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Vietnam to allow banks to use foreign e-wallets for international payments

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The State Bank of Vietnam is drafting a circular regarding cashless payments which might allow domestic commercial banks and domestic intermediary payment companies 

to co-operate with foreign intermediary payment companies to provide international payment services. 

E-wallets are developing rapidly in Viet Nam. — Photo vietnambiz.vn

Under current regulations, domestic banks are only allowed to cooperate with foreign banks and international card organisations for international payments.

There are no regulations for international payments made via foreign e-wallets as well as about international payments that don’t go through payment accounts.

This loophole in the era of Industry 4.0 has seen a rapid boom of international payment methods.

In recent years there has been huge demand for payments via foreign e-wallets such as Wechat Pay and Alipay from Chinese tourists in Viet Nam. Viet Nam attracts a large number of Chinese tourists every year.

Some banks and intermediary payment companies have asked the central bank to allow them to co-operate with foreign intermediary payment companies to serve international demand while exploiting the large potential of this segment.

Nguyen Hung, general director of TPBank, said domestic banks could not co-operate with foreign e-wallets like Wechat Pay and Alipay at the moment due to the lack of a legal framework. “We are getting ready to start but must wait for the green light from the central bank,” Hung was quoted by Dau Tu (Investment) online newspaper as saying.

According to Pham Tien Dung, director of the central bank’s Payment Department, the Industry 4.0 revolution had created a number of new international payment models. Previously, international payments were mainly conducted via bank accounts and credit cards, but now e-wallets were emerging, he added.

“It is clear that the definition of international payment must be changed. People should be able to make international payments through their banks and also via intermediary payment methods,” he said. “In a changing world, the management method needs to change,” Dung stressed.

Along with technological advances, cross-border payments are becoming much easier. Cross-border intermediary payment platforms are booming around the world, attracting not only fintech companies but also big corporations such as Amazon, Apple and Google.

Experts predicted there would be a wave of co-operation between banks and domestic fintech companies with foreign e-wallets after the central bank gave the green light, which would also provide support for the tourism and e-commerce industries.

E-wallets are developing rapidly in Viet Nam. AppotaPay received a licence from the State Bank of Viet Nam in October, making it the 39th intermediary payment company in Viet Nam.

The COVID-19 pandemic was also pushing the development of cashless payments among the country’s 97 million population, about 70 per cent of whom have access to the internet and 45 per cent use smartphones.

Statistics from the central bank showed that as of the end of the first quarter, there were about 13 million activated e-wallet accounts in Viet Nam with a total outstanding balance of VND1.36 trillion (US$58.62 million).

More than 225 million transactions were conducted, worth VND77.7 trillion, via e-wallets in the first quarter. — VNS

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/viet-nam-to-allow-banks-to-use-foreign-e-wallets-for-international-payments-685210.html

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Vietnam to protect production at industrial parks

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The fourth wave of COVID-19 has changed the routines of many people working in industrial parks (IPs) in northern Vietnam.

Vietnam to protect production at industrial parks
A worker of Samsung Company in Yen Phong IP, Bac Ninh Province, is vaccinated against COVID-19. — Photo laodong.vn 

As IPs play an important part in the country’s exports and local economic development, the re-emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic could cause disruptions to production and business activities, causing tens of thousands of workers to work alternate shifts or take temporary leave, said experts.

To deal with the situation, Bac Ninh Province, which is home to 1,120 companies including big names such as Samsung, Canon, Foxconn and Microsoft, as well as about 450,000 workers in 10 industrial parks and 26 industrial clusters, started the first ever production-residence-combined model in the country to deal with the ongoing outbreaks in the IPs.

Vu Ninh, who worked as a manager at Samsung’s vendor at the Yen Phong IP told Việt Nam News: “I was vaccinated against COVID-19 on June 2 and feel thankful and safe for that.”

Ninh said: “Now, everything is served at the factory. Instead of going back and forth between Hanoi and Bac Ninh every day like usual, we are working, eating and staying at the factory all the time.”

Other IPs in Bac Ninh Province are following similar models.

Nguyen Thi Khai, a worker at Bujeon Vietnam Electronics Company in Que Vo IP, said: “I feel peace of mind while I keep my job and income and am protected.”

Nguyen Thi Thu, a worker at Yen Phong IP, said: “We get VND100,000 per day and extra each month to call home.” 

Co-operate to protect the IPs

While Bac Ninh Province People’s Committee set up teams to inspect, supervise and guide enterprises to implement the work-stay model, local enterprises were also working hard to make sure their staff stay safe.

Bujeon Vietnam Electronics rearranged an equipment line, temporarily suspending an expansion project to take advantage of the space for accommodation. 

Song Yu Hoon, director of the company’s Administration and Human Resources Department, said: “We always ensure the best conditions for workers’ accommodation as they need to be safe to maintain stable production.”

Choi Joo Ho, general director of Samsung Vietnam, said: “In a short time, equipment has been installed for workers to stay at the factories and at 51 schools in Yen Phong district.”

To ensure peace of mind for tens of thousands of employees, the company provides free accommodation, as well as three meals and a snack a day.

Bui Hoang Mai, Head of the Provincial IP Management Board, told local media: “The policy of the province has received the consent of enterprises as it is the most practical solution to fulfil the “dual goal” of both economic development and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Other IPs to be protected

There are 3.8 million people working in 369 industrial zones and border areas nationwide, while some 600,000 people work at industrial clusters. 

Hanoi, HCM City and Bac Giang Province also suffered from the fourth wave of COVID-19. In the top ten exporting localities, valued at US$213 billion, the top four accounted for 51.2 per cent of the volume. HCM City and Hanoi accounted for 40 per cent of the country’s GDP.

In the fourth wave of the virus since April 29 to June 16 afternoon, Bac Giang reported 4,590 cases, Bac Ninh followed with 1,432, while HCM City and Hanoi reported 1,015 and 464 cases, respectively.

With more positive cases reported, HCM City’s factories implemented measures to deal with the pandemic and ensure production.

Head of Viet Thang Jean Co. with thousands of workers and vice president of the HCM City Textile, Embroidery and Knitting Association, Pham Van Viet, said: “The textile and garment industry is labour-intensive and works on a chain, so if a worker is isolated for 14-21 days, the enterprise’s production plan and the production chain are interrupted.”

Viet said: “We are very worried because if we cancel orders, we have to compensate customers, while thousands of workers have to quit or lose their jobs.”

As in Bac Ninh, the city’s businesses have prepared plans for on-site production and accommodation. On June 11, the management board of the city’s Hi-Tech Park organised an online scenario when workers stay and work in the factories.

Economist Ngo Tri Long said that the fourth wave poses other problems. The first priority was to fight the pandemic, but at the same time keep production chains intact. 

“In the planning and development strategy of IPs, it is necessary to prepare and respond to the pandemic and limit the spread of the disease. The construction of concentrated accommodation and catering for workers in a closed chain in industrial parks and factories will be a long-term solution. Thus, it is easy for us to stamp out the pandemic, not to spread it in the community.”

Long said it was necessary to urgently trace, localise and stamp out new infection clusters, especially outbreaks that have spread to industrial parks and export processing zones, adding that foreign experts working in the IPs need to undergo mandatory isolation.

Economist Nguyen Tri Hieu told Việt Nam News: “The local economy has spent the first five months relatively optimistic. Exports grew over the same period last year, foreign trade maintained growth, jobs were restored, and GDP continued to grow. However, from now until the end of the year the situation will be very unpredictable.”

He added: “We still have strength in exports. Many markets around the world are being strongly affected by the pandemic, but there is a lot of demand for goods, especially agricultural products. However, the pandemic must be controlled and the production must be maintained.”

Source: Vietnam News

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/vietnam-to-protect-production-at-industrial-parks-747013.html

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Japanese investors secure foothold in leading Vietnamese brands through M&A

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Japanese investors have poured billions of dollars to purchase stakes at Vietnamese businesses over the past decade.

Japanese investors secure foothold in leading Vietnamese brands through M&A
After a decade of M&A, Japanese investors now own several leading brands in Vietnam.

As of May 2021, Japan was the second-largest foreign investor in Vietnam with the total registered capital of $63 billion. Japanese investors have also been actively contributing capital and share purchases to Vietnamese firms in various fields such as retail, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, real estate, and finance.

Many well-known Vietnamese brands are now owned by Japanese investors. In 2011, Unicharm acquired local company Diana. In 2015, Unicharm expanded its factory in Bac Ninh Province, targeting a bigger slice of the market.

Also in the same year, brewery group Kirin Holdings acquired major Vietnamese soft drink producer Interfood Shareholding Co. as part of its plans to capitalise on the Vietnamese market. Kirin purchased 57.25 per cent of the total outstanding shares in Interfood for an undisclosed sum and also bought out Wonderfarm Biscuits & Confectionery Sdn. Bhd., a Malaysia-based firm that manages the intellectual property rights of Interfood.

Eath Chemical also took over A My Gia, which is known for the Gift brand household detergent and Ami brand air fresheners. Sojitz Corporation spent around $91 million on acquiring a 95 per cent stake in Saigon Paper Corporation, which is the largest tissue paper and industrial paper producer nationwide. Japanese drugmaker Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. also takes control of Hau Giang Pharmaceutical JSC. Other M&A deals involving Japanese investors include NTTData’s acquisition of Payoo, AEON Group’s acquisition of Citimart, and Line’s acquisition of Webtretho.

In 2021, Maruha Nichiro decided to acquire Saigon Food in order to secure a new marine product processing base and to acquire a platform for the development, processing, and sales of processed foods. Meanwhile, Japanese mega financial institution Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) has just acquired 49 per cent stake in Vietnam’s largest consumer finance company FE Credit. The Japanese bank will invest more than $1.4 billion in FE Credit as early as October.

Speaking at the Vietnam M&A Forum 2020, Masataka “Sam” Yoshida, head of the Cross-border Division of RECOF Corporation and CEO of RECOF Vietnam Co., Ltd. said that M&A investments in Vietnam will be a trend for Japanese companies which will last for the years to come.

The first trigger is the destiny for Japanese companies to find new markets to expand outside Japan. The fact is that most of the sectors in Japan are already mature. For instance, almost one-third of the Japanese population is over 65 years old. This makes the average age of Japanese people 48.4 years, almost 20 years older than the figure for Vietnam. Also, around 276,000 people (more than a quarter of a million) are disappearing every year.

“The second trigger is ‘M&A as a growth strategy’ which is backed up by the abundant accumulated cash during the last 20 years which is reaching $2.34 trillion as bank deposits with almost zero interest rate. Pushed by shareholders’ requirements to make use of the money, these funds have started to flow into the M&A market which made its highest record in 2019 by 4,088 deals. This means there were more than 4,000 active and successful Japanese investors,” he said.

Source: VIR 

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/japanese-investors-secure-foothold-in-leading-vietnamese-brands-through-m-a-747031.html

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VN-Index hits new peak on strong cash flow

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An investor watches stock information on the computer. Strong cash flow into bank and steel stocks pushed the VN-Index of the Hochiminh Stock Exchange up today, June 18, to its record of 1,377.77 points – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Strong cash flow into bank and steel stocks pushed the VN-Index of the Hochiminh Stock Exchange up today, June 18, to a new record of 1,377.77 points.

At the close, the main index jumped by 17.85 points, or 1.31%, against the day earlier, with 249 winners and 138 losers. Trade volume totaled over 809 million shares worth VND23.7 trillion, up over 5% in both volume and value from the previous session.

Over 58 million shares valued at VND2.8 trillion were traded in block deals.

In the group of bank stocks, HDB, EIB, BID, MBB and TCB were in positive territory, while lender VCB made a strong rise and reported a matching volume of over 3.2 million shares.

Housing developer VHM was among key drivers of the southern bourse, improving 3.2% at the close.

Among the steel stocks, TLH and SMC shot up to their ceiling prices, while NKG, POM and HSG soared by 2.9%-5.2%.

Many small and medium stocks also became cash magnets and moved up at the end, with property group FLC maintaining its growth momentum and closing up 3.1%. FLC became the most actively traded stock on the southern market with 53 million shares traded.

Financial firm FIT was also one of biggest gainers, rising by 2% and reporting a matching volume of 30 million shares.

With 109 gainers and 84 decliners, the HNX-Index of the Hanoi Stock Exchange stood at 318.73 points at the close, inching up a slight 0.52% from the session earlier.

Among the bank stocks, NVB ended at the reference price, while SHB and BAB made a mild rise. Lender SHB also took the lead on the northern bourse by liquidity, with 16.7 million shares changing hands.

Other largecaps such as securities companies SHS and MBS and service company THD finished the day up and contributed to the growth of the index, while many steel stocks were among the best performers.

Source: https://english.thesaigontimes.vn/82629/vn-index-hits-new-peak-on-strong-cash-flow.html

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