BUSINESS NEWS 11/7

Hanoi office rental maintains upward trend

BUSINESS NEWS 11/7

Grade A office enjoyed the highest upswing with a growth of 4.1% on quarter and 5.7% on year.

Office rental in Hanoi experienced upward trend in the second quarter (Q2) 2019 due to stable demand and limited supply, JLL said in the latest report.

Grade A office enjoyed the highest upswing with a growth of 4.1% on quarter and 5.7% on year. Grade B segment, however posted a fall of 2.8% due to lower-than-average rent in new buildings in non-CBD (Central Business District). But the overall market rent unchanged compared to the same period last year partly thanks to the increase in previous quarters.

In CBD area, average rent in the sub-area recorded significant improvement of 3.9% on quarter and 3.5% on year owing to limited supply.

As of end Q2/2019, the total supply of Hanoi office stood at approximately 1,986,000 sq.m, with Grade B contributing up to 60% of the total stock, according to JLL report.

The occupancy rate of Hanoi office felt slightly to 92.3% due to the opening of new buildings with roughly 21,500 square meters (sq.m) of office space absorbed during the quarter. Nearly two-thirds came from Grade B section.

Leasing activity was mainly involved in Grade B buildings, especially those in the outer parts of the city, driven by the insufficient supply in the CBD area. One of the most notable deals was recorded in Truong Thinh Building in Cau Giay with 1,100 sq.m taken by a single tenant.

During the quarter, Hanoi office market welcomed a new Grade A building in CBD, it’s Thai Holding Tower in Hoan Kiem with 25,000 sq.m.

Meanwhile, after two quarters with no new supply, Grade B segment recorded 30,600 sq.m newly added to the basket, of that the majority located in the non-CBD area.

JLL predicted for the second half of 2019 that the office market is expecting more completions, all of which are located in non-central districts. The buildings are concentrated on Cau Giay and Nam Tu Liem districts, the two rising office clusters of Hanoi.

For that reason, the rent of those in non-CBD area remains stable or increase insignificantly. However, the buildings in the City Centre may still enjoy a better rise, which in turn continues to help the rental rate to inch up.

Norwegian energy developer pursues ambitious Vietnam plan

Norwegian energy firm Scatec Solar has affirmed its strong commitment to becoming a top player in Vietnam’s solar power market over the next years by releasing an ambitious scheme aimed at developing the world’s largest floating solar plant and other hundred-megawatt power projects throughout the central and southern regions.

Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar, made the statement during his talks with VOV Online which took place on the sidelines of his working visit to Vietnam last week.

Carlsen met with representatives of the Ministry of Planning and Investment and Vietnam Electricity group to brief the hosts on his firm’s business and investment plans in the country as well as update changes in the legal framework for domestic renewable energy development, especially those in relation to solar power.

The CEO voiced his belief that his firm can become a valuable partner to Vietnam due to the company’s ability to quickly create significant amounts of clean and affordable solar energy.

Scatec has partnered with domestic firm MT Energy in order to develop and operate several large-scale solar projects in the country. This strategic partnership covers three projects located in the central provinces of Quang Tri and Nghe An, and Binh Phuoc in the southern region.

“These projects, worth a combined US$500 million, are aiming for a total of 485 MW and will be realized under a new feed-in tariff (FiT) regime that is expected to be launched later this year. We are awaiting clarity on the new FiT regulation.”

Most notably, Scatec has recently signed an agreement with local partner ECotech to develop a 1,000 MW floating solar power project within the Tri An hydropower plant in the southern province of Dong Nai. This project will be executed alongside auxiliary items such as a transforming station and a 500kV transmission line system.

The project is estimated to be worth US$1 billion in capital, including grid investments, the CEO noted, declaring this could be the largest floating solar project in the world.

The Norwegian firm also plans to set up a production line for floating devices in order to further ensure that the project could create substantial benefits for the country in terms of job generation and technology development.

In fact, the pre-feasibility study of the floating solar project has already been completed. Scatec is also cooperating with Norwegian risk management and quality assurance services provider DNV GL to carry out a technical design study and work on solutions for the project.

The project received in-principle approval from the Dong Nai provincial People's Committee in June. Following this, the province submitted the project file to the Ministry of Industry and Trade as well as other relevant agencies for consideration along with the addition to the national power development plan.

If the addition is given the green light, construction on the project will begin between 2020 and 2021. The project is expected to greatly supplement the power supply for production and business activities throughout the southern region, especially in industrial hubs such as Dong Nai, Binh Duong, and Ho Chi Minh City. In addition, it is also hoped to ease pressure on the transmission grid.

As per financial risks and the payback of pending solar projects, the Scatec CEO affirmed that large-scale projects naturally carry risks. Given this, Scatec is uniquely positioned to manage any such risks that occur as it is among the leading emerging solar market players globally with 1,800 MWs of solar projects under construction or in operation across 12 countries. These projects have enabled the firm to gain a unique insight into managing all aspects of large-scale power projects.

Regarding the proposed FiT rates for solar power ranging from 6.67 to 8.38 US cents per kWh which rely on the solar irradiance of each zone, the Scatec representative noted that the Vietnamese Government would take a wise decision in allowing for differentiated tariffs based on solar irradiation. By incentivizing companies to develop projects in broader parts of the country, the Government looks to ensure that more communities are able to enjoy the benefits of affordable and clean energy as well as local job creation.

Solar power has been emerging as a significant part of the national energy mix over the past few years, amid a vast number of difficulties seen in expanding other power generation sources.

Fitch Solutions, a macro-research subsidiary of Fitch Group, said in a recently released outlook for the country’s power sector, that Vietnam’s electricity generation is set to increase to 236 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2023 and further still to 318 TWh by 2028.

The Government eyes an increase in renewables usage to lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution, and achieve sustainable growth in light of challenges posed by climate change.

Local efforts have been increased to promote the usage of renewable energy, including wind and solar, along with technological advancements in renewable and grid technology that would further drive down the cost of implementation.

Fitch Solutions has high hopes that an increase in the launch of wind and solar power projects will boost the Government’s renewable push via FiT adjustments.

It also expects additional investment in grid infrastructure in tandem with the rising demand for electricity as the current network which transmits electricity from the north and central regions to the south is currently overloaded and under strain. This often results in instances of power outages and large power losses.

As such, the Scatec CEO noted that enhancements to the national power grid is naturally important as a means of ensuring that Vietnam can continue to enjoy its current strong growth in renewable energy. He believes that it is important to work closely with central and local authorities to develop Scatec projects in localities where the grid can absorb the produced power.

In addition, the Norwegian energy developer is looking forward to batteries being included in the pending FiT regime as batteries to solar projects will enable the current grid to absorb more renewable power.

In light of the revised national power development plant VII, Vietnam is seeking to achieve a total solar power capacity of 850 MW by 2020 and lift the figure to 4,000 MW by 2025 and 12,000 MW by 2030.

Binh Dinh prioritises big projects in H2

The south-central province of Binh Dinh will focus on attracting domestic and foreign investment in the rest of the year, with priority on big and labour intensive projects, according to insiders.

Ho Quoc Dung, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the locality will take comprehensive measures to boost industrial development and speed up the progress of a number of projects such as the expansion of the Vinamilk Quy Nhon milk factory, the Quy Nhon beverage factory, and renewable energy projects.

The province will also complete procedures for the implementation of the Becamex Binh Dinh industry-urban-service area.

In the first half of this year, the province approved the investment of 20 new projects with a combined capital of about 15 trillion VND (645 million USD USD), including two foreign-invested ones worth over 72 million USD.

So far, the province has hosted 78 FDI projects with a total capital of 724.3 million USD.

In the tourism area, Dung said that in the recent three years, the province has seen an annual growth of over 20 percent.

In the first six months of 2019, Binh Dinh welcomed over 2.6 million visitors, up 22.8 percent year on year, including 220,000 foreigners, a rise of 49.1 percent.

The province’s tourism sector has seen great progress, making Quy Nhon-Binh Dinh an attractive route for tourists.

According to Dung, the province has strengthened support to investors in the sector and collaboration with foreign partners in personnel training.

In the first half of this year, Binh Dinh recorded gross regional domestic products (GRDP) growth of 6.7 percent to 24.55 trillion VND. Its budget collection in the period reached over 5.9 trillion VND, equivalent to 78.1 percent of the yearly estimate and representing a rise of 54 percent year on year.

Hanoi aims at 8-percent growth for H2

Hanoi aims at an economic growth rate of 7.6 – 8 percent for the latter half of 2019 in an effort to realise targets and tasks set for the whole year.

This was one of the issues discussed at the 15th session of the municipal People’s Council that opened on July 8.

The capital city reported macro-economic stability in the first six months, noting that the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) rose 7.21 percent, compared to the 7.15-percent increase in the same period of 2018.

During the period, Hanoi attracted 5.3 billion USD of foreign investment, continuing to rank first among Vietnamese provinces and cities in this field. It granted establishment certificates for 13,690 companies with a combined registered capital of 143.7 trillion VND (6.18 billion USD).

The local tourism industry also kept developing, drawing 14.4 million visitors to Hanoi, up 9.5 percent. Meanwhile, the city provided jobs for more than 90,000 people between January and June, fulfilling 58.8 percent of this year’s target.

Pointing out some aspects with poorer performance compared to the same period last year, municipal officials said for the remainder of 2019, Hanoi will need to take measures to boost these fields, including industry, agriculture, export-import and clean water supply for rural areas.

It is also set to promote solutions to improve the efficiency of local authorities’ activities, as well as the management of planning, land, construction order and environmental protection.

Japan’s Sumitomo invests in Vietnam’s port operator

Japanese-based Sumitomo Corporation has teamed up with logistics company Suzuyo and a Japanese public-private fund to take a 10 percent stake in Vietnam’s Gemadept JSC, which engages in the port operation and logistics business.

According to the Nikkei Asia Review, Sumitomo provided more than half of the roughly 4 billion JPY (37 million USD) the team paid to a local fund for the stake.

With demand for container shipments growing 7 percent annually in Vietnam, Sumitomo plans to build a logistics network connecting plants to ports for seamless export of locally produced goods, the newspaper reported.

It said Gemadept owns six ports in Vietnam, and handled 1.7 million containers for an over 10 percent market share. Meanwhile, Sumitomo is operating three industrial parks in Hanoi’s suburbs, and owning a logistics unit in the Southeast Asian country.

Sumitomo will develop a smartphone app that will enable truck drivers to reserve loading processes at ports and electronically handle other paperwork.

Currently at Hai Phong port, drivers have to wait one to two hours for cargo to be loaded onto ships. Suzuyo has shortened such wait times to an average 12 minutes in Japan, and plans to use the expertise in Vietnam.

About 14 million container equivalents of goods are shipped in and out of Vietnam annually. With a growth rate of 7 percent, the number is expected to reach 23 million by 2025.

"With the US-China trade war, the number of containers handled will increase further," a Sumitomo source was quoted as saying by Asia Nikkei Review.

Deputy PM reviews SOEs equitisation, restructuring

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue chaired a meeting of the Steering Committee for Business Renovation and Development in Hanoi on July 8 to review equitisation, divestment and restructuring of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and corporate development in the first half and tasks for the remaining months of this year.

The committee reported that it collected over 5.5 trillion VND (240 million USD) in revenue from SOEs equitisation and divestment in January – June. Since 2016, as many as 162 SOEs have been equitised with a total value of over 205 trillion VND, or 108 percent recorded during 2011-2015. Revenue from initial public offerings topped 24.8 trillion VND.

As of June, 796 SOEs were yet to register for listing on the stock market.

Since early this year, there have been more than 66,900 newly-established companies with a total registered capital of over 860 trillion VND. Over 21,600 others have resumed operations while more than 7,800 shut down, and more than 21,800 temporarily waited for dissolution.

As of June, there were 737,000 firms operating nationwide.

However, the progress of SOEs equitisation and divestment remains slow due to the lack of drastic directions by ministries, agencies and localities, delay in calculation of corporate value and land use approval.

Representatives from several groups and corporations said they meet difficulties in trademark pricing, and issues regarding intellectual property right, cultural and historical values when it comes to calculating starting price upon divestment.

Hue, who is also head of the committee, requested ensuring transparency and safety for the issuance of corporate bonds.

He asked the Finance Ministry and the State Bank to review the situation and submit a corporate bond issuance plan to the government for consideration, which must detail quota, criteria and credit rankings for the process.

The Deputy PM urged ministries and agencies to review relevant legal documents to promptly clear obstacles.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment must work with relevant ministries and agencies to hold a conference discussing the guiding role of major SOEs and groups in connectivity and renovation.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was asked to review regulations on the approval of State land use plan by equitised SOEs, and issue a Circular guiding the implementation of Decree No.126/2017/ND-CP on conversion from SOEs and one-member limited liability companies with 100 percent of charter capital invested by SOEs into joint-stock companies.

VISSAN opens new convenience food shop in HCM City

VISSAN Joint Stock Company has opened a food convenience store in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Thanh district.

The store sells many kinds of essential products, fresh and processed foods, including crispy pork-skin snacks, combo happy meals, VISSAN pork-flavour seasoning powder, lean pork paste, traditional sausage, and pork and beef sausage, among others.

All of the products are of a high quality and meet hygiene and food safety standards.

The new store is expected to meet the shopping demand of the more than 4,000 company employees as well as local residents.

To mark the opening, the store is offering a promotion, including gifts of a 280g can of chicken kari to customers with bills of 100,000 VND, and discounts of 5-20 per cent on processed food, and 10 per cent on fresh pork meat.

Information about the promotions is available on thewebsitewww.vissan.com.vn.

AQUA Vietnam sets up drum washing machine plant

AQUA Electrical Appliances Vietnam Co., Ltd. has opened a drum washing machine factory with modern equipment and advanced technologies.

The factory, situated in Bien Hoa II Industrial Park in the south-eastern province of Dong Nai, began operating on July 5.

The 21.5 million USD plant can supply around 500,000 front-loading washing machines annually to the Vietnamese market to meet the demand of consumers for next 20 years.

The new factory is AQUA Vietnam's fourth at the Bien Hoa II Industrial Park. It already has a washing machine, refrigerator and air-conditioner plant each, and now has more than 80,000 square metres of factory space.

The production line is 80 percent automated to ensure maximum capacity, minimise defective products and ensure the highest product quality.

On the occasion of the factory’s opening, AQUA Vietnam marked a new milestone by presenting the new drum washing machine with a 525mm clean tub.

Product quality improvement key to boosting exports to China

As China is a lucrative market for Vietnamese exporters, meeting its import standards is important for the Southeast Asian country to capture larger market share, according to the insiders.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam has favourable conditions to cultivate high-quality farm produce, which has been qualified for shipments to 180 markets worldwide, with China being a large and traditional trade partner.

The ministry has ordered competent agencies and localities to zone off land for the development of material areas, and grant codes to growing areas that meet food safety and hygiene. Besides, due attention should be paid to processing, packaging and post-harvest preservation to satisfy import criteria by China.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has recommended exporters to meticulously study the Chinese market to define key shipments and key export areas.

China is not a facile market, thus, products must be made in accordance with the country’s standards in quarantine, origin traceability, and goods’ brands, the ministry said, adding that relevant authorities should enhance communication work on the issues among enterprises of both nations so as to promote two-way trade.

Last year, Vietnam - China trade revenue surged 13.8 percent year on year to 106.7 billion USD. During the first four months of this year, the two countries enjoyed 33.24 billion USD in trade value, up 11.58 percent from the same time in 2018.

Rice is among key shipments of Vietnam, and it has been present in more than 150 countries and territories across the five continents. Vietnamese rice has won the taste of the most fastidious customers in the US, the EU, Japan, Singapore, and China, among others.

In an effort to enhance rice exports to China, the Foreign Trade Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade hosted four delegations of rice importers from China’s Anhui, Guangdong, Yunnan and Fujian provinces to make fact-finding tours in Vietnam. There, the Chinese firms were introduced to rice production with modern warehouses and milling facilities.

This year, importers from Xiamen, Zhejang, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Zhongshan, Hunan, Jiangsu and Shenzhen came to attend the rice trade promotion events held by the Foreign Trade Agency in collaboration with the Asia-Africa Market Department and the Vietnamese Embassy in China’s trade office.

The Foreign Trade Agency said that the trade of rice between the two countries has huge room to further develop thanks to the traditional friendship and convenient transport conditions.

As for Vietnam, the move will help expand consumption markets. It is important for the nation to ensure stable rice supply at competitive prices and high quality for the market in China.

Specific trading activities are significant for enterprises from both sides to enhance mutual understanding as well as boost cooperation for better trade relations in the coming time.

 

US technology consulting firm makes Viet Nam entry

US technology consulting firm KMS Solutions has set up operations in Viet Nam, which it has called a strategic market in Asia.

A subsidiary of KMS Technology provides consulting services and packaged solutions in enterprise data and analytics, AI-powered supply chain and agile software.

Through its global reach and partnership with the best software companies in the world, KMS Solutions targets organisations in Asia.

It has strategic partnerships with leading global technology companies such as GoodData, Blue Ridge Global, Infor, Tricentis and Katalon.

According to IDC FutureScape, a global provider of market intelligence, IoT, machine learning and big data are prominent technologies that force current companies to renovate, with over 75 per cent of chief information officers willing to incorporate analytics and AI into their business.

Meanwhile, software-as-a-service (SaaS), though in the nascent stage, is a fast-growing trend among enterprises in Viet Nam and expected to be adopted by more than 75 per cent of them by 2022.

KMS Technology was founded in 2009 by a team of IT veterans who were pioneers in providing software outsourcing services in the US in three main areas: software product development, tech start-up incubation and technology solutions.

Over 10 years of operation, KMS Technology has grown to more than 1,000 staff in Viet Nam and the US.

US technology consulting firm makes Viet Nam entry

US technology consulting firm KMS Solutions has set up operations in Viet Nam, which it has called a strategic market in Asia.

A subsidiary of KMS Technology provides consulting services and packaged solutions in enterprise data and analytics, AI-powered supply chain and agile software.

Through its global reach and partnership with the best software companies in the world, KMS Solutions targets organisations in Asia.

It has strategic partnerships with leading global technology companies such as GoodData, Blue Ridge Global, Infor, Tricentis and Katalon.

According to IDC FutureScape, a global provider of market intelligence, IoT, machine learning and big data are prominent technologies that force current companies to renovate, with over 75 per cent of chief information officers willing to incorporate analytics and AI into their business.

Meanwhile, software-as-a-service (SaaS), though in the nascent stage, is a fast-growing trend among enterprises in Viet Nam and expected to be adopted by more than 75 per cent of them by 2022.

KMS Technology was founded in 2009 by a team of IT veterans who were pioneers in providing software outsourcing services in the US in three main areas: software product development, tech start-up incubation and technology solutions.

Over 10 years of operation, KMS Technology has grown to more than 1,000 staff in Viet Nam and the US.

Experts urge Vietnamese enterprises to protect their IP

Vietnamese designs and trademarks are being violated abroad as firms don't pay enough attention to registering their intellectual property (IP), a top official has said.

Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), made the statement at the one-day 'Protecting Designs and Trademarks for Vietnamese Enterprises' conference on Friday in Ha Noi.

“Vietnamese enterprises are facing many challenges and difficulties in the global market when Vietnamese trademarks have been stolen and violated by foreign enterprises such as Ben Tre coconut, Phu Quoc fish sauce and Buon Me Thuot coffee. It takes much time and money to reclaim these brands.”

This problem spurred the VCCI to host the conference along with the Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam, the Viet Nam Intellectual Property Association (VIPA) and the International Trademark Association (INTA).

“We will make a commitment that Vietnamese enterprises respect the intellectual property law of the world and are aware of protecting their own intellectual property, aiming to protect copyright and increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese products in the world market.

“Through the conference, we can learn about the experiences of foreign enterprises, find reliable platforms to register trademarks and seek opportunities to co-operate with foreign experts who will support Vietnamese enterprises in trademark protection,” said Loc.

Denis Croze, director of the regional office of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in ASEAN, said it was not surprising to see more Vietnamese businesses paying attention to the registration of trademarks and designs.

“The globalisation of markets and the cross-border data flows enabled by the internet are providing new opportunities for businesses and consumers,” said Croze.

“That’s why it is important to protect your intellectual property rights – whether patents, trademarks, industrial designs, or geographical indications.

“Often the skill which a business has demonstrated in developing, protecting and managing its IP assets is a good indication of how successful it will be in the future. In a changing economic environment where intangible assets represent significant business value, intellectual property is crucial. And it is important that the international IP system enables innovation and creativity for everyone,” he said.

The foreign experts introduced the Hague System on the international registration of industrial designs and the Madrid System on the international registration of trademarks during the conference.

“Some more work needs to be done concerning a few legal and practical issues such as electronic communications between WIPO and IP Viet Nam, possible amendments to the legislation, adaptation of the procedures, or the drafting of the declarations, but most of the work has been done and we are looking forward for Viet Nam to join this registration system,” he said.

Seth Hays, chief representative of the Asia Pacific Office of the International Trademark Association (INTA), a network of 7,700 brands from 190 countries and territories, hailed the importance of the conference

“This conference continues building bridge between IP agencies across borders and provides Vietnamese enterprises with the most efficient tools to protect your IP rights when going overseas,” he said.

“Trademarks enable quick, confident and safe purchasing decisions, fuel competition and encourage innovation. With information shared, we ensure that your most valuable intangible assets such as brands and designs are strategically protected when going overseas.”

Hanoi posts 7.21 percent GRDP growth in H1

Hanoi posted a 7.21 percent increase in Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) in the first half of the year, it was reported at the 9th session of the municipal People’s Council that opened on July 8.

In the period, the capital city continued to lead the country in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) with 5.3 billion USD. Hanoi moved upwards 4 places in the 2018 Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) to the 9th out of 63 localities nationwide.

Four districts and 325 out of the city’s total 386 rural communes have fulfilled all criteria for new-style rural areas and three fully met advanced criteria for new rural areas.

The city has ensured political security and social order and safety. It has also coordinated with the Government to organise several international events successfully and safely.

Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Council Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc pointed to existing problems in the city that need to be addressed, including lower growth in some sectors compared to last year, the low ranking in the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI), and the slow disbursement of capital construction investment.

The People’s Council session, which will last until July 10, is held to review the city’s socio-economic performance and security-defence situation in the past six months. The Council will also set key tasks and solutions for the remaining months of the year for the fulfilment of yearly targets.

The council will spend one day on July 9 to question the municipal government on their work and issues of public interest.

The council is scheduled to consider and approve 10 reports and a regular resolution, along with 14 thematic resolutions concerning the city’s development and personnel matters.

Enterprises need better branding to compete in int'l market

Vietnamese enterprises must develop globally competitive brands if they want to succeed internationally, speakers said at a conference on domestic trademarks held recently in Ho Chi Minh City.

Economist Le Dang Doanh said that most Vietnamese farm produce and seafood exported through unofficial channels had no brand names and thus suffered from low export prices.

“A strong and competitive economy has many large businesses with strong international brands,” he noted, adding that brand development, however, was not the strength of Vietnamese enterprises.

Vietnam is among the world's largest exporters of farm produce and seafood, but few foreign consumers know they're using products from Vietnam, he said.

“These products are exported without brand names on the packaging. More than 70 percent of Vietnamese exports are from foreign direct invested companies," he explained.

A representative of the US-based Global Home Visa LLC, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Vietnamese enterprises must have good financial and human resources to build brand names in the US market.

Vietnamese exporters must also be knowledgeable about importing countries' laws and regulations on intellectual property, safety and quality of products, he said.

“With a strict market like the US, enterprises should learn about labeling, packaging and procedures for registering trademark protection,” he added.

To enter the US market, Vietnamese brands also need to be protected from violations made by other competitors.

Bui Hoang Yen, deputy representative of the Office of Trade Promotion Department in HCM City, noted that the newly signed free trade agreements (FTAs) would offer great opportunities for Vietnam to export products to more than 100 countries.

However, exporters will face increasing trade protectionism and non-tariff barriers as well as stricter standards, especially on food safety and environmental protection.

Vietnamese goods sometimes fail to meet export standards, especially in strict markets like the US, the EU and others.

A programme on high-quality product production should be implemented by State management agencies, she said.

FTAs have opened up trade for domestic companies, but they have also allowed more foreign brands to enter the local market, creating fierce competition, experts said.

A good product with a good trademark will live forever in the heart of consumers, they noted. To build and protect brands, enterprises must invest in standardised production processes, market development, communication and marketing.

Experts also warned that social media and wide usage of IT around the world can be beneficial for building brands, but can also carry risks if comments about products are negative.

The event was organised by the Research Centre for Developing Vietnamese Brands.

Japanese firm eyes 10-per-cent stake in Vietnamese logistics firm

SSJ Consulting (Vietnam) Ltd Co, a subsidiary of Japan’s general trading company Sumitomo, has registered to buy nearly 29.7 million shares of Gemadept.

The shares are equivalent to 10 per cent of total outstanding voting shares of the Vietnamese logistics company.

Gemadept’s shares (GMD) are being traded on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange at more than VND27,000 (US$1.16) per share, valuing the deal at VND805 billion ($34.5 million).

SSJ Consulting Vietnam is a newly-established company with business license issued in June this year and charter capital of more than VND958 billion ($41.1 million).

It has two main stakeholders, of which Sumitomo owns 51 per cent of capital and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment contributes 46 per cent. Another Japanese firm Suzuyo Co Ltd has a three per cent stake.

A member of Gemadept’s management board, Tsuyoshi Kato, is also an executive of SSJ Consulting Vietnam. Kato was elected to Gemadept’s board of directors for the period 2018-23 at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in May.

At this meeting, Gemadept’s shareholders also approved the elimination of the business lines with the foreign ownership ceiling of below 49 per cent.

Gemadept is one of the leading transport and logistics companies in Viet Nam. Except logistics, it also operates in ports and the real estate sector.

Transactions will be carried out between July 5 and August 2 through put-through or the method approved by the State Securities Commission.

Viet Nam’s logistics sector is attractive to foreign investors with an annual growth rate of 13-15 per cent in recent years. Not only Japanese investors, companies from other countries have expressed their keen interest in this sector at many investment promotion meetings with local authorities.

Viet Nam advanced two spots in the World Bank’s 2018 Logistics Performance Index, ranked 39th out of 160 economies. The country targets a rank of 30th-35th by 2025, annual growth rate of 15-20 per cent and a share of 8-10 per cent in the country’s GDP by then.

SSI retains top securities market share

The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) has announced the list of 10 largest securities companies, and SSI Securities Corporation remained the leader with a 13.84 per cent market share in the first half of the year.

In second and third positions were the HCM City Securities Corp (HSC) and Viet Capital Securities (VCSC) with 11.07 per cent and 9.71 per cent.

Rounded off the top 10 list were VNDirect Securities Corp (7.3 per cent), MB Securities JSC (4.76 per cent), Bao Viet Securities (3.78 per cent), Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities (3.56 per cent), Mirae Asset Securies (Viet Nam) (3.39 per cent), ACB Securities (3.12 per cent), and VPS Securities (3.11 per cent).

At the end of the last trading session in June, the VN-Index stood at 949.94 points, a rise of 6.43 per cent in 2019.

But liquidity was low. On HoSE, 20 billion shares were traded in the first half for VND443.4 trillion, down 14 per cent and 17.5 per cent compared to the previous half.

Trading in Ha Noi too was down, 28 per cent in volume and 32 per cent in value.

According to experts, the trade tension between the US and China is easing, which is expected to create a market recovery.

Covered warrants, which were listed and began to be traded on June 28, are expected to make the market more dynamic, they said.

VN to boost professional real estate brokers

Real estate brokerage plays an important role in the circulation of real estate products. The sustainable development of the property market depends on a variety of factors such as legal policy, management of authorities, operations of the businesses, as well as professionalism of brokerage teams.

Therefore, real estate brokers need to have enough knowledge and skills to synthesise information about real estate associated with legal items and planning, as well as real estate values for buyers and sellers, said Dang Hung Vo, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.

Statistics from the Vietnam Association of Realtors (VARS) showed that, out of about 300,000 real estate brokers in Viet Nam, only 30,000-35,000 are eligible to do the work, accounting for 10-12 per cent. In the last three years, the growth of real estate brokerage in the market has averaged about 15 per cent per year.

The number of real estate brokers has increased rapidly, bringing convenience and more professional consulting services, so customers can quickly make good investment decisions, safe and guided legal procedures in a complete and convenient way.

However, there is a fact that brokers are the cause of land fever in all localities, causing market turmoil. Moreover, the problem of spam messages and calls from real estate agents are creating problems for the profession and adversely affecting real brokers.

According to Tran Minh Hoang, Deputy Secretary General of VARDS, the real estate brokerage profession is closely linked to market transparency, so the requirements for real estate brokers must be set very high, even with severe sanctions against professional and ethics violations. At the same time, real estate agents must also have the capacity to assess the legality of real estate for sale and take responsibility for accuracy and transparency.

Hoang estimated that "over 90 per cent of private housing sales information is inaccurate, misleading in location, price, legality or planning information".

In order to make real estate brokers more professional and meet the current international integration requirements, it was necessary to soon organise management measures, ensuring brokerage activities comply with current laws; as well as adding regulations on granting identification numbers, he said. Especially, it should be strictly forbidden to work as a brokerage without a certificate, Hoang added.

After-sale care must be shown to home buyers: experts

Investors in apartment building projects need to maintain the service quality promised to buyers, experts have said.

If the pledges are not met, prolonged disputes often arise, General Director of Dai Phuc Land Company told Dau tu (Investment) newspaper.

For two years, the developer is responsible for building maintenance, but after that period, residents can elect a board to manage affairs.

But because these boards are made up of just residents, few have management experience.

Nguyen Huong says the time is right for the State to reconsider regulations on management and operation of multi-ownership real estate projects like apartment buildings.

She says this is key for townhouse, villas and apartment buildings in new urban areas at large-scale complexes where there are many public facilities that need managing correctly.

Resident boards, she says, should only a ‘go-between’ to connect investors and those who live in projects, and should not be responsible for more technical issues like building upkeep.

Huong said in high-end residential schemes investors must be on top of their responsibilities as the buyer expects a five-star service for their investment.

Huong added that the State should have clear regulations on the roles and responsibilities of the partners in the operation to maintain the service quality.

According to Le Hoang Chau, chairman of HCM City Real Estate Association, although the management board now has legal status, enforcing the law is not straightforward.

This causes issues when it comes to making key decisions, and causes rifts between residents and investors.

The association has been working with the Ministry of Construction but there are no clear solutions.

"Regulations need to be clear, and responsibility of the board’s role needs to be spelt out better," he said, adding that board members should also have a basic knowledge of construction and building issues.

Cherry-like apricot trees planted in Lang Biang plateau

A ceremony has been held in Lac Duong district, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong to launch a campaign to plant 1,000 cherry-like apricot trees in Lang Biang plateau.

The event aimed to call for organisations, enterprises and individuals to join hands to improve the environment and make it ‘greener.’

The funds for the campaign were estimated at around 700 million VND. The organising board, Dalattourist and Viettravel companies, has launched the ‘Lang Biang Trail’ event to raise the funds, featuring the participation of about 2,000 people.

After the launching ceremony on July 6, the first trees were planted on Lang Biang mountain.

Cherry-like apricot – Mai Anh Dao - has become a specialty in Da Lat city. The flower blooms in pink in the first months of the year to welcome the spring. The trees mostly grow in Da Lat city and forests in Lac Duong district.

 
 
 
 
 
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