BUSINESS NEWS 9/8

UPS: Vietnam second-fastest growing online retail sector regionally

BUSINESS NEWS 9/8

Vietnam ranked second among the fastest growing online retail sectors in Southeast Asia, with the total value of the country’s e-commerce expected to grow 85 per cent between 2019 and 2023, in the “UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper” study released recently.

“This enthusiasm for shopping online - backed by government support for the e-commerce sector, key international trade deals, and Vietnam’s geographical advantage at the heart of the Asia-Pacific region - means there is enormous growth potential for Vietnam’s online retailers,” said Mr. Russell Reed, Managing Director of UPS Thailand and Vietnam.

“The ‘UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper’ study offers valuable insights into how Vietnamese retailers can grow and retain a core of international customers by ensuring they receive a service that meets their needs.”

New research commissioned by UPS into what consumers want from their online shopping experience reveals that those in Asia-Pacific seek visibility throughout the purchase cycle and incentives that add value to the shopping process. Customized shipping options and fuss-free returns policies are also appreciated, but the study highlights that regional satisfaction with returns is low.

Now in its seventh year, the study sheds light on consumer online shopping behavior. It also, for the first time, features insights into the buying habits of business purchasers. Conducted in Australia, China, Hong Kong. and South Korea, as well as eleven other markets across the Americas, Europe and India, the study tracks evolving trends and demands from e-commerce customers.

Narrowing in on the moments that matter in the purchase journey, the research unearths valuable insights for businesses looking to grow their customer base in Asia-Pacific. The findings reveal three overarching factors that impact consumers’ purchasing decisions: visibility across the purchase journey, incentives offered, and ways in which shoppers can customize their purchase and delivery experience.

“Consumers in Asia Pacific are increasingly knowledgeable about the options available to them when shopping online, and this is driving a demand for complete clarity and access to information throughout the purchase journey, as well as greater flexibility in both the shopping and shipping process,” said Mr. Sylvie Van den Kerkhof, Vice President of Marketing, UPS Asia Pacific.

“As consumers are presented with more options to buy online and competition increases, expectations are becoming more refined and retailers need to be agile enough to stay ahead of the trends. The ability to offer incentives not just in the form of a unique product offering but also in the shipping and delivery experience will be crucial to success in the evolving e-commerce landscape.”

“For both consumers and business purchasers, the 2019 ‘UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper’ reveals that here in Asia-Pacific, we are navigating a world of choice and we expect to make purchases on our terms. In a crowded space like e-commerce, the kind of insight revealed by the study can make all the difference in helping businesses stay one step ahead - today, tomorrow, and next year.”

EuroCham opening eyes of investors

Ahead of the upcoming enforcement of the landmark EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, European enterprises in Vietnam are seeking to venture further into the most appealing fields in order to bet on their growth potential.

A group of more than 20 business members of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) and Vietnamese partners arrived in the northern port city of Haiphong at Damen Song Cam Shipyard last week to begin the FDI Excursion Tour of the EuroCham.

Visitors were taken aback by sight of green and fresh space at the shipyard. Just outside the city centre, the yard is located on a 43-hectare plot of land alongside the Cam River, where a number of shiplifts are docked to wait for tests, or delivery to customers worldwide.

Officially opened just over five years ago, Damen Song Cam is a joint venture between Dutch-based Damen Shipyards Group (70 per cent) and Vietnamese partner Song Cam shipyard (30 per cent). It is able to deliver up to 40 workboats a year, with all of the products being for export.

“The facilities at Damen Song Cam have been designed to maximise quality and efficiency. The shipyard has plans for future investments to double capacity from the current 40 deliveries a year to 80,” said Joris Van Tienen, general director of Damen Song Cam.

The other famous EU-based brand in Haiphong is Deep C Industry Zones (IZs), which boasts shareholders in the Belgian government, the Haiphong People’s Committee, and Rent-A-Port. Established in 1997, the 541ha Deep C I has, next to the Dinh Vu Port system, attracted over 70 projects, while the 645ha Deep C II, which opened a year ago, is also now attracting much interest among investors.

To meet the growing demand among investors, Deep C III is being developed across 523ha, of which 385ha is land available for lease and the remainder as the port area.

“The project is located adjacent to Lach Huyen Deep Seaport,” said Bruno Jaspaert, general director of Deep C Industrial Zones. “We plan for a general cargo berth serving tenants of Deep C IZs, and the dedicated area for the logistics complex is 37ha in size, while the dedicated supplier park is for the automotive industry.”

As planned, Deep C III will be offered for lease by the end of 2019.

Haiphong is currently one of the most attractive destinations among EuroCham members in Vietnam, with Damen Song Cam and Deep C being among the successful names there.

Despite growth potential, total EU investment in Haiphong remains lower than expected, reaching $350.30 million by 2018, making up just 2 per cent of the city’s total foreign direct investment (FDI). The Netherlands took the lead among EU investors in the city, followed by Germany, France, the UK, Belgium, and Norway.

In addition to Haiphong, other fast-growing areas of the country besides Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – such as Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An, Binh Duong, and Dong Nai – are also on the FDI Excursion Tour’s list of destinations, reflecting the investment trend and strong interest among European businesses in the country. These localities are appealing to EuroCham members as they are the biggest magnets to FDI in Vietnam, and which are attracting powerful international groups.

Over the last few years EuroCham, which has over 1,000 members in Vietnam, has been organising regular tours and excursions both to promote these member companies, and to showcase the opportunities of investing in these areas.

For instance, the tours in the northern region have brought a number of visitors to EuroCham member companies such as Deep C Industrial Zones, logistics provider DB Schenker, garment producer Van Laack, and Damen Song Cam shipyard.

In the south, EuroCham also organised industrial excursions to showcase the huge improvements in Vietnam’s logistics infrastructure and in modern IZs. Ports involved have included Tan Cang Hiep Phuoc, Tan Cang Cai Mep-Thi Vai, and industrial parks like Long Hau, Hiep Phuoc, and Phu My 3.

“These excursions have been very successful, and we hope to continue organising more in the future to highlight the advantages of investing in Vietnam as it continues to improve both its infrastructure and business environment,” said EuroCham chairman Nicolas Audier. “In making these improvements, Vietnam is becoming ever more integrated into global supply chains and, in the process, becoming an increasingly attractive trade and investment destination for European companies.”

Today, the EU is the fifth-largest foreign investor in Vietnam with almost $24 billion invested in over 2,000 projects in the country. Indeed, European investors are present in 52 out of 63 cities and provinces, with the majority of investment being in manufacturing ($8.4 billion), electricity ($5 billion), and real estate ($2.6 billion). Last year, Europeans invested over $1 billion in Vietnam

“This will grow even further once the EU-Vietnam Free Trade ­Agreement and Investment Protection Agreement are ratified and enter into force, following the official ­signing in Hanoi last month,” Audier said.

Makino opens Vietnam Technology Centre to strengthen customer care

Makino, a leading machine tools and solutions provider, has announced the official opening of its Ho Chi Minh City Technology Centre in Vietnam.

Located in Saigon High-Tech Park over an area of 4,700 square metres, the two-storey technology centre houses a showroom, training facility, parts centre, and offices.

Neo Eng Chong, CEO and president of Makino Asia, said, “Opening the Makino Vietnam Technology Centre supports Makino’s strategy and our commitment to strengthen our support to customers – both before and after sales – and share our expertise to the precision engineering industry with turnkey solutions and technology knowledge transfer.”

Makino Vietnam Technical Centre boasts machines with high-speed milling and EDM applications to bring technology closer to customers in Vietnam. The new centre will support technology and knowledge transfer, training facility, local service support, and the application of engineering solutions.

Nguyen Thanh Hoa, country manager of Makino Vietnam, said, “Makino always prides itself on quality and service, on providing a holistic experience to all customers. Makino Vietnam Technical Centre serves to demonstrate the latest machining technology and solutions from Makino, as well as from our technology partners. Customers will benefit from our one-stop solution for every size and industry.”

Headquartered in Japan, Makino is a world leader in advanced CNC machining centres. Makino is committed to providing high-performance, cutting-edge machining technologies and innovative engineered process solutions that enable manufacturers to focus on making what matters.

Since incorporation in 1973, Makino Asia has been growing from strength to strength as a market leader in machine tool technology, introducing innovative solutions that boost productivity and profitability to customers. Its operations span across China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines, with 1,500 employees (including 15 per cent) focused on research and development and application functions.

There are three manufacturing plants located in China, India, and Singapore producing a wide range of machining centres and EDM machines to the global market.

Makino Vietnam Co., Ltd. is a 100-per-cent owned subsidiary of Makino Asia Group, Singapore. Makino Vietnam has offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The Makino Vietnam Technology Centre, located in Ho Chi Minh City, is designed to offer local customers machine tool and part sales, local services, training and technology support, and application engineering services. The 4,700sq.m location is the 14th technology centre in the Asia region, joining sites in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and its Singapore headquarters.

Promote the AI ecosystem

Across the globe and in Vietnam, artificial intelligence is one of the core technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as many countries begin to recognise the inevitable trend of development and the tremendous transformational impact of AI in all aspects of social life, changing the forces of economic power, military affairs, and politics.

With the theme of "Promoting the development of artificial ecosystems", on August 15-16 at Hanoi University of Science and Technology AI4VN 2019 will stage a conference as well as an exhibition of AI solutions, providing a place to connect stakeholders in the AI ??community.

The presentations will disseminate the trends, reports, and directions to develop to the Vietnamese research and development community, providing lessons learned from other countries' experiences in the development of technical infrastructure, and policy implications for Vietnam.

The press conference to introduce AI4VN 2019 was held with the participation of Bui The Duy, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Ly Hoang Tung, Deputy Head of the Department of High Technology, Ta Hai Tung, director of the Institute of Information Technology of Hanoi University of Science and Technology, and Le Hung Viet, chief technology officer of FPT, as well as delegates from related departments.

In addition, the AI event is also accompanied by the Ministry of Planning and Investment which is mobilising resources to promote science and technology development, particularly 4.0 solutions.

Deputy Minister Bui The Duy said that: “In the fast development of digital technology, especially Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), AI, and social networks, there are many new applications which are gradually changing our lives. Vietnam has been benefiting from and is influenced by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For the first time, our parliament used speech conversion technology to help the national assembly run the questioning session more easily. In this context, Vietnam has many things to do in the field of science and technology. Enterprises that do business based on the results of scientific research and technological development are those who create high value-added products, especially in the field of AI.”

“There are very few products based on technology in Vietnam. Schools provide IT training but this is still fragmented and is not associated with businesses to create good products. AI ??has switched to handling Big Data instead of relying on people like before. Frankly, Vietnam still does not have enough data to develop AI, especially in converting from paper-to-digital data storage,” Bui The Duy added.

Le Hung Viet from FPT clarified that the biggest challenge is human resources. This is a difficult challenge to overcome in a short time and AI4VN 2019 will help popularise AI. He conceded, however, that this deficiency is a global issue and is not unique to Vietnam.

Connect people, management agencies, and schools is a sizeable challenge that will be difficult to solve. Also, communications campaigns to turn awareness into action is another issue.

In the world, according to the latest research by technology consulting firm Gartner, the global AI technology industry in 2018 has seen breakthrough growth, topping its 2017 size by more than 70 per cent, with a total market value of $1.2 trillion. AI is likely to become the hottest field of technology in the next 10 years thanks to advances in computing capacity and leaps in volume, speed, and diversity of data.

Since 2014, AI has been on Vietnam's list of high-tech priorities for development investment. The government has determined that this is one of the groundbreaking technologies spearheaded by the Fourth Industrial Revolution that needs to be researched but have yet to be issued specific legislation by the authorities to promote development.

VNG in $4.43 million deficit in second quarter of 2019

VNG has just released its separate financial statement for the second quarter of 2019, which reported a pre-tax loss of VND110 billion ($4.78 million) and net loss of VND102 billion ($4.43 million).

According to the statement, VNG made a net revenue of VND952.5 billion ($41.41 million) from sales and services in the second quarter, an increase of 32.7 per cent compared to the VND717.6 billion ($31.2 million) last year.

Accumulated until the end of the second quarter, the company's revenue reached nearly VND1.82 trillion ($79.13 million), up 22.9 per cent against the VND1.477 trillion ($64.22 million) in the same period of last year.

After deducting production costs, VNG's gross profit from services provision reached VND291 billion ($12.65 million), up 11.48 per cent.

However, VNG recorded VND98.5 billion ($4.28 million) in financial expenses, 2.7-times higher than in the same period a year before, while sales expenses reached VND169 billion ($7.35 million), up 38 per cent, and VND138 billion ($6 million) of corporate management costs, up 41 per cent.

From the beginning of the year to the end of the second quarter last year, VNG earned VND100.9 billion ($4.39 million).

As of June 30, 2019, VNG's total assets were nearly VND4.1 trillion ($178.26 million), an increase of 7.3 per cent compared to the beginning of the year, most of which (VND1.346 trillion – $58.52 million) were concentrated in subsidiaries or associated companies. This resulted in high provisions of VND295 billion ($12.83 million).

Despite the big losses in the separate statement, VNG's consolidated business results are relatively positive. Accordingly, its revenue in the second quarter this year is VND1.302 trillion ($56.61 million), up 31per cent on-year, while after-tax profit was VND160 billion ($6.96 million), up 39 per cent.

Accumulated in the first six months, VNG's consolidated net revenue was VND2.524 trillion ($109.74 million), growing by 22 per cent on-year. Consolidated profit in the first half was VND315 billion ($13.7 million), an increase of more than 30 per cent.

Industrial production gains stable growth in seven months

Viet Nam’s index of industrial production (IIP) rose by 9.4 per cent year-on-year in the first seven months of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

GSO statisticians said the nation’s IIP ensured a stable growth of more than 9 per cent recorded since the beginning of this year.

The processing and manufacturing sector, which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of domestic industrial production, reported a significant IIP increase of 10.7 per cent – a highlight that led the growth of the whole sector, they said.

Meanwhile, the IIP growth of electricity production and distribution stood at 10 per cent and that of water supply and waste treatment sector and mining sector reached 7.6 per cent and 1.1 per cent, respectively.

Industries achieving high production growth in the reviewed period included coke coal and refined mining products (48 per cent), metal (40 per cent), ore exploitation (17 per cent), rubber and plastic production (16 per cent) and motor vehicles (12 per cent).

Some major industrial products with a strong IIP increase such as crude iron and steel (57 per cent), petroleum (45 per cent), television (24 per cent), liquefied petroleum gas (17 per cent) beside to feed for aquaculture (15 per cent) and handsets (13 per cent).

As of July 1, 2019, the number of labourers working for industrial enterprises nationwide marked a month-on-month rise of 1.3 per cent and a year-on-year hike of 2 per cent, according to the GSO.

Nikkei and IHS Markit said in the latest survey that Viet Nam’s manufacturing production rose sharply in July.

According to the survey, the Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' index (PMI) ticked up to 52.6 in July from 52.5 in June, signalling a further monthly improvement in business conditions.

Son La exports 60 tonnes of locally-grown longan

The northern mountainous province of Son La exported 60 tonnes of its longan to China and other countries on Saturday.

The shipment was announced at the opening ceremony of the Song Ma Longan Festival here the same day.

In his speech at the event, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Quoc Khanh said that the festival was held to promote Son La longan which can meet standards and requirements of choosy markets such as Japan, South Korea, the US and the EU.

Via the event, the provincial longan and other fruits as well as farm produce will have a chance to penetrate many outlets worldwide, Khanh said.

The total area of longan cultivation in the province increased to more than 15,000ha this year, with output expected at 73,000 tonnes, of which 33,410 tonnes are eligible for export.

Son La expects to ship more than 8,100 tonnes of longan to China, the US, Australia, the EU, the Middle East, and other ASEAN countries by the end of this year.

Song Ma District has the largest longan area in Son La, with over 6,700ha and an estimated output of nearly 30,000 tonnes. The district hopes to export over 5,000 tonnes of longan to China, and 20 tonnes to Australia and the US by the year-end.

Grab eyes Vietnam’s startups investments

In addition to Indonesia and Malaysia, Grab will look more at Vietnam because it sees “increased deal flow on potential opportunities there,” said Grab Ventures’ executive.

Ride-hailing operator Grab is expected to invest heavily in regional startups, including those from Vietnam, as the SoftBank Group-backed unicorn strives to expand the reach of its all-in-one app, according to Chris Yeo, head of investment arm Grab Ventures.

The Singapore-based company plans to make two to four new strategic investments in startups every year, targeting companies at Series B or higher fundraising stages, said Yeo in an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, adding most of these deals will be for minority stakes.

In addition to Indonesia and Malaysia, Grab will look more at Vietnam because it sees “increased deal flow on potential opportunities there,” Yeo said.

Separately, Grab is "actively looking out for potential acquisitions as well," he said.

Unlike SoftBank's nearly US$100 billion Vision Fund, which invests globally, Grab will focus on advancing its strategy of becoming the region's super app, including services such as food delivery and digital payments.

The main reason for the investments must be synergies with existing business, but financially it must make sense, but that's not the first and the most important, Yeo said.

Grab has set five target areas for startup investment: mobility, financial services, food, logistics and enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, Yeo said.

After the ride-hailer acquired Uber Technologies' Southeast Asian business in early 2018, it launched Grab Ventures to facilitate more startup investments and nurture early stage startups in the region.

Company database Crunchbase revealed 70 Southeast Asian startups were acquired by other businesses in the region during 2018, while 54 went under buyers from the rest of the world. Only seven of these fledgling enterprises took the path of initial public offerings.

The data shows a change from the early 2010s, when IPOs and acquisitions by companies from outside Southeast Asia accounted for most of the region's startup exits.

In 2018, startups in Vietnam attracted US$889 million in funding from 92 deals, nearly triple the value recorded in 2017 at US$291 million for the same number of deals, according to Topica Founder Institute (TFI), a Hanoi-based startup accelerator program.

In the next three years, startups in Vietnam are expected to receive large funding in Series A worth US$205 million, US$320 million and US$440 million every year from global venture capital firms including Softbank Vision Fund, Sequoia, SK, Temasek, Insignia, Golden Gate Venture, and others.

According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment, from 400 startups in 2012, the number has been rising steadily to 1,800 in 2015, and later reached over 3,000 in the 2017 – 2018 period.

Vietnam’s startup ecosystem has been developing with over 40 venture capitals, a two-fold increase against 2015, including those from Vietnam’s leading corporations such as FPT, Viettel, Vingroup, CMC, among others.

Vietnam car imports triple in first seven months

January-July car imports increased 366 percent to 88,000 units, recovering from last year’s plunge caused by a tightening policy.

Vietnam Customs said in its latest report that cars imported in the first seven months of the year were worth $1.94 billion, up 319 percent year-on-year.

Industry insiders said that imports surged because they had hit a trough last year, when the government issued a decree with tougher conditions, requiring importers to provide certain certificates to ensure quality and countries of origin.

But sales could drop this month, the seventh month on the lunar calendar, traditionally called the "ghost month" in which locals avoid buying new things to avoid bad luck.

Nguyen Thi Hien, owner of a showroom in Ho Chi Minh City, said that car consumption usually falls by 30-40 percent in August because of this belief.

 

Other sales agents said that beginning this month, the number of people visiting showrooms dropped to a handful a day, compared to several dozen the previous month. And those who do come, usually promise to return in September to purchase a car, they added.

Car brands are offering promotions to boost sales this month. Toyota is offering a discount of VND35-45 million ($1,502-1,931) for the Vios sedans and VND50-60 million ($2,146-2,575) for Innova, a multi-purpose vehicle.

Vietnamese automaker Truong Hai Auto Corporation, which assembles cars for Mazda, is offering a discount of VND100 million ($4,292) for the SUV Mazda CX-5, of which VND50 million ($2,146) would be given in cash and the rest in maintenance package and parts.

Vietnam imported 72,650 cars last year, down nearly 20 percent over 2017, according to Vietnam Customs. But their value exceeded $1.64 billion, up 21 percent.

Ford Vietnam gains 90 per cent of sale growth in Q2

US auto maker, Ford Vietnam, has recently announced to gain a growth of 91 per cent in sale in the second quarter of this year, reaching 7,960 vehicles.

The fruitful result of Q2 has helped the company push its first half sale to 15,461 units, surging by 61 per cent year-on-year, the company said.

According to the company, its second quarter’s performance was driven by strong sales across the company’s lineup in Viet Nam, in which the Ranger pickup, Explorer large SUV and Transit commercial van each continue to lead their respective segments during the quarter and year-to-date.

“Despite facing various challenges in the domestic market during the first six months of the year, our Ford vehicles have continued to experience strong demand across the country, particularly the Ranger and Everest,” said Pham Van Dung, managing director, Ford Vietnam.

The segment-defining Ranger pickup truck led Ford’s second quarter with sales of 2,711 vehicles, helping drive its total first half sales up 91 per cent year-over-year to 5,497 vehicles. The Ranger continues to set the benchmark for the segment with its unmatched versatility, and outstanding design, comfort, and refinement.

The launch of the new Ranger last year have helped give its sales an additional boost and momentum in 2019, including the launch of the high performance, off-road Ranger Raptor, featuring tougher and sportier appearance with additional premium features, Ford Vietnam said.

The Everest SUV contributed to the record second quarter with sales of 2,053 vehicles, pushing its year-to-date sales up to 3,588 vehicles. Sharing the same powerful Bi-Turbo engine with the Ranger, the Everest redefines consumer expectations for a mid-size SUV with its bold design and refined interior, off-road capability with on-road comfort.

The US-imported Explorer continued to lead Viet Nam’s premium full-size SUV segment in the second quarter with retail sales rising 45 per cent year-over-year to 135 vehicles. Demand for the Explorer is supported by the strong appeal of its powerful and fuel efficient 2.3L EcoBoost engine, as well as its bold design, top-notch cabin comfort, and cutting-edge driver-assist technologies.

The 1.5L EcoBoost-equipped Focus delivered second quarter sales that increased six percent to 607 vehicles, with year-to-date sales now up 39 per cent to 1,150 vehicles.

The popular EcoSport compact SUV delivered second quarter retail sales of 1,044 vehicles, raising its year-to-date sales up to 2,121 vehicles. Built on Ford’s global B-segment platform, the EcoSport continues to delight customers with its combination of small-car practicality and agility of an SUV.

The Transit meanwhile maintained its leadership in Viet Nam’s commercial van and bus segment with second quarter retail sales of 1,410 vehicles, as business owners and operators across a range of industries continue to appreciate the durability, versatility and value proposition that Transit delivers.

‘Blue Swallow’ seeks business initiatives for sustainable development

Blue Swallow 2019, a programme to seek and honour business initiatives for sustainable development, was launched in Ho Chi Minh City on August 6.

The programme was jointly held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP).

It will take place from now to October 2019 with a wide range of activities to share and select different business initiatives in multiple localities across the country.

Joining the programme, organisations, businesses and individuals will have the opportunity to receive a Gold Swallow with a cash prize of 100 million VND (4,313 USD), a Silver Swallow award worth 50 million VND (2,156 USD) and a Bronze Swallow award worth 30 million VND (1,294 USD).

They will also be able to connect with financial resources from domestic and foreign investors with an initiative worth up to 300,000 USD.

This year’s programme focuses on sustainable agriculture, environment and climate change, sustainable tourism, gender equality promotion and women empowerment.

Truong Thi Thanh Thanh, Vice Chairwoman of the CSIP Board of Directors, said Blue Swallow is the first and official programme in Vietnam to promote business solutions to addressing social and environmental issues.

It is also a long-term and large-scale programme to spread the spirit of social entrepreneurship in the community with useful initiatives, she added.

Besides launching the Blue Swallow programme, the organising board will implement a training programme to introduce new perspectives on business values and models in the era of Industry 4.0.

Da Nang seeks business cooperation opportunities with Canada

Canada’s economy as well as investment and business opportunities in the market were introduced to enterprises in Vietnam’s central city of Da Nang at a workshop on August 6.

The event, jointly held by the Canadian Embassy in Vietnam and the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, took place within the International East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) Trade and Tourism Fair.

Dinh Cong Thanh, Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy, said Canadian goods are well-known worldwide for quality and observance of international standards.

Besides, under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to which both Vietnam and Canada are signatories, the sharp tax reduction will help to increase price competitiveness of Canadian goods in Vietnam.

Agricultural, forestry, fishery, industrial and consumer goods will enjoy tax cuts from 5 to 40 percent, he added.

Apart from promoting market approach, the agreement has also created a legal framework for investment and services between Vietnam and Canada, Thanh said.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Mai, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, said the workshop gives local businesses an insight into Canada high-quality products and suppliers.

Vietnam has become Canada’s largest trade partner in Southeast Asia since 2015. Last year, two-way trade reached 6.4 billion CAD (4.84 billion USD), up 0.3 billion CAD as compared to the previous year.

As a new-generation free trade agreement, the CPTPP is expected to open up new opportunities for enterprises of Vietnam and Canada.

The August 2-7 EWEC Trade and Tourism Fair features nearly 500 booths from more than 350 businesses in 18 cities and provinces, along with 11 foreign organisations and enterprises.

On display are electrical and electronic devices, timber products, furniture, handicrafts, jewelry, tourism products, consumer goods, garments-textiles, footwear, pharmaceutical products and cosmetics.

Can Tho conference welcomes Singaporean, Malaysian investors

A conference welcoming Singaporean and Malaysian firms took place in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on August 6.

Speaking at the event, Managing Director of Business Media International and head of the Malaysian delegation Dato William Ng hailed Can Tho as the most promising locality in the southwest with the best and most abundant workforce, convenient transportation infrastructure, a gateway to the Lower Mekong River basin and an important inter-regional and international transportation hub.

Can Tho is also highly appreciated for its investment policies in education, health care, tourism, biotechnology, information technology and logistics services.

The official added that the event affords both sides a chance to share experience and facilitate technological transfer.

Managing Director of Malaysia’s Koay Kah Seng Enterprise expressed interest in expanding investment in real estate, energy and trade in Can Tho, including building wind, thermal and solar power plants to turn Can Tho into the first locality in the region to use clean and renewable energies.

He also proposed developing public facilities using modern technology in waste and wastewater treatment.

Director of Malaysia’s EZ Flex Consulting Company Leong Yi Whye suggested assisting local companies in market access, capital mobilisation, and listing on foreign stock bourses. He also wished to connect with domestic law consultancy offices to facilitate Malaysian investment in Can Tho.

Business Director of Vietnam Halal Company Ramlan Osman introduced Halal certificate for food used by Muslims at the event.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Truong Quang Hoai Nam also committed all possible support to Singaporean and Malaysian investors.

363 million USD project proposed for sustainable fisheries development

A proposed project for sustainable fisheries development was discussed at a conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on August 5.

The project would have a total investment of nearly 8.36 trillion VND (363 million USD), of which 6.6 trillion VND would be funded by World Bank loans, 138 billion VND by non-refundable aid from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and 1.61 trillion VND by the Vietnamese side.

The project, to be implemented from 2021 to 2026, is designed to address difficulties and challenges facing the fishing industry and brackish shrimp farming through enhancing management capacity of the fisheries sector and raising the value of fisheries products.

It is expected to increase income and living conditions for millions of labourers in the fisheries sector and those working in related industries.

The scheme will build facilities and provide equipment for the fisheries surveillance force, improve infrastructure for breeding shrimp production, and intensify the combat against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Under the project, research will be conducted to reduce post-fishing losses, prevent diseases and raise productivity of shrimp farming while ensuring environmental protection and resilience in climate change.

Localities participating in the project would build modern fishing ports, establish large-scale fisheries centres to support off-shore fishing, and upgrade infrastructure for concentrated shrimp farming areas. -

SOE equitisation, divestment of State capital help bolster M&A market

The equitisation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and divestment of State capital have created more products for the M&A market, heard the Vietnam M&A Forum in HCM City on August 6.

Experts said that means there are more opportunities for foreign investors to acquire stakes in SOEs.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang said the value of M&A transactions over the past decade has come to about 55 billion USD, adding that free trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will also help expanding the market, stimulate the investment flows and increase M&A activities.

The Vietnamese M&A market is estimated to be worth nearly 7.6 billion USD in 2019, led by foreign investors from Singapore, Thailand, the Republic of Korea and Japan, experts said.

However, participants at the forum also urged more improvements in the legal framework and law enforcement related to M&A, and the removal of the ownership cap for investors.

M&A activities in 2019 and beyond are forecast to continue focusing on consumer goods, retails and real estate. Besides, more transactions on a larger scale are expected in the fields of telecommunications, energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, and education.

Nguyen Anh Duc, standing deputy director general of the Saigon Co.op retailer giant, said the retail sector attracts investors thanks to the potential local market as Vietnam has a large and young population.

Meanwhile, a stable macro-economic growth, many bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements, and high population growth and urbanization rates are factors that make Vietnam an attractive destination for real estate developers.

In particular, big M&A transactions are expected in infrastructure and energy, as Vietnam has the policy of mobilizing capital from the private sector for infrastructure development.

Investors are also watching for opportunities in the telecom sector, considering the Government’s plan to restructure VNPT and equitise MobiFone.

At the same time, several large-scale pharmaceutical companies such as Duoc Hau Giang (DHG), Domesco and Traphaco are in the target range of foreign investors.

Da Nang forum looks to boost Vietnam-Indonesia economic ties

A forum has been held in the central city of Da Nang to seek ways to bolster trade, investment and tourism links between Vietnam and Indonesia.

The two countries set up the strategic partnership in June 2013.

Indonesia is currently the fourth biggest trade partner of Vietnam in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It is also known as an open market with great attractiveness to Vietnamese businesses.

Addressing the forum on August 5, Vice Chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee Ho Ky Minh said over the past years, the city has issued preferential policies and mechanisms to attract investment, promote trade and expand economic exchange with foreign partners. As a result, it has obtained considerable achievements, including the continuously improved investment climate and competitiveness.

Da Nang has topped the central and Central Highlands regions in terms of trading activities. In 2018, it recorded 1.6 billion USD in exports and 1.4 billion USD in imports, respectively growing 12.2 percent and 8.6 percent annually between 2011 and 2018.

However, the city’s shipments to Indonesia remain modest, about 300,000 USD each year, with handicrafts, rubber products and toys as the main items. Meanwhile, the imports from the archipelago nation, mainly apparel materials, are about 3 million USD each year, according to the official.

Trading activities between Da Nang and Indonesia have yet to match potential, Minh said, highlighting the need to increase trade, tourism and investment promotion between the two sides’ businesses.

At the event, Indonesian Ambassador Ibnu Hadi said Vietnam is a key market of his country, which has had 33 businesses operating here. Particularly, Vietnam, including Da Nang, has become an increasingly popular destination for Indonesian tourists.

Two direct air routes have been launched to connect the two countries, creating good chances for tourism enhancement, he said, voicing his hope for stronger cooperation in this field so as to raise the number of Indonesian visitors to Vietnam to 100,000 and attract a similar number of Vietnamese tourists to his country.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, nearly 75,700 Vietnamese visited Indonesia in 2018, accounting for less than 1 percent of the travellers making overseas trips. Meanwhile, over 87,900 Indonesians chose Vietnam as their holiday destination.

Vietnam becomes more selective in FDI attraction: VCCI official

The Vietnamese Government is resolved to further boost green growth and pursue a more selective approach to foreign direct investment projects instead of attracting them at all costs.

This was highlighted by Vo Tan Thanh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) at a “Kanseikei” forum themed the economic growth coupled with environmental protection, which took place in the Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa on August 6.

Vietnam will not sacrifice the environment for prevailing economic benefits and the livelihood of residents while the country is moving towards sustainable development in tandem with additional social justice and environmental protection, Thanh said.

The VCCI official elaborated that the awareness of large domestic firms about sustainable production has been increased in pursuit of a long-term growth strategy and environmental protection.

A string of local enterprises have taken more active part in applying cutting-edge technologies into their production process in a bid to improve overall competitiveness and protect the environment.

Norihiko Kondo, President of Japan-based Kaiho Sangyo Co. Ltd, said that the event attracted the participation of a number of Vietnamese representatives as many Vietnamese companies have paid much more attention to environmental protection.

Kondo went on to say that the theme on economic growth coupled with environmental protection would once again come under spotlight at the upcoming Vietnam-Japan culture and trade exchange, which will be held in Can Tho city in November.

He added that balancing both economic and environmental benefits remains a challenging issue for many enterprises, even those from a developed country like Japan.

Therefore, the social responsibility and contributions made to environmental sustainability serve as a good way to measure the success of firms.

M&A deals peak at US$55 billion

The total value of M&A transactions in Vietnam reached US$55 billion during the past decade and is forecast to go higher in the time ahead.

Vu Dai Thang, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, made the statement at the Vietnam M&A Forum which took place in Ho Chi Minh City on August 6.

He noted that trade pacts such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will give a boost to the M&A market while simultaneously increasing investment inflows and related activities.

M&A deals posted only US$1.1 billion in value 10 years ago and jumped by ten times to US$10.2 billion in 2018, therefore lifting the total value of M&A transactions to US$55 billion over the past decade.

M&A transactions amounted to more than US$5.4 billion during the first seven months of this year. The figure will reach US$7.6 billion throughout the year, experts forecast.

Future M&A activities are expected to focus on consumer goods, retail, and real estate. Meanwhile, telecoms, energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, and education sectors are believed to enjoy larger-scale transactions.

Besides, infrastructure and energy sectors are forecast to see large M&A transactions as the country eyes the increasing mobilization of capital from the private sector for infrastructure development.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, pending amendments to the Law on Investment would act as a major push for the M&A market as it looks to secure legitimate rights and interests of investors.

The ministry has been working towards revamping policies related to investment protection and the legal framework on foreign investment in order to increase the efficiency of forecasting work and accountability.

Deputy Minister Thang said that the M&A market pins high hopes on drastic changes regarding the issuance and implementation of new policies and the creation of linkages for major deals, which is expected to further leverage foreign investment inflows, including those into the M&A market.

 
 
 
 
 
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