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic that we see enterprises’ efforts to maintain jobs, restructure and prepare for recovery, and work with the Government and the community to fight the virus.”

According to Nguyen Xuan Duong, vice president of the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association, CSR contributes significantly to resolving social problems like the pandemic.

CSR proves that when a business cares about social issues, there will be a positive impact on its profitability, which will help increase its value and sustainability.

Hoang Ngoc Hai from the Academy of Politics Region 1, in an article published in Tap chi Tai chinh (Finance Journal) wrote that CSR should not be seen only as an action to resolve social problems for charitable and humanitarian purposes.

“CSR should be understood as a way in which a business strikes a balance between economic, environmental, and social requirements, and at the same time meets the expectations of shareholders and partners,” Hai wrote.

“It can help support enterprises’ brands and bring benefits, which contribute to creating humanistic value and building a corporate culture as well as increasing competitiveness in the context of rapid international integration.”

Still, many enterprises do not fully understand the importance and benefits of CSR, as exhibited through many committing business fraud, producing poor-quality products, and causing environment pollution to maximise profits.

According to Tran Thi Tra My from Thuong mai University (Commerce University), to have an appropriate action plan, enterprises must understand pressing social issues.

She pointed out that, in recent years, Viet Nam had faced increasing challenges in climate change and environmental pollution, which were threatening social welfare and human health as well as the sustainable development of the ecosystem. There were also difficulties in providing education and building a future for the young.

My cited a survey by the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs carried out on 24 garment and footwear enterprises, which found that revenue was up around 25 per cent for those with a CSR programme.

During international integration, the implementation of CSR has become a must, according to My, and will not only bring benefits to enterprises and to society but also help improve the competitiveness of enterprises and the country as a whole.

“It is necessary to develop mechanisms and policies to support enterprises in implementing CSR initiatives,” she said.

Construction firms urged to apply technology to improve efficiency

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and Industry 4.0 required construction firms to invest in technology to improve efficiency.

According to the Ministry of Construction, more than 1,500 enterprises operating in the construction industry completed dissolution procedures in 2020, demonstrating that the COVID-19 pandemic had negative impacts on the operation of these companies, although the Government lowered banking interest rates last year to aid enterprises.

Another problem was that input costs increased significantly while real estate prices did not see a corresponding increase, which also affected operation efficiency.

The ministry said that the real estate market was showing signs of recovery but the recovery was not taking place as rapidly as expected. In addition, legal problems at a series of property projects were causing stagnation in construction.

Large firms also encountered difficulties.

Nguyen Xuan Dong, general director of Vinaconex Corporation, said that the company’s revenue in 2020 fell by 42 per cent against the previous year, in which construction revenue dropped by 45 per cent and real estate business by 86 per cent.

Economic expert Can Van Luc said that the Vietnamese economy expanded at three per cent in 2020 despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, higher than the world’s average.

The gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in the 2018-19 period averaged around 6.8 per cent, forecast at 6.5-7 per cent in 2021 and seven per cent on average in the next 10 years. The positive economic prospects would fuel the development of the real estate market and provide opportunities for construction enterprises to expand operation and enhance efficiency in the future, Luc said.

According to Cao Van Ban from the Viet Nam Association of Construction Economy, the macroeconomic situation and the positive prospects for real estate market recovery were opening new opportunities for construction companies to develop but also bringing challenges and new requirements.

Ban said that constrution firms must raise solutions to speed up construction progress, lower costs and improve quality.

“The most important thing to construction companies at the moment is to take advantage of science and Industry 4.0 to create breakthroughs,” Ban stressed.

For State-owned construction enterprises, it was necessary to strengthen restructuring and renovation through privatisation to improve efficiency, he said.

Renovating technology is an unavoidable trend, not only for construction enterprises.

The Prime Minister in late January issued a national technology renovation programme to 2030 which set the target that the number of enterprises renovating technology increases by 20 per cent per year on average.

Investment booms as Soc Trang improves business climate

Soc Trang Province’s efforts to improve its business climate is paying off with more and more investors, both domestic and foreign, coming since 2016.

It has worked with hundreds of potential investors seeking to invest in areas where the province has strengths like hi-tech agriculture, tourism and wind and solar power.

It approved 116 projects with a total investment of VND27.3 trillion (US$1.18 billion) in 2016-20, 5.5 times the amount in the previous five years.

Nine of them are FDI projects.

Soc Trang authorities have been making efforts to improve the investment climate and provincial competitiveness by focusing on infrastructure and providing lands for projects.

They are keen on projects that are sustainable and environment-friendly.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Nhi, deputy director of the province’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, said her department had been reforming administrative procedures, boosting the province’s competitiveness in terms of attracting investment and business climate.

One key infrastructure project is the upgrade of Tran De deep-water port, which will reduce logistics costs for exports from the Mekong Delta.

The recently approved Chau Doc – Can Tho – Soc Trang highway will connect to the port, aiding goods transportation and improving links with the rest of the country.

The province is also creating a start-up eco-system with development assistance, incubation programmes and sponsorship for creative small and medium-sized businesses.

In the last five years 1,900 new businesses were set up, a 47.2 per cent increase from 2011 – 15. Many companies have invested in manufacturing in the An Nghiep Industrial Park, creating tens of thousands of jobs.

In 2021 – 25 Soc Trang seeks to further improve its business climate and competitiveness, focusing on business assistance services, labour training and helping investors start projects smoothly.

There are 3,300 registered businesses in the province with a total charter capital of VND33 trillion.

Soc Trang’s economy grew by 6.75 per cent in 2020. 




Ford recalls nearly 2,500 vehicles to update engine software



Ford recalls nearly 2,500 vehicles to update engine software

A Ford Ranger 2020 model. Photo courtesy of Ford Vietnam.

Ford Vietnam has issued a recall order of 2,470 Ranger and Everest vehicles to update the software in the transmission control module (TCM) and powertrain control module (PCM).

The recall program will begin on March 16 this year and last until March 15, 2023.

The affected vehicles were produced between September 2019 to February 2020 in Thailand and imported by Ford Vietnam for distribution in the local market.

According to the company, the issues could cause problems for transmission oil pumps, which can lead to torsional vibrations while the engine accelerates and decelerates and lead to transmission malfunction, increasing the risk of collision.

Authorized dealerships will provide free inspection and repair and the whole process will take about two hours to complete.

Ford Vietnam said it will still carry out the replacement for drivers of Ford Ranger and Ranger Raptor models imported to the country by the Ford Motor Company.

Ford sold 24,663 vehicles last year, accounting for 8.7 percent of total car sales, according to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association.


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Foreign ship arrivals down 6 percent in first two months


Vietnam’s sea ports have berthed some 4,900 foreign vessels over the last two months, a decline of 6 percent year-on-year, according to the Vietnam Marine Administration.

The fall was due largely to the impact of COVID-19, which is resulting in major fluctuations in the transport sector, a representative of the administration said.

Despite the lower number of foreign ships, the volume of import and export goods through ports grew. In January and February, 35.3 million tonnes of imports and 26 million tonnes of exports were handled at ports nationwide. The former represented an annual increase of 14 percent while the latter was as same as that last year.

In particular, nearly 1.3 million TEUs for exports and 1.2 million for imports were handled during the period, up 32 and 16 percent, respectively, year-on-year; the highest growth since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, the arrival of domestic vessels totalled 5,300, up 11 percent year-on-year./.

Quang Ninh’s Van Don airport reopens on March 3

The Ministry of Transport has decided to allow Van Don International Airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh reopen from 6:01am on March 3 after the COVID-19 pandemic has been put under control in the locality and the airport is safe to transport passengers.

The airport was temporarily shut down from January 29 after an airport security staff was confirmed positive for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines announced earlier that it will resume flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Quang Ninh on March 3, thus becoming the first to restart flights to the Van Don airport since the local COVID-19 outbreak began.

From March 3 to 17, one weekly flight will ply the route between the two destinations, on Wednesdays. Flight numbers will be increased to three a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, from March 18 until the end of the year.

Flights will take off at 1:00pm from HCM City and 3:45pm from Van Don.

Passengers on the first three flights after resumption will enjoy a discounted fair of 507,000 VND (22 USD), including taxes and fees, per leg./.

Webinar on Vietnamese market held in Switzerland

The Vietnamese Embassy in Switzerland, in collaboration with the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services and the Switzerland-Vietnam Business Group (SVBG), organized the Webinar Market Focus Vietnam on March 2.

This was also a chance for the newly-established SVBG to introduce itself to Swiss partners.

The webinar aimed at boosting trade and investment cooperation between Swiss and Vietnamese businesses.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Le Linh Lan stressed that Vietnam and Switzerland have maintained good friendship and cooperation for half a century.

This year, the two are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.

Switzerland is the 6th largest European investor in Vietnam, with its investment totaling 2 billion USD, mostly in manufacturing – processing and electricity. Currently, around 100 Swiss firms are operating in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is the four biggest trade partner of Switzerland in ASEAN, with bilateral trade exceeding 3.6 billion USD in 2019. Since 2012, Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – the intergovernmental organisation of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – began negotiations for an FTA, which is expected to be signed this year./.

Vietnam, Austria shape up economic-trade cooperation

Vietnam and Austria discussed measures to promote economic-trade collaboration during a recent working session between Vietnamese Ambassador to Austria Le Dung and Austrian Deputy Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Michael Esterl.

The Vietnamese diplomat thanked Michael Esterl and his ministry for boosting cooperation between the two sides, affirming the Memorandum of Understanding on Industry 4.0 cooperation clinched between the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Austrian ministry provides a sound basis for both sides to carry out collaboration activities in the coming time.

Michael Esterl, for his part, laid stress on the significance of the regular policy and legal consultation between the Vietnamese Embassy and the Austrian ministry as it creates opportunities for both sides to exchange trade and investment policies and regulations as well as market information in each nation.

He suggested both sides maintain this mechanism in the forms that suit COVID-19 situation such as holding virtual conference.

The Vietnam-Austria business conference could be organised to update information and pen measures to support enterprises of both sides so that they can seek cooperation opportunities and expand investment in each country, he added.”

Touching on cooperation in the time to come, he said Austria is pushing procedures to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

Dung thanked Austria’s support, stressing Austrian businesses have many opportunities to land investment in Vietnam.

With a population of 97 million, Vietnam is a potential market for Austrian firms to expand their business operation, while it serves as a gateway for Austrian products and services to get access to the 670 million-strong ASEAN market.

Additionally, being a favourite destination for foreign investors in the “China, Plus One” strategy, Vietnam will have preferential policies to attract foreign investment, he said, holding when the EVIPA takes effect, Austrian companies will gain great competitive edges if they invest in Vietnam.

At the event, both sides reaffirmed they want to cooperate with each other in the fields of vocational training and labour. Austria said the country has huge demand for skilled workers in information technology (IT) and nursing in the future.

They also reached consensus on urging competent authorities to kick off a pilot project to carry out Austria’s vocational training model in Vietnam.

Dung took the occasion to invite Michael Esterl to visit Vietnam in a suitable time when the COVID-19 pandemic is put under control./.

Making greater efforts towards a year of economic growth

The Ministry of Planning and Investment has made a draft report on additional evaluation of the implementation of the socio-economic development plan in 2020 to collect comments from ministries, sectors and localities. The report’s latest data update shows that the implementation of many targets is better than the estimate reported to the National Assembly.

The highlight of 2020 was that Vietnam achieved and exceeded 10 out of the 12 main targets assigned by the National Assembly, up two targets compared to the estimate, including the targets on the growth rate of total export revenue and on the unemployment rate in urban areas.

This is an encouraging economic result amid the “COVID-19 period” because the pandemic caused dramatic declines on consumption worldwide, pushing production and export activities to stagnation and raising unemployment rate.

In addition, the implementation of four other goals has better performance than the estimates reported to the National Assembly, including the growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP), the average growth rate of consumer price index (CPI), trade surplus, and the percentage of population participating in health insurance.

Basically, the growth quality of the economy has been improved with less dependence on natural resource exploitation, raw exports, and cheap labour while gradually shifting to rely on application of science, technology and innovation, and the processing and manufacturing industry.

It can be said that Vietnam’s economy had a year of brave growth in both quantity and quality, which were not only kept stable but also growing.

This result has added a highlight to the economic picture of Vietnam in such a difficult year while reinforcing the confidence of the whole society in the Government’s policy and governance in the context unpredictable developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, with GDP growth rate of 2.91% in 2020, Vietnam’s economy had the lowest growth year in the past ten years and failed to meet the target set for the 2016 – 2020 period.

This is a big challenge in the starting year of the implementation of the 5-year socio-economic development plan in the 2021 – 2025 period and the ten-year strategy in the 2021 – 2030 period.

To continue with another year of brave growth, right from the beginning of 2021, the entire political system has made every effort to drastically restrain the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to promote production and business activities towards the annual growth target of 6.5%.

At the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Finance asked the Government to develop a decree to extend the deadlines for tax payment and land rent for enterprises in the context of prolonged COVID-19 epidemic with an estimated value of about VND115 trillion.

Amid the increasingly unpredictable global political and economic situations and difficulties in making forecasts due to the impact of the pandemic, more than ever, “rewards” will be given to the economies which early and flexibly take response activities.

Travelling to nearby, safe destinations: the main tourism trend in Vietnam in 2021

In 2021, domestic tourism is still the development focus of the sector; meanwhile, famous seas and islands and tourist cities continue to be leading destinations and are predicted to continue to be popular destinations for Vietnamese tourists.
This comment was made by Outbox Consulting – a company specialising in providing in-depth research and consulting solutions for the tourism and hospitality sectors in Vietnam in a report on Vietnam’s Travel Trends in 2021, announced on February 24.

Before COVID-19, exploring a crowded city, strolling through bustling markets, enjoying dinner at a bistro brimming with locals, or touring major attractions were Vietnamese tourists’ favourite activities. However, as the epidemic has still been fully resolved, tourists are now giving their top priority to their safety in the new situation.

Therefore, socially distant travel is expected to be the trend once again in 2021. Travelers will select sparsely populated areas nearby so that they can set plans and tours that align with their travel demands and ensure protection from the pandemic.

Vietnamese tourists often spend 2-3 days, especially weekends or short holidays, travelling to domestic destinations. This year once again, they will choose destinations that are easy to move and near their cities they live.

Coastal and island destinations are still the Vietnamese tourists’ favourite, with Vung Tau and Nha Trang emerging as popular destinations for domestic tourists. In addition, other famous tourist sites such as Ha Long, Sapa, Phu Quoc and Da Lat will attract a large number of visitors.

If socially distant travel is how independent travelers will adapt to the new situation, small group travel is the choice for people who want to travel as a group and adapt to the current situation.

Different from regular trips in 2019 that could accommodate 20 – 30 visitors, sizes have shrunk down to control the spread of infectious diseases.

According to Outbox Consulting, the COVID-19 pandemic will make wellness travel an emerging trend this year. Wellness travel is not a new trend in the tourism industry; however, during the pandemic, fatigue and stress have become familiar to almost everyone. So, after the pandemic is controlled, visitors will find wellness retreats useful after a long period of repressed travel demand.

Vietnam was considered an emerging destination in the wellness travel trend in the Asian Pacific region in 2019. This, combined with an increase in visitors’ demands for wellness travel trends in 2021 will present an opportunity for Vietnam’s wellness tourism market, especially as Vietnam is emerging as a safe destination in terms of controlling the pandemic.

Another feature that has emerged during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic is that visitors tend to book accommodation at the last minute because they they perceive it may be harder to cancel and get a refund for hotel bookings as opposed to flight tickets.

Pre-COVID, Vietnamese travelers often planned their trip and booked services long before their departure, especially when it came to overseas tours, in order to save money. However, in the face of the complicated developments of COVID-19, shorter booking timeframes will help mitigate the risk of travel policy changes and mobility restrictions.

The use of technology in tourism has long been popular across the world and in Vietnam in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic sped up this digital transformation in 2020.

This year, technology will be a leading factor helping visitors regain their confidence. A survey conducted by Censuswide tshowed more than 4 out of 5 travelers said that technology would increase their confidence to travel in the next 12 months. They noted that a mobile app that provides warnings and updates during trips, for example local outbreaks or the government’s latest guidelines, will be essential this year.

In addition, contactless payments (for example, Apple, Google Pay, PayPal, and Venmo) will help tourists travel more confidently within next 12 months. In 2021, safety will be of paramount importance, and simple technological solutions will be the driving force for travelers to explore the world more confidently. Vietnamese tourists are part of the general global technological .

Commenting on the roadmap for the recovery of Vietnam’s tourism, the Outbox Consulting report said it will depend on foreign countries’ ability to control the epidemic. Beside vaccines, the speed of tourism’s recovery depends partly on factors that boost destinations reopening timeframes.

China represents largest import market of Vietnam over two-month period

China made up the nation’s largest import market during the first two months of the year with an estimated turnover of US$17.3 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 85.7%, according to data recently released by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO).

The Republic of Korea ranked second with a turnover of US$8.4 billion, marking a rise of 6.7% compared to the same period from last year, followed by ASEAN, Japan, the EU, and the United States.

Throughout the reviewed period, import turnover stood at an estimated US$47.26 billion, an increase of 25.9% over last year’s corresponding period, of which the domestic economic sector reached US$15.62 billion, a boost of 16%, with the foreign-invested sector rising to US$31.64 billion, a surge of 31.4%.

Most notably, there were 11 commodities in total which recorded an import turnover of over U$1 billion, accounting for 67.6% of the country’s total import turnover, while nine items had an export turnover of over US$1 billion, making up 73.8% of the overall export turnover.

With regards to export markets, the US was the largest Vietnamese export market during the two-month period with a turnover of US$14.2 billion, posting a rise of 38.2% on-year.

Businesses urged to change mindset to overcome COVID-19 challenges

Amid complicated developments by the COVID-19 pandemic, local textile and apparel firms have been forced to change their business mindset, boost connectivity, expand into new markets, and maximise the benefits from free trade agreements (FTAs) to meet this year’s export target of US$39 billion, according to insiders.

Despite challenges caused by COVID-19, Vietnam raked in approximately US$2.6 billion from garment and textile exports  in January, representing a year-on-year increase of 3.3%, with some products recording high growth rates of between 9.3% and 35.6%.

Nguyen Xuan Duong, chairman of the Board of Directors of Hung Yen Garment Corporation (Hugaco), said that domestic textile businesses are anticipated to encounter numerous difficulties moving forward due to a shortage of export orders and cash flow, thereby making it tough to maintain production activities whilst ensuring the jobs of workers.

Le Tien Truong, chairman of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), said that outsourcing costs will decrease significantly due to the trend of simple goods being replaced by fashion products this year, adding that firms should be flexible in altering their business strategies in order to adapt to market fluctuations and seize upon new opportunities.

Than Duc Viet, general director of Garment Corporation 10, revealed that the cancellation of export orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made the company draw up a number of fresh strategies aimed at increasing its competitive advantages.

In line with this, the business has turned to export fabric and medical masks, protective suits, knitwear, as well as small orders that have a high value and short production period.

Viet stated that the group will focus on surveying the market, whilst selecting suitable export products, enhancing workers’ skills, and increasing labour productivity in an effort to boost exports in the near future.

Tran Nhu Tung, vice chairman of the Board of Directors of Thanh Cong Textile Garment Investment Trading JSC, said the company has received a sufficient amount of orders until the end of the first quarter, with the prospect of new orders ahead during the year’s second quarter.

Tung also revealed that the company has initiated plans to begin construction of another factory in Hoa Phu Industrial Park in the southern province of Vinh Long with an estimated capacity of 12 million products annually, with estimated revenue from the EU market set to see a double-digit increase.

With a complete production procedure from yarn, weaving, dyeing, and sewing, the group is anticipated to enjoy preferential tariffs in line with the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) regulations.

Land brokers rush to Binh Phuoc although airport project still being mooted

Although an airport project has only been proposed in Hon Quan District of Binh Phuoc Province and is still being considered by the competent agencies, a large number of land brokers have rushed to the district and inflated the prices of land lots in surrounding areas.

Over the last week, land brokers from HCMC, Hanoi and the neighboring localities of Binh Phuoc flocked to Hon Quan. Besides posting advertisements on social networks, they also took land buyers to visit the site proposed for the development of the airport, the local media reported.

They have advertised land lots measuring some 1,000 square meters each and put up them for sale at VND700-900 million each. They have also said that only a small number of people could buy the land.

According to the Hon Quan District government, the land price inflation and large gatherings of people are abnormal, posing a high risk of social disorder and Covid-19 infection.

The land price inflation may encourage local residents, especially the ethnic minority people, to sell agricultural land. Therefore, the competent agencies have been educating residents so that they are not tricked by land brokers who spread false information.

Due to the complicated situation, on February 26, the government of Hon Quan District asked the police and military forces to support communes in the district to handle large gatherings and those without face masks to prevent the Covid-19 infection, especially in the surrounding areas of the proposed airport site.

The authorities of communes and towns, especially Tan Loi and An Khuong communes, were asked to enhance the construction and land use management to promptly prevent illegal projects, the improper use of land and land violations and impose sanctions on violators.

The Binh Phuoc government had earlier proposed the Government and the Ministries of National Defense and Transport allow the province to manage the existing 100-hectare airport in the province to develop it into an airport that can be used for both civil and military purposes with an area of 400-500 hectares. The land for the airport expansion is public land and the expansion project was proposed to be executed under the public-private-partnership format.

Over 33,600 firms dissolve, suspend operations in Jan-Feb

The country saw over 33,600 firms leave the market or suspend their operations in the first two months of the year, up 18.6% year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Of the total, over 21,630 companies signed up to temporarily suspend operations, some 8,380 halted operations to complete dissolution procedures and over 3,590 were dissolved.

The number of newly-established firms in February dropped by 12.3% year-on-year at 8,040, while pledged capital surged by 85.6% at VND179.7 trillion. Besides, some 7,700 firms left the market in February, VietnamPlus news site reported.

Between January and February, some 18,130 companies were established, inching down 4% year-on-year, while the number of firms returning to the market, mainly active in the art, entertainment and education fields, and lodging and catering services, during the two-month period was 11,030, down 7.6% against the same period last year. However, the total registered capital increased by 12% to VND720.4 trillion.

TGE to invest in wind power project in Mekong Delta

Gia Lai Electricity JSC (GEC) has passed a plan to invest in the Tan Phu Dong 2 wind power project in Tan Thanh Commune, Go Cong Dong District, Tien Giang Province.

The subsidiary of Thanh Thanh Cong Group authorized Tien Giang Wind Power JSC (TGE) to implement the 50-MW plant project, reported Bnews news site.

TGE will set up the project’s management board to monitor and execute the project. Further, it is in charge of building a power transmission line for the project; seeking, negotiating and selecting appropriate consulting firms, equipment suppliers and construction units in line with prevailing regulations and ensuring the project proves financially effective.

Besides this, GEC authorized its general director to decide, sign and implement essential procedures to ensure the project will be put into commercial operation as scheduled in the approved plan.

Earlier, GEC had passed a plan to contribute nearly VND10 billion worth of capital to TGE.

Manufacturing output returns to growth in February

The health of the sector has now strengthened in three successive months.

The Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) ticked up to 51.6 in February from 51.3 in January, signaling a modest improvement in business conditions, according to Nikkei and IHS Markit.

The health of the sector has now strengthened in three successive months. A reading below the 50 neutral mark indicates no change from the previous month, while a reading below 50 indicates contractions and above 50 points to an expansion. 

Sustained growth of new orders was recorded, helping to drive the improvement in overall business conditions. New work has now increased in six successive months. Total new orders were supported by a return to growth of new export business amid some signs of improving international demand.

Rising new orders was the main factor behind a return to growth of manufacturing production. The slight increase was also partly attributed to efforts to build stocks of finished goods. These efforts were successful in bringing an end to a four-month sequence of falling post-production inventories.

Employment increased for the second time in three months as firms responded to rises in demand and production requirements. This enhanced capacity meant that firms were able to keep on top of workloads and reduced outstanding business again.

A renewed expansion of buying activity was also recorded, but stocks of purchases continued to fall amid the use of inputs to support production.

Problems securing raw materials also contributed to falling stocks of purchases. Suppliers’ delivery times lengthened sharply again. Difficulties sourcing goods from abroad due to a lack of shipping containers and global demand for materials outpacing supply continued to cause longer lead times.

These imbalances led to a further sharp increase in input costs in February. Although the rate of inflation eased to a three-month low, the rise in input prices was still faster than the average seen across the ten-year survey so far.

Manufacturers responded to higher input costs by raising their own selling prices accordingly. That said, the rate of inflation was modest and the slowest since last November. 

Business confidence continued to wane in February, dropping for the third month running to the lowest since August 2020. Sentiment was hit by concerns over the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. That said, firms remained optimistic on balance, with hopes that the pandemic will be brought under control over the coming year supporting confidence.

“Renewed increases in output, employment and purchasing activity are all welcome signs, but a recent increase in Covid-19 cases sounds a note of caution. In fact, confidence among firms slumped to the lowest since August 2020, the last time a significant outbreak of the pandemic was seen,” said Andrew Harker, associate director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.

“Previously, Vietnam has proved successful in quickly suppressing the virus, and should this be the case again we will hopefully see the manufacturing sector remain in growth territory. IHS Markit currently forecasts a rise in industrial production of 6.8% this year.”

What makes Phu Quoc’s real estate attractive to investors?

Population in Phu Quoc likely triples in 2030, resulting high demand for hospitality industry.

The administration upgrading has made Phu Quoc the first island city in Vietnam, opening up an era for the locality equal in size to Singapore.

The move is considered a momentum for the island that is well-known for tourism, creating favorable conditions for the mushrooming of real estate projects, local experts have predicted.

It triggers a question on how Phu Quoc’s real estate attractive to investors. The expertise might offer a broader view of the potential there.

Dang Phuong Hang, managing director, CBRE Vietnam, said that real estate ecosystem models like hospitality will match the tourism-based island.

The development of tourism will support the growth of three-pillar model namely hospitality real estate, entertainment, and high-end housing segment, she added.

Phu Quoc’s real estate sector has significant room to grow thanks to youngling market, plenty of investment opportunities, and reasonable prices. In addition, well-equipped resort projects are expected to drive up the service prices.

Enormous potential for real estate market is obviously seen in newly-established wards like Duong Dong and An Thoi, Hang said.

“The city status will enable Phu Quoc to make master growth planning, including strategies for tourism industry. The city’s population is forecast to triple by 2030, forming elite groups that demand high-end services,” Hang said.

Nguyen Van Dinh, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Real Estate Association (VNREA), said the three-pillar ecosystem [hospitality real estate/resort – entertainment – high-end housing segment] is the most suitable model for the island tourism city of Phu Quoc.

Notably, the well-invested infrastructure and more convenient transport have fueled the increasing flows of tourists to the island. So far, visitors go to Phu Quoc by high-speed craft with 150-300 passengers on board each and by airplane with 15-20 flights from various part of the country per day.

According to Dr Nguyen Tri Hieu, meanwhile, the upgrading to city has enabled Phu Quoc to have more budget for infrastructure and more open policies.

The local People’s Council has approved a public investment plan worth VND17 trillion (US$739 million) for 2021-25, including infrastructure, key projects, and resettlement models.

In 2020, as many as 20 out of 23 investment projects in Kien Giang Province were committed to going to Phu Quoc. The island welcomed nearly three million visitors in the same year despite Covid-19, up 60% on-year.

Relaxed policies and nature-favored living conditions help support investors’ expansion plans. The city is likely to attract additional 18,000 people by 2030, including high-skilled workers, foreign experts, and overseas Vietnamese.

The figure might be higher thanks to visa exemption scheme (up to 30 days) from July 2020 to foreigners and a stay of up to 10 years for foreign investors having at least VND100 billion (US$4.4 million).


Nguyen Manh Ha, deputy head of VNREA, believed that real estate prices in Phu Quoc will set up a new level in a short time, unlike Nha Trang and Danang before. It will take several years to record VND500-600 million (US$21,739-US$26,000) per square meter in some places in Phu Quoc like the rate in Nha Trang currently.

However, it requires a well-prepared planning for the island city, Ha noted.

The island’s southern region is of high expectations with more investment flows in the next five years, local experts predicted.

Islands in southern Phu Quoc, if given well-designed planning, are expected to be destination of wealth-off people in the coming years, according to Dr Le Xuan Nghia, former deputy chairman of the National Financial Supervision Committee.

There remains much to say about procedures and investors need to pay more attention to legality of projects and segments they are investing in, local experts have warned, adding that Phu Quoc’s real estate must be viewed in long-term strategies with possible focus on cleared land and resort projects.

Vietnam named in Agility’s top 10 Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2021

Vietnam’s rise of three ranking positions to 8th overall is the fastest rise in the top half of the Index and displaces regional partner Thailand in the top 10.

Vietnam moved up three places to 8th in the top 10 countries of the Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2021 by Agility, one of the world’s top freight forwarding and contract logistics providers.

Among countries in ASEAN, Vietnam stood at third behind Indonesia (3rd overall) and Malaysia (5th), and was above the likes of Thailand (11th), the Philippines (21st) and Cambodia (41st).

According to Agility, Vietnam’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the most successful globally, with data from Johns Hopkins University showing less than 1,500 reports of Covid-19 cases in the country in 2020.

The combination of social and economic restrictions with a strict and comprehensive testing and tracing system, saw lockdowns last less than three months, and by June many factories were reopened and domestic operations were recovering quickly, it said.

“The steps taken by Vietnam in 2020 propel it into the top 10 ranking in 2021 – its rise of three ranking positions to 8th overall is the fastest rise in the top half of the Index and displaces regional partner Thailand in the top 10,” stated the logistics firm.

“The country’s economy has performed well as a result of the minimal domestic disruptions and is set to be one of the best performing globally in 2020,” noted the report.

The foundation provided by the strong performance in 2020 is expected to underpin a 2021 expansion of 6.5% as domestic and international conditions normalize and the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.

In recent years, Vietnam has added significant hightech manufacturing capacity, helping attract investment from producers higher up the value chain as costs in China increased.

The option to avoid additional costs associated with the US-China trade war has added further motivation for manufacturers to choose Vietnam, noted Agility.  

Samsung, which alone contributes a quarter of Vietnam’s exports through smartphone manufacturing activity in the country, will shift PC manufacturing to Vietnam after it shut down a Chinese factory in 2020. Apple is also reported to have requested that Foxconn open a Vietnam production location to add production capacity for iPads and MacBooks.

When the production lines become active in the first half of 2021, it will be the first time iPad manufacture to take place outside China. Meanwhile, chip manufacturer Intel will operate its largest assembly plant in the country and South Korea’s LG electronics announced investment plans during 2020.

With Covid-19 further exposing the risks of over-reliance on China, Vietnam will be an attractive option for relocation – indeed, when asked, 19.2% of survey respondents cited Vietnam as the number one location for those seeking to diversify production locations outside of China.

However, so rapid has the investment and arrival of new businesses been that it is creating challenges of its own, including a shortage of skills and knowledge to produce the highest value goods.

Navigos Group, which owns the country’s largest jobs site, reports that 71% of employers cite a lack of IT skills as their most significant challenge. 

By 2025, the country set the contribution rate target for logistics to be at 5-6% of GDP, services growth rate between 15-20%, while the rate for logistics outsourcing to be 50-60%, said the government’s decision No.200 referring to an action plan to enhance the competitiveness and development of Vietnam’s logistics sector through 2025 and ensure its ran in the Logistics Performance Index of at least 50th.

Giants to invest in big projects in Hue

Aeon, a Japanese-based retailer, and Vietravel, a local tourism company, are building commercial and service centers in the central province of Thua Thien Hue.

Aeon Vietnam Co., the investor of the Aeon Mall chain in Vietnam, plans to pour US$150-160 million into a large-scale shopping mall in Hue City, Thua Thien Hue Province.

This was unveiled at the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding about the investment research of Aeon Mall in Hue City between the Thua Thien Hue People’s Committee and Aeon Mall Vietnam.

Phan Ngoc Tho, Chairman of Thua Thien Hue Provincial People’s Committee, said the province will strongly support the investor to do studies as well as procedures so that the latter could commence the project this year.

Tho also said apart from the commercial center, the investor was also interested in developing local raw material areas.

Meanwhile, Vietravel is building the Vietravel entertainment and service complex in Hue City. The VND140-billion project will provide a chain of travel services and auxiliary services when it comes into operation by the end of 2021.

In another development, Hue is calling for investment in a complex of hotel, commercial center, floating restaurant and tourist wharf at 121 Nguyen Sinh Cung Street, Hue City with an aim to attract tourists to visit the famous Huong River.

Late last year, the People’s Council of Thua Thien Hue Province approved the socio-economic development plan for 2021, including a list of key projects in 2021.

Some major projects will be kicked off in 2021 such as the international golf project plus the auxiliary service area and resort by ​​BRG Golf Course Joint Stock Company with a total investment capital of VND3,164 and VND1,656-billion Vinh My tourist service area by ​​Heritage Vietnam Real Estate Co.

HCM City’s export turnover surges 25.1 pct. in first 2 months

Ho Chi Minh City exported 8 billion USD worth of goods during the first two months of 2021, according to the municipal Department of Statistics, a 25.1 percent increase year-on-year.

Excluding crude oil, export turnover stood at over 7.6 billion USD in the period, a rise of 26.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

The export value of wood and wooden products posted the highest growth, surging 60.4 percent year-on-year to 224.6 million USD.

China remained the southern city’s biggest buyer, with revenue totalling nearly 1.8 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 31.6 percent and accounting for 23.2 percent of its export value.

It was followed by the US with 1.2 billion USD, up 15.1 percent.

Local enterprises spent 10.92 billion USD on importing goods in the period, up 53 percent year-on-year./.

Hanoi’s February consumer price index up 1.8 percent

The consumer price index (CPI) in the capital city grew up 1.8 percent in February from the previous month, according to the Hanoi Statistics Office.

Ten out of 11 groups of products and services in the CPI basket recorded higher prices. The group of housing, electricity, water and construction materials posted the highest price increase of 6.02 percent, mostly due to rises in the costs of electricity, gas, and construction services.

The prices of restaurant and catering services jumped 1.44 percent thanks to high consumption demand for the Lunar New Year festival – the biggest traditional festival of Vietnamese people.

Moving in the upward trend were groups of transport (1.24 percent); beverage and tobacco (0.77 percent); apparel, headwear, and footwear (0.06 percent); household equipment (0.04 percent); and other goods and services (0.11 percent). The two groups of medicine and medical services, and education both grew by 0.01 percent.

The postal and telecoms services group was the only one recording a price decline of 0.01 percent.

The Statistics Office also said that the gold price went down by 0.56 percent, while the price of US dollar dropped by 0.27 percent as compared to January./.

Aquatic exports rise 2.2 percent in two months

Export value of aquatic products reached 405 million USD in February, pushing the figure in the first two months of 2021 to over 1 billion USD, up 2.2 percent over the same period last year, reported the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

According to the association, exports of tra fish saw positive signals since the beginning of this year after consecutive drops in 2020, with a 1.7 percent rise in the first two months of 2021 to 214 million USD.
In January, excepting for China and the EU, upturn was seen in the majority of markets of Vietnamese tra fish, including the US with 51 percent, Mexico 73 percent, Australia 45 percent and Canada 42 percent. Other markets such as Brazil, Colombia, the UK and Russia also experienced an increase of 37-129 percent.

Meanwhile, shrimp export in February was estimated at 160 million USD, down 18 percent year on year, resulting in over 380 million USD in the first two months of 2021, a slight annual fall of 0.8 percent.

At the same time, seafood exports rose 31.4 percent to 264 million USD in January but dropped 21 percent to 156 million USD in February, resulting in the two-month export value of 420 million USD, up 5.5 percent.

The VASEP said that in the first two months of this year, exports of Vietnamese aquatic products were affected by demands of markets amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

The association forecast that aquatic export value in March will reach about 640 million USD, up 1.5 percent over the same period last year thanks to high demand in the US, EU and members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)./.

Vietjet offers free baggage allowance on domestic routes

The budget carrier Vietjet Air has offered free 20kg of checked baggage for passengers on its entire flight network across Vietnam.

Accordingly, from February 27 to March 31, 2021, passengers buying tickets and flying with Vietjet across Vietnam will receive the special gift of 20kg checked baggage in addition with 7kg hand luggage completely for free.

The special offer is for passengers booking tickets at least 3 hours before departure time on Vietjet’s official sales channels at, official Facebook page at, ticket offices and official agents, applying for all payment methods. The free checked baggage is immediately applied as customers choose to include a 20kg baggage package when booking on all domestic flight routes with the flight time from February 27, 2021 to April 25, 2021.

Especially, passengers do not miss opportunities to fly and experience the new super convenient Deluxe fare type of Vietjet at an unprecedented attractive price from only 399,000 VND (17.25 USD). In addition to the 20kg checked luggage for free, Deluxe passengers can enjoy free changes of flight, date, route for unlimited times; free priority check-in; free seat selection; and included Deluxe Flight Care programme.

Government gives in principle approval to industrial park projects

The Government has given the green light to a number of industrial park projects in the central province of Nghe An and the northern provinces of Nam Dinh and Vinh Phuc.

The Hoang Mai 1 Industrial Park project in Hoang Mai township in Nghe An received in principle approval under Decision No 276/QD-TTg and will have a duration of of 50 years.

Located in the Southeast Nghe An Economic Zone, the project covers 264.77 ha and has total investment of 750 billion VND (32.4 million USD).

In other decisions, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved in principle the construction and trading of infrastructure at the My Thuan Industrial Park in My Loc and Vu Ban districts in Nam Dinh and the Thai Hoa-Lien Son-Lien Hoa Industrial Park (first phase) in Lap Thanh district in Vinh Phuc.

My Thuan will cover 158.48 ha and have total investment of over 1.6 trillion VND (69.19 million USD), while Thai Hoa-Lien Son-Lien Hoa will sit on 145.27 ha and have total capital of 774.82 billion VND (33.5 million USD)./.

Hanoi’s February consumer price index up 1.8 percent

The consumer price index (CPI) in the capital city grew up 1.8 percent in February from the previous month, according to the Hanoi Statistics Office.

Ten out of 11 groups of products and services in the CPI basket recorded higher prices. The group of housing, electricity, water and construction materials posted the highest price increase of 6.02 percent, mostly due to rises in the costs of electricity, gas, and construction services.

The prices of restaurant and catering services jumped 1.44 percent thanks to high consumption demand for the Lunar New Year festival – the biggest traditional festival of Vietnamese people.

Moving in the upward trend were groups of transport (1.24 percent); beverage and tobacco (0.77 percent); apparel, headwear, and footwear (0.06 percent); household equipment (0.04 percent); and other goods and services (0.11 percent). The two groups of medicine and medical services, and education both grew by 0.01 percent.

The postal and telecoms services group was the only one recording a price decline of 0.01 percent.

The Statistics Office also said that the gold price went down by 0.56 percent, while the price of US dollar dropped by 0.27 percent as compared to January./.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes 


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Central bank, police officials warn against investment in forex trading floors



Officials from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and the Ministry of Public Security have warned that investment in foreign exchange (forex) trading floors is extremely risky and not protected by the country’s law.

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The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)’s Deputy Governor Dao Minh Tu speaks at the press conference (Photo: VNA)

During the Government’s regular press conference on March 2, SBV Deputy Governor Dao Minh Tu said only credit organisations licensed by the SBV are allowed to supply services related to the exchange of foreign currencies or derivatives. Therefore, forex trading floors are currently operating out of line with Vietnam’s legal regulations. 

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Maj. Gen. To An Xo speaks at the press conference (Photo: VNA)

About the case related to Trinh Xuan Thanh at the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and the PetroVietnam Construction Joint Stock Corporation, Chief of the Office of the Ministry of Public Security and its spokesman Maj. Gen To An Xo said Thanh was sentenced to 14 years in jail for “intentionally violating the State’s regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences” and life imprisonment for “asset embezzlement”. 

During the process of investigation and court hearings, over 73 billion VND were also reclaimed, together with many other assets and bank accounts. 

He added that several images of unclear origin recently released by several opposition individuals and organisations have hurt the prestige of the public security sector and other relevant agencies, causing misunderstanding among the public. 

Xo also informed that the case involving the Hoan Cau Co. Ltd. has been temporarily suspended due to the lack of judicial assistance from the US Department of Justice and the court’s decision recognising the ownership of inheritances from Tran Thi Huong, the late founder of the company./.VNS


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