BUSINESS NEWS 13/8

Businesses seek ways to boost food export

BUSINESS NEWS 13/8

Experts proposed a number of solutions to boosting food export to potential markets during a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 7.

Ly Kim Chi, Chairwoman of the Food and Foodstuff Association of Ho Chi Minh City, said the city will focus on exporting aquatic products, coffee, vegetables, fruits, and rice to member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as well as catfish, shrimp and other agricultural products to the European market.

To date, Vietnam has exported goods to over 200 markets. In the first six months of 2019, the total import-export turnover was estimated at 122.42 billion USD, a year-on-year rise of 7.1 percent.

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the CPTPP will help Vietnam attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and create new agro-fishery products, according to experts.

Ramlan Osman, Director of Vietnam Halal Center, said Vietnam has abundant raw materials for halal products – which are of global increasing demand - such as coffee, rice, seafood, spices, nuts, and vegetables.

Pham Tuan Long, deputy director of the trade department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the ministry has been coordinating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to update technical barriers and trade protection measures from import countries for businesses.

The two ministries are pushing ahead with negotiations to pave the way for fresh shrimp to Australia, pork to China, the Philippines and Singapore, salted egg to Hong Kong and Singapore, star apple to the US, grapefruit and custard apple to China, longan, lychee and rambutan to the Republic of Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has also worked with relevant agencies to strengthen management and quickly resolve problems in exporting agro-fishery products to bordering countries.

Hanoi’s Vietnamese goods fair to attract nearly 300 stalls

A Vietnamese goods expo, to be hosted by the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade, will feature close to 300 stalls, as heard at an August 7 press conference on the upcoming event.

Themed “Joining hands to build Vietnamese trademark”, the fair is scheduled for September 26 – 30 at the Son Tay town stadium.

Showcased products will be divided into different groups, including key industrial goods, those most-favoured by consumers, those from craft villages, local specialties, and anti-plastic-waste products.

The event will also feature an exhibition space for activities of the “Vietnamese prioritize Vietnamese products” campaign in a decade as well as for the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the capital’s liberation day.

Participating firms will be supported in connecting to exporters and distributors and in promoting their products to consumers in Hanoi and neighbouring localities.

Da Nang emerges as favourite destination for Japanese investors

After lagging behind other provinces and cities nationwide in attracting Japanese investment, the central city of Da Nang has emerged as a popular destination for investors from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Statistics released by the municipal Department of Planning and Investment showed that Japan investors have to date poured more than 950 million USD in 194 projects, ranking first among over 40 countries and territories investing in the city.

According to Vice Chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee Le Trung Chinh, Japan has been a leading foreign investor in Da Nang in the number of projects. Japanese firms have greatly contributed to the city’s economic development, creating jobs for about 30,000 workers in Da Nang and neighbouring localities.

The city has huge demand for high quality accommodation and tourism services, he added.

Japan’s Mikazuki Group recently announced its investment worth 50 million USD to build a night market and pedestrian zone next to the Mikazuki Spa & Hotel project that is underway near Xuan Thieu beach.

Besides, the Sun Frontier Da Nang One Member Limited Company, a wholly Japanese-invested firm, began the construction of its 29-storey building in the central city.

Earlier, a luxury apartment project of the company was inaugurated in the city’s Son Tra district, which was built at a cost of more than 27 million USD.

In late 2016, one of Japan’s leading hotel groups Route Inn channelled about 58 million USD into a hotel project in Da Nang.

Japanese-funded projects in other sectors of the city include those of Viet Hoa Electronics Co. Ltd. with a budget of 119 million USD; and of Mabuchi Motor Vietnam and Daiwa Vietnam with registered capital worth 89 million USD and 45 million USD, respectively.

Notably, there are total 162 industrial projects out of more than 700 foreign direct investment projects, accounting for over 47 percent of the FDI capital in the city.

Experts noted that Japanese investors pay great attention to information provided by their predecessors when doing business abroad. Therefore, to attract Japanese capital influx, local authorities should work towards policy transparency for current firms, particularly in tax collection, land policy, investment procedure, customs clearance and import-export.

The city was also advised to improve its infrastructure, including Da Nang airport, seaports, electric power systems and wastewater treatment systems in industrial parks.

Da Nang should foster twin-city relations with Japanese localities and business associations to better call for more investment. The city can consider sending workers for training in Japan before returning home.

However, bottlenecks remain in Da Nang’s investment climate, said Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Tran Phuoc Son. Many projects deemed attractive to foreign investors, yet land planning procedures hinder their development, he said.

In addition, the city’s overloaded infrastructure and the fledgling supporting industry have made it difficult to attract investment in high technology.

Da Nang is currently home to six industrial parks and the city plans to set up three others, namely Hoa Cam (second stage), Hoa Nhon and Hoa Ninh, in the coming time.

Between January and June this year, the city drew more than 542 million USD worth of foreign investment.

Da Nang successfully organised a spring conference with investors, during which investment registration certificates were granted to eight projects worth over 492 million USD. Meanwhile, the local authorities allowed research for 11 potential projects worth nearly 3.5 billion USD.

The city topped the country in public administrative reform index from 2012 to 2016, and came fourth in 2017, while maintaining its top position in ICT development index in 10 consecutive years.

Japan was placed third among 65 countries and territories investing in new projects in Vietnam during the first seven months of 2019, data of the General Statistics Office show.

In the period, new Japanese-invested projects worth 1.12 billion USD was licensed, accounting for 13.6 percent of the total newly registered foreign investment.

The GSO said from the year’s beginning to July 20, about 20.2 billion USD of FDI poured into Vietnam, down 13.4 percent year on year.

Of this sum, 8.27 billion USD was channelled into 2,064 new projects, down 37.4 percent in the capital but up 24.6 percent in the project number compared to the same period last year.

TTI wants to develop $650 million plant in Vietnam

Hong Kong-based TTI, Inc., a leading wireless industrial electrical equipment manufacturer, reaffirmed its plan to develop a strategic factory and a research and development centre in Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) in Ho Chi Minh City.

In the framework of the meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, TTI's chairman Horst Julius Pudwill expressed the corporation's ambition to develop a plant and an R&D centre with the target of making Vietnam its new manufacturing base.

The group sees that Vietnam offers numerous investment opportunities thus, and are looking to increase its investment to manufacture products for export, while simultaneously developing German-standard training schools to improve the quality of the Vietnamese engineering workforce. Besides, TTI hopes that its investment will be a basis to encourage satellite companies to relocate to Vietnam to join its supply chain.

Notably, the plant will have a total investment capital of $650 million which focuses on manufacturing hand-held power tools with integrated technology for designing and manufacturing control devices, power electronic transformers for the power industry, mechanical engineering, and the Internet of things.

Besides, the group also wanted to open a vocational training school worth over $24 million in District 9 and plans to build the second German House in Ho Chi Minh City.

It is not the first time TTI expressed its interest in developing facilities in Vietnam. Earlier in February, TTI announced plans to invest in a solar panel manufacturing plant and an R&D centre in SHTP. However, at the time, the proposed investment capital was $150 million only, much lower than the latest offer.

JD.com usurps VNG to become Tiki's largest shareholder

VNG used to be Tiki's largest shareholder with an investment of VND384 billion ($16.7 million) but it has just lost this position to JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce giant.

According to the newly released semi-annual financial report, VNG's ownership rate in Tiki by the end of the second quarter fell to 24.4 per cent from 28.8 per cent at the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, JD.com has been continuously pouring money into Tiki since the end of 2017 and has now become the largest shareholder of the e-commerce platform. According to the National Business Registration Portal, JD.com on June 25 owned 25.65 per cent of Tiki's shares.

According to iPrice, Tiki ranks second, after Shopee, among Vietnam's top 50 e-commerce players based on their average quarterly traffic, mobile application ranking, social media followers, and number of staff. Data were collected in July 2019.

Founded in 2010, Ho Chi Minh City-based Tiki started with selling books online. After that, the e-commerce site expanded to various goods and products in fashion, technology, healthcare, and even beauty care.

Tiki started the first round of fundraising in 2012 from venture capital fund Cyberagent before closing the investment with Sumimoto. In May 2016, Tiki received an investment of $17 million from VNG in exchange for 38 per cent of the shares.

However, Tiki burned about VND380 billion ($16.52 million) in the first two years (2016 and 2017) of the investment, according to VNG’s annual reports.

While the e-commerce race getting increasingly fierce with Lazada and Shopee, Tiki had to continue raising capital. At the end of 2017, it received the first investment from China's second-largest e-commerce giant, JD.com.

In order to maintain its leading position, VNG also invested more than VND120 billion ($5.22 million) in Tiki in a private issuance earlier this year. VNG's ownership rate in Tiki at the end of 2018 was 28.9 per cent, while JD.com held 22 per cent. However, competitive pressure kept increasing Tiki's capital demand, while VNG had many other investments that needed attention, such as Zalo Pay.

In the first half of 2019, Tiki raised capital twice more. As a result, the shareholder structure also changed as JD.com officially became the largest shareholder with nearly 26 per cent while VNG's holding shrank to 24.6 per cent.

According to VNG's financial report, the value of its investment in Tiki was VND506 billion ($22 million) in the first half of this year. The company has invested an additional VND129 billion ($5.61 million) in Zion JSC, which operates the Zalo Pay platform. Earlier, Zion reported a loss of over VND133 billion ($5.78 million) in 2018, according to data from VNG's annual report.

Approximately 553,000 records processed through National Single Window

Nearly 553,000 records from over 4,700 businesses have been processed through the National Single Window (NSW) so far this year.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has been coordinating with ministries and sectors to prepare for the implementation of 61 new administrative procedures on the NSW in 2019.

As of July 15, the NSW has connected 174 administrative procedures by 13 ministries and sectors, dealing with a total of over 2.3 million administrative records of roughly 31,000 businesses.

Currently, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has worked with ministries and sectors to review and finalise the construction of the system and prepare for the pilot implementation of 15 administrative procedures concerning the grant of work permits for the imports of non-business documents and printing equipment, and for business activities in the field of importing documents.

Regarding the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) mechanism, Vietnam has officially exchanged information on certificates of origin (C/O) with six countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei and Cambodia.

Vietnam has sent 155,905 C/Os to ASEAN countries (38,426 to Indonesia, 38,991 to Malaysia, 13,216 to Singapore, 65,227 to Thailand and 45 to Brunei), while receiving 88,422 from ASEAN member nations (64,747 from Indonesia, 23,009 from Malaysia, 654 from Singapore and 12 from Cambodia).

According to the General Department of Customs, the MOF is currently cooperating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to prepare technical conditions for the exchange of ASEAN customs declaration information (with Indonesia and Thailand) and certificates of phytosanitary (with Indonesia).

Concerning the implementation of connection with non-ASEAN partners, the MOF is working with ministries and sectors to check the connection and then pilot the exchange of customs declaration information with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), as well as agreeing on technical requirements towards exchanging C/O information with the EAEU, and coordinating to test the Blockchain technology in receiving C/O information from the Republic of Korea customs agencies.

During this period, there were nearly 1.1 million customs import & export declarations nationwide, with the green flow taking up 55.46%, the yellow flow 39.47% and the red flow 5.07%.

VNG confirmed as Tiki's largest shareholder

Tiki announced for the first time its investor structure and management and operations framework on August 6 in Ho Chi Minh City.

VNG holds 24.6 per cent of Tiki’s shares, according to VNG’s consolidated financial report for June 30.

The China-based JD.com holds 25.65 per cent, according to another release regarding business registration changes posted on the National Portal on Business Registration on June 26. Tiki, however, officially confirmed that the information in this release is from a report for a previous time, not June 30.

The difference in the two reports led to inaccurate reporting that VNG is no longer Tiki’s largest shareholder.

After nine years of development, Tiki is now the leading company in the infrastructure and fulfillment center network in Vietnam’s e-commerce industry, with an end-to-end supply chain.

It owns ten fulfillment centers nationwide on a total area of over 60,000 sq m and is the only e-commerce business offering the TikiNOW 2h fast delivery service, the first in Southeast Asia and with a punctual delivery rate of up to 99.5 per cent, with the remaining 0.5 per cent due to reasons such as missed calls, weather, and traffic, or other unexpected factors. Tiki’s nationwide average delivery time is 1.2 days, while the figure for the market as a whole is four to five days.

In the three years since the launch of the Managed Marketplace, Tiki now offers over 4 million authentic products to Vietnamese customers.

From investment by local and foreign investors, Tiki builds, develops, and operates technology and systems. It guarantees that all data for the Vietnamese market and users is stored and kept secure, in compliance with Vietnamese law.

Besides building infrastructure, technology, and business activities, the platform has also paid substantial attention to having a positive impact on Vietnamese people. Via the Tiki Foundation, it invests in Vietnamese talent to bring positive changes to society.

JLL: Real estate FDI in 1H down but potential remains

Total registered FDI in Vietnam’s real estate sector in the first half of 2019 stood at $1.32 billion, a fall of 76 per cent compared to the same period of 2018, which stood at $5.54 billion, according to the latest report from real estate consultants JLL.

This is largely due to the substantial amount of capital for real estate in the first half of 2018, primarily in two projects: Smart City in Hanoi, with total investment of $4.1 billion from the Sumitomo Corporation, and additional capital of $1.1 billion in the Laguna project in central Thua Thien Hue province from a Singaporean investor. Though lower than in the first half of last year, registered FDI into real estate in the first half of this year was still higher than in the first halves of 2016 and 2017, when it stood at some $600 million and $700 million, respectively.

“We expect foreign investors to continue showing a keen interest in and strong commitment to Vietnam’s real estate market, and that the market still has the potential for growth,” said Ms. Khanh Nguyen, Senior Director, Capital Markets, Vietnam, at JLL. “Although M&A activities may potentially occur at a slower pace and at a lower frequency over the remaining two quarters of this year due to lack of ‘clean’ and ‘clear’ projects readily available to invest in, we forecast that ongoing investigations by authorities into the real estate sector will ultimately improve transparency in the market. This will ensure Vietnam’s competitiveness and attract even more investors from the region.”

M&A activities in the real estate market this year started off with Keppel Land’s divestment from the Dong Nai Waterfront City project. According to a company announcement, Keppel Land will divest 70 per cent of its interest in Dong Nai Waterfront City to the Nam Long Investment Corporation for a total consideration of VND2.313 trillion (approximately $100 million). Both Keppel Land and Nam Long will jointly develop the 170-ha residential township.

Keppel Land has also recently announced its acquisition of three land parcels in Ho Chi Minh City. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Keppel Land has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with the Phu Long Real Estate Corporation to acquire a 60 per cent interest in the three sites for a total consideration of VND1.304 trillion (approximately $56 million).

The Lotte FLC Joint Stock Company, a joint venture between the FLC Group and Lotte Land, a subsidiary of the Lotte Group, has been established with charter capital of VND556.5 billion ($24.1 million) and will operate in the field of real estate, according to the National Agency for Business Registration. Lotte Land will own 60 per cent and FLC and its affiliates the remainder.

There have recently been investigations by Vietnamese authorities of real estate projects that were allocated inefficiently in the past, either through no formal bidding process or a sale at less than the market price. Authorities’ drive to clamp down on corruption may have some impact on business profits in the short term, as certain projects are put on hold while investigations proceed, which may potentially lead to a temporary shortfall of projects readily available to invest in. “However, we expect that ultimately it will help the sector overall, as transparency will improve, ensuring fair practices in the market and boosting both foreign and local investor confidence in Vietnam’s real estate sector,” Ms. Nguyen said.

With “clean” and “clear” land banks for residential and commercial projects being harder to find in the CBD or in well-known areas of Ho Chi Minh City, JLL has observed a number of investors and developers looking to expand their footprint in neighboring provinces.

As US-China trade tensions have escalated recently, the trend towards shifting manufacturing away from China to Southeast Asia will continue to benefit the region as a whole, including Vietnam. There is continued strong interest in industrial and logistics assets, with both existing and new investors actively seeking joint ventures with local industrial developers and/or the acquisition of land banks and operating assets.

GS E&C's smart township in HCMC on horizon

GS E&C, the engineering and construction subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate the GS Group, has been developing a noteworthy legacy in Vietnam, the Zeitgeist project in Ho Chi Minh City’s Nha Be district, after a number of previous construction and infrastructure projects.

According to South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, GS E&C ranked first among suppliers of new apartments in South Korea in 2018 based on its impeccable construction ability. Standing out from its competitors, GS E&C remains the only provider of luxury apartments and the number two name in townhouse and villa projects. Since 2015, the company has sold more than 20,000 homes each year, including 24,345 in 2017 and 20,748 in 2018.

“We have a great interest in and passion for the future of Vietnam,” said Mr. Cho Sung Yol, General Director of GS E&C Vietnam. “From premium townships to vital additions to the country’s infrastructure, our vision is to make a positive impact on Vietnam’s future.”

With more than 40 years of experience in South Korea and steadfast dedication to the betterment of Vietnam, GS E&C established Vietnam GS Industry (VGSI) as its local development arm in 2007.

Incorporating its parent company’s commitment to green, smart, and sustainable technology and maintaining the same core values - great innovation and great partnership - VGSI’s most impressive contribution to Ho Chi Minh City is the under-construction Zeitgeist township in Nha Be district.

 

Derived from the German word meaning “the spirit of the times”, Zeitgeist will be built across five phases, the first of which, zeit River County 1, pronounced “zai”, and will represent the balance between work, family, and self.

Optimally located on Nguyen Huu Tho with access to a number of bridges, canals, and infrastructure, once completed, Zeitgeist will comprise approximately 760 villas, 770 mid-end apartments, and 13,000 high-end apartments, in addition to 2,600 mixed-use buildings, including a school, hospital and cultural and administrative building on a total of 349 ha.

“In its first phase, zeit River County 1 will introduce an integrated sense of harmony using modern technology alongside vast green spaces,” said Mr. Cho. “With lots of natural light and manicured outdoor areas juxtaposed with smart technology, we invite future residents to discover a harmonious balance between a busy urban existence and a relaxed, peaceful one.”

zeit River County 1 will be introduced to the market in the coming months. In this first phase, buyers can expect 17.9 ha of 359 villas, townhouses and shophouses to be ready for handover in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Danang seeks solutions for hotel development

As many as 1,000 participants active in the tourism and hospitality sectors will attend Danang Hotel Solutions 2019 Workshops and Exhibition, which takes place on August 29, to seek solutions for the development of the hotel industry in Danang.

Vice Chairman of the Danang Hotel Association Nguyen Duc Quynh said that the event, which will gather participants from the Outsourcing and Purchasing Club, travel firms, Food and Beverage Managers' Club, Chief Engineer Club, Housekeeping Club and Chefs’ Club and the investors and directors of hotels in Danang City and the central region, is expected to help present the most practical solutions for hotel growth.

Organized at the Danang Ariyana Convention Center, the event will feature 100 booths from domestic and international suppliers, hotels, restaurants and tour operators. These booths will showcase high-caliber hospitality products, services and solutions.

Besides this, some workshops will be held by the Outsourcing and Purchasing Club, the Danang Labor Federation, the municipal Department of Tourism and Danang Hotel Association on the sidelines of the exhibition, Quynh said.

The 2018 edition brought together 300 representatives of hotels and service and product suppliers working in the tourism industry.

A report by the municipal Department of Tourism showed that in the first six months of 2019, the city had 820 lodging facilities with 37,430 rooms, up 100 facilities and 5,900 rooms year-on-year, tripling numbers seen in 2011.

Foreign fashion brands impose multiple safety requirements on apparel sector

International fashion brands and distributors active in the textiles, garments and footwear sectors have started to lay down safety requirements for electricity systems, the working environment and fire prevention and fighting at facilities to create safer working conditions, heard attendees at a workshop in Hanoi on August 6.

A source from the workshop on “Promoting safer working conditions for factory workers in the apparel and footwear industry,” said that the new requirements from major brands and distributors have put local enterprises under pressure.

The apparel and footwear sectors play a key role in the country’s economic growth, bringing US$36.3 billion in export revenue in 2018.

The sectors are expected to book US$40 billion in export revenue this year. With growth rates ranging from 12% to 16% per year in the 2010-2018 period, the sectors ranked second or third in terms of the country’s overall export revenue.

Vietnam has signed various free trade agreements with developed countries, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), allowing Vietnamese enterprises, including textile, garment and footwear firms, to strengthen their cooperation with foreign partners in production and export.

Despite the range of opportunities for business expansion and growth, the local apparel and footwear firms have faced multiple challenges, especially in meeting international commitments and complying with regulations on labor, environment and production safety, to develop the sectors sustainably.

Huynh Tien Dung, director of the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), said that the greatest difficulties facing Vietnam on signing the CPTPP and EVFTA involved labor and sustainable development.

As such, to make the most of the free trade agreements, domestic enterprises should focus on meeting international requirements and standards, Dung said.

Factories that supply products to many brands and distributors have run into severe hardships because of the new requirements, he stressed.

To support Vietnamese firms in fulfilling the requirements on building safety, set by international brands and distributors, IDH has cooperated with some foreign brands and distributors such as Bestseller, Gap, Li&Fung, Target, VF Corporation and Walmart to develop a common set of criteria on safety at textile, garment and footwear production facilities and has launched Life and Building Safety, an industry-wide program to promote safe manufacturing in the apparel and footwear value chain.

Mekong Delta’s FDI approvals exceed US$22 billion

The Mekong Delta had attracted over 1,600 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects as of June this year, with total registered capital reaching US$22.3 billion.

In particular, the region recorded 81 new FDI projects worth US$900 million during the first half of the year, said Huynh Thien Trang, deputy director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Can Tho branch (VCCI Can Tho).

Meanwhile, foreign investors had committted a combined US$21 billion in over 1,500 projects in the region by the end of last year, she said at a meeting with importers from Singapore and other countries to Vietnam for trade, held on August 6 in the city.

There were over 4,700 newly founded firms and some 1,300 firms resuming operations in the region during the first six-month period, Trang added. The number of disbanded enterprises and others waiting to be disbanded amounted to 4,600 units.

Overall, the region had had 50,000 active businesses as of June, said the VCCI Can Tho representative.

Regarding Can Tho as the region’s central city, it had attracted 82 FDI projects with total pledged capital exceeding US$700 million in the year to May. These projects were funded by investors from South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the United States, according to data from the Can Tho Promotion Agency. Of these, Singapore injected over US$120 million in 10 FDI projects in the city.

Speaking at the event earlier, Doan Thi Thu Thuy, deputy head of the Trade Promotion Authority, under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that Singapore and Malaysia are among the largest ASEAN trade partners of Vietnam.

Events held for Singaporean and Malaysian firms in Can Tho to survey investment and cooperation opportunities are part of the plan to boost trade ties between Vietnam and the two countries, said Thuy.

Japanese firm to invest in shrimp byproducts processing facility

Japanese food producer Takesho is set to develop a plant in Can Tho City to produce materials that will serve the food industry using shrimp byproducts, including shrimp heads and shells, which are deemed waste at processing plants preparing shrimp for export.

Takesho Food and Ingredients Inc. has studied ways of turning shrimp byproducts into spices and input materials, in collaboration with Can Tho University, said Toshinao Tanaka, chairman and managing director at Takesho, at a meeting in the city on August 6.

According to Le Viet Dung, vice president of Can Tho University, the firm set up machinery worth over US$1 million at the school to study technological processes. In particular, a process to extract the protein in shrimp heads to make spices and food materials reached completion earlier than scheduled.

Takesho wants to start work on the plant early next year. The project will cover two hectares of land in the city’s Tra Noc 2 Industrial Zone.

Takesho chose this location for the facility because of its proximity to the school and Can Tho International Airport, making it convenient for research, cooperation and transport.

Moreover, infrastructure facilities in Tra Noc 2 are more adequate than those in other industrial zones and there are many agro-aquatic processing firms active in the zone, which is expected to supply sufficient shrimp byproducts to the plant, said the Takesho chairman.

However, Nguyen Thi Kieu Duyen, deputy director of Can Tho Management Board of Processing and Industrial zones, asked Takesho to establish its legal entity in the city so that the project can be executed quickly.

Meanwhile, the municipal vice chairman, Duong Tan Hien, asked departments and agencies in the city to create favorable conditions for the Japanese firm to build the plant in January next year.

Danang to serve as connecting venue for Cambodian tourists: official

An air service between Phnom Penh and the central coastal city of Danang scheduled for launch in October is expected to attract more Cambodian tourists as a stopover to other Asian and European countries.

Nguyen Xuan Binh, deputy director of the Danang Department of Tourism, made the announcement at a meeting between representatives of local tourism firms and officials from the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, held in Danang on Monday.

There are many direct flights from the Vietnamese city to other Asian and European countries and the United States, Binh said. One air service between Danang and Siem Reap, a resort town in northwestern Cambodia, is already in operation.

Danang will serve as a tourism gateway connecting the neighboring countries and the world, he noted.

Cambodian travelers who first spend time in southern Vietnam tend to travel to the central and northern parts of the country, and Danang is a potential destination, according to Prak Chandara, chief inspector of the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.

Chandara pointed out that alongside the scheduled Phnom Penh-Danang route, Cambodia’s carrier Cambodia Angkor Air will introduce services to the Vietnamese capital city of Hanoi, Dalat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong and Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Quang Ninh Province.

He added that the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents is promoting tourist arrivals in Danang. Cambodian authorities are also encouraging caravan tours to Danang on a Central Highlands route stretching around 400 kilometers through the provinces of Dak Nong and Gia Lai.

According to the official, Cambodian tourists have long preferred travelling in groups rather than independently, so they opt for low-cost tourist destinations.

He remarked that a flight to Danang costs groups of Cambodian travelers some US$300 per head, so the launch of direct flights will help lower tour prices, encouraging more Cambodians to visit the city.

In return, travelers from Danang and elsewhere in Vietnam have more opportunities to travel to Cambodia through Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, he added.

The forthcoming Cambodia Travel Fair 2019, which is slated to take place in Phnom Penh in October, will present an opportunity for Danang-based tourism firms to gain a better understanding of the potential market, said Cao Tri Dung, chairman of the Danang Travel Association.

Ca Mau expands use of advanced farming techniques

The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau has developed more clean farming models for shrimp and rice that meet Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards and organic standards to meet the rising demand for them, especially in export markets.

It has carried out a project to farm high-quality shrimp and rice to VietGAP standards in Ca Mau city’s Ly Van Lam commune.

Farmers grow rice in the rainy season and raise shrimp in the dry season in the same fields, and both are clean due to the low use of chemicals.

The project, implemented on a total area of 120ha, helps produce high-quality rice and shrimp, improving farmers’ incomes.

Phan Hoang Minh of Ca Mau city’s Division of Agriculture and Rural Development said the participating farmers harvested seven tonnes of rice per hectare in the last crop, two tonnes more than in the same crop last year.

“The project will be expanded to an additional 80ha next month when farmers begin a new rice crop.”

Pham Van Mich, director of the province’s Agriculture Seed Centre, said the project was new but proceeding on schedule and churning out high-quality produce.

The model is especially suitable for use in coastal areas where salinity in rivers is rising due to intrusion of seawater, according to Mich.

The rice varieties planted under the project include ‘tai nguyen’, ‘tep hanh’ and ‘mot bui’, which are resistant to saltwater and disease and delicious.

Nguyen Van Tranh, deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said rice was one of the four key agricultural products chosen for the agriculture restructuring plan.

The department would zone areas for growing high-quality VietGAP rice, he said.

Ca Mau has more than 85,000ha under rice and 40,000ha of shrimp-rice farms.

It has another 280,849ha of shrimp farms, or 40 percent of the country’s total, and accounts for 30 percent of the country’s shrimp exports.

The province produces 120,000 tonnes of shrimp a year, according to its Aquaculture Sub-department.

Its shrimp are bred under various models such as traditional extensive farming, advanced extensive farming, intensive farming, and super intensive farming.

Intensive and super intensive farming are done on more than 2,000ha, with the latter yielding an average of 40-50 tonnes of shrimp per hectare per crop.

Thai Minh Tuan, who does intensive farming of shrimp in Dam Doi district’s Tran Phan commune, said though the weather had been unfavourable recently his shrimp did not contract serious diseases because he used biofloc technology to manage water quality.

Water quality and shrimp fry were the two important factors for a successful shrimp crop, he said.

Many shrimp farmers in Dam Doi use biofloc technology, helping keep diseases under control in the area.

The province has established several shrimp farming areas that meet high quality standards including organic, VietGAP and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

Ca Mau promotes its shrimp products within the country and abroad.

It has created link-ups between stakeholders in shrimp production including farmers and processing companies to improve the former’s incomes and the quality of shrimp products.

The Cai Bat Aquaculture Cooperative in Cai Nuoc district’s Hoa My commune has, for instance, participated in a project to create an equitable and sustainable shrimp production chain in 2016.

The project taught the co-operative’s members farming techniques and elicited support from participating companies.

The companies sell inputs to the members and buy their entire output.

Nguyen Van Lam, director of the cooperative, said: “Through the project, cooperation between the cooperative and companies in both buying and selling outputs has been implemented effectively.”

Members could buy shrimp fry, food and drugs at lower prices than in the market, while the company bought their shrimp at 2,000-5,000 VND a kilogramme higher than market rates, he said

Last month the province established the Vietnam Sustainable Shrimp Alliance, with its members including shrimp processing companies, cooperatives representing shrimp farming households and foreign buyers.

The alliance is expected to help create a standard closed shrimp production chain.

Vietjet teams up with Swift247 and Grab

The Vietjet Aviation Joint Stock Company (Vietjet) will team up with Swift 247, a technology start-up providing super express air delivery service (Swift247) and Grab to develop solutions for connecting road and air travel to customers across Southeast Asia.

Following a Memorandum of Understanding inked between the companies in Ho Chi Minh City on August 7, they will also cooperate in providing super express delivery services in the Vietnamese market.

“This strategic partnership marks the first collaboration between Vietjet and Grab with the aim of offering the Vietnamese market the best quality services, bringing the highest benefits to customers and the community,” Vietjet said in a statement.

The partnership allows Vietjet and Grab to leverage technological advantages to develop low-cost solutions for road and air mobility. The two parties will focus on research and development of the digital platform integration between the two companies to increase convenience for consumers and aim to expand the co-operation not only in Vietnam but also other Southeast Asian markets.

With technological solutions of Swift247, Grab and Vietjet will be able to connect flights with road transportation and super express delivery services, according to Vietjet.

In the first phase, Swift247 customers will be able to deliver goods quickly via GrabExpress delivery services on the Grab platform and Vietjet aircrafts within five hours between Hanoi and HCM City. Customers can track the delivery process on the website and Swift247 application conveniently and effectively.

In the future, the parties will look forward to the ability to integrate Swift247 services into the Grab open platform to bring the convenience and accessibility of services to consumers of all parties.

In her speech at the signing ceremony, Vietjet President and CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao said she believed that this partnership will bring in new changes in the local delivery market, and create unique experiences for consumers, and meet the increasing demand for good delivery services.

“This is also a new step on the path to becoming a ‘Consumer Airline’, providing all kinds of services that consumers of Vietjet need,” she said.

Tommy Nguyen, a representative of Swift247, said with Vietjet's wide range of airline routes to domestic and international destinations and Grab’s position and extensive driver-partners and user base, customers will be able to experience a convenient and reliable delivery service, supported by technology.

With more than 400 daily flights and 129 routes covering local and international destinations including Vietnamese, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Republic of Korea, Vietjet also provides domestic and international cargo services.

 
 
 
 
 
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