Seaports must go green since 2030
All seaports in Viet Nam shall mandatorily go green from 2030, according to the Viet Nam Maritime Administration’s Decision No. 710/QD- CHHVN approving green seaport development plan.
Under the decision, basic standards on green port criteria will be developed and issued in 2021 and 2022.
From 2023 to 2025, the modal of green ports will be piloted in Viet Nam.
In the 2025-2030 period, nationally technical criteria on green ports will be developed and issued.
After 2030, the green port criteria will be included in planning, construction investment, and business exploitation.
According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), greenhouse gas emissions of the shipping industry (international and domestic transport and fishing) grew by 9.6% in the 2012-2018 period (from 977 to 1,076 million tons).
By 2050, the above figure would double that of 2018. Asia and Africa were forecast to experience the biggest surges due to increasing number of ports and limited measures on pollution reduction.
Last year, the International Transport Forum revealed that greenhouse gas emissions of the shipping industry yearly cost nearly €12 billion at 50 world’s biggest ports. About 230 million people had direct contacts with the gas emissions at 100 ports. Hence, green port performance has become a new trend not only in the world but also in Viet Nam. The reduction of greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits maritime economies and protect people’s health.
As of early April, the number of seaport terminals in Viet Nam rose to 286, up eight terminals from April last year.
Tan Cang Cat Lai Terminal in Ho Chi Minh City was the first seaport in Viet Nam to receive the Green Port Award by the APEC Ports Service Network (APSN) Council, in 2018.
Tan Cang – Cai Mep International Terminal (TCIT) in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau was the second seaport in Viet Nam to have claimed the prestigious award.
The Green Port Award System (GPAS) program is a green evaluation system for ports in the APEC region developed by APSN. It represents an integral part of APEC Transportation Working Group’s ongoing efforts to promote green growth in the port industry.
The objective of GPAS is to encourage green and sustainable development in port and port-related industries.
TCIT not only helps customers by saving costs and reducing waiting time at the terminal but also by minimizing its negative impacts on the environment.
Other solutions introduced by the seaport include systems to reduce dust in the air, the planting of trees along berths to reduce noise and radiation, building internal roads to improve the landscape and surrounding air environment, and installing specialized treatment and recycle systems for hazardous and solid waste.
TCIT has also revamped its staff training programs on environmental protection as well as organized many activities to protect the local environment./.
Vietnam, RoK to host business forum this week
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) will host the Vietnam-Korea Business Forum on July 8.
Themed “Cooperation for a sustainable future,” the event will focus on information technology, electricity and renewable energy, education and smart city development.
It will be held via video teleconference and livestreamed on YouTube.
The Republic of Korea has remained Vietnam’s top investor and trade partner for years.
The RoK is the biggest investor of Vietnam, which now operates nearly 9,000 FDI projects worth a total of around 70.4 billion USD, accounting for 18.5 percent of the Southeast Asian country’s FDI inflows, as of the end of 2020. It is also Vietnam’s third largest trade partner.
The forum is expected to provide a chance for Vietnamese companies, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, to explore and seek business opportunities in the RoK market./.
Vietnam makes great strides in clean energy development: Asiatimes
Vietnam is making rapid strides in shifting from fossil fuels to clean energy in the post-COVID-19 world, according to a recent article published by the website asiatimes.com.
According to the article, the renewable energy sector is booming in Vietnam thanks to its rapid economic growth over the past five years, led by massive inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) as multinational companies set up their factories here to diversify supply chains and to benefit from Vietnam’s young and well-educated labour force.
Economic growth and FDI inflows have led to a huge surge in demand for energy in the country, it said.
In the context of limited domestic power sources, in recent years, Vietnam has shifted towards development of renewable energy, mainly solar and wind energy, the article noted.
According to Fitch Ratings, Vietnam’s solar production already reached 16,640 MW last year, accounting for 24 percent of the total energy output of the country.
Asiatimes.com quoted Frederick Burke, Managing Director of Baker McKenzie/Vietnam, as saying that Vietnam has hit a home run in terms of solar energy, and it is way above its original power development plan target at about double what it was targeting.
He said that one reason for the clean energy boom in Vietnam is due to customer demand, specifically from brand-name consumer product conglomerates that are looking for a “Green supply chain” to satisfy their home market requirements for more climate-friendly goods.
Investment flowing into Vietnam’s industrial parks has been spent on rooftop solar as a climate-appropriate solution to meet the electricity demand of those IPs themselves.
Obbon Thiracahi, senior analyst for corporates at Fitch Ratings, said many energy giants have come to Vietnam because there are many opportunities for investment in the Southeast Asia nation.
Indonesia not impose anti-dumping tax on cold steel sheets from Vietnam, China
The Indonesian Government has decided not to impose anti-dumping taxes on cold steel sheets originating from Vietnam and China.
In February, Indonesia’s Anti-Dumping Committee (KADI) announced the final results of an anti-dumping investigation into cold steel sheets imported from the two above countries which was launched in 2019.
The products subject to investigation have codes 7210.61.11, 7212.50.23, 7212.50.24, 7212.50.29, 7225.99.90, 7226.99.19 và 7226.99.99.
KADI also proposed imposing anti-dumping taxes of 3.01-49.2% on Vietnamese products and 3.07-55.43% on Chinese ones.
In May, local media said the proposal had been sent to the Government and was under discussion at the National Centre of Activities (PKN).
Vietnam Airlines certificated with 5-Star Covid-19 Airline Safety Ranking
It is the ninth air carrier and the first one in Vietnam to have received the highest star for the safety measures of Covid-19 in all of operational touchpoints.
Vietnam Airlines, the national flag carrier, has been certified with the highest 5-Star Covid-19 Airline Safety Rating for its improved hygiene processes to help reduce the spread of novel coronavirus.
The Skytrax Covid-19 Airline Safety Rating is the global assessment and certification of airline health and safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic that is based on professional and scientific investigation of the standards provided by the airline.
The Covid-19 rating includes cleanliness at the airport and onboard, social distancing, face mask usage, sanitizer, and other hygiene improvement systems.
Edward Plaisted, General Director of Skytrax said Vietnam Airlines has been continuing to operate domestic routes and a few international flights. The airline has vigorously implemented a series of hygiene upgrades to ensure the safety of passengers and its employees during the pandemic.
He added these options are implemented in a consistent and synchronous manner to respond to the level of risk in the domestic market.
Plaisted said the airline had an appropriate plan to manage the increased number of passengers as well as preparation to welcome more international passengers.
According to Vietnam Airlines, one of its core goals is to increase resources and improve the service quality of staff and flight attendants through training courses.
“This is also an important criterion to help Vietnam Airlines pass rigorous assessments to get Skytrax recognition,” Le Hong Ha, General Director of Vietnam Airlines said.
Hanoi to organize 2nd OCOP livestream sale festival
The event will be broadcast live from 9am to 12pm on July 10, on two channels of OCOP Live and VTC Now.
The Hanoi OCOP-labeled specialty festival will take place on July 10 with an aim to promote sales through live streaming under Hanoi’s “Vietnamese people prioritize using Vietnamese goods” campaign.
This is the second online event held in Hanoi this year, which is considered a helpful channel in the context of stagnant sales due to the pandemic complicated developments.
While the production of farm produces and sales are experiencing stagnation and even at the risk of being disrupted, e-commerce has been seen as a way out.
The event is among the efforts to carry out the “dual goal” of both preventing and controlling the pandemic safely, as well as enhancing economic development and ensuring social security. It is also aimed at promoting the “Vietnamese people to priority using Vietnamese goods” campaign in the new stage, and accelerating digital transformation in the agricultural sector to increase added value associated with sustainable development.
Nguyen Van Chi, Permanent Deputy Chief of the Hanoi Office of New Rural Development Program Coordination, Head of the festival’s Organizing Committee, said Hanoi is one of the spearheads joining different actors in the production chain to promote trade of agricultural products, OCOP products and regional specialties.
“The development of an online distribution channel of agricultural products, as well as the application of digital transformation technology in production and trade will bring more opportunities to producers and customers. We will engage consumers through live streaming on social networks and e-commerce channels,” Chi said.
The event will be broadcast live from 9am to 12pm on July 10, at two channels of OCOP Live and VTC Now.
The first OCOP Livestream Festival was held on June 6.
Vietnam transport ministry urged to report on new cargo airline
The new cargo airline has a total investment of US$100 million.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Transport (MoT) is urged to report to the Government on Vietnam’s first air freighter project before July 15.
The request was made by Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh, related to a plea to help the establishment of IPP Air Cargo JSC’s in June.
Previously, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) requested the MoT for more guidance on building and appraising the application for an air transport business license for IPP Air Cargo.
The CAAV said last April that the Prime Minister agreed new airlines should be licensed only after 2022 when the aviation market supposedly recovers after the pandemic.
However, the IPP Air Cargo project owner said the new airlines in question are those carrying passengers, not air freighters.
The IPP Air Cargo, if come into being, would reduce logistic costs for exporting farm produce, in line with the Government’s direction.
The new cargo airline project has a total investment of VND2.4 trillion (about US$100 million), including 30% of the company’s equity capital, the remaining 70% mobilized.
The IPP Air Cargo is a member of Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG) owned by businessman Johnathan Hanh Nguyen.
The company planned to operate five cargo aircraft in the first year of operation, then gradually increase to seven aircraft in the second year and ten aircraft in the third year.
The company estimated to transport about 115,000 tons of cargo and generate revenue of US$71 million in the first year of operation. It expected to conduct the first commercial flight from the second quarter of 2022 and earn profits from the fourth year.
Vietnam has not yet had a cargo airline so far. More than 80% of Vietnam’s foreign shipments by air are delivered by foreign airlines.
The passenger planes of Vietnamese airlines have been used to carry freight that has made up for the loss of revenue from passenger air travel during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gov’t mulls over renewal of duty incentive scheme for automotive manufacturers
Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh has assigned the Ministry of Finance to coordinate with relevant agencies to review the implementation of the duty incentive scheme for automotive manufacturers introduced in 2017.
Based on the review outcomes, the ministry will put forward amendments and supplements to and extension of the scheme for the next stage starting from 2022.
The Government issued Decree No. 125/2017/ND-CP (Decree 125) dated November 16, 2017 amending a certain number of articles of the Government’s Decree No. 122/2016/ND-CP dated September 1, 2016 on export duty schedule, preferential import duty schedule and lists of commodities and their flat tax rates, compound tax rates and outside tariff quota rates.
Decree 125 covers the duty incentive scheme for automotive manufacturers applicable from November 16, 2017 to December 31, 2022.
On May 25, 2020, the Government promulgated Decree No. 57/2020/ND-CP amending and supplementing a number of content of the duty incentive scheme in accordance with the reality of the automotive industry in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Viet Nam’s automotive industry has grown significantly in recent years thanks to the country’s fast-growing middle class.
The average growth rate of domestically assembled vehicles was approximately 10 percent per year in the 2015-2018 period.
The sector, which accounts for three percent of the nation’s GDP, is facing increasingly fiercer competition as Viet Nam has committed to opening its market to imported cars under free trade agreements, prompting the need to extend the implementation of the duty incentive scheme to support domestic automotive production.
The scheme should be renewed at least one year before it takes effect to help local automotive manufacturers to have enough time to develop business plans, suggested the authorities of the northern province of Hai Duong where Ford Viet Nam’s automobile assembly and production factory is located./.
COVID-19 outbreak leads to sharp fall in manufacturing output
The latest wave of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam led to a sharp deterioration of business conditions for manufacturers during June. Output and new orders both decreased at the sharpest rates since the first outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, while firms scaled back their employment and purchasing activity accordingly.
The pandemic also impacted supply chains, resulting in a near-record lengthening of delivery times. Meanwhile, the rate of input cost inflation remained marked but slowed sharply from that seen in May, and firms raised their own selling prices at only a marginal pace amid weaker demand.
The Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped sharply to 44.1 in June from 53.1 in May, pointing to the sharpest deterioration in business conditions for over a year and ending a six-month period of growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown measures, and temporary company closures were all mentioned as factors leading to sharp reductions in both output and new orders during June. Meanwhile, new business from abroad also decreased as transportation issues and container shortages exacerbated the impacts of the rise in virus cases.
These transportation issues, added to material shortages and restrictions linked to the pandemic, led to a marked lengthening of suppliers’ delivery times. In fact, the extent of delays was the second-largest on record, just behind that seen in April 2020.
Manufacturers in Vietnam responded to falling workloads by cutting back their staffing levels and purchasing activity at the end of the second quarter. Employment decreased for the first time in five months, and at a sharp pace that was the second fastest since the survey began in March 2011. Similarly, purchasing activity fell at the fastest pace since the decline in April 2020 following the initial outbreak of the pandemic. Declining input buying fed through to a steep reduction in stocks of purchases.
Stocks of finished goods also decreased in June, following broadly no change in May. Falling production and a desire to hold less stock amid declining new orders were behind the reduction in stocks of finished goods. Firms were able to deplete their backlogs of work for the first time in three months in line with lower new orders, and at a sharp pace that was unprecedented prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were signs of inflationary pressures easing in June as a lack of demand across the sector led to reduced pricing power. Although input costs increased at the slowest pace in seven months, the rate of inflation remained above the series average amid reports of material shortages leading to higher prices. Metals were mentioned in particular as costing more.
Output prices, meanwhile, rose only marginally as firms responded to a lack of demand. Business confidence fell to the lowest since August last year, reflecting concerns about the ongoing impact of the pandemic. That said, firms remained optimistic overall that output will increase over the coming year.
Vietnam flies high on cryptocurrency gains
The booming popularity of cryptocurrency has triggered criticism across the globe, particularly in Vietnam. However, both investors and regulators have shown keen interest in a potential central bank digital currency.
Statistics compiled by cryptocurrency data provider Chainalysis ranked Vietnam 13th in Bitcoin investment gains at $351 million in 2020. The country outweighed several larger and more developed economies such as Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Belgium. To boot, Vietnam has high levels of grassroots cryptocurrency adoption, ranking tenth overall on Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index.
“Upon further inspection, what stands out the most is the number of countries that appear to be punching above their weight in Bitcoin investment as compared to their rankings in traditional economic metrics. Vietnam can perfectly epitomise the situation,” the data analysis noted.
Elsewhere, according to a recent survey in March by Statista, 21 per cent of around 1,000-4,000 respondents in Vietnam said they had used or owned cryptocurrencies in 2020.
While Vietnam has seen extraordinary economic growth over the last two decades, significantly reducing its poverty rate from over 70 per cent to below 6 per cent since 2002, the country ranks 53rd in GDP at $262 billion and is categorised as a lower-middle income country by the World Bank, according to Chainalysis.
Meanwhile, US investors are the greatest beneficiaries, collectively making over $4 billion in realised Bitcoin gains in 2020 – three times as much as the next highest country, China.
The surging appetite for bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrencies is undeniable, illustrated by their skyrocketing price over year within one year. As of July 3, 2021, Bitcoin price reached nearly $34,000, compared to around $9,000 in the same day last year.
Several central banks across the globe have aired intentions to trial central bank digital currencies (CBDC) trials, including the Bank of Korea (BoK) and Bank of Japan (BoJ).
BOK and BOJ’s experiments to study the feasibility of issuing their own digital CBDC would pave the way for South Korean and Japanese companies, including those operating in Vietnam, to implement digital currencies. Regulators believe CBDC could “modernise their financial systems, ward off the threat from cryptocurrencies and speed up domestic and international payments,” according to Reuters.
Regional asset owners are still wary of volatile cryptocurrencies, but they say central bank-backed digital currencies could become investment-friendly over the next five to 10 years, according to Financial Times.
The BoJ in April confirmed it would test the technical feasibility of the core functions and features required for CBDCs as a payment instrument, including issuance, distribution, and redemption. Similarly, the BoK said on May 24 that it would start a 10-month test of the digital won in August with a budget of around $4.45 million.
Most recently, El Salvador became the very first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender at the beginning of June, a move that delighted the currency’s supporters.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Stoffers, country director, Vietnam, The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, told VIR, “According to the classical definition, money has three features: it is a means of payment, a store of value, and a unit of account. Cryptocurrencies can serve all three functions. Whether the future belongs to the current cryptocurrencies or whether new means of payment based on blockchain technology will win the race is still uncertain.”
On June 30, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh signed Decision No.942/QD-TTg approving the country’s e-government development strategy in the period of 2021-2025 with a vision to 2030.
Particularly, the PM assigned the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to thoroughly research and build a cryptocurrency development and management mechanism based on blockchain technology during 2021-2023 for piloting.
For Vietnamese investors keen to embrace the unique opportunities offered by cryptocurrencies, online multi-asset broker Exness offers trading in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple, under some of the market’s best trading conditions. The global broker is a well known and respected brand in Vietnam, offering their mobile trading app in Vietnamese as well as a dedicated Vietnamese customer support team. Furthermore, Exness works with local payment providers such as Ngangluong, to facilitate payments and reduce costs for local traders. A globally regulated broker, Exness is highly trusted and currently has a global client base of over 200,000 traders.
Vietnam’s aquatic export targets 9 billion USD in 2021
Vietnam’s aquatic export is hoped to hit 9 billion USD in 2021 thanks to the recovery of consumption in key markets such as the US, the European Union (EU), and other potential markets.
Vietnam’s aquatic product export in the first six months of this year reached 4.1 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 20 percent, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Tra fish was one of the main contributors to the aquaculture’s export growth.
In the US market, two Vietnamese producers of Tra fish have been given a zero-percent anti-dumping tariff, which helps facilitate shipment of the product to this market.
Export of Vietnamese tra fish to many markets including Mexico, Brazil, the UK, Thailand, the Netherlands, Colombia and Russia has showed three-digit increases, compensating for a decrease in the Chinese market, which remained the biggest importer of tra fish from Vietnam, accounting for 26 percent of the total.
Along with tra fish, the export of other seafood products also went up, contributing to the 4.1-billion-USD export turnover in the period.
VASEP reported that by the end of June 2021, tuna export earned 364 million USD, up 24 percent against the same period last year. Meanwhile, the squid and octopus export totaled 277 million USD, posting a year-on-year rise of 15 percent.
General Secretary of VASEP Truong Dinh Hoe said the export of squid, octopus and tuna has witnessed strong growths in most major markets in recent times.
The US is consuming 43 percent of Vietnam’s tuna, Hoe said, adding that when the US market reopens, all tuna product segments have the opportunity to increase market share in this country.
Other key markets all have recorded optimistic signals with high growths, Hoe noted.
Typically, Vietnam’s export of squid and octopus to Italy, Canada and Israel climbed by 122 percent, 62 percent and 37 percent, respectively, in the Jan – June period. The biggest importer of Vietnam’s squid and octopus – the Republic of Korea with a market share of 41 percent, also showed a rise of 7-8 percent./.
Reference exchange rate down 15 VND
The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate at 23,100 VND per USD on July 6, down 15 VND from the previous day.
With the current trading band of + /- 3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial bank during the day is 23,871 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,479 VND/USD.
The rates listed at commercial banks stayed stable.
At 8:30 am, the rates at Vietcombank were listed at 22,870 VND/USD (buying) and 23,100 VND/USD (selling), unchanged from July 5.
BIDV also kept both rates, listing the buying rate at 22,900 VND and the selling rate at 23,100 VND/USD./.
Thanh Hoa – sixth best performer in H1 public investment disbursement
The northern province of Thanh Hoa disbursed more than 5.13 trillion VND (222.92 million USD) in public investment in the first half of 2021, representing 54.4 percent of the yearly plan and a year-on-year increase of 9 percent, making it the country’s sixth best performer.
During the first six months of the year, the province’s Party Committee, People’s Council and People’s Committee have together taken various measures to speed up the public investment disbursement.
Capital disbursement plans have been assigned for 2021’s projects and programmes since the end of last year to help investors balance the financial needs of them and enable improved performances. Competent authorities have also cut 30 – 50 percent of time required for completing public administrative procedures during the pre-investment verification and appraisal process at the request of the chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
The province has also set specific timelines for the investment disbursement of each type of project this year while investors must be committed to following the timelines. Periodic reviews have also been conducted to identify projects with slow investment disbursement so capital can be withdrawn from slow-moving projects and transferred to faster ones.
Additionally, every major, key projects must be kept under the supervision of one of provincial leaders. District-level People’s Committees must also pledge to ensure that progress of site clearance for each project is on schedule.
Thanks to such drastic efforts, 106 out of 125 investors of projects funded by public capital have fulfilled 50 percent and more of their disbursement plans. The best performers among them include the Department of Transport (56.5 percent), Department of Public Security (93.5 percent), People’s Committee of Nong Cong district (100 percent), and People’s Committee of Cam Thuy district (98.9 percent).
Keeping disbursement of public investment on schedule is of great importance to Thanh Hoa’s socio-economic development, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the local economy, said Le Minh Nghia, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment.
It will help create jobs for thousands of people, boost local economic growth and offset economic losses in pandemic-hit sectors, he said.
Nghia noted that the province reported a Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) growth of 8.66 percent in the first half of 2021, setting the scene for the accomplishment of public investment plans in the remaining months.
Thanh Hoa has been among ten cities and provinces receiving the highest public investment (over 10 trillion VND) for years. The province has also remained in the Top 10 performers in terms of investment disbursement.
Early this year, Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung called for faster progress of public investment disbursement, saying hastening the disbursement speed from the start of this year was an important solution to accelerate economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also requested that projects failing to meet planned progress should have their capital revoked.
According to the General Statistics Office, every increase by 1 percent in public investment disbursement would push GDP by 0.06 percentage points.
The disbursement rate of public investment capital in 2021 is expected to reach between 95-100 percent of the plan assigned by the Prime Minister, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
As planned, the disbursement of public investment will reach at least 60 percent of the plan by the end of the third quarter of the year.
Latest statistics released by the General Statistics Office (GSO) show that total social investment in the first six months of 2021 increased 7.2 percent year-on-year to 1,170 trillion VND.
Of the figure, over 295.2 trillion VND was sourced from the state sector, up 7.3 percent; 660.1 trillion VND came from the non-state sector, rising by 7.4 percent; and 214.4 trillion VND was from the foreign direct investment sector, up 6.7 percent./.
Airbus Vietnam Training Centre at Vietjet to offer A320 type-rating courses
The Airbus Vietnam Training Centre (AVTC) has received regulatory approvals by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the provision of A320 Type Rating courses.
AVTC owns two A320 Full Flight Simulators and two A320 Flight Training Devices, which are located at the Vietjet Aviation Academy (VJAA) in Ho Chi Minh City and are operated by Airbus and Vietjet. The facilities are currently used primarily by Vietjet for recurrent and instructor training. AVTC has plans to install a third simulator to meet Vietjet’s increasing pilot training needs.
Each A320 Type Rating course run will last over a six-week period and AVTC expects to train up to eight pilots each month.
“We are here to meet Vietjet’s pilot training needs. After being granted all the necessary regulatory approvals by both the CAAV and the EASA, AVTC is passing an important milestone. We are pleased to support Vietjet as it continues to invest in its future through the latest training services,” said William Tauzin, General Manager of AVTC.
“We congratulate AVTC on receiving these important regulatory approvals. VJAA is a comprehensive training facility to train pilots, cabin crew, engineers and aviation staff, for not only Vietjet but also our regional peers. Besides the simulators and flight training devices from Airbus, VJAA is also equipped with cabin simulators, emergency training facilities and Olympic-standard wave pools. Vietjet is glad to continue our close partnership with Airbus in further investing in the most modern and advanced training devices to meet the development demands of Vietjet and others in the future,” added Luong The Phuc, Vietjet Vice President of Training.
Housed within the Vietjet Training Academy in Ho Chi Minh City, the Airbus-managed AVTC was established in October 2018 under an agreement between Airbus and Vietjet. Airbus brings its processes, tools and expertise to provide state-of-the-art training devices as well as its internationally recognised course content. Besides A320 Type Rating training, AVTC also provides other flight training services, such as instructor courses./.
Binh Duong sees over 3,000 new firms in six months
The southern industrial hub of Binh Duong saw 3,428 newly-established companies with total capital of nearly 24.64 trillion VND (1.07 billion USD) in the first half of 2021, a year-on-year rise of 13.6 percent and 36.7 percent, respectively.
According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, this is a good sign in the locality’s economic situation amid the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
In the first six months of 2021, the average capital of a new firm rose 20.33 percent year on year to 7.18 billion VND.
So far, the locality has hosted 52,117 operating enterprises with total capital of nearly 495.8 trillion VND (21.5 billion USD).
In the first half of this year, the highest year-on-year rise in investment was seen in information and communications sector at 325 percent, followed by art and entertainment at 283 percent, and water supply and waste treatment at 154 percent.
Mai Ba Tuoc, Director of the department, said that in order to support new firms during registration process, the locality has strengthened the application of IT and allowed companies to register online.
In the future, the department will continue to apply mechanisms and policies to support local firms to lure more businesses, thus promoting production and controlling COVID-19 at the same time./.
Fruit, vegetable export up 17.4 percent in H1
Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable export was over 2.06 billion USD in the first half of this year, up 17.4 percent year-on-year, the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association (VinaFruit) said.
In June alone, the figure stood at 356 million USD, representing a year-on-year rise of 38 percent, according to the association.
Meanwhile, the country imported 686 million USD worth of fruit and vegetables in the six-month period, a drop of 16.6 percent from the same period last year, resulting in a trade surplus of 1.3 billion USD.
China, the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea remained Vietnam’s biggest fruit and vegetable buyers, with the highest increase recorded in the US market (132 percent).
Since early June, Vietnamese and Chinese competent agencies have reached an agreement on plant quarantine to simplify customs procedures for fresh fruit exports.
Dragon fruit, watermelon and lychee have enjoyed impressive increases in export volumes in the two quarters, up 138 percent, 132 percent and 44 percent, respectively.
Apart from the three fruits, six others have been allowed to be shipped to the neighbouring country via the official channel, namely mango, longan, banana, jack fruit, rambutan and mangosteen.
Vietnamese sweet potato and durian are expected to join the list soon./.
IFC helps GreenFeed Vietnam expand pork production
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested 1 trillion VND (43 million USD) into the GreenFeed Vietnam Corporation to help it expand its pork production activities.
The investment, made through a seven-year bond, will allow the company to increase its pig breeding and farming capacity by 750,000 pigs by 2023. This translates to supply of more than 125,000 tonnes of pork every year, which will benefit around 385,000 additional pork consumers, IFC says in a statement.
Pork is a staple and a vital source of protein for Vietnamese customers, accounting for up to 70 percent of the total meat consumption in the country. About half of the nation’s pork is currently supplied by small-scale pig farms with low biosecurity standards. Over the past two years, the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) — a fatal and highly contagious viral disease affecting pigs globally – has dramatically reduced supply, causing a sharp rise in pork prices in Vietnam.
Live hog prices are now about 50 percent higher than pre-ASF prices, after having doubled during 2019–2020.
“IFC’s financing will help GreenFeed scale up its pig farming capacity, providing traceable and safe pork to meet the rising demand for animal-based food in Vietnam,” said the GreenFeed Vietnam Corporation’s Chairman Ly Anh Dung.
Established in 2003, GreenFeed gradually expanded from animal feed production to pig breeding, and is now focusing on growing its commercial pig farming operations. The company has demonstrated its strong biosecurity capabilities throughout the ASF pandemic, with none of its pig farms being affected by ASF. With IFC’s support, the company would also be pioneering improved animal welfare conditions in Vietnam in line with European animal welfare standards, he said./.
Dong Nai promotes consumption of over 100 tonnes of Bac Giang lychee
The Department of Market Management of southern Dong Nai province said that it has coordinated with other units in the province to support the consumption of 110 tonnes of Bac Giang lychees.
This was a part of the plan to coordinate, support and create favourable conditions for the circulation and consumption of agricultural products of localities with large output, including Bac Giang lychees, in the context of the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic which affected the consumption of local products, according to the department.
The department has been proactive in collaborating with relevant agencies in proposing solutions for consuming lychees as directed by the government, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and provincial People’s Committee.
They are required to remove difficulties relating to the circulation and consumption of lychees, giving maximum priority to the purchasing, distribution and consumption of the product.
Favourable condition will be created for trucks transporting lychees and other agricultural products of northern Bac Giang province to enter Dong Nai province, it said, adding that it must meet the government and provincial COVID-19 pandemic prevention rules.
The management boards of supermarkets, markets and small traders and shops in Dong Nai province will join hands to support the purchase of seasonal agricultural products, solving difficulties of farmers where the COVID-19 pandemic occurs. They will also coordinate with relevant agencies in creating favourable conditions for vehicles to transport goods into the province.
Agencies in the province are supporting the selling agricultural products on e-commerce platforms, encouraging trade centres, supermarkets, markets, shops to increase the consumption of safe agricultural products in the locality. Priority will be given to agricultural products with large output./.
Nearly 1.3 million disadvantaged households access to preferential loans in H1
In the first six months of 2021, there were nearly 1.3 million disadvantaged households and other policy beneficiaries accessed to preferential loans from the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP).
The figure was announced at a teleconference held on July 5 to evaluate the bank’s operation in the first half this year and discuss tasks for the second half.
Speaking at the briefing, VBSP General Director Duong Quyet Thang informed that as of June 30, the total policy credit capital reached over VND 247.3 trillion, an increase of VND13.9 trillion compared to 2020. Meanwhile, entrusted capital from the localities reached VND 23.4 trillion, accounting for 9.3% of the total, up VND3.1 trillion, equalling 105% of the 2021 set plan.
Policy credit continues to actively support policy beneficiaries to develop production and business operation, improve their quality of life, and support them to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic to contribute to the realisation of objectives in poverty reduction, new rural area construction, and social security assurance.
In which, total loans offered in the first six months of the year reached over VND48.2 trillion, with nearly 1.3 million poor households, near-poor households, newly-escaped poverty households and other policy beneficiaries having access to such preferential loans.
Policy credit capital has contributed to timely support investment in production and business operation, creating jobs for nearly 249,000 employees, with 1,600 guestworkers going to work abroad, as well as helping more than 16,000 students with difficult circumstances access to study loans, building 879,000 clean water supply and sanitation works in rural areas and constructing 3,600 houses for policy beneficiaries.
In the second half, Thang requested the bank’s affiliates in the system to actively advise the Government, ministries, departments, sectors and localities at all levels in well implementing the Party and State’s policies, with a focus on increasing resources from the local level to support the implementation of multi-dimensional poverty reduction, social security assurance and new rural construction.
The bank was asked to promote lending in policy credit programmes according to assigned plan targets to promptly support the poor and other beneficiaries.
In particular, it should focus on implementing the loan programme to compensate wages for labourers and support employers facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enhancing digital technology application for tourism restoration and development
Due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector in the central region has had to apply digital technology towards tourism restoration and development in the localities.
Based on demand and resources, several localities have invested in infrastructure, building a digital database system for the tourism industry and developing smart tourism applications.
The Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) has conducted a survey of the needs and trends of tourists during the COVID-19 period. The results showed that 40% of the respondents said that they wanted to book tours online, while only 12-15% still book tours through travel agencies. The figure proved that consumers have turned to digital platforms to save time, facilitate transactions and limit contact. Therefore, localities with potential for tourism have been forced to boost digital transformation and apply information technology to catch up with the trend. Technology enterprises should also seize the opportunity and coordinate with localities to develop more technological products and services.
Hoang Quoc Viet, General Director of the Vietsoftpro Company, said that in recent times, the company has built many digital tourism products to support Thua Thien Hue province, such as automatic voiceovers in 12 languages and virtual tour assistants at attractions under Hue’s heritage system as well as 3D maps of cultural heritage resources. The products have received positive feedback from visitors on their convenience and overall experience. Social networking platforms such as Zalo, Facebook and Tiktok have been used to effectively support the local tourism industry in its communication and promotion of tourism businesses and products via digital platforms. By the end of April 2021, the official account of Thua Thien Hue Department of Tourism had attracted more than 18,000 followers and 130,000 likes although it is only just in its pilot phase.
Director of Phong Nha Explorer Company Tu Thanh Hai also noted that in recent years, the company has realised the importance of technology and digital transformation, especially in reducing human resources while still benefitting from the number of domestic and international visitors to Quang Binh province, notably Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, via its official website. Therefore, Phong Nha Explorer’s website was designed in a friendly and interactive tool to help customers know more about products and book tours easily. The online operation also helps reducethe cost of headquarters, people, office and administrative procedures, thereby reducing service costs and bringing benefits to both enterprises and customers.
Central localities agree that the success of digital transformation in tourism requires the determination of agencies at all levels as well as the responsibility and efforts of enterprises, organisations and local authorities. This digital transformation must be conducted in management and promotion activities; therefore, the whole tourism sector, from management agencies to enterprises, should seek innovation both in their thinking and action.
Vice Chairman of Thua Thien Hue Provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Binh said the province is determined to develop its tourism in a smart and sustainable manner, focusing on promoting digital transformation. In the near future, the locality will enhance its investment in infrastructure, develop a digital database system for the tourism industry, and develop applications to connect information management systems from central to the grassroots levels. The province will cooperate with information technology businesses to develop smart apps to serve tourists. In addition, start-ups in digital tourism will be supported; meanwhile, tourism human resources will be trained with the necessary skills to effectively use digital technology.
Director of Da Nang City Department of Tourism Truong Thi Hong Hanh also shared that the city is restructuring its tourism products in accordance with the new situation and promoting digital transformation in 2021. Accordingly, digital transformation will be enhanced in State management, business activities and services. The city will also turn to smart tourism forms while providing visitors with virtual reality experiences and a variety of e-tourism services.
Many technology experts note that it is crucial to set out synchronous measures to better meet the needs of tourists. In particular, the travel credit card model with its payment feature using QR Code for services such as hotel booking, light ticket booking, bus ticket booking, dining table reservation at tourist attractions and purchasing online products will be a major trend in the digital tourism industry.
To promote the use of smart travel cards, localities need to deploy QR code payment acceptance points, thereby forming a payment platform for visitors. In addition, it is necessary to develop a tourism social network that links tourists and service providers, creating a digital environment that helps businesses move closer to tourists. In the long term, localities should improve their digital payment infrastructure to fully meet the needs of visitors and expand payments using cards and online payment channels.
Creating a foundation for economic growth by year end
The economic growth targets for 2021 have become extremely challenging as growth in the first six months of the year was lower than expected while the development of the COVID-19 pandemic remained unpredictable and is likely to continue for a long time.
The Government has come up with some strong solutions to overcome difficulties and challenges towards the successful implementation of the “dual goals” and achievement of the highest growth.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) has developed two scenarios for economic management in the remaining six months of the year, corresponding to the yearly growth targets of 6% and 6.5% as well as two groups of solutions regarding health and the economy.
To create a foundation for growth, medical solutions will focus all resources on promoting vaccination, considering this as the fundamental solution to restoring production and business and promoting economic growth.
At the same time, the ministry has built scenarios, roadmaps and conditions for reopening the economy to help the Government be proactive in management while enterprises will take the initiative in preparing for the resumption of production and business activities, contributing to speeding up economic recovery.
The scenarios set out important milestones such as: reopening aviation activities and international tourism, and the reduction of isolation periods for vaccinated people. The extent of economic reopening will correspond to the situation of disease control and vaccination rate.
Regarding solutions to foster economic growth, the top goal is to continue to maintain macroeconomic stability and flexibly operate monetary policy to control inflation. The solutions also aim to create conditions for businesses and people to access bank loans with the focus on production and priority areas while strictly controlling credit in risky sectors.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment has also proposed groups of solutions on specific fields, such as industry and construction, services, institutional and business environment reforms, household businesses, disbursement of public investment, diversification of export markets, promotion of domestic consumption, and others. The industry and construction sector, including manufacturing, were the main growth drivers of the economy in the first six months of this year and also in the remaining months of the year.
Therefore, the ministry introduced a series of synchronous solutions for the sector including ensuring the supply of input materials through the adjustment of import and export tax policies, cutting down logistical costs, storage and freight fees, organising appropriate epidemic prevention and control measures at factories and industrial parks to maintain production, prioritising vaccination for workers at industrial parks, and others.
Such solutions must have an immediate impact which meets short-term requirements and creates conditions to support growth in 2022 while dealing with bottlenecks in the growth process.
Economic experts have said that unlike 2020, economic growth drivers this year are not clear and have been directly affected by the fourth COVID-19 outbreak, so there should be adjustments made suitable to the new circumstances. In particular, the growth momentum from exports has changed as the trade balance showed signs of a trade deficit of more than US$1.4 billion in the past six months.
Public investment also posted a low disbursement rate while foreign direct investment (FDI) decreased in the number of registered projects and domestic investment faced difficulties due to bottlenecks in investment procedures. The number of enterprises withdrawing from the market was still high while a number of large-scale enterprises had to suspend production or went bankrupt.
Dr. Nguyen Dinh Cung, former director of the Central Institute of Economic Management, said that the Government has identified the difficulties and challenges and has not yet proposed adjustments of the growth targets. This shows the great determination to fulfil the tasks set out by the 13th National Party Congress and the National Assembly, including the realisation of the dual goals of controlling the pandemic and boosting socio-economic development.
The government should continue to promote growth momentum from public and private investment through stronger and more specific solutions.
“Promoting public investment in the remaining months of the year adopts a different path, because a series of large projects are facing a risk of stagnation due to fluctuations in the price of construction materials. The situation requires a change in investment policies and decisions to accompany investors in solving procedural problems, because the possibility of capital expansion is unavoidable,” said Dr. Nguyen Dinh Cung.
The improvements to the business investment environment and reforms of administrative procedures remain slow and there are many administrative procedures that hinder production and business activities. At this time, it is crucial to boost administrative reform to facilitate domestic investment, contributing to growth.
According to Assoc. Prof, Dr. Tran Dinh Thien, along with promoting growth, an important task at this time is to find solutions to minimise the damage of the pandemic on people and businesses.
At this time, major economies are recovering strongly after their populations were vaccinated against COVID-19 with a new impetus coming from high-tech industry and digital economy. Vietnam needs to recognise this in order to catch the right development trend. The solution to support businesses in the next period is not how to divide money for each enterprise, but how to have a vision for enterprise innovation.
Scenario 1: Economic growth of 6%, provided the pandemic is basically controlled in July and there are no major outbreaks in industrial zones while large cities are not subject to social distancing (the target set by the National Assembly). Accordingly, the third quarter and the fourth quarter of this year need to achieve a growth rate of 6.2% and 6.5% respectively.
Scenario 2: Economic growth of 6.5%, provided that the pandemic is contained in June and there are no major outbreaks in industrial zones while large provinces and cities are not subject to social distancing (a target set by Government Resolution No. 10/NQ-CP). Accordingly, growth rates to be achieved in the third and fourth quarters will be 7% and 7.5%, respectively.
HCMC asks removal of three pending industrial parks to create clean land fund
To welcome the investment wave, attract projects of supporting industry, high-tech industry, and industry with large supply chains in the region, maintain the role of the economic locomotive of the whole country, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has just proposed the Government to allow the removal of three industrial parks (IPs), comprising Bau Dung and Phuoc Hiep in Cu Chi District, and Xuan Thoi Thuong in Hoc Mon District. The city proposed to replace them with Pham Van Hai Industrial Park in Binh Chanh District, with a total area of 668 hectares.
More than 10 years ago, three industrial parks, Bau Dung, Phuoc Hiep, and Xuan Thoi Thuong, were included in the planning of expected industrial zones in the area until 2020, with an extension to 2025, of the municipal People’s Committee. Since then, these three IPs have not been deployed yet, affecting thousands of people in Cu Chi and Hoc Mon districts. According to the approved plan, Bau Dung Industrial Park is located in An Nhon Tay Commune of Cu Chi District with a scale of 175ha, prioritized to develop the agricultural engineering industry and other key industries. In 2008, the HCMC People’s Committee approved in principle to assign Van Phat Hung Joint Stock Company as an investor. However, only one year later, this enterprise withdrew and stopped investing. Since then, this industrial park has been remaining pending because it failed to find a new investor.
Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park is located in Trung Lap Ha and Hiep Phuoc communes with a scale of 200ha, specializing in pharmaceutical chemistry. In 2010, AN.SA Corp. was granted an investment certificate. However, for seven years, this company did not have any activities. In 2017, the HCMC Export Processing Zones and Industrial Parks Authority revoked the investment license of this enterprise.
The planning of the two aforesaid industrial zones involves about 400 households, mainly agricultural production and cow farms of some enterprises. The rest is the land for people to grow grass, short-term industrial crops, orchids, and fruit trees.
Xuan Thoi Thuong Industrial Park has a scale of 300ha and an adjacent residential area of 80ha in Xuan Thoi Thuong Commune of Hoc Mon District. The city’s policy is to develop the light industry and prioritize the development of the food and foodstuff processing industry. In 2010, HCMC approved the policy to assign DIC Joint Stock Company as an investor and make project planning for this industrial park and adjacent residential area. The total expected investment at that time was about VND3 trillion. The project was divided into two phases, with Phase 1 from 2011 to the end of 2016 and Phase 2 from 2017 to 2022.
However, three years later, the investor had not taken any action yet, so authorities urged it by written documents. In 2013, DIC issued a written document, pledging to complete the master plan of the 1/2000 scale of the project in 2014 and the compensation and site clearance in 2015. In 2016, HCMC revoked the project investment policy of DIC. Up to now, although the project has not had an investor, it is still under the status of a planned industrial park, so thousands of people live in the pending planning. According to statistics of Hoc Mon District, more than 2,000 households are living in the area of this project, with nearly 900 houses of all kinds. Angry residents have sent many complaints and denunciations.
In many meetings with voters, residents of Cu Chi and Hoc Mon districts had asked HCMC to remove the planning of these three industrial park projects.
These three projects were approved in 2008 by the Government. It is more than ten years now, but there is no investor and no policy on land acquisition. The procedures for project planning have not been implemented, and projects are all unfeasible. These projects have heavily affected people living within the boundaries of these projects because the infrastructure is degraded, but it is not invested. The construction and repair of houses or the donation and transfer of land cannot be carried out, along with several inadequacies in terms of security, order, safety, and hygiene for people living in these pending projects. Therefore, the People’s Committee of HCMC has asked to withdraw the planning of these three industrial parks.
In the Report No.2108/TTR-UBND signed by Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of HCMC Vo Van Hoan to send to the Prime Minister recently, the municipal People’s Committee asked for the permission of the Government to remove the planning of the three aforesaid industrial parks and replace them with Pham Van Hai Industrial Park in Binh Chanh District with an area of 668ha. The total approved industrial land fund of the city is 7,000 ha. At present, there are four out of 23 IPs that have not been established, including the three IPs mentioned above. The scale of Pham Van Hai Industrial Park was proposed at 380ha earlier but now is adjusted to 668ha. That is appropriate with the deletion of these three industrial parks. According to the plan, attached to this mega industrial park is 100ha of adjacent residential and urban land to serve the industrial park.
According to the assessment of HCMC, the location of this land is currently agricultural land managed and used by the HCMC Plants Company Limited. However, the economic efficiency is low because the soil is heavily contaminated with acid sulfate, usually intruded by saltwater, and polluted by wastewater from surrounding residential areas. Therefore, the transformation of the production structure from inefficient agricultural development to concentrated industrial one is in accordance with natural conditions and uses the land fund effectively.
In the report submitted to the Government, the leaders of HCMC expect that Pham Van Hai Industrial Park will be a new industrial park that can deploy rapidly, attract investment well. It has many favorable features to develop into a new industrial park with high quality and high competitiveness. At the same time, it is also suitable for enterprises applying high technology and supports creative start-ups. Pham Van Hai Industrial Park will support high-tech enterprises, focusing on attracting electrical, electronic, and mechanical automation industries.
The land fund of industrial zones becomes scarcer and scarcer, and existing industrial zones are increasingly filled up. The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting foreign investment flows in the world. There is a shift in investment, changing the global production value chain to other regions, including Southeast Asia. Amid such context, the People’s Committee of HCMC acknowledged that preparing a clean industrial land fund, in general, and Pham Van Hai Industrial Park to welcome the above investment shift would create a breakthrough in investment attraction in the coming time.
Vietnam sees rising number of large-scale FDI projects in H1
Vietnam is a standout economy in Southeast Asia in terms of being able to capture new supply chains moving near, stated an expert.
There has been a growing number of large-scale projects choosing the country as the destination. File photo
The Covid-19 pandemic could not prevent a strong foreign direct investment (FDI) from flowing into Vietnam. Better yet, there has been a growing number of large-scale projects choosing the country as the destination.
A report from the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) revealed that the number of fresh foreign-invested projects with registered capital of over US$50 million surged by 73.3% year-on-year in the January-June period.
On the contrary, projects with investment capital of less than US$1 million declined by 47.7% during the period, and by 48.2% for those with less than US$5 million.
Notable big-ticket projects in the six-month period included the Long An liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plants No. I and II worth a combined US$3.1 billion from Singaporean investors in Long An province; US$1.31-billion O Mon II thermal power plant from Japanese investors; or the Polytex Far Eastern Vietnam (Taiwan-China) with an additional fund of US$610 million.
Vietnam has also attracted large-scale projects in hi-tech fields with names such as LG for an injection of US$750 million into LG Display Haiphong; photovoltaic cell technology project in the Jinko Solar PV Vietnam with the addition of US$498 million; and Intel investing another US$475 million into the existing plan in Vietnam.
Co-Head of HSBC’s Asian Economics Research Frederic Neumann said such results are not surprising, given the fact that Vietnam along with Malaysia are two standout economies in Southeast Asia in terms of being able to capture new supply chains moving near.
“We do not think this [foreign investment] is in any way derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and if anything, it will accelerate the process. We believe Vietnam will continue to attract very high-quality FDI and you will see more advanced manufacturers moving into Vietnam as well,” Frederic told The Hanoi Times.
Despite a positive result in attracting high-quality FDI projects, the MPI acknowledged Vietnam is facing fierce competition from neighboring countries in this regard.
In the first half of this year, total FDI commitments to Vietnam declined by 2.6% year-on-year to US$15.27 billion.
“As more countries are looking to attract foreign capital to support economic recovery, foreign investors have become more selective in their requirements of land, human, incentives,” noted the ministry.
Vice-Chairman of Vietnam’s Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIE) Nguyen Van Toan said a lack of a high-quality workforce is the main reason that investors of two major projects, including Austrian-based AT&S with a US$1.8-billion hi-tech projects, chose Indonesia and Malaysia instead of Vietnam.
On this issue, Frederic from HSBC stated the necessity to upgrade infrastructure to keep up with the country’s export boom and supply sufficient skilled labor force are two issues that Vietnam should tackle.
“One challenge that we often see in the economy that is at Vietnam’s development stage is to move up in the value-added chain and have quality workers and engineers that can be supplied to factories.”
“These are perhaps two key challenges that Vietnam could focus on, rather than tax incentives or other types of investment policies, to boost up its attractiveness in the eyes of foreign investors,” he added.
Sharing the same view, economist Vo Tri Thanh said Vietnam should take drastic measures to create breakthroughs in dealing with three bottlenecks, including infrastructure, workforce, and supporting industries.
HOSE puts new stock trading system into operation
The Hochiminh Stock Exchange (HOSE) has put a new stock trading system built by tech firm FPT into operation from today, July 5.
According to Duong Dung Trieu, chairman of FPT Information System, the new system is capable of handling 3-5 million stock orders a day, replacing the old system that can process only some 900,000 stock orders a day.
Trieu said HOSE and the FPT Information System finished transitioning the old system to the new one on July 2. Securities firms conducted a test run on the new trading system on July 3.
“The new system’s capacity has proved to meet the requirements. I believe that the new stock trading system will help completely resolve technical errors on HOSE,” Trieu said.
HOSE and FPT are working together to upgrade the systems and resolve any issues. They have categorized the risks into three groups—infrastructures, system and manual work.
The risk potential is also divided into four levels including “no risk”, “very low risk”, “low risk” and “medium risk”.
HOSE and FPT also have back-up staff in case of emergencies, including in case some of the operators are infected with Covid-19 and have to be quarantined. They also have employees for remote support.
“Under time pressure, accuracy is our top priority in this project. The 100-day plan is divided into five phases—research, system development, accuracy assessment, test run with 24 leading securities companies and large-scale test run with 73 securities companies,” Trieu said.
Accuracy assessment and test runs were conducted in three weeks in June, accounting for 25% of the entire project’s process. This showed the caution of FPT and HOSE in implementing the project.
“There have been no issues. All securities firms have been connected to the new system and operated smoothly. The system’s efficiency has been improved and security holes have been thoroughly mended so investors don’t have to worry,” the chairman of FPT Information System concluded.
Quang Ninh calls for investment in US$2-billion LNG power plant
The northern province of Quang Ninh is calling for investment in a liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fired power plant project in Cam Pha City, with total capital of VND47.5 trillion, or some US$2 billion.
The plant project is set to be located in Bai Tu Long Bay in Cam Thanh Ward and have a capacity of 1,500 megawatts, according to the provincial government.
Some 55.9 hectares in the ward have been planned for the construction of the project, with over 42 hectares of land and 13.4 hectares of water surface, the local media reported.
The preparations for developing the plant project will be completed in the second quarter of 2022, while the LNG-fired power plant will be put into operation in the third quarter of 2027 and will operate for 50 years.
To invest in the project, investors must meet requirements on financial capacity and experience, said the Quang Ninh government.
Besides, investors must commit to not requiring a guarantee for power purchase agreements and must negotiate with the Vietnam Electricity Group for the purchase of power on their own instead.
Furthermore, investors will have to apply advanced technology to the project and implement the project on schedule.
Investors must also commit to not selling or transferring the project during its construction period.
Samsung and Bac Ninh to implement dual goals
Samsung Vietnam and Bac Ninh Province’s People’s Committee on Monday officially kicked off phase 1 of the Viet Nam Enterprise Improvement Consultancy Project in 2021.
The project will be implemented at two enterprises including Hanpo Vina Joint Stock Company and Thinh Vuong Manufacturing Servicing Trading Company Limited. This activity is part of a project to support businesses in Bac Ninh Province, which Samsung has co-ordinated with the Ministry of Industry and Trade that will implement consulting improvements for 25 enterprises in the province.
During the three month duration of the project, South Korean experts will conduct surveys, evaluate businesses and directly consult and co-operate to improve production process and standards in the supply of products and components. This will strengthen the capacity of provincial enterprises to participate in the component supply chain of Samsung.
The project restarted as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic situation was under control in the province. This was after applying a series of drastic, creative, and effective measures to both prevent and control the pandemic, curbing the spread of the disease while ensuring the stability of production and business at enterprises.
Choi Joo Ho, President of Samsung Vietnam said: “Samsung hopes that through improving basic competitiveness, Vietnamese enterprises will have more opportunities to participate in the supply chain, not only of Samsung but also of the global supply network. Samsung will continue to support businesses for further development to achieve their goals. We also hope that with this direction and supervision Vietnamese enterprises will continue to maintain and develop with improved results after the consultation process.”
Vice Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee Dao Quang Khai said: “In order to maintain and promote socio-economic development in the province, one of the most important things is to form and develop links between FDI enterprises and domestic enterprises. In this sense, we hope to continue to receive Samsung’s support in improving consulting activities for domestic enterprises to help businesses improve productivity, quality, and competitiveness and to have the ability to expand production, attach more deeply into the global supply chain.”
At the same time, the project is also being implemented at three enterprises in the South including An Lac Labels Joint Stock Company, Nam Lam Mechanical One Member Limited Liability Company, and Bien Hoa Packaging Joint Stock Company.
The annual programme which was launched in 2015 has provided consulting projects for 260 enterprises so far.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Analysts praise VIB’s business strategies at meeting for Q2 business results
HÀ NỘI — The Vietnam International Bank (VIB) organised an online meeting with the participation of more than 180 representatives from large funds, securities companies, independent analysts and the press.
The online meeting discussed three main topics, including VIB’s strong business results in the first half of 2021, key business strategies that have helped VIB become the top retail bank in Việt Nam and digital banking – the future of retail business.
During the event, VIB representatives reported on the bank’s business results in the first half of 2021 while sharing the strategy of maintaining high and sustainable growth momentum that the bank has ensured for many years and its support for customers and the community amid complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the pandemic hit Việt Nam, VIB has offered many reductions in lending interest rates for corporate and individual customers to help them overcome this difficult time.
The bank has restructured debt for more than 3,000 customers under the Circular 01 and 03 issued by the State Bank of Việt Nam, VIB Chief Financial Officer Hoàng Linh said at the event.
It has also slashed lending rates by between 0.5 and 2 per cent for nearly 10,000 clients affected by the pandemic, he said.
Recently, VIB continued to reduce lending interest rates for individual and corporate customers with an average interest rate reduction of 1.5 per cent from July 15, focusing on customers severely impacted by the pandemic, Linh added.
Thanks to VIB’s timely and effective assistance, the outstanding balance of the restructured loans was paid in full and on time by most customers, helping the bank’s total loan balance decrease.
Meanwhile, VIB has also continued to expand its Net Interest Margin (NIM) by promoting the development of the retail segment and optimising funding costs.
A report from the bank showed that the NIM trend in the last six quarters had improved significantly due to the reduction in Cost of fund (COF). VIB’s COF decreased from 5.4 per cent in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 to 3.8 per cent in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021. Meanwhile, NIM increased from 3.9 per cent in Q1/2020 to 4.6 per cent in Q2/2021.
Linh said the bank has actively optimised the funding cost by promoting the growth of Current Account Savings account (CASA) while increasing low-cost funding sources on the international market.
Recently, the bank signed a syndicated loan worth US$260 million over three years with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a number of international financial institutions.
“VIB is also implementing a plan to digitise all CASA and deposit products to further grow this capital source,” Linh said.
As of June 30, VIB’s total assets reached over VNĐ277 trillion; its credit balance was over VNĐ185 trillion, 8.1 per cent higher than the beginning of the year, while deposits from customers increased over 12 per cent year-on-year.
VIB’s NPL ratio decreased to 1.3 per cent. With strict risk management, the bank has maintained its risk indicators and prudential ratio. Capital adequacy ratio (CAR) according to Basel II was recorded at 10.3 per cent, the loan-to-deposit ratio stood at 73.1 per cent.
Effective retail business strategy
With its effective retail business strategy, VIB’s outstanding retail balance experienced positive growth at 14.2 per cent in the first six months of this year, accounting for nearly 90 per cent of total outstanding credit balance amid the pandemic.
The retail portfolio has also helped VIB reduce concentration risks and better adapt in the current volatile market environment. It is also one of the banks that has the highest retail credit portfolio in the country.
In her speech at the event, Trần Thu Hương, Head of Strategy and Head of Retail Banking, outlined mortgage loans such as real estate, automobiles, credit cards, and insurance as VIB’s market-leading business segments.
After five years of transformation, VIB was among the Top 4 joint-stock commercial banks in terms of retail loan balance by the end of 2020 and this position may change in 2021, Hương said, adding that the retail segment accounted for 70 per cent of the bank’s pre-tax profit in 2020, from 21 per cent in 2016.
“VIB’s business strategies prioritise gradually receiving positive results from the automation and digitisation of sales and after-sales service in the retail segment,” Hương said.
Also at the event, analysts questioned that as the leading bank in terms of auto loan market share for five consecutive years, whether VIB had difficulties in bad debt management and debt recovery, especially in the context of social distancing and the impact of the pandemic.
Hương said: “VIB is not only the leading bank in terms of sales but also the industry leader in risk management of the auto lending segment. VIB applies a strict risk appetite right from the product development stage and the customer’s debt repayment requirements, the loan to value (LTV) ratio is always below 80 per cent, closely evaluates collateral, and at the same time with selective lending: 90 per cent of auto loans are new car loans for consumers, concentrating on the top car brands in the market.”
“Thus, with a tight risk appetite from the upstream, after 18 months since COVID-19 pandemic started, the bad debt ratio of the retail segment in general and the auto segment in particular at VIB has almost remained unchanged,” Hương said.
Talking about VIB’s outstanding areas of bancassurance and credit cards, Hương said VIB is currently ranked in the Top 1 and Top 2 for many consecutive years in the bancassurance business. Despite social distancing, VIB has maintained its top bancassurance sales in recent years, thanks to digital sales platforms and digital solutions that have been implemented by VIB in the last two years.
“The cake is huge for everyone to join in and do a good job. Việt Nam’s bancassurance premium to GDP ratio is less than 1 per cent, compared with an average of about 10 per cent of other countries in the region.”
Regarding the credit card business, Hương said the bank’s credit card opening and card spending rates reached the highest-ever level in the bank’s history as VIB is a pioneer in applying modern technologies to daily life. From the opening stage to usage, it is completely online, besides others outstanding features that VIB applies in Việt Nam.
After more than two years of strong implementation of the credit card business, the bank has successfully applied artificial intelligence (AI) and big data processing (Big Data), along with modern technologies such as e-KYC and e-Signature in the credit card approval process, setting a new record for processing and approval period until the card is used: only 15-30 minutes, equal to 1/500 of the average time in the market. As a result, VIB continues to be in the top position in terms of growth in the number of credit cards and spending on cards, ranked second in the whole market, according to a report by the Vietnam Card Association.
“This confirms that our credit card development strategy is promoting our strengths in technology, unique product features, and the outstanding customer experience in the market,” Hương said.
Answering questions from some fund representatives on whether VIB would consider expanding its customer base through developing strategic partnerships with other companies, Hương said that VIB focuses on developing digital banking, with digital solutions to be able to reach a diverse set of customers instead of targeting a few specific customer groups.
In her speech, VIB’s representative also expressed optimism and confidence in the policies of the State Bank of Việt Nam and the Government in both protecting the community against the pandemic and facilitating economic activities.
Pioneering in digital banking
VIB has the leading technology platform in the market. The bank has pioneered the application of technologies such as Big Data, AI, and cloud computing in transactions to make the online payment experience of customers easier and more convenient.
Trần Nhất Minh, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Digital Officer, said VIB’s digital banking experienced an impressive registration growth of 130 per cent in 2020. Customers can easily open cards for payment, account opening, online savings, money transfer, and other banking services at home instead of going to a branch.
VIB has also offered many 100 per cent digital products while cooperating with partners such as Ho Chi Minh City Securities Co (HSC) and VNDirect securities company to better support customers.
“The bank’s CASA ratio is currently at 13 per cent and there is much room for growth in the future, helping to maximise capital expenditure and expand NIM. These factors help VIB become one of the top banks in terms of online transactions which account for 91 of the total number of transactions,” Minh said.
In the future, VIB representatives said the bank will continue the outstanding achievements of the 10-year transformation programme to maintain its leading positions in retail and technology in particular and at the same time exceed its challenging business goals in 2021. —
Businesses dig deep to make sure they come out on other side of pandemic intact
HCM CITY — Businesses in Việt Nam are making all efforts to survive the fourth wave of COVID-19 which is battering the country.
Giant food producer KIDO Group said in a recent press release it has adopted a number of solutions to adapt to the new situation and keep production going while also ensuring safety.
A spokesperson told Việt Nam News that to ensure uninterrupted production, the company has adopted the “3 on-site” model, which involves on-site production, dining and rest, for over a month.
It unfailingly complies with the provisions of the Government’s circular No 16 and 5K message, he said.
It is also preparing for life after the pandemic, he said.
“We are ready to bring new products and segments into the market immediately after COVID-19 is controlled.”
It plans to introduce the Vibev brand of products made in collaboration with Vinamilk.
Another plan is to introduce Chuk Chuk, a new food and beverage brand, opening 1,000 stores by 2025.
The company’s general director, Trần Lệ Nguyên, said the first market for Chuk Chuk would be HCM City, and stores would open in Hà Nội and some northern provinces by September if the pandemic is controlled by then, adding it would be present across the country by 2025.
Ride-hailing and delivery company Grab has rolled out a number of programmes to help customers buy foodstuffs.
To ensure the safety of its drivers and customers, it has tied up with the General Department of Vocational Education and Training to fully equip its drivers with the necessary skills and competencies.
They have also jointly built and standardised the training materials, and drawn up communication plans for raising awareness about vocational skills development for drivers.
Trương Anh Dũng, director general of the department, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on the Vietnamese economy, and drivers cannot be immune to it. This partnership helps resolve long-term problems for technological drivers, equipping them with the necessary skills to sustain and improve not only their livelihoods but also the quality of life of themselves and their families.”
Grab also has a programme to support disadvantaged people in HCM City in co-operation with Golden Lotus Foundation. It provides free meals to people economically affected by the pandemic or living in locked-down areas.
To start with, around 11,500 meals would be provided, it said.
Tourism is one of the many sectors badly hit by the pandemic, and many businesses in it have been striving to overcome the challenges they face.
For instance, before the semi-lockdown began weeks ago some hotels had begun to offer co-working space to provide customers with a safe working environment.
Now, with stricter social distancing regulations, they have changed their strategy and offer quarantine facilities, and this has received strong support from customers.
Recently a Southeast Asian travel and lifestyle superapp, Traveloka, announced that it is working with the HCM City Department of Tourism to help the city’s residents find and book hotels and transportation to enable quarantine.
Demand for quarantine facilities has increased along with the developments of COVID-19 in HCM City, and its quarantine hotel and transportation online booking and payment solutions are expected to help curb the spread of the pandemic by limiting direct contact between people, Traveloka said.
They have been available since the start of August.
Lê Trương Hiền Hoà, director of the HCM City Tourism Promotion Centre, hailed the partnership, saying: “With support from Traveloka, HCM City is the first city in Việt Nam to digitise the quarantine hotel booking process … and will extend it to international arrivals in the near future.
“It also helps hoteliers switch their business model to survive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”
With the aid of the app’s advanced technologies, customers can easily access complete information about room types, prices and transportation options in real-time, and pay for it via Traveloka.
Traveloka said it is partnering with more than 80 hotels and selected transportation partners across HCM City, including private cars and shuttle buses.
MVV Academy, a pioneer organisation for comprehensive, on-site and advanced resource development solutions in Việt Nam, decided to organise training programmes to make its staff sales consultants and brand ambassadors to introduce its products to the public.
It also recently launched MVV Uni, an advanced training platform that offers working professionals an interactive and flexible experience to support their various learning needs, and acts as a one-stop-shop with courses in all essential business skill sets such as leadership, sales, marketing, management, soft skills, and digital transformation.
“The COVID epidemic has disrupted many human resource training activities at Vietnamese enterprises,” Bùi Đức Quân, CEO of MVV Academy told Việt Nam News.
“Taking advantage of the strength of technology, combined with experience in content building and understanding of learner experience through operating platforms such as TopClass and Everlearn, we quickly built a solution, MVV Uni, to offer enterprises training programmes for their employees during Covid.
“Our ambition is to build a university community on the cloud.” —
COVID-19 forces banks to accelerate digital transformation
The COVID-19 pandemic not only creates challenges for banks, but also pushes them to foster digital transformation to survive, experts have said.
|A customer makes payment via a QR code. The COVID-19 pandemic pushes bank to foster digital transformation to survive. — Photo laodong.vn|
A recent survey by the State Bank of Vietnam found that 95 per cent of credit institutions in Vietnam have either implemented digital transformation strategies or are in the process of formulating them.
It is expected that in the next three to five years digital-only banks will have revenue growth of at least 10 per cent, while regular lenders will have more than 60 per cent of customers using digital transaction channels.
State-owned banks seek to digitise their entire system, while smaller banks have identified certain areas to improve service quality and the customer experience.
Commenting on digital banking development in Vietnam at an online talkshow IDG TekTalk on Tuesday, Phan Viet Hai, director of information technology and also the digital banking centre at Viet Capital Bank, said digital banks must create a superior customer experience by changing the way services are provided using technology.
Nguyen Quang Minh, deputy CEO, partnerships, Timo Digital Bank, said, “In addition to offering perfect and up-to-date financial products and services, we also have to really understand the market, customers’ needs and expectations and more importantly, identify the problems and difficulties they are facing every day in each transaction.”
Pham Quang Minh, general director of Mambu Vietnam, said banking services have changed greatly in the past few years. In Asia, including Vietnam, rising customer expectations for online and mobile banking services are the driving force behind the digital transformation of financial service providers.
Nguyen Van Tuan, deputy general director of VCCorp & founder of Bizfly Digital Transformation, said currently banks are not only competing with each other but also with rapidly growing fintech companies, which have created “amazing” services and experiences through digital technology and transformation.
For succeeding at the digital transformation, the determination shown by a bank’s bosses plays an important role, he said.
“Technology contributes only around 30 per cent to the success with the remaining 70 per cent being owed to other factors like the mindset of businesses’ leaders and digital transformation,” he added.
According to experts, banks still face challenges in digital transformation related to regulations on electronic transactions, data sharing, network security, and an inadequate legal framework among others.
They said completing a comprehensive legal framework would provide a fillip to digital transformation.
The standardisation of technical infrastructure is also very important to facilitate interconnection and seamless integration between the banking industry and others to form a digital eco-system, they added.
Yeo Siang Tiong, cybersecurity company Kaspersky’s general manager for Southeast Asia, said: “Digital transformation, in any sector, always presents new challenges, but especially for banks and for financial services. To put it simply, revolutionising banks’ way of doing transactions means overhauling their legacy systems including people, processes and technologies.”
Humans remain the weakest link, especially those who lack proper awareness of the simplest risks like phishing and spam, while employees require new training and third-party services should be assessed comprehensively, he said.
“When it comes to security, the endpoint should be the foundation and banks should have known this by now. Financial services should be looking at an adaptive approach in security, which should be proactive rather than reactive – ready before an attack happens.”
Online transaction increases
Due to social distancing restrictions amid the pandemic, online payment has become more convenient than cash, and, with just a smartphone and banking application, users can save, borrow money, pay for electricity, water, television, and internet bills, buy movie and airplane tickets, make hotel reservations, or even buy vegetables or meat online.
Pham Tien Dung, head of the State Bank of Vietnam’s payment department, said online transactions in the first four months of the year jumped by 66 per cent in terms of numbers and 31.2 per cent in value year-on-year, including 86.3 per cent and 123.1 per cent on mobile phones and 95.7 per cent and 181.5 per cent using QR codes.
Statistics from the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam, show that in the first five months its automatic clearing house processed over 800 million transactions worth over VND8 quadrillion ($347.7 billion), an increase of 113 per cent and 169 per cent.
A recent survey by Visa also revealed strong increases in the use of e-wallets, contactless payment via cards and smartphones and QR Code. The year-on-year growth rate of the total e-commerce transaction value in the first quarter of 2021 rose by 5.5 times compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.
Source: Vietnam News
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