BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JAN. 25

VPBank annouces record pre-tax profit in 2019

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JAN. 25


Viet Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Bank (VPBank) announced a record 2019 consolidated pre-tax profit of VND10.3 trillion (US$445 million), exceeding 9 per cent of the yearly plan and up 12.3 per cent compared to 2018.

With the result, VPBank has officially joined the list of the few banks with profit of over VND10 trillion.

The bank's total consolidated operating income last year reached VND36.35 trillion, an increase of 20.3 per cent compared to the previous year.

Consolidated credit growth reached 17.6 per cent, higher than the average growth of the whole system. Deposit growth rate reached 23.7 per cent compared to 2018, helping the bank ensure capital adequacy and expand business operations.

VPBank attributed the record result to the breakthrough in the segments of consumer finance, individual customers and small and medium enterprises.

Thanks to the exploitation of existing individual customer base and search for new customers, as well as the expansion of the ecosystem via diverse financial products and services, profit generated from the individual customer segment has risen by more than 120 per cent compared to 2018. This is the strongest growth recorded in the individual customers segment of VPBank so far.

The corporate customer segment has also made impressive advances in the past year. In particular, profit earned from the small and medium enterprise segment increased by 36 per cent.

At the end of 2019, VPBank's consolidated bad debt ratio was 2.95 per cent. The bank has also settled all the outstanding bonds worth more than VND3.1 trillion at the Viet Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) in 2019.

In addition to the control of bad debt, the bank's operating efficiency in the past year has also improved remarkably thanks to the focus on refining the organisational structure, optimising the system of processes, upgrading business methods and boosting productivity.

VPBank’s return on assets (ROA) ratio at the end of 2019 is 2.4 per cent, higher than the ratio of 2.2 per cent reported at the end of 2018. Return on equity (ROE) ratio reached 21.5 per cent, higher than the ratio of 20.7 per cent reported at the end of 2018.

ADK acquires shares of VietBuzzAd to enter Vietnam

Japanese marketing firm ADK has acquired shares of HCM City-based digital agency VietBuzzAd to enter the Vietnamese market.

The marketing firm, which provides digital and data capabilities focusing on real-time marketing solutions, plans to operate in Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei within 12 months.

After the acquisition, VietBuzzAd’s brand name changed to “VBA”.

Yasu Katagi, CEO of ADK Global Operations said: “Viet Nam is one of our fastest growing markets that focuses on digital innovation.”

Established in 2010, VietBuzzAd is one of the leading digital agencies in Viet Nam. It won a top 10 YouTube Ads Leaderboard at Cannes Lions Festival 2019 for the LG World Cup campaign 'Set Fire to the Dreams'.

Thadi acquires 24 per cent stake in Hung Vuong

Right after signing the strategic co-operation contract, Thadi – a subsidiary of Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO) – has completed the purchase of 24 per cent of the treasury shares in Hung Vuong Corporation for VND430 billion ($18.7 million), which sets a solid foothold in the agricultural sector.

On January 8-10, Thadi – a VND35 trillion ($1.52 billion) charter capital company – bought 53.9 million shares for VND8,000 apiece, equalling a 24.28 per cent stake, to become a large shareholder of Hung Vuong Corporation (HSX:HVG). Before the transaction, Thadi had no HVG shares.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, THACO chairman Tran Ba Duong said that Thadi will hold 35 per cent in Hung Vuong and 65 per cent stake in the joint venture between the two parties, which is established to focus on breeding mother pigs.

“THACO will support Hung Vuong in restructuring its operations and manufacturing system, as well as development strategy, and deal with its financial problems. Thadi will assign senior personnel to hold the positions of vice chairman of the board of directors, financial director, and technical experts in Hung Vuong,” Duong said.

The joint venture will invest VND2 trillion ($86.96 million) in breeding mother pigs in An Giang and Binh Dinh provinces while Thadi will invest in developing pigs farm (1.2 million pigs per year) with the process meeting the Development Food Security Activities (DFSA)standards.

Hung Vuong has published its audited financial statement with the after-tax loss of VND1.07 trillion ($46.52 million), up VND599 billion ($26 million) compared to the statistics from the financial statement built by the company.

Regarding Thadi, the company has implemented a fruit growing project covering an area of 10,000 hectares, 5,000ha of which are used to grow banana and farm systems with the scale of 90,000 cows. Besides, the company is also in charge of selling products for Hoang Anh Gia Lai Agricultural JSC with a fruit area of 26,500ha.

Previously, in August 2019, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAG) announced completing the sale of 60 million HNG shares of HAGL Agrico. After the sale, HAG's ownership rate was reduced to 51.04 per cent, equivalent to about 452.7 million shares. The trade took place between July 15 and August 2, 2019.

After the deal, THACO holds a total of 393.02 million Hoang Anh Gia Lai Agrico (HNG) shares, equivalent to nearly 35.5 per cent of the capital. Among of which, THACO chairman Tran Ba ​​Duong bought 50 million HNG shares, increasing his personal ownership from 3.38 to 9.02 per cent, equivalent to 80 million shares. He was estimated to have spent more than VND1 trillion ($43.48 million) on this purchase.

SCIC plans to divest from Hai Phong Thermal Power

The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) plans to divest from Hai Phong Thermal Power Joint Stock Company (HND) in the first quarter of this year.

Accordingly, SCIC will sell its entire stake of 9 per cent, or 45 million shares, at the initial price of no less than VND26,000 per share, nearly two times higher than the current market price.

SCIC wants to sell its entire stake at HND to just one investor.

SCIC expected to collect more than VND1.17 trillion (US$50,6 million) from the divestment of Hai Phong Thermal Power Joint Stock Company.

HND was traded at VND13,500 on Wednesday morning, 1.5 times higher than at the beginning of last year.

The company reported a total power output of 8.1 billion kWh in 2019, four per cent higher than the target.

The company estimated to reach a revenue of VND11.2 trillion last year and a pre-tax profit of VND975 billion, nearly three times higher than its plan.

In 2020, the company targeted to produce more than 7.8 billion kWh and earn a revenue of VND10.5 trillion and profit of VND333 billion.

Currently, Power Generation Corporation 2 was Hai Phong Thermal Power Company’s largest stakeholder, holding 51 per cent of the company’s charter capital, followed by Pha Lai Thermal Power Company with a 26 per cent stake, then SCIC.

Hai Phong Thermal Power Company has two plants with a total capacity of 1,200 MW.

In November, SCIC announced to offload its entire stake of 11.42 per cent, or 51 million shares, of Quang Ninh Thermal Power Company.

SCIC expected to collect VND1.223 trillion from the divestment but it failed to find an investor.

Tax watchdog to enhance inspection this year

The General Department of Taxation plans to inspect tax compliance at 19.5 per cent of businesses in 2020, the department’s Director Cao Anh Tuan said on Tuesday.

Focus would be placed on firms operating in sectors at high risk of tax evasion, such as new business lines, companies with related-party transactions, companies reporting losses for years and having signs of transfer pricing.

In 2019, more than 96,240 inspections were carried out which helped collected an additional sum of VND13.8 trillion (US$595 million) for the State budget. Last year, the tax watchdog revealed violations at a number of companies, including big ones like Coca-Cola, Heineken Vietnam and Standard Chartered.

Accordingly, Coca-Cola must pay more than VND821 billion in additional taxes and fines while the sum for Standard Chartered was VND19.05 billion, and for Heineken Viet Nam VND917.2 billion.

Last year, 816 companies with related party transactions were inspected.

The Inspection Department under the General Department of Taxation said that it was necessary to develop a database about profit margins as a base to prevent transfer pricing.

Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung asked inspection to be enhanced to prevent transfer pricing as well as tax avoidance of big business households, e-commerce businesses, restaurants and catering services and other new business lines in the sharing economy.

In addition, Dung asked the tax department to hasten administrative reforms to create favourable condition for businesses.

In 2020, the tax watchdog targeted to collect 3 per cent more than the Government’s plan of VND1.254 quadrillion for the State budget.

Tax collection totalled more than VND1.276 quadrillion in 2019, 9.3 per cent higher than the plan and up 11.2 per cent over 2018.

Market share of Vsmart sees soar

The market share of the Vsmart smartphone brand developed by VinSmart, an arm of Vingroup, was reported to increase by 6 per cent, catching up with Apple at the end of 2019.

According to statistics published by market research firm GfK, as of November 2019, the market share of Vsmart reached a record high. According to a source of ICTnews, the success came as a result of Vinsmart discounting the Live model by 50 per cent, causing overdemand. The Thegioididong.com chain also reported running out of two othermodels of Vsmart.

Vsmart's Live smartphone officially debuted in August 2019. After three months, the price decreased from VND6.99 million ($303) to VND3.49 million ($151) for the version with 4GB RAM and VND3.79 million ($164) for the 6GB version.

With the Live flying off the shelves, while other models also reported high demand, Vsmart's market share increased to 6 per cent from 2-3 per cent.

In November, the market share of Apple in Vietnam also increased to 9.6 per cent thanks to the launch of iPhone 11. Between July and October, the market share of this smartphone brand plunged to 6.4, 6.3, 5.6, and 6.1 per cent, respectively. Increasing the market share to 9.6 per cent in November made Apple rank third in the smartphone market in Vietnam.

Vsmart introduced the Vmessage and Vcall services which allow Vsmart users to send texts and make calls for free.

To use Vmessage/Vcall, after the latest software update, users also need a VinID account and a Wi-Fi connection or mobile network, similar to iMessage or FaceTime.

VinSmart has recently announced a co-operation agreement with Google to develop smart TVs under the Vsmart brand with Google features.

Along with that, images of Vsmart smart home devices have been shared on a Facebook group, including a smart switch and a hub connecting smart home devices, as well as a screen showing temperature and humidity levels. The devices seem to be in a completed form, ready for the market.

Back to the report, Vivo also reported an impressive increase to 7.6 per cent, the highest increase within 12 months, to stand at fifth position in November.

The market share of Samsung and Oppo had light decreases, but still maintain the two highest positions.

Japan's Aozora Bank to buy into Vietnamese lender

Japan's Aozora Bank plans to take a 15 percent stake in Vietnam’s Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OCB) in April 2020, marking its first overseas deal since 2001.

The deal is expected to be worth about 15 billion JPY (139 million USD).

If successful, Aozora will become the largest shareholder of OCB. It will send two directors to the OCB’s management board and plan to help OCB with risk management and compliance systems based on international standards.

They will work together on digital banking and investment banking services, as well as on providing support for Japanese companies seeking to expand into Vietnam.

The Ho Chi Minh City-based OCB provides retail banking services and lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, with around 130 branches across Vietnam.

The bank boasts some of the fastest growth in the industry, thanks to development in rural areas fueling a growing need for capital among construction and real estate companies.

The Japanese bank, initially called Nippon Credit Bank in 1957, changed its name to Aozora following restructuring in 2001.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Aozora has 21 domestic branches and three representative offices in New York, Shanghai and Singapore. It is now listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange with a total asset of 50 billion USD.

US-China tension hampers prospects of HSG

The heavy US tariffs on local steel products may be encouragement for local giant Hoa Sen Group's (HSG) conservative 11 per cent profit growth target.

HSG has just published the documents used for the 2019-2020 fiscal year’s shareholder meeting. Accordingly, the company targets a consumption output of 1.5 million tonnes with the revenue of VND28 trillion ($1.2 billion) and the profit of VND400 billion ($17.4 million), up 11 per cent on-year.

The expectation comes from a 12.15 per cent growth in accumulated profit to VND3.4 trillion ($1.48 billion) as of early 2020. HSG will keep adjusting the company structure, including subsidiaries, factories, branches, and stores.

In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the steel firm also set the goal of VND34 trillion ($14.78 billion) in revenue and VND500 billion ($21.74 million) in profit. However, it only got the turnover of VND28.035 trillion ($12.2 billion) and the profit of VND361 billion ($15.7 million), equivalent to 89 and 72 per cent of the plan.

During the period hundreds of branches have been dissolved to restructure the goods distributor system. HSG’s business strategy is to maintain only one branch in every city or province and turn the remaining branches into stores.

As of the end of 2019, the group had 536 distributors, up 45 against 2018. The numbers include 55 branches across the provinces, 10 storage houses, and 471 stores.

Despite the conservative business plan, the document also showed a positive outlook in easing the debt burden. Over the past year, HSG cut 17 per cent in financial costs, 14 per cent in sales costs, and 30 per cent in management costs.

By late September 2019, the group recorded VND6.7 trillion ($291.3 million) in bank loans and financial debts, down nearly VND4.2 trillion ($182.6 million) compared to the beginning of the fiscal year.

Currently, the group still occupied the largest market share with 30.6 per cent as of the end of 2019, despite a fallback since 2018’s 34.3 per cent. The group's share in the steel pipe market also fell to 15 per cent from 17.3 per cent.

Under the strains of the US-China trade war, the United States Department of Commerce in late 2019 levied a tariff of 456 per cent on a series of local steel goods the material of which originates from South Korea and Taiwan and then undergo simple processing in Vietnam before being exported to the US, according to Reuters.

Novartis announces new legal entity to expand in Vietnam

Leading global medicines company Novartis on January 16 inaugurated its new legal entity in Vietnam, Novartis Vietnam Co., Ltd., becoming one of the first multinational companies in the country to successfully transform from a representative office to a foreign-invested enterprise importer.

With the goal of expanding its local operations, Novartis invested more than $6 million in creating the right conditions for Novartis Vietnam Co., Ltd., including qualified GSP warehouse lease, additional personnel, enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementation, and share capital.

During the inauguration ceremony, Novartis announced the arrival of the first import shipment of Novartis medicines in the Port of Ho Chi Minh City. Upon customs clearance, the imported Novartis medicines will be delivered to registered domestic wholesalers in compliance with local regulations. Novartis Vietnam Co., Ltd. secured its license to import and export medicines from Vietnam on August 28, 2019.

“We strive to enhance the Vietnamese people’s access to high-quality, innovative medicines. In support of that, we invest in strengthening local research and development capabilities. And as a committed partner of the government, we are supporting healthcare system strengthening initiatives. Collectively these commitments contribute to the socio-economic progress of Vietnam,” said Roeland Roelofs, country president of Novartis Vietnam.

Addressing the event, Nguyen Hoai Nam, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City’s Health Department in Vietnam, said, “For many years, Novartis has been known as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies by both market capitalisation and sales. Novartis has made great efforts to develop early patient access to newly invented drugs, typically cancer drugs.”

Since 2011, Novartis has been a leader in conducting clinical trials in Vietnam across a wide range of disease areas, including dermatology, ophthalmology, oncology, respiratory, urology, neuroscience, and cardiology. To date, the company has conducted 43 clinical trials involving more than 900 patients, 500 healthcare professionals, and over 50 sites. Now that Novartis Vietnam has received the license to support clinical trial activities, all trials will be consolidated in the new company, thus allowing smoother operations and an expansion of the number and variety of trials.

Novartis has been operating in Vietnam since the 1950s through its predecessor companies, Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy. The company owned a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Bien Hoa Industrial Zone, Dong Nai prior to 2002. The representative office of Novartis Pharma Services AG were established in 2008. In February 2019, Novartis Vietnam Co., Ltd. was created.

The value of Novartis medicines in Vietnam reached more than $120 million in 2019. In addition, Patient Assistance Programmes of Novartis enabled access to innovative medicines, especially in oncology, valued at $100 million in 2019 and more than $500 million since 2010. Novartis medicines reach an estimated 10 million people in Vietnam. As of January 2020, 475 highly skilled Vietnamese associates are working at Novartis Vietnam.

Hanoi Tax Department to scrutinise transfer pricing in 2020

The Hanoi Tax Department will scrutinise transfer pricing among foreign-invested enterprises in 2020, announcing it as its key task for the year.

Accordingly, the department will inspect foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) who reported losses for years but still made business expansions, and those who have been conducting suspicious transactions.

In 2019, the Hanoi Tax Department made great achievements, with state budget collection hitting a five-year record high with tax collection reaching VND252.18 trillion ($10.96 billion), up 15 per cent on-year. Tax collection from manufacturing business rose 17 per cent on-year, up from the 11.2 per cent in 2016-2018.

2019 was also the second year that the tax department fulfilled its inspections by carrying out over 18,700 inspections and investigations, surpassing the target by 12 per cent with the total collection in arrears and fines of VND3.7 trillion ($160.87 million).

During the year, the Hanoi Tax Department will also promote IT application in tax management with online declarations and e-payment, among others.

This year, the department sets out six key tasks to fulfill the target.

Promoting intra-ASEAN economy for a cohesive and proactive bloc

 

This was stated by Vu Ho, director general of the ASEAN Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a high-level symposium on intra-ASEAN trade and investment in Ha Noi on Friday.

The director general also said that unprecedented transformation in the global economy and technological advances had brought great potential for peace and sustainable development, as well as economic integration.

However, countries were also facing great challenges regarding competition and anti-globalisation movements, he pointed out.

Therefore, the key question for the ten-member group was how to maintain its strength and cohesiveness, as well as handle the impact of strategic competition, Ho said, stressing that ASEAN’s potential for a stronger intra-bloc economy and investment had yet to be fully tapped.

Over more than five decades of establishment and development, ASEAN had witnessed many economic achievements, but it was clear that the potential for promoting the intra-bloc economy and investment was still great, Ho noted.

At the 34th and 35th ASEAN Summits, ASEAN leaders reaffirmed their commitment to intra-ASEAN investment.

ASEAN countries also set a goal in 2017 to double intra-bloc capital flows by 2025 and better prepare for the fourth industrial revolution.

Ho said the enhancement of the regional economy and investment would help with the realisation of ASEAN’s priorities in the future.

He noted that there remained many barriers to intra-bloc investment, including those regarding institutions, policies and logistics, which needed to be addressed, adding that the symposium was expected to gather ideas and recommendations from experts and policymakers to promote regional economic integration.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said ASEAN had made strides in integration since the establishment of the ASEAN Free Trade Area, with intra-bloc trade climbing from US$89 billion to $200 billion last year.

Trade between Viet Nam and the bloc also increased from $4 billion to $18 billion during the period.

With a population of 600 million, ASEAN has become the world’s sixth largest economy and a typical example of economic integration, with its economic growth rate higher than the global average and pace expected to continue in the coming years.

The official suggested ASEAN strengthen its unity and maintain its cohesiveness to overcome challenges in the context of rising protectionism.

Businesses hoped for transparency in intra-ASEAN investment, he said, calling on regional countries to work together to identify and remove barriers facing investors.

ASEAN was one of the most dynamic regions in the world and the fifth largest economy with gross domestic product (GDP) reaching about US$3 trillion in 2018, said Aladdin D. Rillo, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN Secretariat.

ASEAN was also the fourth largest economy in the world in terms of trade of goods with a total value of more than US$700 billion.

Regarding foreign investment (FDI), FDI growth in ASEAN was about 4.4 per cent, much higher than other developing economies, making ASEAN the third largest FDI receiving economy in the world.

However, intra-bloc trade currently accounted for only 23 per cent of the bloc's trade, which was relatively low compared to other regions, he said.

Intensity of intra-bloc trade had also decreased significantly in recent years, he added.

Agreeing with Aladdin D. Rillo, former Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh also said that the process of economic integration would bring many benefits to ASEAN member countries and the community in the context of increasing trade tensions and protectionism.

Intra-ASEAN trade had increased slightly over the years, Vinh said. Although the volume of trade had increased, the percentage of trade between ASEAN countries was still quite low, he added.

In order for ASEAN to achieve its goal of doubling intra-bloc trade by 2025, Rillo said that intra-ASEAN trade needed to achieve an average annual growth rate of 9.1 per cent.

The deputy secretary-general proposed some solutions to increase intra-bloc trade which are focusing on researching product groups with high commercial value; strengthening financial integration to support trade; and continuing to promote rules-based ASEAN trade.

He also suggested enhancing trade and economic integration through new initiatives such as tariff reduction, trade promotion measures, and economic integration inside and outside the region.

He also said that ASEAN countries needed to strengthen co-operation in trade and services and reform institutions as these were also the major components in promoting the ASEAN Economic Community.

Consumers lean towards modern payment methods

A new study has found that the majority of Vietnamese cardholders is interested in using biometric authentication methods such as fingerprints or facial recognition to complete transactions, rather than the traditional PIN method or passwords.

The study, which was commissioned by Visa and conducted by Fabrizio Ward LLC, was an online survey of credit cardholders in Vietnam which looked into attitudes towards existing and new methods of payment authentication, with a particular focus on issues of security, convenience, and reliability.

According to the research, 95 per cent of respondents had used fingerprint recognition in the past to make a payment, making it the most popularly used form of biometric authentication. Across the board, the survey found that biometric payments are seen as being more secure, faster, and easier than traditional methods.

Indeed, survey respondents ranked biometrics as some of the most secure forms of authentication, with 97 per cent indicating that they felt fingerprint recognition was a secure method, followed by eye scans at 94 per cent, and facial recognition at 92 per cent. These methods ranked above others like PIN at 87 per cent and passwords at 84 per cent.

A whopping 83 per cent of the survey respondents indicated that they had abandoned an ongoing online purchase, most commonly because they had forgotten their password (41 per cent), or they had troubles logging on to their account (38 per cent). This could explain why only one in five respondents stated that they use unique passwords for each account. At the same time, 93 per cent said that they felt secure when paying using either a PIN or password.

Dang Tuyet Dung, Visa Vietnam’s country manager said, “The study shows that there is a clear desire for biometrics in the marketplace, and furthermore, that Vietnamese consumers are very keen adopters of new technologies. These are positive signs for us, as we work with banks in Vietnam to introduce more individualised and secure methods of identifying cardholders, so that we can work towards our goal of eliminating fraud while making the payment process even simpler for consumers.”

When asked for reasons why they may not currently be using biometric authentication, respondents’ leading reply was that their bank did not support the technology. Moreover, the majority indicated they would likely move away from their banks, payment card providers, or mobile services if they did not offer biometric authentication methods.

Hanoi real estate market welcomes New Year with good news

According to a survey announced by many consultancies, the Hanoi real estate market in the last months of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 shows upbeat prospects, with a blooming apartment segment.

According to a survey from CBRE Vietnam, in the fourth quarter of 2019, the Hanoi apartment market saw many positive changes, with apartment prices increasing steadily in all segments, with the average price recorded at $1,370 per square metre, up 5 per cent on-year.

CBRE said that in 2010-2019, the number of apartments in Hanoi has quadrupled to 304,000. The increasing demand for condominiums comes from the lifestyle of young homebuyers. Since 2010, this segment has been developing the strongest in the west of Hanoi and is currently expanding to other areas.

Over the past four years, apartment prices have been increasing steadily. The areas recording higher-than-average increases included My Dinh, Long Bien where prices rose by about 70 per cent, from $1,070 per sq.m in 2015 to $1,810 in 2019.

In 2019, the condominium segment in Hanoi continues to maintain a high new supply of about 36,000 new launches. On average, during 2015-2019, about 35,000 new apartments were launched each year, twice as many as the average for 2010-2014 (14,800 units).

It is estimated that more than 29,000 apartments were sold in 2019, 1 per cent higher than in the previous year. Positive sales were recorded at good infrastructure projects in My Dinh and Nam Tu Liem areas, which are home to national stadiums, railways, or the F1 race track.

Notably, according to CBRE, the demand from foreigners is one of the factors behind the positive sales activities in Hanoi, especially for projects with good locations in the west of Hanoi and the West Lake area.

The average primary selling price in the last quarter of last year was $1,370 per sq.m, up 5 per cent on-year. Primary prices recorded increases in all segments. Projects in synchronised urban areas with completed infrastructure have higher selling prices than current average prices in the same area.

According to Do Thu Hang, director of Savills Hanoi, the liquidity and selling price of real estate in Hanoi inching up is a good signal for the whole market. Because of good liquidity, the supply from investors has increased significantly over time, reflecting optimism in the market.

One of the reasons for the optimistic apartment market is the strong development of infrastructure in Hanoi. A series of projects on transportation, infrastructure, or entertainment facilities have been continually invested.

In particular, according to Hang, the My Dinh area in the upcoming time will be affected by the F1 racetrack, both in the hotel and apartment rental segments. Other segments, such as apartments, in the area can also take advantage.

“During the F1 race, foreign visitors will flock to the area, which will positively affect surrounding real estate projects. As for the prospect for 2023, we can expect to reach 30 million tourists, which implies great potential,” Hang said.

Accordingly, a series of projects and buildings in the My Dinh area and around the F1 racetrack are being urgently developed by investors to promptly launch to the market or hand over to customers to be ready for Vietnam's first F1 race in April.

In particular, the Matrix One project is becoming a "phenomenon" in the market after it was officially announced by MIKGroup.

One of the reasons making the project a highlight of western Hanoi in the past few months is its "unique" position as the F1 racetrack runs right under the project.

Therefore, residents of The Matrix One will be able to see firsthand the thrilling races of the prestigious F1 race.

Representatives of some real estate agencies revealed that the Matrix One draws in not only domestic customers but also many foreigners.

MPI & WB release latest Vietnam Development Report

The Ministry of Planning and Investment and the World Bank in Vietnam have released the flagship Vietnam Development Report, “Connecting Vietnam for Growth and Shared Prosperity”, together with one of its background papers, “Vietnam: Connecting Value Chains for Trade Competitiveness”, providing a comprehensive overview of Vietnam’s transport connectivity and how it supports three critical national development goals: integration, inclusion, and resilience.

The report states that developing quality connective infrastructure and logistics is crucial to lowering trade costs and boosting Vietnam’s further integration in both the global and domestic markets. This will require a new approach to planning and additional investments in strategic connective assets.

“The rapidly changing patterns of international trade and domestic consumption coupled with increasing natural disaster risks will have implications on Vietnam’s future connectivity needs,” said Mr. Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. “Upgrading connectivity, not just physical infrastructure but also transportation and logistics services, with the right policies and investments will help Vietnam go a long way towards achieving deeper integration, promoting inclusion, and building resilience.”

The report found uneven development of transport infrastructure around the country, capacity bottlenecks at major gateways, and a major imbalance in supply and demand. The country’s trade flows are concentrated at a quarter of all border gates - two airports, five seaports, and five border-crossing points - which collectively handled 86 per cent the value of total trade in 2016. As trade grows, so does congestion around these international gateways and border-crossing points.

Within the country, the movement of goods is conducted mainly on the road network, which carries three-quarters of total cargo volumes. Vietnam’s extensive network of natural waterways is under-utilized because its ports and landing stages are ill-suited to accommodate larger volumes of cargo. The use of container-based cargo, which enables efficient intermodal transfers, is relatively limited. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s 2,600-km railway network remains stuck at a low state of development.

The report highlights the steps Vietnam can take to address the fragmented state of connectivity to better facilitate international trade:

Reconfigure the network of international gateways by bringing a network perspective in planning and developing gateways, moving away from the current decentralized planning.

Re-orient transport and spatial planning to support critical value chains by creating a new ecosystem of trade and transport links that will be critical to facilitating supply chains and the movement of inputs and final products.

Create “economic densities” along new corridors by encouraging the development of the land surrounding high-value transport nodes for high productivity activities.

The report also sheds light on an often-overlooked issue of how domestic transport and logistic systems lagging behind the increasingly sophisticated demands of middle-class consumers. As incomes rise, there is a greater demand for a higher standard of services - such as safety, punctuality, freshness, and traceability of traded goods - as well as for competitive prices.

Despite these demand shifts, longstanding supply chains remain intact, particularly for food. A majority of consumers still prefer sourcing foods from traditional markets. “Cold chains” - refrigerated transportation and storage of perishable foods from farms to consumers - are fragmented and mostly serve the export market. Such underdeveloped food supply chains result in food losses estimated to be equivalent to 2 per cent of Vietnam’s GDP, a high incidence of food-borne diseases, and environmental pollution, according to the report.

The rapid development of e-commerce also generates growing needs for new types of logistics services, including door-to-door connectivity and last-mile delivery, especially for low-value, small-size parcels. This brings further challenges to Vietnam’s already built-up, congested cities.

The report proposes key measures to develop transport and logistics services to better integrate domestic markets.

It also suggests solutions to improving the resilience and reliability of the transport system and deliver on “last-mile” inclusion in lagging areas with better connectivity.

CBRE: HCMC condo market sees falling supply

Ho Chi Minh City’s condominium recorded a significant fall in new launch supply and new pricing levels across the market in 2019, according to CBRE Vietnam’s latest report “Property Insight - Residential Market Outlook 2020”.

There were many reasons leading to a reduction in new launch supply in the city but the primary issue was the slow licensing process for new and amended projects. Product features and marketing campaigns were used effectively by developers, however, to attract buyers during this period of limited supply.

In terms of segments, the mid-end segment accounted for the highest proportion of new launch units in 2019, at 67 per cent. The high proportion of the segment over the last three years has maintained market balance compared to the 2015-2016 period, when there was large supply in the high-end segment. The high-end segment ranked second last year, with 25 per cent, followed by luxury with 6 per cent.

There has been no new launch supply in the city’s affordable segment for the last three quarters. It accounted for 2 per cent of new supply in 2019.

Though new launch supply in the luxury segment has improved over the last two years, with new projects in District 1 and the Thu Thiem area in District 2, the segment accounted for only 3 per cent of total supply. There were only two new projects in 2019 compared to five in 2018.

This segment was led by local developers in the past due to their competitive advantage in securing prime land banks. In recent years, joint ventures with a foreign partner have increased their presence, with strong funding backup and proven track records in developing luxury products.

Luxury residential products, which are mainly located in “golden sites” in the city, are still very attractive to a niche market thanks to their unique offerings. Selling rates of newly-launched projects in this segment in recent quarters have all been above 70 per cent, especially those in the Thu Thiem area, which have posted an absorption rate of up to 100 per cent in a short period after launch.

Luxury products are being chased after by both local and foreign investors. Based on the number successful transactions closed by CBRE in the luxury segment in the last five years, 68 per cent of buyers were local, with many being Millennials. Foreign buyers have been mainly from South Korea, Taiwan (China), Singapore, and China.

Aligning with the condominium market, the selling price in the city’s luxury segment has increased significantly over recent years. The average selling price in the fourth quarter of last year was $6,308 per sq m, up 10 per cent year-on-year. This improvement was not only due to the possession of prime locations but also improvements in product quality. Developers in this segment have put a lot of effort into product research and development to incorporate international trends and quality standards, such as green buildings, smart homes, and imported branded materials, etc.

Primary prices will continue to increase due to a lack of supply. The luxury segment is expected to see prices increase by 10 per cent year-on-year. Prices in the high-end and mid-end segments will increase 5 per cent year-on-year, due to new supply and high price levels in 2019.

“The licensing issue and tightening credit continue to be the main challenges for the condominium market in 2020,” said Ms. Duong Thuy Dung, Senior Director of the Valuation, Research and Consulting Department at CBRE Vietnam. “Buyers will face difficulties in purchasing a condominium not because of what they can afford but rather what they can’t find. On the other side, developers are well-positioned to increase profits thanks to the shortage of existing condos for sale.”

In terms of luxury apartment trends, she said the future trend in the segment would mostly concentrate on resident experience. Projects will provide hotel-style services and will allow residents to enjoy a hotel-like and eco-friendly lifestyle on a daily basis. Luxury no longer means spacious, but rather has become a state of mind.

Mövenpick debuts in Cam Ranh

Mövenpick international hotels and resorts has opened the Mövenpick Resort Cam Ranh in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, near Nha Trang.

Located along Bai Dai Beach, the resort features 500 well-appointed rooms and individual pool villas and apartments that overlook a 17-km-long stretch of white sandy beach.

Inspired by a modern European style, the resort features 250 contemporary rooms designed by award-winning international hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates. All rooms offer direct sea views from expansive private balconies.

Guests seeking more privacy and space will appreciate the 118 one to three-bedroom pool villas, which feature a collection of exquisite Champa antiques and exotic art works. Perfect for long-term stays, the 132 sea view studio apartments offer a fully-furnished kitchenette and a large living and dining area.

Exciting culinary experiences are located in the resort’s three restaurants and two bars, including Panorama, the Marché style all-day dining, and the Tropicana Beach Club. Chubeli Beer House offers Swiss classics alongside a selection of European dishes. For coffee connoisseurs and chocolate lovers, the Lobby Lounge offers Mövenpick’s signature Chocolate Hour each day, with a selection of signature coffee blends and pastries.

The 1,100 sq m Serenity Spa features 23 treatment rooms and a dedicated foot reflexology center with an attached wellness bistro serving spa cuisine crafted with organic and local ingredients. Meanwhile, the Swiss Village at Mövenpick Resort Cam Ranh is home to a beer house, a large indoor and outdoor fitness center with tennis courts and a multi-purpose sports field, a games room, a minimart, and retail shops.

The little ones are invited to Little Birds Club, where they can create wonderful memories of their own. For families seeking fun outside, the Cam Ranh Adventure Rope Park features a 45-obstacle course and rope climbing challenge up to 10.6 meters in the air. There is also a kids’ pool complete with waterslide to cool off after a day of activities.

For events, weddings, and conferences, the resort boasts six multi-function rooms with outdoor spaces. The grand ballroom has a capacity of up to 800 people and leads out on to an 850 sq m outdoor lawn area perfect for outdoor weddings, evening cocktails, or team building events.

The area surrounding Mövenpick Resort Cam Ranh is home to golf courses, including a new 27-hole course designed by Greg Norman just a ten-minute drive away.

Mr. Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer of Accor, Upper Southeast & Northeast Asia and the Maldives, said Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts are a collection of memorable moments. “We know small gestures can make all the difference, and with the opening of the new Mövenpick Resort Cam Ranh we will continue to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way,” he added. “With 31 hotels, Accor remains the largest international hotel operator in the country, and we are delighted to introduce this up-and-coming destination to travelers from around the world.”

Mr. Brice Borin, General Manager of Mövenpick Resort Cam Ranh, said that family moments are integrated into the vacation experience at the resort. “With extensive family facilities, including an adventure rope park, water slides, a multi-level swimming pool and a children’s pool, two separate kids’ club areas, recreation facilities including a tennis court and a multi purposed sports field, and a beautiful private beach, Mövenpick Resort Cam Ranh is the perfect choice for families,” he added.

SSIAM partners with NH-Amundi on fund product promotion

The SSI Asset Management Company Ltd. (SSIAM) from Vietnam and the NH-Amundi Asset Management Company Ltd. from South Korea signed an MoU on January 13 to promote fund products of SSIAM in South Korean market.

NH-Amundi is known as one of the largest fund management companies in South Korea and also one of the top 10 in the world.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mr. Nguyen Duy Hung, Chairman and CEO of SSI Securities Corporation, Ms. Le Thi Le Hang, CEO of SSI Asset Management, Mr. Young-hoon Bae, CEO of NH-Amundi Asset Management, and representatives of both parties.

Under the MoU, NH-Amundi has the exclusive rights to develop products using the VN30-Index and the VN50-Index and is planning to do so in cooperation with SSIAM. In addition, the two companies have agreed to join hands to launch various funds that will invest in the Vietnamese market.

“Vietnam is the fastest-growing country among emerging markets,” said Mr. Young-hoon Bae, CEO of NH-Amundi. “However, there are still limited ways to invest in the country. With this MoU, NH-Amundi will develop various products to provide South Korean investors with opportunities to invest in the market.”

The cooperation will promote the relationship between SSIAM and NH-Amundi, enhance the reputations of both parties in the field, and create momentum for many upcoming cooperative efforts between the two parties and other strategic partners.

The NH-Amundi Fund Management Company is a member of South Korea’s Nonghyup Financial Group. With its reputation, financial potential, and extensive distribution network, NH-Amundi is South Korea’s leading fund management company and one of the top 10 fund management companies in the world.

 
 

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