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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 21/12

HCMC, Quang Ninh benefit from tourism boom, SHB merger with VVF approved in principle, China dominates Vietnam wood chip trade, VN-Japan company opens big warehouse in Binh Duong

HCMC, Quang Ninh benefit from tourism boom


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In 2016, tourism turnover picked up 9% in Ho Chi Minh City and 23% in Quang Ninh province.

This year, HCMC welcomed 5.2 million international guests, representing a year-on-year surge of 10%. The southern city handled 21.8 million domestic visitors. Especially, the city earned VND 103 trillion in tourism turnover, up 9% against the same period last year.

Next year, HCMC planned to welcome 5.5 million foreign tourists (up 7% against 2016); serve 24 million domestic guests (up 10%); and earn VND 112 trillion in revenue (up 8%).

The northern province of Quang Ninh received 8.3 million guests, including 3.5 million foreigners (up 7% against the same period last year). The province pocketed VND 13 trillion of tourism turnover, representing a year-on-year surge of 23%.

Next year, Quang Ninh hoped to cater for 8.5 million guests, including 3.5 foreigners, and earn VND 13 trillion of turnover.

Petrol price surges by VND91 per litre     

Domestic petroleum retail price surged by VND919 per litre to VND17,594 (77 US cents) per litre as of 3pm on December 20, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said.

The price of E5 RON 92 biofuel also rose by VND800 to VND17,322 per litre. The prices of diesel and kerosene went up by VND763 and VND734 to VND13,433 and VND11,943 per litre, respectively.

The price of mazut was VND10,634 per kg, an increase of VND672. The MoIT and the Ministry of Finance also decided to increase the use of the price stabilisation fund for petrol and E5 RON bio-fuel by VND600 per litre. Usage of the fund for diesel was higher at VND250 per litre, while kerosene accounted for VND450 per litre and mazut was at VND550 per kg.

The local retail price of petrol has gone up 13 times, so far, this year, with the total increase amounting to VND6,500 per litre. The price also came down nine times by a total of VND5,000 per litre, while twice it remained unchanged. Today’s adjustment was the last adjustment and has been one of the surges witnessed this year.

The ministry also said imported petroleum price has seen a continuous increase in the past fortnight. Retail petrol price in Singapore – the main petrol exporter for Viet Nam – was $63,32 per barrel. This was $5 per barrel higher than the previous price adjustment on December 5.

Viet Nam National Petroleum Group yesterday reported that its balance in the price stabilisation fund was estimated at more than VND1.8 trillion, reducing by VND10 billion from the previous adjustment.

It is expected that the increase of the usage from the fund would continue reducing the petrol wholesalers’ funds in the upcoming adjustment.

VietJet Air debuts Chinese Wuhan – Lam Dong air route

The first direct flight between Wuhan province, China, and Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Lam Dong landed at Lien Khuong airport in the province on December 18.

Operated by the Vietnam-China Travel Corporation and the low-cost carrier VietJet Air, the chartered flight took three hours to reach its destination in Vietnam, where 240 Chinese passengers on board were warmly welcomed by local authorities.

The passengers were then transported to Da Lat city, 30 km away from the airport, to stay for one night before leaving for Nha Trang city in the central province of Khanh Hoa.

There are three Wuhan – Lam Dong flights, scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday every week.

Nguyen Thi Hai Nam, deputy head of the travel company, said the air route was opened to reduce pressure for Cam Ranh International Airport in Khanh Hoa, which is hosting too many flights from China every week. 

Cam Ranh airport is 30km away from Nha Trang – a popular beach city for Chinese tourists in Vietnam.

The route also enables these holiday-markers to enjoy themselves in Da Lat before heading to Nha Trang, she said.

Doosan Vina exports container cranes to Saudi Arabia

The Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam Co. Ltd (Doosan Vina) shipped eight made-in-Vietnam rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGCs) to Saudi Arabia on December 18.

Each crane is more than 1,240 tonnes in weight and has a loading capacity of 40 tonnes.

It took the company eight months to complete the crane batch ordered by the Saudi Global Ports, one month earlier than the initial plan agreed by both sides while signing their contract in March.

The batch is expected to reach its target client after three weeks. As such, Doosan Vina has so far produced 65 RTGCs for domestic and international markets.

The Saudi Global Ports, a joint venture between the Saudi Arabian public investment fund (PIF) and Singapore-based PSA international, operates major port terminals in Dammam city, a key gateway on the Arabian Gulf.

Italian enterprises seek investment opportunities in Vietnam

Businesses from Italy’s Trento province have shown their interest in Vietnam’s investment incentives, especially in technology, electro-mechanics, green agriculture, forestry and pharmaceuticals, which are their strengths.

They attended the Vietnam-Trento Economic Cooperation Forum organised during Vietnam’s ambassador to Italy Cao Chinh Thien’s visit to the province from December 15-17.

On a working session on December 16, Ambassador Thien and Bruno Dorigatti, Chairman of the Trento legislative council, discussed bilateral issues and agreed that good bilateral relationship is a favourable condition for furthering cooperation between localities of the two countries.

The Trento official appreciated ambassador Thien’s recommendation on Trento and northern Phu Tho province becoming twin localities and his plan on a trip for a Phu Tho province delegation to visit Trento in the second quarter of 2017.

Thien also paid a visit to the Trento University where more than 50 Vietnamese graduates are studying and met representatives from the Vietnamese Student Association in Trento.

SHB merger with VVF approved in principle

The State Bank of Vietnam has approved in principle a plan to merge the Sai Gon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) and the Vinaconex-Viettel Finance JSC (VVF).

SHB revealed that the central bank also ratified the bank’s plan to set up a new subsidiary, which will be called SHB Finance with charter capital of 1 trillion VND (44.64 million USD) and will operate in consumer credit.

Following the merger, SHB’s charter capital will increase to more than 10.5 trillion VND.

SHB said under the Circular 6812/NHNN-TTGSNH, the central bank asked SHB and VVF to complete their merger in line with SBV’s regulations and submit a report on the merger to the SBV governor for official approval.

The planned merger was approved earlier by SHB and VVF shareholders at their annual general shareholders meetings last year.

SHB Finance will initially provide consumer credit services for individual customers that have annual income from 150 million VND to 200 million VND, later easing the market share to other individual customers with lower income.

Once SHB Finance is established, SHB will also transfer all its lists of individual borrowers with annual income of less than 200 million VND to SHB Finance.

According to SBV’s statistics, Vietnam had 16 financial companies till the end of the last year.

PM urges incentives for investors in Gia Lai

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urged authorities of the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai to provide specific incentives for domestic and foreign investors during an investment promotion conference held in the locality on December 18. 

Speaking to 400 local and foreign investors, the PM pointed to the province’s advantages as the largest bazan soil depository suitable for the cultivation of industrial plants, a hub of the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam development triangle and a land of rich culture, especially the gong cultural space which has been recognised by the UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. 

The Government has paid special heed to developing the Central Highlands, including Gia Lai province, through the planning of water resources development and the construction of infrastructural facilities, he affirmed.

The government will fund the upgrade of major national highways connecting with Gia Lai such as Highway 19, Phu Yen – Gia Lai road, Ho Chi Minh Trail, as well as airports and other facilities, he stressed. 

Gia Lai has so far attracted five foreign-invested projects worth a modest 12 million USD, ranking 61st out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide. Its provincial competitiveness index ranks 47th nationally. 

Between 2016 and 2018, the locality will pitch for investment in agro-forestry processing, construction materials, consumer goods, energy, education, culture, sports and tourism. 

At the event, the PM asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to outline support policies towards investors in the Central Highlands and Gia Lai in particular. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was also required to work closely with the State Bank and the Finance Ministry to seek stable markets for local signature products. 

According to him, the Government will consider establishing several national tourist areas and holding more festivals so that Gia Lai could live well on the pillars of agriculture, processing industry and tourism services. 

Meanwhile, the local authorities need to devise master plans for economic, industrial and tourism areas, and cultivation, he noted, asking them to further develop the processing industry, especially for coffee, while focusing on organic farming, farm product processing and high-tech agriculture as the local strengths.

On the occasion, he asked Gia Lai to give more specific commitments to investors in terms of electricity, water and infrastructure, towards doubling the number of enterprises to 7,000 in the next five years. 

In the meantime, the leader wished that the province would heed workforce training, poverty reduction and cultural preservation. 

The local authorities also took the occasion to affirm their resolve to improve the business climate and facilitate start-ups. 

At the end of the event, a number of memoranda of understanding on investment in high-tech agriculture, irrigation, transport and culture were signed.  

During a working session with local authorities on December 17, the PM pointed out that Gia Lai’s economic scale remains below the country’s average with the lack of brands well-known in the region and the world. 

In order to fix them, he demanded to implement the government’s socio-economic resolution right from the beginning of next year and map out detailed action plans to continue removing business barriers. 

This year, the province’s gross domestic product is estimated at 36.26 trillion VND, up 7.48 percent annually. As scheduled, Gia Lai will record 30 new-style rural areas and 46.2 percent forest coverage later this year. It plans to plant 7,000ha of forest next year. 

While in Gia Lai, the PM offered incense to the statue of President Ho Chi Minh with Central Highlands ethnic minority groups, the largest in Vietnam, visited and presented gifts to ethnic minority families.

Hanoi, HCM City listed as foreign investment magnets

Vietnam received an estimated US$18.1 billion in new FDI pledges from January to November this year.

Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have been ranked 10th and 17th respectively out of the top 25 emerging market cities on the fDi 2016/17 Global Cities of the Future listing, a global investment service provided by the Financial Times.

Chinese cities dominated the ranking with Shanghai and Beijing claiming the top two places.

Thailand’s Bangkok was the other Southeast Asian city named on the list, placed above Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in 9th.

In the top 25 overall ranking, which included emerging and developed countries, Singapore kept its position at the top of the table as the Global City of the Future 2016/17, with London holding strong in second place and Dublin displacing Hong Kong to rank third.

The ASEAN Investment Report 2016 showed that Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) recorded a combined 38% jump in FDI inflows to US$17.4 billion last year from the year before. Their share as recipients of the investment flowing into the region rose from 10% in 2014 to 14% in 2015.

Leading the CLMV group, Vietnam attracted FDI inflows of US$11.8 billion in 2015, a 28% increase year-on-year, said the report.

Vietnam received an estimated US$18.1 billion in new FDI pledges from January to November this year, down 10.5% from a year ago, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

However, the investment ministry said foreign investors had disbursed an estimated US$14.3 billion in Vietnam as of the end of November, a rise of 8.3% from the same period last year.

Foreign direct investment inflows to Vietnam are expected to hit a record high of US$15 billion this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the Vietnam Development Forum earlier this month.

China dominates Vietnam wood chip trade

Vietnamese companies ship an estimated four million tons of woodchips to China annually, according to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

China is the dominate consumer market for Vietnam wood and wood products, says the Department, with exports to it having hit US$965.8 million in 2015, nearly US$121 million higher than the figure for 2014.

For the first nine months of 2016, total wood exports to the Chinese market have tallied in at US$725.3 million, equivalent to 75% of the whole of last year’s figure.

However, most export products to China are raw commodities with relatively low added value. Around 70% of woodchips exported to China come from acacia and eucalyptus trees.

Vice versa, Vietnam imports of wood and wood products from China registered US$303.6 million last year (equal to 31% of total Vietnam exports of wood and wood products to China) and US$200.4 million for first nine months of 2016.

Thus, Vietnam exports of wood and wood products to China are higher than imports. However, the trade balance will change in the coming time when China closes its natural forests to exploitation in 2017.

Top-notch imaging technology at Canon Zen – One Stop Solution

A business conference, together with the Exhibition of Imaging Equipment and Technology under Canon Zen – One Stop Solution got exposure to numerous IT lovers in Hanoi’s Trinh Hoai Duc Stadium.

Recognising the continuous innovation of information and imaging technology as well as striving to put forward effective solutions for businesses in the age of globalisation, Canon- a global leader in photographic and digital imaging solutions- brought to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City the event series Zen – One Stop Solution, showcasing the company’s remarkable equipment and technology this December.

Gaining warmly support and encouragement from city attendees, Canon’s Zen - One Stop Solution event now comes to Hanoi with a burning desire to bring out the most cutting-edge technology trends for enterprise applications and operations.

In particular, with the participation of seasoned experts from FPT Telecom, Microsoft Vietnam, Canon Marketing Vietnam, and more, Zen - One Stop Solution contributed a range of pioneering ideas and valuable solutions to solve thorny problems in business controlling costs, optimising management system, increasing work productivity and improving competitiveness ability. 

Accordingly, in the event, Canon Marketing Vietnam had introduced One Stop Solution – a brand new application that would help monitor the activities of both multi-functional devices and document management software in businesses. 

With Canon’s One Stop Solution, local enterprises, especially small and medium enterprises, can manage work more efficiently thanks to the optimal tool operating business activities. 

This new comprehensive solution is expected to fully meet demand of the management, minimizing time and operating costs while ensuring security and profitability for businesses.

“As an exclusive gift to businesses, One Stop Solution partly presents Canon's pledge to ceaselessly create and update new technology that helps improve operating productivity, support every businesses in their journey to transition into a more  proactive one at the age of fast-moving environment.

“A smart and feasible solution is the key to success. To manage effectively, businesses should select relevant partners who have the expertise to analyse and generate a comprehensive monitoring report to determine exact ineffective operations.

“Once these splits are identified, an appropriate imaging solutions for businesses will be deployed afterwards. With Canon's One Stop Solution, we will help balance all the issues, such as cost, productivity, security, user’s responsibility and equipment maintenance,” said Hiroshi Yokota - CEO of Canon Marketing Vietnam. 

Talking about Canon’s orientation in One Stop Solution to Vietnam enterprises in the future, Bill Dam - assistant director of Canon Marketing Vietnam emphasized solid belief in the strong impact of ICT synergy to businesses. 

“The new normal in riding on the globalisation is about embracing synergy. It is doing business with a firm grasp of traditional values, openness towards modern practices and technology, and a continuing vision to Think Big for the future. 

“A complete and easy-to-look-up database would demonstrate your business profession in both technology and actual work. 

“By combining these potential values as well as integrating technology, the management will pave a new way to the development of breakthrough long-term strategies,” Dam said.

By participating in this remarkable technology event of Canon, photography lovers and technology enthusiasts were definitely satisfied when immersing in an array of interesting interactive activities, such as Dark Room Experience with the appearance of high quality security cameras – Canon’s pride in challenging the darkness, or Special Color Challenge performed in Canon’s products.

In addition, many attractive gifts and incentives were also brought to the event as a present from Canon to loyal customers who have interests in Canon’s products and activities related to imaging solutions and digital photography.

In the event, besides the leading equipment and technology showcased to attendees, Bui Quang Huy, photographer and founder of popular photographic website 50mm.vn, shared his experience on Canon’s latest mirrorless camera EOS M5. 

Equipped with the most advanced technology, Canon EOS M5 presents fast processing speed and autofocus, high resolution, 5-axis image stabilisation inside the camera body and use of Bluetooth, Wifi and NFC. 

All these features are resonated to support users encapsulate their best pictures with the equivalent quality as DSLR cameras. Also, Canon introduced many other cameras in the mirrorless series such as EOS M3 and EOS M10.

BAC A BANK earns eminent award from International Finance Magazine

Locally-owned lender BAC A BANK has just won a high-profile award of “The leading bank in social responsibility in Vietnam in 2016” organised by Thomson Reuters’ International Finance Magazine.

Nguyen Thi Thu Minh, investment counsellor at Vietnam’s Embassy to Singapore, confers the trophy and certificate to a BAC A BANK representative

The bank was granted the award in Singapore thanks to its significant contributions to Vietnam’s social security, and its business achievements over the past years.

The International Finance Magazine Awards celebrates excellence in its purest form. An event that recognises and honours individuals and organisations in the international finance industry that make a significant difference and add value, the award is one that will herald the highest standards of innovation and performance.

Thai Huong, who is general director of BAC A BANK, said that this prominent award has reflected the bank’s unique development path, which is focussed on providing investment consultancy for hi-tech agricultural projects.

“BAC A is quite different from many other commercial banks. We have selected the agricultural sector for our investment, in addition to providing clients with assorted services such as loans, saving and guaranteeing,” Thai Huong said.

“We also concentrate on providing investment consultancy for sustainable-development and community-oriented projects. We have successfully combined Vietnam’s strengths, including brainpower and natural resources, with the world’s modern scientific and technological achievements,” said Thai Huong, who is also chairwoman of TH Group.

After more than 20 years of development, the bank has been expanding its operation into a multi-functional bank model, with a priorities placed on community-oriented and environmental-friendly projects.

Since 2008, BAC A BANK has provided investment consultancy for TH Group, which has successfully built a US$1.2 billion dairy cow and fresh milk production project in the central province of Nghe An’s Nghia Dan district. 

In May 2015, the Asian Record Organisation recognised the project as “The largest concentrated high-tech applied dairy farm complex in Asia.”

Since the participation of TH Group in Vietnam’s milk market in 2009, the country’s ratio of fresh milk to the total supply soared from 5 per cent in 2009 to 30 per cent in 2015.

In May 2016, TH Group began the construction of the first stage, worth US$500 million, of a US$2.7 billion high-tech concentrated dairy and fresh milk production project in Russia, which officially marked Vietnam’s largest agricultural and foodstuff project in Russia.

Also under support from BAC A BANK, many other agricultural projects have been implemented, such as TH Herbals focused on planting and processing precious herbs and supplementary foodstuffs, and a project on producing safe vegetables. 

Besides, TH Group recently put into operation the first stage, worth US$100 million, of its modern wood processing plant in Nghe An. The plant covers programmes on sustainable development of forests in the province.

Private sector’s role in national economic development

Vietnam now has 500,000 private enterprises which employ more than 15 million people and contributes 40% of the national GDP. Vietnam has adopted many policies to develop the private economic sector.

The 12th National Party Congress, which has insisted on building a socialist-oriented market economy, considers the private sector a key driver of the national economy where stakeholders in different sectors are equal under law.

Associate Professor Doan Minh Huan, Deputy Editor-in-chief of the Communist Review, said “Ensuring equality between economic sectors provides the private economic sector with more opportunities to access land and credit, even the resources of the public sector. The policies on public-private cooperation have ensured that the private sector will cooperate with the state sector to exploit the available resources.”

Most private companies are small and lack the connectivity and capacity to respond to risks. Tran Kim Chung, Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, underscored the need to ensure healthy competition and equality between businesses so that private enterprises can grow.

According to Chung, “the most essential thing is to improve the market mechanism. We should enhance transparency, renovate the state management, stabilize the macro-economy, and eliminate problems that reduce investment effectiveness.”

To support the contribution of the private sector to the national economy, Vietnam has implemented corporate solutions in which businesses identify their competitive advantages and disadvantages, focus investment on their core business, and improve the management capacity.

Pham Thi Thu Hang, Secretary General of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said “The Chamber is identifying obstacles faced by enterprises for a report to the government. In addition to a government resolution on supporting and developing businesses until 2020, we are devising an action plan to help private companies and SMEs.”

Addressing the recent Vietnam Business Forum, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reiterated the government’s commitment to perfecting market institutions policies, and laws, continuing administrative reform, enhancing national competitiveness, and facilitating conditions for the domestic private and FDI sectors.

He said “FDI businesses should trust in Vietnam’s reforms and accelerate the transfer of advanced technology, human resource training, and the sharing of corporate governance experience. FDI enterprises should also honor their responsibility to society and join hands with Vietnam in protecting natural resources and the environment.”

In the socio-economic development strategy until 2020, Vietnam has pledged to create the most favorable conditions for Vietnamese enterprises, especially private businesses, to promote competitiveness and economic self-reliance.

Trial starts on one expressway toll station

Trial operation of one toll station on the Cau Gie-Ninh Binh Expressway has started, the Vietnam Road Administration reported.

At a meeting last month, Minister of Transport Truong Quang Nghia asked the Vietnam Road Administration to remove the Dai Xuyen toll station on the Cau Gie-Ninh Binh Expressway no later than January 1, 2017.

According to the Vietnam Road Administration, two toll stations located on the nearly100km expressway was not necessary. The elimination of the Dai Xuyen toll station will help vehicles travel faster.

Mai Tuan Anh, General Director of the Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) - the Dai Xuyen toll station collector, said in 2015 and the first half of 2016 alone, there were 70 traffic jam cases. Congestion was seen on both sides of the booth, covering a distance of 0.3km and going up to 3km.

The toll station is now under management of VEC and BOT Phap Van-Cau Gie Company.

Profits from the station will be divided between the two companies.

VinaCapital launches Da Nang beach project

The property developer VinaCapital Group has begun construction of the Ocean Estates on an area of 7.5ha with total investment capital of 650 billion VND (nearly 30 million USD) in the coastal district of Ngu Hanh Son in central Da Nang City.

Ocean Estates will be ready in late 2017 with 33 beach villas from three to five bedrooms on plot sizes from 929s.qm to 1,303sq.m.

Matthew Koziora, Director of Transaction VinaCapital, said “We pioneered the second home market in Da Nang City back in 2009 and appreciate the higher standards now expected from our clients in today’s marketplace. We understand and appreciate the global trend of luxury and that the market is seeking a true luxury lifestyle by those looking for a true beach home experience.”

According to Vinacapital, the Ocean Estates is the last residential project that will be developed within the beachfront parcel of the Ocean Resort, the largest resort complex in the central region which was named ‘Best Golf Development’ on numerous occasions at the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2011-16. 

VN-Japan company opens big warehouse in Binh Duong

New Land Vietnam – Japan Joint-Stock Company (New Land VJ JSC) has opened a two-hectare warehouse at the Binh An Textile and Garment Industrial Park in Di An town of Binh Duong province.

Located beside National Highway No 1A, 1 kilometre from Binh Duong Port and 10km from HCM City’s Cat Lai Port, the warehouse can store 15,500 frozen, chilled, cool and dry pallets.

Products stored include cheese, chocolate, delicatessen products, livestock and farm products, processed foods, beverages and medical products.

Under development plans approved by the Government, the area on which the warehouse is located will become a logistics hub for the South in the near future.

Huong said New Land VJ JSC had invested more than 220 billion VND (over US$10 million) in this warehouse project.

The company’s three shareholders are New Land Co. (Vietnam) and Sojitz Corp. and Kokubu Group Corp. from Japan.

Tien Giang boosts cooperation with Laos’ Khammouane province

The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang has continually enhanced collaboration with Khammouane province of Laos, an important partner of the locality.

Tran Thanh Duc, Vice Chairman of the province People’s Committee, made the statement at a reception for a visiting delegation from Laos’ Pasaxon newspaper on December 16.

At the meeting, Duc briefed his guests on the province’s socio-economic development and cooperation opportunities between Tien Giang province and Lao localities, particularly Khammouane province.

Over the past time, local leaders have paid many working visits to and signed a number of cooperation agreements with the Lao province, he said, adding that Tien Giang provided Khammouane with 2 billion VND to build three classrooms for a vocational school.  

Tien Giang’s exports to Lao have been on the rise over the years, hitting 119,000 USD in 2015 and about 254,000 USD in 2016.

For his part, Douangchith Savatbounmy, Editor-in-Chief of Pasaxon newspaper, lauded the development of Vietnam-Laos special friendship. He also expressed his hope that the relationship between Tien Giang and Lao provinces, especially Khammouane province will be further promoted.

Ca Mau promises red carpet for investors

Authorities in the southernmost province of Ca Mau have pledged to continue with administrative reform and offer the most beneficial policies for investors.

Speaking at a conference in HCM City on December 16 titled Investment Potential and Opportunities in Ca Mau, Nguyen Tien Hai, the province’s deputy Party Secretary and Chairman, said Ca Mau is one of the four provinces and cities in the Key Economic Zone of the Mekong River Delta and is surrounded by the ocean on three sides.

Its forest and marine resources provide it with unique advantages to develop fisheries, agriculture, forestry, services, tourism, exploitation of gas and oil and seaports, he said.

Besides, it also has advantages with respect to aquaculture, high-quality seafood processing and exports.

This year the province has attracted 6.63 trillion VND (293 million USD) worth of investment in 30 projects.

It is now home to 205 projects with total registered capital of  83 trillion VND, including some major projects like the B - O Mon gas pipeline, power plants, and nitrogenous fertiliser plants.

“The province is soliciting investment in agriculture, manufacturing, trading, services, tourism, infrastructure in economic zones and industrial parks, and transport infrastructure,” Hai said.

The province took the occasion to table a list of more than 30 projects in which it is seeking investment.

They include the 3.5 billion USD Hon Khoai Seaport Complex, the 1 trillion VND Ca Mau Cape Tourism and Culture Park, and a 1 trillion VND residential-service-trading area at Nam Can Economic Zone.

“To attract more domestic and foreign investment in the province, Ca Mau will continue to prioritise investment in infrastructure and worker training, drastically improve administrative procedures to create a transparent and favourable business and investment environment,” Hai said.

Mai Huu Chinh, director of the province Department of Planning and Investment, said in addition to incentives in line with the Investment Law, the province will also have support policies with respect to land acquisition and investment in infrastructure like roads and power system in industrial parks.

Hai said investors will be supported with advertising in the province’s portal, investment and trade promotion, technology transfer, credit, brand building and development and human resource training.

Authorities will promptly act on feedback and complaints from investors to resolve them, and provincial leaders would hold regular meetings and direct exchanges with investors to address their difficulties, he said.

At the conference, the provincial government handed over licences for five projects with total registered capital of 5.984 trillion VND (264.77 million USD).

Among them was the Cong Ly Construction-Trading-Tourism Co., Ltd, which has invested 5.5 trillion VD in a wind power plant in the province.

The province also signed five memorandums of understanding with investors for building malls and a wind power plant and other projects. 

Local bourses partner up with IFC in corporate governance initiative

The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) and Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) signed with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, an MoU on December 16 to jointly promote effective corporate governance standards and practices among companies listed on the two exchanges.

Under the MoU, the three partners will launch the Vietnam Corporate Governance Initiative, aiming at assisting managers in mobilizing market resources and calling for cooperation and coordinating stakeholder efforts to improve capacity and corporate governance by applying the world’s best practices. 

The three sides will enhance the efficiency of Vietnamese public companies, facilitate their access to capital, boost economic growth, and create more employment opportunities. 

Tran Van Dung, HOSE Chairman stressed the important role of corporate governance standards and practices in managing risks and enhancing competitiveness and growth quality of the corporate sector as well as the whole economy.

He expressed his belief that the initiative will contribute to the healthy and sustainable development of Vietnam’s capital market.

Kyle Kelhofer, IFC Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, highlighted the recent improvement in corporate governance in Vietnamese firms, adding that however, they are still behind their regional peers and more progress is needed to narrow the gap.

He said the initiative is another effort by IFC to continue strengthening corporate governance practices in Vietnam, under which Vietnamese enterprises will be equipped with necessary tools to reduce financial and operational risks and enjoy better access to capital, enhanced trust and accountability to shareholders.

At the signing ceremony, representatives from 50 listed companies were updated on the newly-revised G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance, with the Vietnamese version translated by the IFC.

Vietnamese firms showcase goods in Cambodian exhibition

Vietnam is attending the 11th Import – Export and One Province One Product Exhibition in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with a national pavilion and 12 booths of its prestigious enterprises.

The event, held from December 15-18 by the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, aimed to boost import–export activities and introduce local consumers to products and services of regional countries, particularly in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community, which was formed on December 31, 2015.

Besides Vietnam, businesses from China, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Indonesia also brought to the fair numerous products, ranging from agricultural machines to handicraft products. 

At the national pavilion, the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade displayed documents and publications on Vietnamese business and investment environment. Meanwhile, the firms showcased their key products such as machinery and equipment, electronic goods, food and beverages as well as handicrafts.

Sharing the borderline as well as similarities in culture and society, Vietnam and Cambodia are aiming for 5 billion USD in bilateral trade in the near future.

In the first quarter of the year, two-way trade hit 944.6 million USD, posting a year-on-year increase of 4.3 percent.

Viettel creates new growth model for Vietnam: PM

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc praised the military-run Viettel Group as having created a new growth model for Vietnam at a ceremony on December 17 to mark the telecom group’s 10 years investment abroad. 

The PM noted that Viettel has grown into the biggest telecom and IT group in Vietnam and also the first Vietnamese company to enjoy successful investment abroad on large scale thanks to focusing on products and services with high added values instead of exploiting natural resources or low-cost workforce.

He said the group’s success has reinforced international community and partners’ trust, while inspiring other Vietnamese firms in investing abroad, adding that Viettel’s projects have also helped strengthen the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and host countries.

He urged the firm to promote the startup spirit in two promising sectors of telecommunication and IT.

PM Phuc expressed his hope that in the next 10 years, Viettel will double and even triple its overseas market, becoming a global enterprise listed among the top 20 telecommunication firm in the world.

During the ceremony, Viettel also announced that it has received the 10th investment licence abroad for a joint venture in Myanmar. With the joint venture, the group has expanded its coverage to 11 countries with a total population of 320 million. Tanzania and Burundi are among its most profitable markets.

Viettel is running a total 360,000km of optical cable in nine countries, equivalent to nine rounds around the earth.

In 2016, nine companies run by Viettel abroad have a total value of 4.5-5 billion USD. This year, the group’s overseas revenues are likely to reach 1.4 billion USD, raising its total overseas earnings so far to 6.5 billion USD with an average growth of 25 percent annually.

Viettel is currently serving 100 million customers, including 35 million abroad, 12 times higher than that in its first year of investment abroad. It is now ranked among the world’s top 30 telecoms companies in terms of number of customers.

Major General Nguyen Manh Hung, General Director of Viettel, revealed that the firm will continue investing in infrastructure system to provide 4G services widely at a reasonable cost, while continue expanding its investment in production.

Viettel aims to become one of the top 20 telecoms enterprises in the world in the future, he stated.

French group eyes waste-to-energy plant in Dong Nai

France’s CNIM Group had a working session on December 16 with officials of the southern province of Dong Nai to discuss investment possibility for a waste-to-energy power plant worth nearly 20 million EUR in the locality.

A world leading waste treatment, CNIM group has invested in numerous projects to burn garbage to generate electricity in many nations in the world. After a fact-find period, CNIM wants to build a modern waste-to-energy power plant in Dong Nai with an average daily capacity estimated at 1,300 tonnes of garbage.

Dinh Quoc Thai, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee said the province has a population of over three million, discharging around 1,000 tonnes of waste per day and even more in the coming years.

Dong Nai needs waste treatment projects applying advanced technologies to meet the treatment capacity while protecting the environment, Thai added.

He also requested the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment to further work with the group on the project.

PM assigns socio-economic targets to ministries

The Prime Minister has assigned specific socio-economic targets in 2017 to five ministries, with the Ministry of Planning and Investment tasked to strive for a 6.7-percent GDP growth and a 4-percent inflation.

The ministry is also asked to raise total social investment to about 31.5 percent of GDP, while ensuring 87 percent of operational industrial parks and export processing zones have concentrated wastewater treatment systems meeting standards. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will have to raise forest coverage to 41.45 percent in 2017.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is requested to boost total export value by 6-7 percent, while keeping trade deficit at about 3.5 percent of the total trade revenue. Another task is to reduce energy consumption per GDP unit by 1.5 percent compared to that of 2016.

At the same time, the PM requested the Ministry of Health to ensure 25.5 beds in hospitals are ready for every 10,000 people, and raise the health insurance coverage to 82.2 percent of the population.

Major 2017 goals assigned to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs include reducing the poverty ratio according to the multidimensional poverty standards by 1-1.5 percent and 4 percent in poor district. The ministry is urged to bring the unemployment rate in urban areas down to under 4 percent, and raise the percentage of trained labourers to 55-57 percent.

Ministries, ministry-level agencies, central agencies, State-owned economic groups and corporations are asked to update relevant agencies of socio-economic development targets before December 31, 2016.

VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR

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