BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES DECEMBER 22

Vietnam 57th globally in Total Workforce Index 2019

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES DECEMBER 22

Recruitment and HR consulting group The ManpowerGroup has recently announced its Total Workforce Index (TWI) in 2019, with Vietnam ranking 57th out of 76 countries and territories globally in terms of sourcing candidates, hiring, and retaining skilled people, compared to 43rd in 2018, and 13th in the Asia-Pacific region, compared to 12th in 2018.

Vietnamese workers earned an average monthly income of $242 in 2019, while the average monthly income in the Asia-Pacific region was $1,801.

In terms of skills, the percentage of highly skilled workers in Vietnam in 2019 accounted for 11.6 per cent of the country’s total workforce of 57.5 million; an increase of 0.8 per cent compared to 2018. Full-time workers accounted for 41 per cent and part-time workers 57 per cent.

TWI’s analysis is based on more than 100 factors in 76 markets across the globe, enabling businesses to make a comprehensive assessment and easily compare labor markets through the four key factors of workforce availability; cost efficiency; workforce productivity; and regulation.

In the current competitive context in terms of the economic situation and the ever-changing legal framework, the TWI helps businesses deeply appreciate the readiness of the best workforce, the diversity of the workforce as well as skills that are in high demand in each market, workforce mobility, and factors related to tax policy.

“With increasingly complex global developments, finding the right talent is the top priority of organizations when they want to build a strong business,” said Mr. Simon Matthews, General Manager of ManpowerGroup Vietnam, Thailand and the Middle East.

According to the TWI 2019, Singapore, Hong Kong (China), and New Zealand are the top three markets for business development in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. In addition, Hong Kong (China) and Singapore are ranked highly in terms of candidates’ resources and flexible working conditions.

The Total Workforce Index has been available for six years and has evolved to incorporate new factors, from tax policies to workforce mobility. Industry leaders from fast-moving consumer goods (FCMG) to advanced manufacturing are customizing the tool to evaluate their global footprint, restructure their workforce, and identify the right blend of contingent and permanent workers.

The combination of data and insight can help organizations prioritize their unique and most-pressing workforce needs by answering questions such as “Where can I find skilled workers as my organization moves to automated processes?” and “Where should we put our next call center?”.

Vietnam Japan fresh joint venture, Sharp - NSN, the handshake for new direction of solar power

The signing ceremony of a joint venture between Sharp Energy Solutions Corporation from Japan and local partner NSN Construction & Engineering JSC took place today December 20.

The establishment of the joint venture (SNES) is the result of a thorough study of technical capabilities, construction, and corporate culture to find a common strategy and direction for both companies after more than two years of co-operation.

Decision No.11/QD-TTg, issued in April 2017, embedded the renewable energy trend in Vietnam’s sustainable development drive.

The establishment of the joint venture (SNES) is the result of a thorough study of technical capabilities, construction, and corporate culture to find a common strategy and direction for both companies after more than two years of co-operation.
The potential from the high level of solar irradiation and electricity feed-in tariffs (FiT) encouraged solar power development. In just over two years, a series of solar power projects were connected to the transmission system, especially in hot areas with high solar irradiation.

According to Notice No.402/TB-VPCP/2019, the prime minister decided to adjust the FiT for solar power projects, setting a new challenge for investors. In these new circumstances, investors will need to avail of high-technology and comprehensive solutions to reduce costs.

As rooftop solar power projects do not exert pressure on transmission lines or require separate areas for installation, they remain a priority area in renewable energy development policies with a stable FiT.

Leveraging successful co-operation of two solar power projects (TTC Phong Dien and TTC Ham Phu 2) and rooftop solar projects like Denso project, NSN Construction and Engineering JSC and Sharp Energy Solutions Corporation just inked a co-operation agreement to establish SNES (Sharp NSN Energy Solutions JSC), striving to optimise the strengths of each party and maximising resources to bring optimal technical and financial solutions for customers.

vietnam japan fresh joint venture sharp nsn the handshake for new direction of solar power
TTC Phong Dien (Hue city) is the first solar power plant connected successfully to the national grid in Vietnam
Sharp Energy Solutions Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sharp Corporation, has more than 60 years of experiences in the field of solar photovoltaic and is a reputable global manufacturer of solar photovoltaic module. Sharp is also an EPC contractor for solar power projects with proven technical solutions, ensuring sustainable output performance for the system for 25 years.

NSN Construction and Engineering is a Vietnamese contractor with more than 16 years of operation in four countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Philippines, providing international-quality construction services to domestic and foreign customers, especially Japanese, European, American enterprises, Taiwan and Hong Kong enterprises.

Proud of Vietnamese hands and minds, NSN also became a highlight on Vietnam's renewable energy map after successfully building the first solar power plant with Sharp in the country, the 48MWp TTC Phong Dien solar power plant.

The SNES joint venture will inherit Sharp's international technology and technical capacity and NSN's resources and experience in Vietnam, which is expected to bring a new breeze and optimal technical solutions for solar power plants and rooftop solar power units.

NSN's cooperation with international partners in the field of solar energy as Sharp Corporation to establish Sharp NSN energy solution company once again affirms the quality of NSN.

With a strong strategy, long-term relationship, and on the basis of mutual trust and cooperation, SNES joining the market with international quality energy solutions will be one of the highlight names for developers in Vietnam.

PM urges young entrepreneurs to make greater efforts for development

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has called on young entrepreneurs to make greater efforts to develop big firms and global brands, contributing to turning Viet Nam into a strong country.

The Government leader made the call during a reception in Ha Noi on Wednesday for young entrepreneurs who have been honoured with the Red Star Awards, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the award.

Speaking at the reception, the PM said meetings with Red Star Award winners should be held regularly as a channel for the business community to make recommendations to the Government.

He highlighted that Viet Nam has reaped significant socio-economic results this year thanks to concerted efforts of the Party, Government and business community.

The Government leader urged the entrepreneurs to capitalise on the digital economy as it holds huge potential for growth, and enhance application of scientific-technological achievements, especially artificial intelligence. He also emphasised the need to train a quality workforce.

Acknowledging the need to further improve the business and investment climate, PM Phuc voiced his hope that entrepreneurs and Red Star Award winners will make recommendations to the Government on institutional reforms for innovation and stronger development.

He also required relevant agencies and localities to continue to create favourable conditions for young Vietnamese entrepreneurs.

The entrepreneurs put forward recommendations on solutions to address current difficulties and improve the country’s business climate, thus facilitating business operation.

The Red Star Awards, initiated in 1999, aim to honour outstanding young entrepreneurs for their sustainable economic achievements and contributions to social development.

One hundred young businesspeople were honoured, with 10 receiving the prestigious Red Star Award.

They were selected from 165 applications from 50 provinces and cities across the country.

Dang Hong Anh, chairman of the Young Vietnamese Entrepreneurs Association, said: “The winners of the Red Star (Sao do) are typical of leading businesspeople, representing the intellectual, dynamic and creative nature of the younger generation nationwide.

“These examples of the country’s business community arouse the spirit of self-determination, contributing to the development of the nation.”

The applicants generated VND107 trillion (US$4.6 billion) in revenue in 2018, gaining nearly VND7 trillion in profit and contributing VND5.6 trillion to the State budget, while creating jobs for 62,500 people.

The top ten made total revenue of nearly VND53 trillion, contributing nearly VND2.4 trillion to the State budget and creating jobs for 33,900 people.

Top ten Red Star Awards winners

Nguyen Duc Thach Diem, CEO of Sacombank

Le Tri Thong, vice chairman and CEO of Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company

Luu Thi Thanh Mau, CEO of Phuc Khang Corporation

Phan Tan Dat, chairman and CEO Binh Duong Minerals and Construction Joint Stock Company

Tieu Yen Trinh, CEO of TelentNet Corporation

Phan Thanh Thien, CEO Truong Sinh Group

Nguyen Van Thanh, CEO Hop Luc Corporation

Phung Van Bo, chairman of Tien Bo Corporation

Vi Nhat Truong, chairman of Nhat Hung Son Ha Limited Company

La Quang Binh, chairman and CEO of EC Invest.

Oil and gas companies make an effort to build enterprise culture

Building and consolidating the brand is now see as a compulsory mission and a part of the long-term development strategies of companies, including oil and gas companies.

This was expressed by the representatives of oil and gas companies at the workshop to discuss how to consolidate and develop the brands of oil and gas enterprises, organised by PetroVietnam in collaboration with Investor Magazine.

Nguyen Hung Dung, a member of PetroVietnam’s member council, said, “Along with advantages, PetroVietnam faced massive difficulties and challenges. Especially, in 2015-2017, the company's internal problems as well as the general problems of the oil and gas industry impacted the reputation and the brand of PetroVietnam and its member companies.”

The difficulties of PetroVietnam are a general problem for all oil and gas companies. Notably, in the maritime logistics sector, Nguyen Viet Long, vice chairman of PetroVietnam Transportation Corporation (PVTrans), said that the company faced numerous difficulties in building its brand as competition is heated, especially in services like crude oil, petroleum, and offshore transportation.

Instability in policy, political conflicts, as well as embargoes by big countries impacted the cost of maritime logistic services. In addition, the financial crisis increased risks of bankruptcy and losses for oil and gas companies, including PVTrans.

“In the face of these difficulties, PVTrans decided to focus on building the enterprise culture to consolidate its image, while simultaneously improving operations, which will be the basis for the company to expand its market share in both the local and international maritime logistics markets,” Long said.

He added that enterprises should pay attention to building their brand from establishment and increase international co-operation, promote the image of the company and its products to develop in the context of fierce competition.

Along with the efforts of enterprises, the state also needs to release mechanisms promoting the application of science-technology in enterprise communications.

Thanks to the determination to improve its brand, PetroVietnam often ranks ahead of others in contributions to the state budget as well as the socio-economic development of the country. The group became a key factor in developing industrial parks in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Dong Nai, Quang Ngai, and Danang, among others.

Support programme launched to finance young start-ups

The Supporting Center for Youth' Startups (sYs) and the BCNEX Innovative Startup Investment Fund (BCNEX FUND) have announced a co-operation deal in a start-up support programme.

Under the programme, sYs and BCNEX FUND will not only provide start-ups with advice on product development and business management, but also help them mobilise financial, human and facility resources.

The promotion of start-up innovation was a key focus to realise Viet Nam's goal of stable and sustainable development, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Permanent Secretary of the Youth Union and Chairman of the Youth Federation’s Central Committee said at the co-operation announcement ceremony held earlier this week in Ha Noi.

Angel investment funds, entrustment investment funds, nurseries, start-up support centres, the mentors’ community, as well as domestic and international organisations will together create a solid foundation for Viet Nam's start-ups to flourish.

“With our role and responsibility, sYs will connect all resources, together with related units to effectively give support for Vietnamese youth to start and establish a successful career,” said sYs Director Nguyen Duc Tung.

“As a venture builder, BCNEX FUND committed to accompany sYs to support start-ups in the improvement of their products and raise funds from domestic and foreign capital sources,” said BCNEX FUND Chairman Ngo Hoang Quyen.

BCNEX FUND is run by BCNEX, a technology start-up that provides support services for start-up projects involved in blockchain in Viet Nam. Its Blockchain Trading Platform enables investors and contributors living in different countries to exchange tokens or coins of different blockchain- and crypto-related projects.

FPT Corporation starts construction of FPT University's branch in Binh Dinh

FPT Corporation officially started construction on a branch of FPT University in the south central province of Binh Dinh on Friday.

The construction is part of FPT’s Education – Artificial Intelligence (AI) complex in the province.

The branch is located in Dong Da and Nhon Binh Wards, Quy Nhon City.

The construction covers an area of ​​5.7 hectares with total investment of nearly VND694 billion (nearly US$30 million).

It is expected that the branch will be put into operation in 2021, training about 5,200 students.

This will be a source providing high quality human resources, especially experienced and skilled AI human resources, for Binh Dinh and Viet Nam.

“FPT hopes to contribute to solve the problem of high-quality resources, especially AI resources, for the national strategy of digital transformation, exporting Vietnamese intelligence to the globe and realising its commitment to contribute 50,000 digital transformation workers to the ASEAN region,” said Truong Gia Binh, FPT chairman.

With the advantages of experience and the network of customers and partners in the global market, the corporation hopes to make a competitive difference and contribute to bringing the province to become an AI centre of the region.

Previously, the provincial people's committee accepted the investment policy of the Education – Artificial Intelligence complex in Quy Nhon City in May this year with the purpose of upgrading the city to become a global AI hub.

FPT achieves profit target early as revenues jump by almost a fifth

FPT Corporation has achieved its full-year gross profit target one month in advance.

It reported a profit of nearly VND4.44 trillion (US$191.85 million), up 24.3 per cent year-on-year on total revenues of VND24.53 trillion ($1.05 billion), a 19.7 per cent increase.

As a key growth driver of FPT, the technology segment earned a revenue and profit before tax of VND13.8 trillion and VND1.9 trillion, up 23 per cent and 34.9 per cent, respectively.

Income from global IT services increased by 31.5 per to VND9.82 trillion.

All foreign markets saw solid growth, especially the US, its second largest market, where revenues surged 53.7 per cent to top $100 million.

The telecom sector saw revenue rise 16.7 per cent to VND9.41 trillion while profit before tax was up 16.5 per cent to VND1.63 trillion.

Global NESCAFÉ Plan initiative contributes to sustainability of Vietnamese coffee farming

Though Viet Nam is the worlds largest producer of robusta coffee, the industry faces several challenges in the country which threaten its long-term development, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The quality of Vietnamese coffee is still modest as most farmers use traditional methods rather than modern technology, Dr Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, director general of the ministrys international cooperation department, said.

Ageing plants have also affected coffee output and quality, he said.

Global coffee prices have dropped by 40 per cent since 2010, and people have cut investment in coffee farming, resulting in a fall in output, he added.

Luong Van Tu, chairman of the Viet Nam Coffee and Cocoa Association, said the 2019-2020 crop is likely to see output fall by 20 per cent.

Since 2011, Nestle has been proactive in presenting solutions and undertaking concrete activities to support the sustainable development of the Vietnamese coffee industry via its NESCAFE Plan.

The global NESCAFE Plan initiative has been deployed by Nestle since 2010 in more than 10 countries to bring sustainable value to coffee growers, communities and the planet.

The project is also a testament to Nestle's commitment to creating shared values in the coffee value chain. Of all the countries, NESCAFE Plan is seen as reaping the greatest success in Viet Nam.

So far the project has distributed 36 million high-yield and diseases-resistant coffee saplings to farmers and helped rejuvenate over 36,000ha of aged coffee areas in the Central Highlands.

It has also provided training to over 230,000 coffee famers in best practices to improve bean quality and ensure sustainable farming and helped over 21,000 farmers achieve 4C international certification and increase their incomes by 30 per cent.

The project also helps protect the environment by reducing water use by 40 per cent and fertiliser and pesticide use by over 20 per cent.

Will Mackereth, supply chain director at Nestle Vietnam, said one of the things NESCAFE Plan does is help farmers reduce the cost of inputs. This might be in the form of water management or agrochemical, pesticide and herbicide use.

“We are working with farmers to ensure they have a business mindset so that they are looking to optimise costs and the quality of the products. And we help them downstream by working on innovation, branding and product terms to ensure we can get the best value for the coffee throughout the supply chain.

“We are proud of what NESCAFE Plan has done to help the farmers achieve sustainable livelihoods by reducing the cost of inputs by intercropping with other crops like pepper, avocado and durian. This means that they can be more resilient so that if the coffee prices are low as they are today they still have a good income from other product streams, but also that the cost of coffee production in Viet Nam is extremely efficient and extremely competitive.

“So we help keep that as viable as possible for farmers and downstream we try and get the best possible return we can for the coffee to ensure the sustainability of coffee here in Viet Nam in the long term.

“We see a lot of improvements in farmer livelihoods and coffee quality.”

Nguyen Duc Hue, a farmer in Ia Hrung Commune, Ia Grai District, Gia Lai Province, who participated in NESCAFE Plan in 2014, said his coffee productivity has increased sharply to five tonnes per hectare on average thanks to better farming practices.

He started intercropping his 4ha coffee plantation with avocado in 2016 and now harvests the fruits.

Tu said, “The NESCAFE Plan project has contributed positively in supporting farmers even in the time of market uncertainty.”

The productivity of coffee farms participating in the project is 4.5-5 tonnes per hectare, much higher than the countrys average of 2.6 tonnes, he said.

“The project contributes greatly to the coffee sectors target of replacing 130,000 hectare of ageing coffee out of a total coffee area of 650,000 hectare.”

Nestle has also organised activities to create opportunities for farmers from various locations to meet and exchange experiences and improve their knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices.

It recently organised the NESCAFE Plan Farmer Contest as part of the 2019 Viet Nam Coffee Day celebrated in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai from December 7 to 11.

The competition attracted the participation of 90 outstanding coffee farmers from Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, and Lam Dong.

Mackereth said, “2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of NESCAFE Plan Vietnam and we expect many more such activities.”

Nestle is the biggest buyer of coffee in Viet Nam, buying $700 million worth a year.

State agency or company should manage apartment buildings in Ha Noi: expert

An enterprise or the State agency should be responsible for the management of apartment buildings and the building’s maintenance fund with the participation of representatives including residents, investors and local management agencies, said Dong Minh Son from Ha Noi Construction Association.

He said the capital city has been collecting opinions to issue its own regulations on apartment management, including management over maintenance funds.

The city needs to consider its characteristics as the capital to have more specific regulations on ownership and use of common areas in apartment buildings, especially those located near political, security and defence institutions, and more effective solutions in managing the maintenance fund, according to Son.

Architect Dao Ngoc Nghiem, Vice Chairman of Ha Noi Urban Planning and Development Association, said the management of condominiums must come from planning and projects. Therefore, the boundary around the apartment building should be defined in the master plan to avoid disputes between investors and residents because the apartment is not only the building itself but also the surrounding space.

Meanwhile, Le Thi Bich Thuan from the Vietnam Federation of Civil Engineering Association, said in the process of making apartment management regulations, Ha Noi should pay attention to suburban areas, in which the state management apparatus has works including agricultural land and village management. After the urbanisation process, the apparatus would have to manage on a larger scale, so it would be hard to meet professional qualifications, creating more difficulties in management of many fields, including apartment buildings.

Deputy Director of Hanoi Department of Construction Nguyen Chi Dung said before the 2005 Housing Law came into effect, the management of apartment buildings was given to the investor and the maintenance fund came from the rent of the building’s first floor for business activities. This model has many problems due to the monopoly of the investor.

After the Housing Law came into effect, the Ministry of Construction issued regulations on managing the operation of condominiums, including the management board model and maintenance fund from two per cent of the contract of apartment buyers.

"However, at present, there are many disputes such as the establishment of the management board, defining common and separate areas, and the maintenance fund itself," he said.

For instance, after the management board is established, the investor must hand over related documents, but this process is often very slow. For common and private areas, the legal regulations are very clear, but home buyers often do not read the contract carefully, so when living there, they have complained about those issues.

Before having a management board, the investor manages the operation of the building and the maintenance fund. After a board is established, the investor must hand over the fund to the board, but the board does not accept the investor’s spending from the maintenance fund, leading to lawsuits, Son said.

Ha Noi has 833 commercial apartment buildings with over 230,000 apartments in use, of which more than 80 apartment buildings have witnessed disputes. The city’s Department of Construction has solved those disputes in 79 of them.

Nearly 600 out of the 833 apartment buildings have established management boards, investors of 300 apartment buildings have transferred the 2-per-cent maintenance fund to the management boards.

In addition, the city currently has 174 resettlement apartment buildings in operation, of which 82 buildings have management boards and the investors of 50 of 82 apartment buildings have handed over the maintenance funds for the boards.

Sacombank to hire 837 interns for 2020

Sacombank is set to take in 837 outstanding final year students selected from nearly 10,000 applicants majoring in economics, finance - banking, business management, marketing, international trade, foreign trade, accounting - auditing, and import-export as interns for 2020 under its “Potential Interns” programme.

They will work at Sacombank's transaction offices across the country in positions such as corporate/personal customer service associates, card business specialists, consumer credit specialists, consultants, tellers, application developers and security specialists.

Sacombank has been running this programme every year since 2009, providing final year students with an opportunity to be trained and experience the professional work environment in a bank.

They will be paid a stipend.

It is also an opportunity for Sacombank to discover and acquire talent.

 

Le Duc Thinh, Sacombank’s deputy CEO, said: “This is the 11th year that Sacombank has organised this programme, and we have provided employment opportunities to nearly 6,000 students while they were in school. Every year, more than 70 per cent of the interns are hired after they complete their internship.”

Sacombank has more than 18,000 employees.

With its motto of “human resource is the main resource”, Sacombank is constantly focusing on creating a working environment with a competitive welfare regime to maximise value and keep employees happy.

VPBank to provide ‘green’ power loans

The Viet Nam Joint Stock Commercial VPBank and roof-top solar power solution supplier, SolarGATES company, have agreed a loan agreement to guarantee financial support for household rooftop solar power projects.

Following the agreement, households will be given a loan up to VND300 million (US$13,000) for installation of the BigK solution in connection with the national grid.

VPBank will commit to provide 100 per cent of the total cost for households to install solar power systems in Viet Nam from 2020.

SolarGATES also said it will pay for 1,000 customers to buy residential roof-top solar systems with a price from 4.7 US cents to 9.35 US cents per Kwh in the first quarter of 2020.

Since 2017, with the issuance of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s Decision 11/2017, solar power projects have been allowed to sell electricity at a fixed price of 9.35 US cents per kWh.

According to SolarGates, the development of roof-top solar systems would help families reduce power payments by releasing surplus power to the national grid. Each system will save at least $500 in power fees and cut three tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

It said 748 solar power systems have been installed on roofs across the country including 327 in HCM City since 2018, and it targets to provide BigK solutions for 277,000 homes.

According to the Central Power Corporation, at least 465,000Kwh of ‘green’ power capacity had been generated from roof-top systems in central Viet Nam between 2018-19.

Government urges quick disbursement of public investment by year end

The Ministry of Planning and Investment has proposed withholding investment next year for projects that had been slow to disburse their allocated funding in 2019.

According to the proposal, projects that had disbursed less than 50 percent of their assigned public investment as of November 30 this year would not be eligible for continued funding for next year.

According to the General Statistics Office, total public investment disbursement in the first 11 months of this year reached 299 trillion VND (13 billion USD), equivalent to 78.6 percent of the annual target and an increase of 5.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

However, the disbursement rate was assessed to have remained low.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment blamed the delays on a lack of proper planning and direction from ministries and local authorities.

Compensation for land clearance lacked transparency, leading to public complaints and delays.

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The recently said most projects on the North-South Expressway had been delayed due to slow land compensation payments.

Nguyen Trung Hoang, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Tra Vinh Province, one of the localities that recorded the slowest investment disbursement, said too many projects had been assigned to a single contractor, leading to overloading.

The province had disbursed only 45 percent (about 2 trillion VND) of its total public investment for the year.

According to Do Thanh Trung, deputy head of the Department of National Economic Issues at the Ministry of Planning and Investment, this year’s disbursement of Government bonds and Official Development Assistance had been slower than last year due to changing mid-term financial plans and other adjustments.

Major projects that took up almost 50 percent of Government bonds this year such as the North-South Expressway, Long Thanh International Airport and other transport infrastructure had recorded slow disbursement, affecting the allocation process for the whole country.

To accelerate the process with one month of the year left, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered agencies to review and complete a legal framework on investment management, and to lift barriers to facilitate disbursement.

Public investment disbursement must be accelerated without wastefulness or loss. There was no room for corruption or group benefits, the PM highlighted.

The Government has instructed ministries, sectors and localities to impose strict punishments on individuals and organisations which delayed projects or tried to siphon off the top.

Weak officials who abused their power to direct public investment management and bidding must be replaced, he said.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment has proposed four solutions to accelerate the allocation, including holding heads of ministries, sectors and localities responsible for delays.

Economic expert Vu Dinh Anh told Vietnam News Agency that low-efficiency projects where investment procedures had not been set should not receive any more funding.

Investment should focus on efficient projects where we could speed up disbursement ahead of schedule to put them into operation, he said.

According to Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, the revised Law on Investment would facilitate public investment disbursement.

In 2020 when the new law takes effect, the improvements might not be immediately clear, but in 2021 we will start to see positive changes, he said./.

Tan Son Nhat airport plans to serve over 3.7 mln passengers during Tet

The Ho Chi Minh City-based Tan Son Nhat International Airport plans to welcome over 3.7 million passengers during the upcoming Lunar New Year festival (Tet), up 5.95 percent annually.

The peak time is forecast to last from January 10 – February 2, 2020.

Specifically from January 10 – 24, over 1.8 million passengers will come in and out, up 6.24 percent year-on-year.

From January 25 – February 8, the airport will serve nearly 2 million passengers, a rise of 5.68 percent.

The airport also advised passengers to limit pick-ups so as to ease congestion./.

Deputy PM talks with WB guests about power development

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung hosted a reception in Hanoi on December 20 for Regional Director of the World Bank (WB)'s Infrastructure Department in the East Asia and Pacific Region Ranjit Lamech and WB Country Director in Vietnam Ousmane Dion.

The Deputy PM thanked them for providing active and important support for Vietnam via policy consultation, official development assistance, and technical support in infrastructure, especially in energy over the past years.

Since 1995, the WB has assisted the Vietnamese power sector in 12 projects on power grid development in rural areas, electricity transmission and distribution with the total loan of nearly 3.92 billion USD, he said.

According to him, Vietnam needs to supply nearly 8,000MW of electricity on average each year, which requires an annual capital of 9-10 billion USD.

Dung wished that the WB would continue helping Vietnam seek capital, offer technical consultation and build a policy mechanism so that the country could ensure sufficient and sustainable power supply for socio-economic development.

He affirmed that Vietnam will adjust planning to ensure the safe operation of power system, determine key projects, fine-tune laws and build special mechanisms in the field.

The guests expressed their impression on Vietnam’s success in energy field over the past years, especially in renewable energy development.

They suggested that Vietnam should deal with difficulties in major power projects as well as power transmission overload as soon as possible./.

Rubber exports bounce back

The recent rise in rubber prices in the international market has allowed Vietnam’s rubber exports regain growth momentum in recent times, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

During November, rubber exports stood at over 199,000 tonnes, with a value of approximately US$262 million, an increase of 10.8 per cent in volume and 17.1 percent in value on-year.

Throughout the first 11 months of the year, the country shipped a total of 1.5 million tonnes of rubber abroad, worth US$2.02 billion, up 8 percent in volume and up 7.7 per cent in value.

The country's export price of rubber was recorded at an average of US$1,316 per tonne in November, an increase of 1.3 per cent in comparison to the previous month and a rise of 5.8 percent over last year's same period.

Indeed, December 2018 saw the average export price plummet to approximately US$1,200 per tonne. However, since the start of the year rubber prices have been undergoing a gradual recovery, reaching peaks of US$1,443 per tonne in May.

Despite this period of growth, the export price of rubber suffered drops between May and October to approximately US$1,300 per tonne, eventually recovering with a rebound in the export price of rubber latex.

China remained as the nation’s largest rubber export market, with the northern neighbour importing 149,750 tonnes of rubber with a value of US$195.59 million during November, accounting for 75.2 per cent of the country’s total volume of rubber exports.

The first 11 months of the year saw rubber exports to China reach 1.04 million tonnes, worth a total of US$1.34 billion, representing an increase of 10 per cent in volume and up 9.8 per cent from the same period last year.

Aside from China, several of the country’s rubber export markets experienced an upward trend in volume throughout the reviewed period, including India (up 29.7 per cent), the Republic of Korea (up 26.1 per cent), Brazil (up 21.6 per cent), and Bangladesh (up 48.4 per cent).

Most notably, India imported 115,150 tonnes of rubber with a value of US$172.7 million from Vietnam from during the first 10 months of the year, posting a 44.1 per cent increase in volume and 42.3 per cent rise in value.

During the first two weeks of December, global rubber prices increased in comparison with the end of November and are forecast to continue their upward trend.

According to experts, the recent increase in rubber prices can be attributed to the concern of the decrease in the supply source after several leading rubber producers have considered limiting rubber exports as a means of stabilizing the price.

Schneider Electric’s pioneering in energy sustainability pursuit

As the demand for energy-efficient management accelerates in Vietnam, leading electrical multinationals like Schneider Electric are making their mark in the country with an array of solutions to enhance the capabilities of those in need of a digital transformation.

According to Morgan Duarte, director of Schneider Electric IT Vietnam, the country is an attractive and high-potential market for the energy industry thanks to its strong economic growth, dynamic population, favourable government initiatives, and remarkable foreign investment flows. Additionally, the demand for clean, efficient, and sustainable energy will continuously witness a significant increase in the near future. “Companies in Vietnam are growing fast and every firm has a different need for energy and data centre usage,” said Duarte. “We have a considerable challenge here, in that the electricity supply cannot keep up with the roaring demand. As coal thermal projects continue to experience difficulties, Vietnam is betting on renewable energy sources such as solar or wind electricity.”

Duarte added that these issues could lead to higher costs for users and increase operating costs for companies. “As a result, there will be a higher demand for efficient energy management, not only for big corporations but also for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” he explained.

The energy sector is playing a critical role in the production infrastructure system. In the era of Industry 4.0, the development of energy has been an important driver of the country’s economic growth. Any nation’s level of development can be assessed through per capita energy consumption index, and in developed countries, energy consumption exceeds half of the total energy produced globally. Meanwhile, developing countries with a larger area and population size only consume about a third of that. In the near future, this distribution will be restructured due to the economic development of new emerging countries.

Efficient energy management ensures safety, availability, reliability, and connectivity at all times for equipment. It also prevents sudden and unexpected power outage situations, as well as monitors the status of surge protection in order to retain good performance of electronic devices and critical data.

“Thus, energy management is one of the business’ biggest competitive advantages nowadays,” said Duarte. “Companies can reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions, as well as develop their sustainability footprint.”

As the leading brand worldwide for integrated IT infrastructure and software, APC by Schneider Electric has continuously updated and kept up with the latest trends in the energy management sector.

“APC by Schneider Electric focuses on segments that are booming in Vietnam such as the cloud, finance, and manufacturing, along with penetrating potential markets such as healthcare, commercial buildings, and education,” added Duarte. “We want to accompany Vietnamese companies in the journey of reaching untapped markets or satisfy their rising needs of digital transformation.”

Recently, APC by Schneider Electric introduced Connected Smart-UPS to the Vietnamese market – the first cloud-enabled UPS for distributed IT environments. Combined with APC SmartConnect software, the integrated power management solution solves business problems related to resources and device management and monitoring.

Connected Smart-UPS delivers the power reliability, security, and certainty that SMEs need to stay connected to the technology and information that powers their business. APC SmartConnect software helps gather and send data about the health and status of a customer’s UPS devices including battery replacement, warranty renewal, and UPS performance notifications. In addition, it provides a secure, cloud-based web portal where customers can view the status of their UPS, accessible from any internet-connected device, and troubleshooting support through a remote monitoring interface.

As Duarte reaffirmed, “The launch of Connected Smart-UPS is proof of APC by Schneider Electric’s constant innovation efforts as a pioneer in developing sustainable energy in Vietnam.”

Modern manufacturing can be only developed thanks to the energy industry, and while sustainable energy results in significant changes in a number of other industries such as mechanics, manufacturing, and construction, more factors need to come into play for that development to come to fruition.

“The Vietnamese energy industry, especially in sustainable energy, is quite new but is rich with potential,” Duarte said. “It requires more effort from the government, investors, and the business community to ensure a proper and effective development strategy.”

Saigon Co.op & MoMo to push shopping digitalization

MoMo e-wallet has been chosen as an exclusive electronic payment platform at over 800 supermarkets, shopping centers, and stores operated by Saigon Co.op nationwide.

The strategic cooperation agreement between MoMo and the Ho Chi Minh City Union of Trading Cooperatives (Saigon Co.op) signed on December 17 enables customers who shop at Co.opmart, Co.opXtra, and Co.op Food to make payments using the MoMo wallet.

The move is expected to help promote electronic payments in the supermarket network and other activities in society. In addition to this cooperation, in 2020 the two plan to deploy a series of new services and applications based on tech platforms, including vouchers and prepaid cards.

MoMo will also team up with Saigon Co.op in building electronic stores, introducing money transfer services for customers’ convenience and safe while shopping.

“This is a comprehensive strategic cooperation,” said Mr. Nguyen Anh Duc, Deputy General Director of Saigon Co.op. “We will not stop at electronic payment services. We plan a long-term orientation towards non-cash payments among society.”

“We found a common voice, since we are both Vietnamese businesses and have a certain ‘maturity’ in the local market. MoMo has advanced technology and a good ecosystem that meets Saigon Co.op’s demands.”

The ratio of customers choosing non-cash payments at Saigon Co.op stores has increased sharply, to 30 per cent from the previous 3-5 per cent, thanks to its recent cooperation with MoMo. It deserves to be an exclusive electronic payment platform at Saigon Co.op system, Mr. Duc added.

All of the advantages of a MoMo e-wallet will be provided to Saigon Co.op, and in return the retailer will make the e-wallet an exclusive electronic payment service in its retail network.

“By popularizing this payment method, the two companies greatly contribute to cash limitation in the market,” said Mr. Pham Thanh Duc, General Director of MoMo. “We will serve consumers with modernized payment methods through MoMo wallet with a criteria of good quality and reasonable prices.”

The 30-year-old Saigon Co.op, one of the leading retailers in Vietnam, has 800 supermarkets, shopping centers, and stores around Vietnam. It receives more than a million visitors and shoppers every day, while MoMo is Vietnam’s leading e-wallet provider, with more than 13 million users.

Besides its ecosystem covering 63 cities and provinces, MoMo has direct connections with 24 leading banks in Vietnam, more than 100,000 payment acceptance points, and a network of more than 12,000 service providers.

The two companies expect to process tens of millions of payments each year at a value that could reach into the trillions of Vietnam dong annually.

Generali Vietnam launches first instore & online-distributed health insurance product

The Generali Vietnam Life Insurance LLC recently launched the “VITA - Song Nhu Y” (VITA - Live the Life You Desire) product in Vietnam, with attractive inpatient treatment benefits and competitive premiums.

This is the first health insurance product in Vietnam available at pharmacies or Generali Vietnam’s partner stores, in addition to online channels such as GenVita and the Shopee e-commerce platform.

“VITA - Song Nhu Y” protects customers from 15 days to 59 years of age against financial costs related to healthcare treatment by reimbursing actual medical expenses, with total inpatient treatment benefits up to 165 times the premium and with competitive premiums starting from VND1.16 million ($50) per policy year.

The product can be purchased at its website, the Shopee e-commerce platform, and at FPT Long Chau pharmacies nationwide. Generali Vietnam will continue to expand the distribution network for the product with other partners in the future.

“Health insurance forms an integral part of our life, especially amid rising medical costs,” said Ms. Tina Nguyen, CEO of Generali Vietnam. “Driven by a desire to provide Vietnamese people with a comprehensive healthcare plan, we have designed ‘VITA - Song Nhu Y’, which is easily accessible for families while at the same time offering a unique and enjoyable insurance experience tailored to their needs.”

“We hope that Generali Vietnam’s superior products and services will bring our customers greater peace of mind so they can confidently pursue their passions and ‘live the life they desire’, as suggested by the name that was thoughtfully chosen for this product.”

The new product includes benefits such as a fast and easy-to-understand purchasing process, with only three minutes needed to learn about the product, three minutes to purchase it, and three minutes for it to be activated.

It can be purchased as a gift and full refunds are available. It also demonstrates transparent and easy-to-understand benefits with competitive premiums with a number of options to suit a range of different customers. In addition, it has an efficient claims process via the GenClaims application or at Generali Vietnam’s customer service centers nationwide.

California Fitness & Yoga and VPBank team up

California Fitness Group and VPBank introduced two new co-branded credit cards last week in Ho Chi Minh City.

The VPBank-California Fitness Platinum Credit Card and the VPBank-California Centuryon Signature Credit Card represent both California and VPBank’s ambition to help Vietnam become healthy, wealthy, and wise, and is the first time anywhere in the world a fitness brand and a bank have partnered to provide wellness-focused credit cards.

“As we come in to the new year and everyone wishes each other health and prosperity, there is no better time for us to launch a product that marries health and wealth in a way that no one has ever done before,” said Mr. Dane Fort, CEO of California Fitness Group.

“We see this as part of a holistic approach to wellbeing - a healthy approach to your body and a healthy approach to your finances. Ultimately, our clubs are about improving lives and we are confident that these new cards help improve the lives of cardholders around Vietnam.”

“This partnership of two titans in their industries offers tremendous benefits for both,” said Mr. Phung Duy Khuong, Deputy CEO of VPBank. “VPBank is currently one of Vietnam’s top-ranked banks and has the highest credit card growth rate in the market.”

“With over 200,000 members nationwide, the California Fitness Group represents the perfect partner for VPBank to continue to fuel this growth. We offer a variety of cards to meet all customer needs, and our new VPBank-California co-branded cards bring customers new choices and new ways to build a perfect life.”

The two cards offer cardholders an extensive array of benefits, starting with free gym sessions and the ability to accumulate points that can be used towards a variety of incentives within California Fitness Group’s nationwide network of 36 fitness clubs and 12 Eri Clinics.

The card is the first of several new innovations the group will turn into a combined health and wealth ecosystem of products.

“We see opportunities within financial services to ensure complete peace of mind for our members,” said Mr. Fort, citing insurance as a sector where the company could possibly look to expand in 2020 by offering protection and investment products bundled with memberships.

“In 2020 we will look to build out our financial services offering to include investment, health, and general insurance products for our members as part of a long-term vision that sees us become a platform for all health and wellness needs.”

Win Home introduces Win-Win enterprise ecosystem

The Win Home Investment & Development Co. (Win Home), a member of the Lean Group, has summarized its business activities in 2019, shared its business strategies and goals for 2020, and introduced the Win Home business ecosystem Win Business Ecosystem (W.B.E), with a vision of building the largest chain of budget office rental products in Vietnam.

Common house for businesses

Founded in 2014 and with the slogan “The common roof of businesses”, Win Home was born with the purpose of creating a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) ecosystem in Vietnam where businesses can experience a professional working environment through a chain of standard office leasing systems, a comprehensive service network, good rentals, flexible areas, and meeting diverse personalized needs.

After just five years of operations, Win Home has risen to the leading position in the budget office leasing market with impressive figures: managing and operating more than 45 office buildings in Ho Chi Minh City, providing nearly 50,000 sq m of office space, and attracting many investors.

Win Home is recognized as a leading business in the office leasing segment for SMEs in Ho Chi Minh City with standard quality office space, professional management services, and the most secure building protection. This is one of the highlights in the service quality provided by Win Home, as it has become an important criterion and credit rating for businesses when choosing Win Home to rent offices, especially the banking sector.

With over 200 staff, Win Home currently provides services to more than 1,000 businesses, most of them SMEs, doing business together.

“The greatest motivation and inspiration for me to start a business and develop Win Home was a desire to build a Win-Win business ecosystem - a community of businesses operating in a common home where they can work under the same roof for hours and connect, exchange, and trade with each other daily,” said Ms. Nguyen Nhat Ly, Co-founder and CFO of Win Home.

Exclusive business formula

She emphasized her persistence in implementing long-term investment and management strategies in potential buildings. Throughout this process, Win Home applies strict management processes and periodic maintenance plans in combination with maximizing the efficiency of the space in the building, ensuring the quality of work and business activities.

Win Home has now successfully applied a proprietary business formula, creating an effective financial system with the lifecycle of high-profit business models that support each other and constantly expand.

In addition, with the vision of creating business ecosystems for SMEs, Win Home has forged links with a diverse range of partners in various fields, such as finance, marketing, furniture, law, logistics, and education, etc.; sharing and creating practical value for the business community.

In order for the ecosystem to operate effectively, in the future Win Home will also invest heavily in technology developed by Lean Tech, another member company of the Lean Group, to allow for businesses to connect conveniently and quickly in the ecosystem, meeting the needs and urgency of businesspeople in the era of Industry 4.0.

Phu Quoc Island & Nam Du Archipelago now linked by high-speed boat

A high-speed boat route linking Phu Quoc Island and the Nam Du Archipelago in Kien Hai district - both off the southern coast of the Mekong Delta’s Kien Giang province - has been introduced by the local Superdong - Kien Giang Speedboat Corporation to provide more options and convenience for travelers between the two outstanding destinations.

The boat operates every day, departing from Phu Quoc at 8am and returning at 3.30 pm. The travel time is about 90 minutes. All cabins are equipped with air-conditioning, comfortable seating, LCD TVs, and a VIP cabin, with music and a movie system.

Tickets are VND250,000 ($11) each way, VND200,000 ($8.5) for children, and VND210,000 ($9) for people with disabilities. To mark the launch, a discount of 10 per cent is being offered to those who purchase return ticket between now and January 14.

The number of domestic and foreign tourists travelling to the island district of Kien Hai has continuously increased. In the first eleven months of this year, it welcomed more than 375,000 visitors, up nearly 58 per cent over the same period last year, according to the district people’s committee. The new high-speed boat service promises to attract even more tourists to the district, especially to Nam Du Archipelago, away from the popular tourist spot of Phu Quoc.

Situated in the Gulf of Thailand on the Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand maritime economic corridor, Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island and boasts a range of beautiful beaches. Phu Quoc National Park, meanwhile, is home to hundreds of plant species - dozens of which are listed in the Vietnamese and world red books of endangered species. The park is part of the Kien Giang biosphere reserve, which was recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2006. The cable car route connecting An Thoi town and Hon Thom Island, the largest of the An Thoi island cluster, is the longest in the world at nearly 8 km.

Meanwhile, Nam Du Archipelago, around 40 km from Phu Quoc Island, is becoming an attractive destination for backpackers heading to Kien Giang province. The pristine island has 21 islets - eleven of which are inhabited and the others completely untouched. In recent years, Nam Du has been spoken of as an intriguing, pristine destination for young travelers interested in the exploration of new places. Hon Ngang, Hon Mau, Hai Bo Dap, and Bai Cay Men have become popular due to the beauty they were endowed with by nature.

 
 

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