BUSINESS NEWS 30/7

Farm produce processing industry urged to tap potential

BUSINESS NEWS 30/7

Vietnam’s agro-forestry and fishery processing industry has bright prospects in both export and domestic markets, but needs further measures to tap its potential, according to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority.

Speaking at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on July 24, Nguyen Quoc Toan, the authority's director, said: “The domestic agro-forestry and fishery processing industry had an annual growth rate of 5-7 percent over the past 10 years, creating a system with total processing capacity of about 120 million tonnes of farm produce materials a year."

The country is home to over 7,500 enterprises involved in agro, forestry and fishery processing on an industrial scale for export, besides tens of thousands of small-scale processing facilities serving the domestic market.

“The processing industry has significantly increased the value of Vietnamese agricultural products, contributing to building a modern agricultural system,” Toan said.

However, the industry's development has not been commensurate with its potential, he said. Shortcomings and bottlenecks in its value chain include the low level of processing technology, lack of diversity of processed products, and weak linkages among stakeholders in material supply, processing and consumption.

Dr. Le Manh Hung, a representative of the Sub-Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Post-Harvest Technology in the South, said that fruit and vegetable exports increased strongly from 151.5 million USD in 2003 to 3.8 billion USD last year.

“Exports are expected to continue to rise since Vietnamese exporters have increased shipments to high-grade markets such as the US, the EU, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.”

However, Vietnam's agricultural products in general are less competitive than those from more developed countries in the region and the world because of higher prices, he said.

He attributed the situation to a lack of post-harvest and processing technologies.

According to experts, free trade agreements have opened up opportunities for domestic food firms to enhance exports.

But to capitalise on the opportunities, local firms need to invest more in deep processing to add more value to their products.

Hung said: "To improve added value, besides researching and applying high-tech technologies to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables, it is necessary to focus on investing in processing technology for frozen vegetables and fruits, and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.”

Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T Group, which exports many products to the US, said that processing demands could not be met by domestic material supply, which remains the main obstacle for the agricultural processing industry.

Vietnam needs to create a zoning plan for large scale high-quality material areas to meet quality, hygiene and food-safety standards in the global food supply chain, he said.

The country targets 65-70 billion USD from agro-forestry and fishery exports by 2030, double the current figure, with its processing technologies meeting an average level or above, and some commodities having processing technologies at the highest level in the region.

To realise the targets and to bring more Vietnamese agricultural products to developed markets, in addition to enhanced cooperation among industry stakeholders, the sector needs support from the Government, delegates at the conference said.

The international conference on “Development of the processing and preserving industry for agricultural products in the integration period” was held on the sidelines of the Vietnam International Exhibition on Processing, Packaging and Preserving Food and Agricultural Products in HCM City from July 24 to 27.

Hoa Phat retains top position in construction steel market

Hoa Phat Group sold more than 1.34 million tonnes of construction steel to the Vietnamese market in the first half of 2019, up 22.9 percent year on year, retaining its position as the biggest supplier with a market share of 25 percent.

At the same time, its construction steel exports also increased by 35 percent from the same period last year, the multi-sector conglomerate reported.

Hoa Phat also maintained the largest steel pipe market share, nearly 30 percent, in Vietnam as 363,200 tonnes of these products were sold in the reviewed period, up 15.6 percent.

Those achievements contributed to the group’s total profit of 3.86 trillion VND (nearly 166.5 million USD) in the six months, fulfilling 58 percent of the target for this year.

Hoa Phat Chairman Tran Dinh Long said the global and Vietnamese steel industry had never faced so many difficulties like in the past six months, when iron ore prices topped 120 USD per tonnes, almost doubling the figure in the same period last year.

Amidst that situation, such business results were relatively good, he said, adding that difficulties may linger for the rest of 2019 as growth in the property market is slowing down.

However, if there aren’t any big changes, the group believes it will achieve this year’s profit target, Long noted.

Techcombank honoured Best Payments Bank in Vietnam

The Vietnam Technological and Commercial JSC (Techcombank) has been named the Best Payments Bank in Vietnam in 2019 by the Asian Banker thanks to its use of high technology in providing payment solutions to customers.

The state-owned bank was honoured in a ceremony in Hanoi on July 18.

Speaking at the award event, Nguyen Huong Giang, head of Techcombank’s Transaction Banking, said in banking transactions, businesses usually focus on negotiating for low interest rates or reduced per-transaction fees while very little attention is paid to solutions to reduce costs from risks related to foreign exchange, trading fraud and liquidity.

In fact, effective cash flow management and on-time payment help the businesses optimize their capital, minimise unnecessary loans and hereby, significantly reduce capital cost, she noted.

Managing Editor of the Asian Banker Foo Boon Ping said he is impressed by the fact that Techcombank is the pioneering and only bank in Vietnam providing fee-free transactions to both individual and business customers with no condition.

The move not only goes in line with the Government’s cashless payment policy but also provides a long-term and optimal financial solution to the businesses.

The bank also offers a variety of payment channels to increase the convenience for its clients.

Last year, Techcombank posted a pre-tax profit of more than 10.66 trillion VND (458.38 million USD), up 31 percent year-on-year. The bank came second in the domestic banking system in profit, only after Vietcombank.

Its total operating income represented a 10 percent year-on-year increase to more than 16.97 trillion VND, credit rose 20 percent, and bad debts fell to 1.8 percent.

The bank aims to earn more than 11.7 trillion VND in pre-tax profit in 2019, representing a 10 percent year-on-year increase.

China far to keep pace with key FDI investors in Vietnam

Foreign direct investment inflows from China into Vietnam have enjoyed a steady rise in recent years, but still lagging behind key foreign investors such as Japan and the Republic of Korea, according to an entity from the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Statistics released by the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment indicate that Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) only made up 8 per cent of the total FDI inflows into Vietnam throughout 2012. Seven years later, the ratio has inched up to 10 per cent.

During the first half of 2019, Hong Kong (China) topped the list of FDI investors with the investment capital totaling US$5.3 billion, while investors from mainland China was ranked third with a combined registered investment capital of US$2.29 billion.

Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR), claimed that China remains a moderate FDI investor in comparison with “major players” such as Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

Each country follows its own FDI strategy. For instance, Japan keeps a close eye on energy investments while Taiwan (China) seeks to pour investment inflows into plastics production, and the RoK aims to boost electronics manufacturing.

Meanwhile, China has been following no clear FDI scheme. The majority of China’s overseas investment outflows have allegedly been poured in Asia, Thanh noted.

According to the VEPR, broad discussions on Chinese investment into Vietnam have been made. This would also raise discussions about Chinese-financed projects under Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracting arrangements.

Delayed progress, technical matters, and adverse impacts on the environment are major factors that make many Chinese-financed projects and loans headaches. VEPR cited a report as claiming that 25 out of 86 hydropower plant projects nationwide have been suffering from delayed progress. Of which, five reported sluggish progress due to shortcomings of their contractors, including those from China.

VEPR experts raised concerns about the negative impacts of EPC projects, especially coal-fired power ones, claiming that a range of issues including corruption, financial reliance, environmental pollution, and economic losses caused by EPC projects should be reviewed and handled.

Pham Sy Thanh, head of the VEPR China Economic Research Program, said capital sources from China enjoy an advantage in low interest rates but they are blamed for additional costs, including those for implementing contracts and guarantees.

He exemplified his stance by stating that Cam Pha thermal power plant, executed by Chinese firm Songling Power Environmental Equipment, has suffered from a number of serious incidents since it was put into operation in 2011.

The plant was forced to halt operation for four months as a fan of the power generation set No.2 was out of order. In 2016, it also saw a blaze in the accumulator management unit and a broken fan within power generating units. These incidents made the plant pause operations for six months and halve its total power output.

In addition, Vinh Tan 2 thermal power plant project implemented under the Chinese EPC contracting arrangement caused negative impacts on the environment. It was fined US$62,000 by the Vietnam Environment Administration for its violation of legal regulations regarding the disposal of waste and discharge systems. Meanwhile, two hydropower plants, namely An Khe-Kanak and Thuong Kon Tum, executed by Chinese contractors, also had to endure a delay to their progress.

Pham Sy Thanh suggested that the management of FDI inflows as well as loans, and projects under EPC contracting arrangements should be intensified to reduce negative impacts, such as an excessive capital reliance, low economic efficiency, and environmental issues.

Truong Dinh Tuyen, former Minister of Trade, urged for thorough consideration for economic cooperation with Chinese investors when mentioning widespread rumors about the negative impacts caused by Chinese investment inflows.

Investors are looking to remove their obsolete technologies out of their homeland, and Chinese investors are not an exception, Tuyen said, stressing that: “We are entitled to select and approve projects and contractors on our own.”

Private firms need more support from state management agencies: VCCI

Domestic businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need further support from state management agencies to better compete in the context of deep global integration, said Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc.

Loc said up to 67,000 new businesses were established and 21,600 companies resumed operations in the first six months of the year, stressing that the figures were upbeat signs in the economic development in the period.

Although several new-generation free trade agreements like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) have pushed domestic institutional reforms in the past time, many businesses said the progress still lags behind expectations, and overlapping of and even conflicts in regulations and jurisdiction of state management agencies, and different laws such as the Investment Law, Land Law, Construction Law and Environment Law has hampered their operations, he said.

Loc affirmed “transparency” is the best measure to protect SMEs and micro enterprises, and firms with less competitive advantages.

Meanwhile, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Nguyen Dinh Cung said the management capacity of Vietnamese firms is not as good as that of companies in other ASEAN countries.

The World Economic Forum ranked Vietnam at the bottom in the corporate governance index of listed companies in six ASEAN member states. Meanwhile, the competitive capacity of Vietnamese firms was placed 104th among 140 economies in the region. This means, the Vietnamese business community needs more assistance to improve their competitive edges, thus better integrating into the global economy, he stressed.

As the CPTPP, EVFTA and many other free trade agreements offer good opportunities for Vietnam to open door wider to international trade, VCCI will help local firms take full advantage of the pacts, Loc said.

According to Loc, VCCI will continue national programmes on supporting businesses to enhance capacity to compete, integrate into the global economy, and develop sustainably.

Besides, it will accelerate the implementation of bilateral cooperation agreements in trade and commerce with strategic partners, while improving the quality of business forums with key markets.

Tra fish firms report sharp rises in second quarter earnings

Many listed tra fish (pangasius) businesses reported a surge in profits in the second quarter of 2019, partially thanks to share sales and export growth.

Vinh Hoan, one of the Vietnamese leading tra fish producers, enjoyed a year-on-year surge of 19 percent in after-tax profit, revealed the company’s consolidated financial statement.

It collected more than 148 billion VND (6.36 million USD) in revenue thanks to selling the remaining shares in one of its affiliates, a year-on-year leap of 366 percent. After-tax profit of the firm in the first six months shot up nearly 700 billion VND, surging 64 percent from the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Nam Viet Corporation reported a net revenue of more than 1.06 trillion VND in the period, a year-on-year rise of 23 percent, thanks to growing export volume.

Export revenue of the company hit more than 837 billion VND, accounting for nearly 80 percent of the figure and up nearly 24 percent against the same period last year. The company’s after-tax profit exceeded 152 billion VND, 30 percent higher than in the second quarter of 2018.

In the first six months, the firm’s revenue stood at 1.97 trillion VND, up 17.3 percent year-on-year; while after-tax profit was 353 billion VND, a surge of 83 percent.

Another major listed tra fish producer, the Cuu Long Fish Company, posted quarterly after-tax profit worth 58.7 billion VND, a year-on-year increase of 18.4 percent.

In the first half, the firm gained 817 billion VND in net revenue, rising 13.3 percent and its after-tax profit was 113 billion VND, 2.2 times the figure of the same period last year.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), as of the end of June, total tra fish export value hit more than 96.1 million USD, a year-on-year decline of 4.1 percent.

VASEP forecasted that tra fish exports will recover in Q3 as the festival seasons of importers approach.

Vietnam Motor Show 2019 to open in HCM in October

Some 14 world-leading car brands will participate in the Vietnam Motor Show 2019 (VMS 2019) which will take place at Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC), District 7, HCM City from 23 to 27 October this year.

With various new car models, along with state-of-the-art technologies to meet the demand of the growing and vibrant market, the show is expected to surprise visitors.

Organisers said that VMS 2019 presents itself as a great opportunity for Vietnamese consumers to admire the latest car models and technologies from the leading brands of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA), Vehicles Importers Vietnam Association (VIVA), and famous automobile manufacturers that ensure VMSs strong attraction towards customers: Audi, Ford, Jaguar, Honda, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

The exhibition also welcomes the presence of hundreds of car brands in supporting products, car accessories and components, and other related industries to satisfy the needs of car lovers and provide solutions to car-ownership in Viet Nam, they said.

“Continuing the success of VMS 2018 with the co-operation between VAMA and authentic automobile importers, we believe that VMS 2019 will resume to accompany Vietnamese consumers with an annual large-scale exhibition, offering diverse car models to catch up with the industrys rapidly changing needs”, said Toru Kinoshita, Chairman of VAMA.

VMS 2019 will apply new digital technologies to enhance the visitors on-site experiences with car brands and create effective interactions between customers and businesses.

For the first time at Vietnam Motor Show, a smartphone application will be used to manage every activity throughout the exhibition, helping the viewers to select cars shows which are suitable to their schedules.

This advanced technology in combination with big data and artificial intelligence (AI), will ensure brands connections with attendants and provide information tailored to the needs of potential customers.

The exhibition is expected to attract nearly 200,000 visitors and millions of viewers via media channels and livestream videos over the course of five days.

VMS 2019 will be organised by CIS Vietnam and Le Bros.

FPT reports solid first-half performance

FPT Corporation reported revenues of VND12.49 trillion (US$538.8 million) and profit after tax of VND1.78 trillion ($76.7 million) in the first half of the year, 22.2 per cent and 26.1 per cent up year-on-year.

Earnings per share was VND2,097, up 28 per cent.

As a key growth driver of FPT, the technology sector recorded revenues andprofit before tax of VND6.96 trillion ($300.47 million) and VND855 billion ($36.8 million), up 27.6 per cent and 44.4 per cent.

Global IT services revenues rose 37.8 per cent toVND4.93 trillion ($212.5 million). Profit before tax was VND742 billion ($31.9 million), up 39.5 per cent.

Revenue growth in each foreign market exceeded 26 per cent, with the US marketseeing an 85.8 per cent rise.

Revenue from services related to digital transformation, a strategic focus, was 40.9 per cent up at VND1.65 trillion ($71.26 million).

The telecom sectors revenues rose by 17.4 per cent to VND4.92 trillion ($212.07 million), and profit before tax by 13 per cent to VND822 billion ($35.4 million).

Overseas markets fetched revenues of over VND 5.2 trillion ($224.3 million), a year-on-year increase of 34 per cent, and profit before tax of VND802 billion ($34.5 million), up 36.1 per cent.

Almost $500m invested in farm product processing industry in H1

The agriculture sector in the first half of this year attracted about VND11.4 trillion (US$491.3 million) to 11 new and existing projects processing farming products, according the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The ministry said since 2018, total capital of over VND20 trillion was invested in 30 projects processing agricultural products nationwide. They are hoped to create a breakthrough in processing and exporting farm produce.

Head of the MARD’s Department of Planning Nguyen Van Viet said the ministry is directing the implementation of a project to reduce post-harvest losses and improve the value of farming, forestry and fishery products in processing,

Viet said attention has been paid to enhancing deep processing of products with great market advantages and promoting restructuring of farming products to increase added value.

The MARD will continue to support and facilitate the construction and operation of large-scale and modern processing plants of vegetables, fruits and livestock products in 2019, including a hi-tech dairy cow and milk processing plant worth VND3.8 trillion (over $163.7 million) in the central province of Thanh Hoa.

In the first half of this year, as many as 1,634 agro-forestry-aquaculture enterprises were established, lifting the total enterprises operating in the agricultural field to nearly 11,000.

Of which, large-scale firms such as Vinamilk, Nafoods, TH, Dabaco Vietnam, Masan, Lavifood, Ba Huan and Bien Dong have promoted investment into high-tech application in production and business.

According to the MARD in the period 2013-18, the industry of processing farming, forestry and fishery developed strongly with a growth rate of about 5-7 per cent per year. Therefore, the total export value of this sector gained strong growth at about 8-10 per cent a year, especially in 2018 with a record high of $40.02 billion.

However, the farming processing industry still has bottlenecks in the production value chain such as low capacity, low technology and poor quality of raw materials and processed products.

At present, Viet Nam’s industry of processing agricultural, forestry and fishery products has a designed capacity of about 120 million tonnes a year and over 7,500 large-scale enterprises.

Viet Nam's processed agricultural products have been exported to over 180 countries and territories, including many high-demanding markets such as the EU, US and Japan.

 

Sharp rises in Q2 corporate earnings come from asset sales

A number of listed companies have reported sharp increases in their quarterly profits as they have performed well in selling stakes in sub-units and projects.

The first half of the year was a tough time for local firms as the Vietnamese economy growth slowed to 6.71 per cent.

The figure was 0.02 percentage point lower than that recorded in the first half of 2018 amid the rising trade tension between the US and China as well as the slowdown of the global economy.

Therefore, the second-quarter earnings season was predicted to be not as good as it was in previous years for listed companies, according to securities firms.

However, some companies managed to swim against the current. Their quarterly earnings recorded extraordinary improvements thanks to the sale of their assets and stakes in member companies and projects.

The sale of its 60 per cent stake in Vinh Hao 6 Solar Power project is expected to bring construction and realty firm Fecon’s revenue in the second quarter up 30 per cent year on year to VND715.5 billion (US$30.7 million).

The value of the deal was estimated at VND45 billion. Fecon’s post-tax profit was forecast to rise 2.4 times yearly to VND150.3 billion in the past quarter.

Property developer Dat Xanh has recently released its second-quarter financial report, which shows the firm’s revenue rose 10 per cent to VND842.4 billion and post-tax profit shot up 100 per cent to VND249 billion.

The company’s quarterly financial report also stated that it sold stakes in its investment projects for nearly VND220 billion in the second quarter.

Steelmaker Nam Kim has estimated a VND120 billion profit for the second quarter of 2019, which is an improvement from the previous two quarters.

The company recorded a loss of VND173 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 and of VND102 billion in the January-March period of 2019.

After the first two quarters of 2019, Nam Kim estimated its net profit was VND20-25 billion, down 80 per cent year on year.

As the average price of hot-rolled coil on global markets in the second quarter increased modestly to $557 per tonne from $548 per tonne in the first quarter, the company managed to sell its entire ownership in two sub companies and one land use licence.

Before the deals were pulled off, Nam Kim held 100 per cent stake in Nam Kim Corea, which had charter capital of VND91.45 billion.

Nam Kim also sold its Nam Kim 1 Plant for VND180 billion and transferred its land use licence in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau for VND250 billion.

In 2019, Nam Kim plans to earn VND850 billion from selling its shares in member companies, associate firms and projects.

Viet Nam records $700m trade deficit in first half of July

In the first half of July, Viet Nam's export revenue exceeded US$10.5 billion and its import value topped $11.18 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of nearly $700 million.

However, the country posted a trade surplus of more than $900 million from the beginning of this year to July 15 thanks to a significant trade surplus of $1.93 billion in June, a report from the General Department of Customs revealed.

Mobile phones and phone components were the largest export earner in the first half of July at $1.72 billion. Textile and garment came second with $1.55 billion, followed by computers, electronics and parts with $1.42 billion.

The country’s total export earnings saw a year-on-year increase of 8 per cent to $133 billion by mid-June.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) forecasts exports of many products such as apparel, wood and wooden products will accelerate in the second half of the year as demand for these items in the global market is set to increase.

Vietnamese enterprises have an opportunity from now to the end of this year to speed up their exports to overseas markets, according to the MoIT.

The ministry said it will continue to monitor US-China trade tension to come up with plans and policies to support exports.

It will also help enterprises expand to new export markets and grow the market share of Vietnamese goods in traditional markets and free trade partners, especially for the products in the national brand programme and high-added value agricultural products.

The ministry will also innovate and strengthen trade promotions activities for key export products.

In addition, it will strengthen the information exchange mechanism at all levels, especially with trade representative offices in other countries, to capture market information and tackle issues affecting Viet Nam's exports.

Private firms need more support from state management agencies: VCCI

Domestic businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need further support from state management agencies to better compete in the context of deep global integration, said Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc.

Loc said up to 67,000 new businesses were established and 21,600 companies resumed operations in the first six months of the year, stressing that the figures were upbeat signs in the economic development in the period.

Although several new-generation free trade agreements like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) have pushed domestic institutional reforms in the past time, many businesses said the progress still lags behind expectations, and overlapping of and even conflicts in regulations and jurisdiction of state management agencies, and different laws such as the Investment Law, Land Law, Construction Law and Environment Law has hampered their operations, he said.

Loc affirmed “transparency” is the best measure to protect SMEs and micro enterprises, and firms with less competitive advantages.

Meanwhile, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Nguyen Dinh Cung said the management capacity of Vietnamese firms is not as good as that of companies in other ASEAN countries.

The World Economic Forum ranked Vietnam at the bottom in the corporate governance index of listed companies in six ASEAN member states. Meanwhile, the competitive capacity of Vietnamese firms was placed 104th among 140 economies in the region. This means, the Vietnamese business community needs more assistance to improve their competitive edges, thus better integrating into the global economy, he stressed.

As the CPTPP, EVFTA and many other free trade agreements offer good opportunities for Vietnam to open door wider to international trade, VCCI will help local firms take full advantage of the pacts, Loc said.

According to Loc, VCCI will continue national programmes on supporting businesses to enhance capacity to compete, integrate into the global economy, and develop sustainably.
Besides, it will accelerate the implementation of bilateral cooperation agreements in trade and commerce with strategic partners, while improving the quality of business forums with key markets.

Quang Ninh looks toward knowledge-based economy

The northeastern province of Quang Ninh is determined to build a digital administration, the next step of e-administration.

This is considered an inevitable trend in the context of extensive international integration and the boom of the fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) as well as local development.

Based on “smart city” foundation

Following the success in building the e-administration and reforming administrative procedures in the 2012 – 2018 period, Quang Ninh province has built a digital administration based on the implementation of a project building smart cities in the 2019 – 2025 period.

Quang Ninh province’s smart cities will take people and tourists as the centre. They will be encouraged to help develop tourism services.

The local authorities will work to improve management capacity as well as the quality and efficiency of socio-economic activities, creating an attractive investment environment and promoting inclusive development.

The province will continue refining legal regulations to facilitate the implementation and development of e-administration, digital ministration and smart cities.

The smart city project will be carried out in Cam Pha, Uong Bi and Mong Cai cities.

Looking towards knowledge-based economy

Quang Ninh was the first province in Vietnam to implement e-document exchange at the central, provincial, district and communal levels.

So far, the provincial e-administration system has made e-document exchanges with 33 ministries and departments along with 62 cities and provinces across the country.

The province is building information systems and database for specialised fields such as business, land, health management, management of civil status, transport infrastructure, tourism, environment, entrance and exit management and management of database on children, among others.

Looking to become an information knowledge-based economic centre in the northern region, Quang Ninh province is establishing a concentrated information technology park at Tuan Chau ward, Ha Long city, on nearly 8.46 hectares.

The detailed planning scheme of the project has been approved and the selection of the investor is underway.

The project will focus on research and development, training, producing and trading IT products and services, in addition to providing infrastructure and services for organisations and businesses in the field.

The establishment of the IT park is crucial for Quang Ninh province to develop creative smart services.

Ha Long city aims to become smart tourism city

Ha Long city – which is home to the world natural heritage site of Ha Long Bay is angling to become a smart tourism city.

The city plans to apply technologies in various sectors including health, education, governance, transport, finance-banking and taxation with an aim to provide convenient services to people and businesses.
Authorities plan to accelerate the smart city development process and make the city a modern metropolis by 2020.

Five smart-city projects have investment for the 2017-20 period, including plans to upgrade lighting system, set up online tax collection system and technology application in urban management and improve tourism safety on Ha Long Bay.

According to the local authority, nearly 3,500 Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps have been installed on 18 key roads of the city.

A public lighting controlling centre has been built to supervise the operation of the city’s lighting system.

The LED lamps help save electricity and more will be installed in the areas far from the city centre.

To develop a smart city, local agencies have piloted smart tax collection system at 34 enterprises to avoid tax losses.

The municipal Taxation Department has applied technology in managing electronic bills of businesses, households and individuals.
A total 986 out of 3,607 local enterprises have used electronic bills. More than 3,000 units pay tax online.

Electronic bills will be applied at 60 percent of local businesses this year and all in 2020.

Top securities firms see H1 profits drop

Many leading Vietnamese securities firms reported lower profits in the first half of 2019, according to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE).

Top brokerage firm Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) posted a pretax profit of 510 billion VND (21.9 million USD) in the period, only equal to 30 percent of the yearly target.

Ho Chi Minh City Securities Corporation (HSC) reported a H1 pretax profit of 238 billion VND, a 60 percent drop year-on-year.

With revenues from brokerage services falling by half, HSC posted a total revenue of 753 billion VND, dropping 49 percent.

Other leading brokerages like Viet Capital Securities (VCSC) and VNDirect (VND) also reported their revenues falling by 35 and 46 percent against H1 2018 respectively, mainly because of lower revenue from brokerage services.

The firms attributed the decline to falling trading value in the second quarter. Average daily trading value in the last three months fell by 40 percent year-on-year to 4.3 trillion VND, while total trading value in H1 dropped by almost 45 percent year-on-year.

Over 7 trillion VND mobilised through G-bonds

The State Treasury of Vietnam on July 24 mobilised more than 7.02 trillion VND (302.04 million USD) via auctions of Government bonds at the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX).

Bonds with 7-year maturity raised 100 billion VND (4.30 million USD) with an annual interest rate of 3.97 percent, 0.08 percent lower than that of the previous auction on April 24.

Those with 10-year terms attracted 2 trillion VND (86.07 million USD) with an annual interest rate of 4.46 percent, 0.05 percent lower than that of the July 17 auction.

Bonds with 15-year terms drew 1.95 trillion VND (83.91 million USD) with an interest rate of 4.68 percent per year, lower than the 0.08 percent interest rate in the July 17 auction.

The sub-session auctions of 10-year and 15-year bonds raised 1 trillion VND (43.03 million USD) each with respective annual interest rates of 4.46 percent and 4.68 percent.

Bonds with 30 years of maturity mobilised 971 billion VND (41.78 million USD) with an annual interest rate of 5.51 percent, 0.09 percent lower than that of the July 10 auction.

Since the beginning of 2019, the State Treasury has mobilised over 130.87 trillion VND (5.63 billion USD) through auctions of G-bonds at the HNX.

Vietnam spends 11.4 billion USD on garment material imports in H1

Vietnam spent almost 11.4 billion USD to import materials for garment and textile production in the first half of the year, up 5.6 percent from the same period last year, according to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS).

Cotton imports reached 1.52 billion USD, fibre 1.23 billion USD, fabric 6.75 billion USD and auxiliary materials 1.89 billion USD.

VITAS said in the six months, the world economy slowed down due to political fluctuations and conflicts, especially protection policies and escalating trade war.

This has significantly affected exports of textile and garment products, especially the yarn industry as inventories in some businesses have increased sharply, according to VITAS.

The country’s garment and textile sector earned 18 billion USD from exports, an 8.6 percent year-on-year increase.

The figure included 14.02 billion USD of clothing and 1.02 billion USD of fabrics, up 8.7 percent and 30 percent respectively.

Local garment and textile producers have faced challenges in production and trading.

VITAS Vice President Truong Van Cam said the number of orders in the first half of 2019 was equivalent to 70 percent of the figure in the same period last year. In particular, consumption of yarn and raw materials faced many difficulties because the main export market China cut import volume. Meanwhile, garment products also experienced a drop in orders.

In 2018, by the middle of the year, many large enterprises in the industry had orders until the end of the year, but they now have orders with small quantities and signed by month. Many big buyers across the world are concerned that the US-China trade war will escalate, so orders are divided into small ones instead of large quantities.

The US remained the biggest buyer, accounting for 47 percent of total orders. It was followed by member states of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 17 percent, the EU at 13 percent and the Republic of Korea with 9 percent.

Pham Xuan Hong, Chairman of the HCM City Textile and Garment – Embroidery Association said export growth of 8.61 percent in the first half of the year was low compared with that of 2018, due to a lack of labourers and increasing production costs.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the EVFTA would help the export turnover of Vietnam to the EU increase by 20 percent by 2020; 42.7 percent by 2025 and 44.37 percent by 2030. However, the agreement was signed in June and it's unclear when it will take effect.

Experts said to maximise benefits of the EVFTA, the country should pay attention to developing the weaving and support industry for the garment and textile sector to reduce dependency on imported materials.

Ministry inspects aquatic, fishing activities in Kien Giang

A delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development led by Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong on July 25 inspected fish farming and fishing activities as well as coastal erosion in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.

Kien Giang is one of the localities with large natural areas, numerous rivers and canals as well as a long coastline, which are favourable conditions for the localities in aquatic farming.

Currently, the province has over 281,000 hectares of aquatic farms, with an output of over 97,000 tonnes of products of all kinds.

Provincial authorities have strengthened inspection and supervision to detect fishing vessels violating foreign waters.

From October 2017 to June 2019, 871 vessels were inspected, with violations found in 118 vessels and over 200 million VND of fine imposed.

The number of offshore fishing vessels has been closely managed, regular patrols conducted.

In the first six months of this year, Kien Giang finished the harvesting of the Winter-Spring 2018-2019 rice crop of more than 353,000 hectares.

In the period, the province has formed 28 massive fields with a total area of over 23,000 hectares. Total rice export revenue of the province hit 94.66 million USD.

Addressing a working session with provincial leaders, Minister Cuong underlined the need for Kien Giang to prevent fishing vessels from violating foreign waters by tightening control and strengthening communications among fishermen.

Kien Giang’s result in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is significant to the whole country in preventing illegal fishing in other countries’ waters, he noted.

The minister proposed that Kien Giang’s Border Guard, Coast Guard and Fisheries Surveillance forces coordinate closely together in implementing measures against IUU fishing, while defining the responsibility of each district and commune if violations happen.

 
 
 
 
 
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