BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES APRIL 4

Loss-making projects unable to revive must be dissolved: Deputy PM

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES APRIL 4

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh speaks at the meeting on April 3

Loss-making projects that are unable to revive must be dissolved, Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said at the 9th meeting of the steering committee for dealing with some poor-performing projects and businesses of the industry and trade sector held in Hanoi on April 3.

The Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC) reported that among the six projects that have been operating but suffered losses in the past, two recorded profits in 2018 and 2019, namely DAP-1 Hai Phong fertiliser plant and Viet Trung Metallurgy and Mineral Co. Ltd.

The four others have gradually addressed their difficulties and reduced losses, namely Ha Bac Nitrogenous Fertilizer and Chemicals Co. Ltd, Ninh Binh Nitrogenous Fertilizer and Chemicals Co. Ltd, DAP-2 Lao Cai fertiliser plant, and Dung Quat Shipyard.

Among the three projects that were suspended, Dinh Vu polyester fibre plant project has resumed operations, while the two others are now eligible for resuming activities but have not due to market difficulties, namely Quang Ngai and Binh Phuoc bio-fuel plant projects.

The CMSC said the 12 major ailing projects and businesses were inspected, seven of them were audited, while four were investigated and prosecuted. As a result, organisations and individuals who committed violations have been strictly handled.

At the meeting, Deputy PM Binh, who is head of the steering committee for dealing with the weak projects and businesses, noted there is not much time left to complete the settlement of those 12 projects and firms as requested by the Politburo and the PM, pointing out that the tasks needed to be done in 2020 are all hard ones left over from the previous years.

He asked the CMSC to promote and monitor State-owned enterprises’ clarification of responsibility so as to thoroughly remove obstacles to those tasks this year.

The settlement of those loss-making projects and firms must ensure that the State won’t have to continue shouldering their debts, Binh said, noting that those able to develop should be removed from the list of poor-performing projects, while relevant parties should seek partners to operate those needing to form joint ventures, be sold or lease assets.

Meanwhile, loss-making projects must be dissolved to prevent prolonged losses, the Deputy PM stressed./.

Hanoi reports 3.27-percent GRDP growth in Q1

Hanoi posted an increase of 3.27 percent in Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) in the first quarter of 2020 – the lowest in recent years, according to the municipal Statistics Office.

This was attributed to impact of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

The agro-forestry-aquaculture sector saw a decrease of 1.17 percent, while the industry-construction and service fields respectively rose by 5.46 percent and 3.2 percent, the office said.

In the reviewed period, retail and service revenue in the capital city totaled 135.7 trillion VND (over 5.7 billion USD), up 2.3 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, its export turnover reached 2.74 trillion USD, 18.1 percent lower than the figure posted in the same period last year.

Tourism, transportation, accommodation and catering services; processing and manufacturing industries; import and exports and a number of other service sectors recorded sharp declines.

As much as 63 trillion VND of development investment was disbursed in the period, representing a yearly increase of 5.2 percent.

The capital city attracted 646.4 million USD in foreign direct investment (FDI), including 389 million USD from 170 new projects and 36 with added capital, and 257.4 million USD in capital contribution to buy shares.

Hanoi is now home to 6,102 FDI projects with a total registered capital of 42.75 billion USD, of which 26.5 billion USD has been disbursed./.

Online trade promotion activities should be developed due to COVID-19: agency

The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency has encouraged localities, businesses and trade promotion organisations develop online marketing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, said agency director Vu Ba Phu.

They should promote trade promotion activities on digital platforms, develop e-commerce activities and boost the application of information technology for their operations.

At the same time, the agency will strongly enhance trade promotion programmes of export products and online trade links between Vietnamese businesses and import partners.

Phu told the Cong thuong (Industry and Trade) newspaper that his office would coordinate with Vietnam’s trade offices and commercial counsellors abroad to utilise export opportunities and propose suitable trade promotions.

The agency will provide Vietnam trade offices with a list of target markets and goods with high potential of export compiled by localities and commodity associations. Then, those offices would provide the market information for importers and distributors in foreign countries, especially in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

Meanwhile, it would cooperate closely with the Vietnam Trade Office in China to resume trade promotion activities at this market after the pandemic ends, he said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Phu said existing difficulties in production and business have brought opportunities for domestic businesses to reorganise and restructure input material and export markets.

Phu said his agency would cancel or delay 49 projects under the national trade programme this year, including large international fairs and exhibitions on agricultural products, food, seafood, textiles and footwear at home and abroad, and major international trade events in Vietnam and the region./.

Vingroup breaks profit record

Vingroup in 2019 has managed to break its previous record of VND7.149 trillion ($310.83 million) from 2013 by reaching VND7.717 billion ($335.5 million).

According to its accumulated financial statement for 2019, Vingroup acquired VND130.03 trillion ($5.65 billion) in net revenue, up 6.7 per cent on-year. The pre-tax profit was VND15.63 trillion ($679.57 million), increasing by 12.5 per cent. Furthermore, its after-tax profit was VND7.717 trillion ($335.5 million), up 23.7 per cent, the congolomerate's highest profit so far.

As of December 31, 2019, Vingroup reported its assets at VND403.741 trillion ($17.55 billion) and equity of VND120.58 trillion ($5.24 billion), signifying increases of 40.1 and 21.6 per cent on-year.

Its investments in manufacturing machinery, equipment, and facilities was the main reason behind Vingroup's asset scale skyrocketing last year.

In the first three months of this year, with the general difficulties from the COVID-19 epidemic, the group issued many solutions to adapt to the pandemic.

Notably, Vingroup suspended the operation of hotels and resorts under the Vinpearl brand. Vincom Retail, along with applying disinfection measures and providing a safe shopping area for customers, it strengthened preventive measures by monitoring visitors and workers' body temperature in shopping centres, sanitising public areas every two hours, and requiring security guards and staff to wear gloves and masks and control the elevators for guests.

These are proactive measures that Vincom has implemented right from the first days of the COVID-19 epidemic. Vingroup issued support packages worth VND300 billion ($13 million) to support tenants at its 79 retail centres nationwide who are impacted by COVID-19. The majority of the funds will be used to subsidise rent for tenants and offer discounts and vouchers for customers visiting Vincom retail centres.

In addition, the group's Vinhomes branch has been taking customer interaction online and launched its official Youtube channel to promote its real estate products. VinFast and VinSmart have also been boosting online sales.

Grab Vietnam spends $3 million supporting driver and merchant partners from COVID-19

Grab Vietnam has launched a support fund worth VND70 billion ($3 million) to assist drivers as well as delivery and merchant-partners as well as support the government's initiatives during the

According to Nguyen Thai Hai Van, CEO of Grab Vietnam, the financial support is Grab’s latest effort to join hands with the government in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. The move is expected to stimulate the economy, protect driver-partners’ livelihoods, and facilitate merchant partners to maintain operation on Grab’s platform amidst the health crisis. All of the initiatives are also aimed at bringing the best experience to customers.

Accordingly, Grab provides COVID-19 insurance packages worth VND100 million ($4,350) each for select driver-partners with good performance on its platform. Should driver-partners test positive for COVID-19 by health authorities, the insurance package will not only cover their medical expenses but also grant them an allowance of VND10 million ($435) in cash. If driver-partners are quarantined as requested by regulatory bodies, Grab will offer them a one-off payment of VND100,000 ($4.35) per day for 14 days maximum.

Grab will closely monitor the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide suitable policies to ensure the average earnings of drivers during the crisis, especially those who have been active on the Grab platform for a long time.

The company will also support fast-food restaurant chains as well as 500 small- and medium-sized merchant partners in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. The firm will use the fund to implement a range of support activities such as running ads, promotions, and increasing PR activities, thereby helping restaurants attract new customers and increase revenue. Grab will support part of the rental fees of eligible merchant partners to maintain their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, Grab will make an effort to support the local community and the Vietnamese government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this initiative, Grab will donate VND2 billion ($86,960) to the local COVID-19 support fund.

Grab will also use part of this $3 million fund to support volunteers at quarantine areas at the Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City with food and rides. For consumers, Grab provides free delivery for every order on GrabFood. All shipping expenses are paid from Grab’s pockets without affecting the earnings of driver-partners.

rab can provide this budget thanks to our constant efforts to optimise operating costs and changing the calculation of GrabRewards points. We would like to express our sincere thanks to Grab employees and Grab users in Vietnam for their contribution to the budget to support Grab's partners. The support is expected to help Grab’s driver and merchant partners overcome this difficult period while fulfilling the Grab for Good Development roadmap in Vietnam,” Van said.

With the support, Grab has taken quick action to ensure the health and safety of its partners while showing solidarity with the government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Grab has proven itself to be one of the most active pioneers in community support programmes, constantly trying to improve the quality of life for consumers and society through its services.

BIDV and NCB looking at losing debts at Saplastic

With Saigon Plastic Packaging JSC (Saplastic) standing on the brink of bankruptcy, there is little chance for BIDV and NCB to collect their dues from the company.

The State Securities Commission of Vietnam has published the decision of the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City about opening bankruptcy procedures for Saplastic.

Established in 2001 as a limited company, Saplastic switched to the joint-stock company model from 2007 and its shares were listed on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) in September 2008. The company specialises in manufacturing plastic packaging, high-end paper packaging and components, as well as equipment for the printing sector.

According to its financial statement, as of the third quarter of 2019, it reported a debt of VND891.6 trillion ($38.77 billion), VND866.8 trillion ($37.69 billion) of which is short-term debt. The total debt is 3.2 times higher than its equity.

In the third quarter of 2019, its net revenue from sales and services was VND2.3 trillion ($100 million), lower than the VND240.05 trillion ($10.44 billion) the year prior. The accumulated net revenue from sales and services within the first nine months of 2091 was VND254.2 trillion ($11.05 billion).

Its two largest lenders of the company are BIDV (Nam Ky Khoi Nghia branch in Ho Chi Minh City) with VND399 billion ($17.35 million) and NCB (Saigon branch) with VND130 billion ($5.65 million).

Saplastic’s collateral backing up the loans from BIDV includes machinery, equipment, and the land use rights for land plots in District 1 and Tan Binh Industrial Park, Ho Chi Minh City.

Once Saplastic is bankrupt, BIDV and NCB face difficulties in collecting their loan amount. Along with loans from these two banks, Saplastic holds a debt of VND46 billion ($2 million) to Agribank's Phu Nhuan branch, VND69.9 billion ($3 million) to PVcombank, VND35 billion ($1.52 million) to Ho Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank, and VND30 billion ($1.3 million) to Indovia's Cho Lon branch.

Rural labourers in Vĩnh Long offered vocational training for in-demand jobs

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Vĩnh Long is focusing on providing rural labourers with vocational skills that are needed by local businesses.

The Bình Minh Town Continuing Education and Vocational Training Centre is providing new training courses on sedge weaving for labourers in Đông Thành Commune. The job helps them earn additional income after working in the rice field.

Most people in Đông Thành are ethnic Khmer and live on growing rice and have a low income.

Thạch Thị Thắm, one of the women who participated in a training course in Đông Thành, said: "After learning the skills, we can earn an additional income of VNĐ1 million (US$42) a month from making sedge weaving products."

Sơn Thị Sây Ha, a teacher at the centre, said the craft of sedge weaving does not require high techniques and high education, and people can use their leisure time to do sedge weaving products.

“The centre has co-operated with establishments that produce sedge weaving products to secure outlets for trainees so they can have a job later,” she said.

The province’s vocational centres have diversified their training courses and time of training so labourers can participate in courses and still do their job.

According to Võ Thị Tố Lan, deputy chairwoman of the Tích Thiện Commune Women's Union in Trà Ôn District, most women in the commune live on agricultural production and do not have other work to do when they have leisure time.

The union has worked with a vocational training centre to provide courses on making handicraft products for its members.

This year, the province plans to provide vocational skills for 35,500 labourers, including short-term vocational skills for 7,000 rural labourers, according to the province’s Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Of the 7,000 rural labourers, 1,500 will be provided agricultural vocational skills and 5,500 will be provided non-agricultural vocational skills.

Last year, the province provided vocational skill training for 32,741 labourers, including 5,405 from rural areas. More than 50 per cent of the trainees have found stable jobs.

Huỳnh Thị Mỹ Hà, deputy director of the department, said the province’s vocational training had achieved positive results but the rate of trained labourers reached only 50 per cent.

The province targets increasing the rate of trained labourers to 55 per cent by the end of the year, according to Hà.

The province will give priority to vocational skills in high demand like civil construction, welding, industrial sewing and hospitality services.

It will also work with local companies to provide vocational training based on their requirements.

Ho Chi Minh City’s March CPI falls 0.58 percent

The consumer price index (CPI) of Ho Chi Minh City in March fell by 0.58 percent compared to the previous month, according to the municipal Statistics Office.

The decline was reported in four out of the 11 groups of products and services in the CPI basket, including restaurant and catering services (0.46 percent), transport (5.82 percent), post and telecommunication (0.15 percent), and culture, entertainment and tourism (0.67 percent).

Prices of medicines and healthcare services remained unchanged.

The highest price hikes were seen in houssing, electricity, water, fuel and construction material (0.46 percent); while other groups recorded a monthly rise of 0.61 percent.

The gold price index in March rose by 5.7 percent over the previous month, while that of the USD climbed by 1.11 percent./.

Sa Dec flower village to be turned into tourism culture centre

The People's Committee of Sa Dec city, the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap has been assigned to invest in a project to develop the Sa Dec flower village into a tourism culture village.

Accordingly, the municipal authority will coordinate with the provincial Departments of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Agriculture and Rural Development, and Saemaul Undong rural development centre of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities to implement the project.

The village will cover an area of 589 hectares in the flower village, including a 210-hectare core area.

The Sa Dec tourism culture village is expected to become a product satisfying standards of the One Commune-One Product (OCOP) programme, thus contributing to preserving and upholding traditional culture values of the Sa Dec ornamental flower village.

The project also aims to turn the village into an agricultural tourism centre in the southern region, towards promoting community development and cooperation for mutual growth.

It will focus on upgrading infrastructure system; improving the environment; building a conservation centre of flower varieties, a coordination centre, and tourism models associated with activities of the village; organising vocational training and human resources development programmes; building management software, and developing a code of conduct and brand name of the village.

The project is hoped to help increase competitiveness of the locality’s tourism products, promote socio-economic development and culture exchange, and accelerate new-style rural area construction in the locality./.

Tra Vinh: Nearly 11 mln USD earmarked to upgrade embankment

The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has earmarked a total of 260 billion VND (10.9 million USD) to consolidate and upgrade local river and sea embankments from now until 2023, as part of the effort to mitigate impact of the climate change.

The province has seen severe erosion, triggered by climate change, along rivers and coastal areas which has seriously been affecting production and life of the locals and caused damage to agricultural land and infrastructure projects.

Of the fund, 200 billion VND will be spent on upgrading dikes and embankments along the coast in the districts of Cau Ngang and Duyen Hai and Duyen Hai town from 2020 - 2023 and the remainder, for constructing dikes along Lang The river crossing Dai Phuong commune, Cang Long district, from 2020 – 2023.

Additionally, the provincial People’s Committee has requested the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to coordinate with relevant agencies in planting mangrove trees to protect the river banks and coastlines and educating people on the prevention of river and coastal encroachment./.

Tourist arrivals in Hanoi drop strongly

 

Tourist arrivals in Hanoi in the first quarter are estimated at 3.85 million, down 47.2 percent annually, according to the Hanoi Department of Tourism.

Of them, over 956,000 were foreigners and 2.89 million were domestic travellers, down 43.9 percent and 48.2 percent, respectively.

The total revenue from tourism was estimated at over 15.68 trillion VND (681.7 million USD), marking a decrease of 38.8 percent.

In March alone, over 321,390 visitors arrived in Hanoi, down 87.4 percent, with 133,740 foreigners, down 80 percent.

The local hospitality industry has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first three months of this year, hotel occupancy averaged 43 percent, down 26.2 percent year-on-year. The rate dropped to only 23.4 percent in March.

The tourism department has asked travel business individuals and entities to enhance safety measures amid the complicated developments of COVID-19 pandemic./.

Construction firms face difficulties due to COVID-19 pandemic

The complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic have seriously affected a large number of enterprises, especially construction companies, as their business and production saw not very good results in the first quarter of 2020, according to a survey by the General Statistics Office.

As many as 47.5 percent of the 6,600 respondent enterprises said that they have faced more difficulties in the period, the survey showed.

The situation was predicted to be more positive in the next quarter, with 53.1 percent of those forecasting more stable operation, while the rest said that it will be worse.

The production and business situation of an enterprise can be assessed on the basis of equilibrium indicators on production and business trend, fluctuation of total costs and costs for raw materials and labourer, and on labourer demand./.

Businesses urged to cooperate to bring live pig price down

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong has urged livestock businesses to cooperate with the Government and with each other to bring the live pig price down from the current 75,000 VND (3.17 USD) to 70,000 VND per kg as from April 1.

The minister made the call at a working session with 15 big livestock companies in Hanoi on March 30.

The minister hailed the companies for maintaining safe breeding in the recent past despite the threat of the African swine fever (AFS) epidemic. As of March 10, the country’s pig stocks stood at nearly 24 million, equivalent to 74 percent of the stocks before the hit of the AFS in 2018, and are expected to reach the pre-AFS epidemic number at the end of the third quarter or beginning of the fourth quarter.

He also asked the businesses to make recommendations for a more sustainable development of the pig industry.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has been working with livestock companies to restore the pig stocks and bring pork prices down.

At the same time, the Government has allowed more import of pork, with total volume this year reaching 39,191 tonnes as of March 27, up 312 percent year on year.

The pork price has stayed high since late 2019, affecting the Consumer Prices Index and posing the risk that the CPI increase could not be kept under 4 percent as targeted, according to the pricing management committee.

In concluding the session, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung assigned the MARD and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to coordinate with localities and businesses to bring down the production costs of the livestock industry, and intensify the management of prices on the market and intermediary costs in distribution.

The ministries are also asked to build plans to expand the pig herds while ensuring supply-demand balance./.

Ninh Thuan popularises Fisheries Law among fishermen to fight IUU fishing

The south central province of Ninh Thuan is pushing ahead with the popularization of the 2017 Law on Fisheries, to raise fishermen’s awareness about 14 illegal fishing acts and the need of obeying law when joining offshore fishing.

This move is part of the province’s efforts to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) activities so as to join hands with the nation to have the European Commission (EC) remove its yellow card warning against Vietnam.

Ninh Thuan has a fleet of 567 fishing vessels involved in offshore fishing and 43 services boats.

Dang Van Tin, head of the provincial Fisheries Department, said that the province is continuing to implement the EC’s four groups of recommendations, including completing the legal framework, installing monitoring devices on fishing vessels, intensifying law enforcement, and tracing origins of aquatic products.

Attention is being paid to strengthening inspection and supervision over operations of fishing vessels and their crew, as well as food safety and fishing tools; controlling the output and supervising fishing logging at the fisheries control offices in Dong Hai port in Phan Rang – Thap Cham city and Ca Na port in Thuan Nam district. All violations are punished strictly.

In addition, the province is accelerating the installation of Movimar device - a system to monitor fishing vessels and aquatic resources by satellite technology – with the goal of equipping all 15m-long or more vessels in April. At present, 316 local fishing vessels have been equipped with this device. Vessel owners are required to activate the device around the clock.

After more than two years of implementing the Prime Minister’s Directive on IUU Fishing Prevention, Ninh Thuan has held 70 courses disseminating law for nearly 3,000 vessel owners, captains and fishermen, and persuaded nearly 2,300 ship owners to sign commitments to not engage in illegal fishing in international waters.

To date, no local fishing vessels have been arrested for violating international waters. However, there are still law violations such as using destructive fishing tools, lacking safety equipment for fishing vessels, and having no documents on catching history.

In the time ahead, besides stepping up the fight against IUU fishing, Ninh Thuan will continue to restructure the fisheries sector to ensure the harmonious development of fishing, limiting its effects on aquatic resources and the ecological environment.

In October 2017, Vietnam received a “yellow card” warning for illegal seafood exploitation by the EC, which has seriously hit exports to the European market./.

HEINEKEN appoints new regional president Asia-Pacific and managing director in Vietnam

Heineken N.V. has just announced large-scale changes to its management line-up, bumping up key personnel in Vietnam and the larger region, with the appointment of Jacco van der Linden as president of the Asia-Pacific region and Soren Hagh as president of the Europe region, effective from June 1, 2020, adding them to the group's Executive Team.

Jacco van der Linden is currently managing director of HEINEKEN Vietnam and was previously managing director of HEINEKEN China. He joined HEINEKEN in 1999 and has held a number of senior international leadership roles in commerce in the UK, Nigeria, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

Jacco van der Linden will succeed Dolf van den Brink, who is currently regional president for the Asia-Pacific. As announced on February 11, 2020, Dolf van den Brink is nominated for membership of the Executive Board at the upcoming company’s annual general meeting of shareholders and to succeed Jean-François van Boxmeer as chairman of the Executive Board and CEO on June 1, 2020.

Alexander Koch, currently commercial director of HEINEKEN Vietnam, will succeed Jacco van der Linden as managing director HEINEKEN Vietnam from June 1, 2020. Prior to Koch’s current position, he was managing director HEINEKEN Ivory Coast. Alexander Koch joined HEINEKEN as a commercial management trainee in 1997.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman of the Executive Board and CEO, commented: "Obviously, the key focus for us is on running the company through the current unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, with our first priority being the health and well-being of our people. At the same time, we are preparing for the future with these appointments. I am very pleased with Dolf’s choice of Jacco van der Linden leading our Asia-Pacific region, and Soren Hagh leading our Europe region from June 1, 2020. Jacco and Soren have an outstanding track record delivering strong business results, and they both have great leadership, people, and commercial skills. We are confident that Jacco and Soren will be very valuable in our executive team, and in leading the business and respective teams in their regions."

3M explores new opportunities to expand in COVID-19 fight

3M, a global leader in personal protective equipment, is collaborating with giant automobile manufacturer Ford to build powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) to meet the growing demand for personal protective equipment globally due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A representative of 3M Vietnam told VIR that, “3M is exploring all available opportunities to further expand our capacity and get healthcare supplies as quickly as possible to where they’re needed the most – which includes partnering with other companies like Ford.”

“This partnership has the potential of increasing our production of powered air-purifying respirators by tenfold,” the representative elaborated.

According to 3M, Ford will make components that go into the PAPRs in its US facilities and 3M will build the PAPRs at its factories in the US. At present, they do not have a timeline on when the first products will be ready, but they are working hard to proceed quickly.

The target market for 3M's PAPR are healthcare facilities and workers who need respiratory protection over long periods of time. A PAPR is more comfortable in those situations that an N95 respirator.

Established in 1994, 3M Vietnam operates in the fields of industry, safety and graphics, healthcare, and consumer goods. At the end of December 31, 2018, the company's revenue was estimated at $32.765 billion, 3.5 per cent higher than in the same period last year.

3M, one of the US Fortune 500 multinational corporations, has been continuously listed among Vietnam’s top 100 places to work in recent years thanks to its unique culture of flexibility, innovation, and its focus on ethics and sustainability.

Localities in northern key economic region connect for growth

Localities in the northern key economic region have connected to create value chains to boost the entire region’s development.

The northern key economic region comprises Hanoi, Hai Phong city and the provinces of Quang Ninh, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Bac Ninh and Vinh Phuc. It is Vietnam’s second largest economic region, accounting for 32 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 32 percent of total export turnover, and contributes 31 percent to the State budget collection.

Deputy General Director of the Hanoi Trade Corporation (Hapro) Nguyen Tien Vuong said that Hapro, with rich experience in sustainable business strategy connectivity, is always looking to expand its domestic sources of goods to serve its export and domestic trade activities.

The corporation has cooperated with many businesses and units in other localities in the northern key economic region and the Red River Delta region in order to create a system of sources and develop two-way goods distribution channels, Vuong said, adding that Hapro’s distribution network has expanded to all localities in the northern key economic region.

Chairman of the Quang Ninh provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Thang said that connectivity between local authorities and local business associations aims to boost cooperation in production and consumption in the spirit of mutual support, thus contributing to promoting the development of the whole region’s business community.

Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Hai Phong Chapter Phi Van Duc said that the reality shows that it is not possible to expect a breakthrough in labour productivity, investment efficiency and competitiveness of the economy as well as the business community without change. The advantage of cheap labour are falling fast due to the impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

To make the region a main force for the nation’s growth, Duc highlighted the need for each business to exert effort and cooperate with others in the region. He also suggested the State strive to create a favourable business climate and intensify disseminations of laws and policies to help enterprises avoid risks.

Trinh Minh Anh, Chief of the Inter-sectoral Steering Committee on International Economic Integration, said that participating in global and regional value chains requires enterprises to improve their goverance skills.

Traditional competition based on prices and quality must gradually shift to competition based on standards, size of orders, delivery time and distribution channels. Similarly, information and engagement with other businesses and strategic partners was just as important as technological advancement, he added.

He suggesed enterprises seek business opportunities associated with the process of international economic integration and new-generation Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

It is essential to have an understanding of languages, cultures and customs in partner countries in order to integrate into regional and gloval value chains, he stressed, adding that firms should be able to hold legal talks with the Vietnamese Government to receive support when necessary./.

Da Lat demolishes illegal hotel construction

The authorities in Da Lat City have started a forced removal of an illegally-built four-star resort project at Tuyen Lam Lake.

On March 30, Vo Ngoc Trinh, vice chairman of Da Lat City People's Committee, said they had worked with related agencies to remove the construction forcibly which were being built at the national tourism site, Tuyen Lam Lake.

The Cereja Hotel and Resort - Da Lat project covers 30ha and built by Thien Nhan Company which is based in HCM City and was given an investment license by Lam Dong Province in March 2009. The company was allowed to build a number of villas and supporting facilities. However, it also illegally built five more villas than allowed.

Nguyen Van Hoa, chairman of Ward 3 People's Committee, said the authorities in Lam Dong, Da Lat and Ward 3 have issued fines and asked the company to stop the construction many times but their requests were ignored.

"The forced removal starts on March 30. The four other villas will also be removed," Hoa said.

Doan Van Viet, chairman of Lam Dong People's Committee, has asked all agencies to analyse their failings after many illegal constructions were found around Tuyen Lam Lake. The Department of Internal Affairs will oversee the punishments and report back by late March so that the provincial authority will submit a report to the prime minister later.

Katalon tops 2020 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Software Test Automation

Gartner Peer Insight, the world's leading IT consulting organisation with more than 40 years of operation, has just released the March 2020 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice. Katalon Studio, a product incubated by KMS Technology, takes great pride to be ranked in the highest position in the Software Test Automation market list.

Katalon is recognised as Gartner Peer Insights Customers' Choice for the second year in a row. In the 2020 ranking, Katalon was at the highest position for the Software Test Automation market list, along with other market leaders such as Broadcom, Tricentis, and Parasoft, among others.

To earn such distinction, a vendor must have a minimum of 50 published reviews with an average overall rating of 4.2 stars or higher. The ranking is based on feedback and ratings from end-user professionals who have experience purchasing, implementing, and/or using the product or service. As of March 23, 2020, Katalon Studio – an end-to-end solution for web, API, mobile, and desktop apps test automation – received 398 reviews, a 4.4 rating out of 5.0, surpassing the second one in the list who received 86 reviews with a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0.

Started as an automation tool for small- and medium-sized teams, Katalon has progressed to become an enriched testing ecosystem for enterprise-sized teams with more advanced needs. "We are grateful and delighted to be named a March 2020 Gartner Peer Insights Customers' Choice for Software Test Automation for the second time. We believe this distinction has once again recognised our relentless efforts to provide not only a high-quality product but also an excellent experience to our end-users," said Vu Lam, CEO of Katalon. "In 2020, Katalon Studio will continue growing to become an all-in-one testing solution that enables cross-functional operations, augments resource utilisation, and maximises automation ROI for businesses at scale," he continued.

The Gartner Peer Insights Customers' Choice distinctions recognises vendors and products that are highly rated by customers who are also industry professionals. The software test automation market comprises of the tools, technologies, components, and services that together constitute the critical elements of automated testing.

Katalon is a leading provider in software test automation solutions. The company offers a flexible platform for web, API, mobile, and desktop testing that fits teams and projects of any size, for any purpose – from creating tests, execution, and reports to seamless integration with the CI/CD ecosystem.

KMS Technology is a US-based engineering and services company with development centres in Vietnam. Established in 2009, KMS Technology has grown to over 1000 employees globally and is trusted by international clients for the superior quality of products and expertise of Vietnamese engineers.

Siemens helps speed up design and production of medical components in COVID-19 times

In response to the ongoing global health crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, global industrial conglomerate Siemens AG is making its Additive Manufacturing (AM) Network, along with its 3D printers, available to the global medical community to speed up the design and production of medical components.

The AM Network connects users, designers and 3D-print service providers to enable faster and less complicated production of spare parts for machines like ventilators. The Siemens AM network is available globally and covers the entire value chain – from upload and simulation to checking the design up to the printing process and associated services.

Starting today, doctors, hospitals, and organisations in need of medical devices, as well as designers and service providers with medically-certified printing capacities can register for free access to the Siemens AM Network.

“Having worked on Additive Manufacturing for years, we offer AM solutions along the entire value chain and can print 3D parts quickly according to acute demands," said Klaus Helmrich, member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO Siemens Digital Industries.

The Siemens AM network is available globally and covers the entire value chain.

“To help fight COVID-19, we have opened our AM Network for hospitals and other health institutions needing spare medical parts to efficiently manage their design and printing requests,” he added.

Siemens’ designers and engineers are a part of the AM Network so they can answer design requests and help convert designs into printable files. Afterwards, these components can be printed via medically certified 3D printers of partner companies that are also part of the AM Network.

In addition to numerous 3D printers from partner companies, Siemens’ 3D printing machines are also connected to the network and if suitable, will also be used to locally print components and spare parts for medical devices. Printing capacities from additional service providers can easily be added to the AM Network.

Super apps release grocery delivery to ease social distancing during COVID-19

Taking advantage of social distancing and people going into voluntary isolation and refusing to leave their homes during the COVID-19 outbreak, ride-hailing applications Grab and Be introduced a new service where drivers can pick up their grocery.

A few weeks after Be launched its new service helping customers to buy grocery from supermarkets, Grab has also begun piloting a similar service named GrabMart in Ho Chi Minh City. The Singapore-based firm has partnered up with several retail chains and convenience store chains for the pilot and remains open to further partners.

As soon as receiving the orders of customers, the partners can begin preparing their orders, then drivers can pick the items up, pay, and deliver them. Grab has been offering this service in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia for years now.

A representative of Grab said that the launch of the new service aims to create an added shopping option for customers as the epidemic keeps spreading. It is also in line with the authorities’ direction of encouraging people to shop online during these times.

Currently, less than 10 stores and supermarkets have partnered with GrabMart, but Grab expects the number to rise soon.

The GrabMart and Be model is not entirely new to Vietnam, as local firms like Chopp.vn, Disieuthi.vn, and Now – one of the biggest competitors of GrabFood in the local market – have been offering this service for years now.

GoViet’s parent company, Gojek, has launched the same service named Gomart in its Indonesian system. However, in Vietnam, GoViet only offers ride-hailing, food delivery, and parcel delivery services. As the epidemic has been growing more serious in the local market, GoViet may soon add the Gomart feature, too.

As people are reluctant to leave their homes during the health crisis, these super apps have seen great growth in shipping and food delivery. Meanwhile, retail chains have started recruiting more staff for their online shopping channels.

According to Nielsen’s latest survey in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang city, more than 50 per cent of consumers go to supermarkets and convenience stores less to directly purchase goods. Moreover, 60 per cent of consumers have also been going to wet markets less frequently, with all of them turning towards e-commerce as a viable alternative.

 
 

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