BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JAN. 22

Maintaining exports critical to cement industry this year

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JAN. 22


Maintaining exports would be critical for the cement industry amid rising production output and anticipated sluggish domestic sales this year.

According to Nguyen Quang Cung, President of the Viet Nam Cement Association, two new cement projects would go into operation this year, one in Tan Thang Commune, the central province of Nghe An with a capacity of 2-2.5 million tonnes per year, and one in Bim Son Commune, Thanh Hoa Province with a capacity of 4.6 million tonnes.

This would give the domestic cement industry total production capacity of more than 100 million tonnes, while local demand was estimated at around 70 million tonnes.

“Maintaining exports would be critical for the cement industry this year,” Cung said.

The Ministry of Construction forecast that cement sales would increase by around five per cent to reach 103 million tonnes in 2020, around 70 million tonnes of which would be sold to the domestic market.

According to Cung, domestic cement sales were anticipated to remain sluggish this year due to stagnant construction of infrastructure projects and the slowdown of the property market.

The association also predicted a five per cent growth rate for the cement industry in 2020.

Regarding exports, Cung said that cement export volume would be around 34 million tonnes this year but fall to 25 million tonnes in 2021.

“The lower cement export forecast in 2021 is based on expectation that domestic sales would increase,” Cung said, adding that reducing cement exports would be important in the long run because of the Government’s policy not to encourage exports of fully processed resources.

To cope with increasing pressure, Cung said cement producers should apply advanced technologies in production to enhance quality and added value while reducing environmental production, which would significantly help boost competitiveness.

Vietnamese cement was also facing rising pressure in international markets due to increasing production in China and Thailand, according to the ministry.

The ministry urged domestic firms to monitor the cement market and adjust their production plans accordingly to keep prices from falling. In addition, cement firms should also work out long-term development strategies.

FiinGroup predicted that cement demand would increase by around five per cent per year till 2030. An excess of supply over demand would continue until a balance was reached in 2028, the company forecast.

Statistics from the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that cement sales reached more than 99 million tonnes in 2019, up two per cent over 2018. Domestic sales accounted for 66 million tonnes.

Nearly 34 million tonnes were exported last year for nearly US$1.4 billion, $148 million higher than in 2018 and a record high. It was the second consecutive year Viet Nam saw cement exports to hit a new record.

Ministry eyes close watch on prices during Tet holiday

The Ministry of Finance has asked its Price Management Department to keep a close watch on market supply and demand as well as price developments, especially of essential goods, during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays.

According to the department, in January, also the month the Tet holidays fall this year, the prices of several goods might be on an uptrend.

Pork prices are anticipated to increase in the first months of 2020 due to a shortage of supply as an impact of African swine fever last year while repopulation had not been effective.

The department’s Director Nguyen Anh Tuan said price management would be enhanced from the beginning of this year to achieve the Government’s target of keeping inflation at below 4 per cent for the year.

There would be no increases in prices of goods and services under the management of the Government in the first quarter, the department said, adding that prices of essential goods and services, such as pork, recreation services fees and transportation fees would be tightly controlled.

Prices were forecast not to see significant increases during Tet because a large supply of goods was already prepared, according to the department.

Prices of essential goods were predicted to rise by 7-10 per cent, though pork might rise 10-15 per cent.

“There will be no shortage of essential goods and prices will not increase too much,” Tuan said.

Purchasing power for Tet holidays was predicted to increase by about 10-12 per cent over the same period as last year and 15-20 per cent compared to other months, according to the ministry’s Domestic Department.

Peak days for shopping would be this week and there would be high demand for high-quality food.

To date, 57 out of 63 provinces and cities have reported about their preparations of goods for Tet and 28 of them implemented price stabilisation programmes.

Their report showed that the volume of goods firms prepared for Tet was 20-25 per cent higher than other months and goods for price stabilisation programmes 10 per cent higher than last year.

HCM City to implement e-Tax system from February 10

The HCM City Department of Taxation will implement the e-Tax system from February 10 to improve tax service quality in the city.

The system is to help taxpayers making tax declarations, payments and refunds more quickly and conveniently, said the department.

To operate the system, from February 7 to 9, the department will stop providing online tax declaration services at http://kekhaithue.gdt.gov.vn and electronic tax payments at http://nopthue.gdt.gov.vn, connecting all to the e-tax system at www.thuedientu.gdt.gov.vn, which will start on February 10.

According to the department, the e-Tax system will help taxpayers access and manage all tax services on a single system instead of having to log into many different applications.

The e-Tax system also helps look up tax records, notices of processing tax results, as well as information and fees.

Currently, around 99 per cent of import and export tax payments in HCM City are made online, according to the customs department.

According to the State Bank of Viet Nam, promoting online payment for public services is one of the goals of the Government. Previously enterprises had to pay tax at the Treasury or a bank, take the payment receipt to customs authorities and wait.

In the past, it would take businesses two or three days to complete tax payments. Businesses have their goods cleared quickly after paying, and no longer face a situation where they pay tax, but customs does not receive information about it.

Japan’s second largest advertising firm expands in Vietnam

Japan’s second largest advertising company Hakuhodo Digital is expanding its presence in Vietnam with the launch of a full-service digital marketing agency, Hakuhodo Digital Vietnam, headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City.

The agency, which officially commenced operation this month, provides a full complement of digital marketing services in one stop, from digital strategy planning and creative development to media planning, buying and content services.

“Hakuhodo Digital Vietnam aims to provide actionable and business-effective digital business solutions for clients leveraging deep insight into “sei-katsu-sha” (the consumer),” said its CEO Emmanuel James Mangahas.

“With the advent of the completely digitalized society in Vietnam, we look forward to providing superior value as a member of the Hakuhodo Group," he said.

Vietnam continues to enjoy robust economic growth, with a GDP growth rate of 7 percent in the first three quarters of 2019, leading to the rapid adoption of digital services, the agency noted in a press release.

Mobile social media user numbers have also grown by around 16 percent from last year, an astonishing rate compared to those of industrialized countries.

"All this has seen unprecedented need for information dissemination and product promotion measures leveraging digital media," it stated.

Hakuhodo has provided marketing solutions to global and local clients in Vietnam through two core companies since 2002. In 2018, it further strengthened its business base in the country by subsidiarizing a group of major local independent agencies.

With the launch of Hakuhodo Digital Vietnam, the group said it is further bolstering this foundation to enhance its problem-solving capabilities in the ASEAN region./.

Funding agreement for HCM City’s green transport development signed

The Vietnamese Finance Ministry and the World Bank (WB) on January 15 signed an agreement worth 10.5 million USD in non-refundable aid for a technical support project on Ho Chi Minh City’s green transport development.

The project costs 10.7 million USD, 10.5 million USD of which was from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) entrusted to the WB; and 202,000 USD from the city’s budget.

Invested by the management board of transport construction works, the project will help improve the quality and efficiency of the public transport system along the priority corridor in the city, as well as enhance the capacity of staff working in transport and urban planning.

Since 2008, the SECO has entrusted the WB with managing over 150 million USD in non-refundable aid for projects in Vietnam in the fields of public finance and sustainable urban management, climate change response and environment protection./.

Vietnam strives to achieve socio-economic growth targets in 2020

Vietnam has to spare no effort to achieve economic growth of 6.8 percent and keep inflation rate of below 4 percent in 2020 amid global political uncertainties, said the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VERP) at a workshop in Hanoi on January 16.

A research group of the VERP forecast the country’s economic growth could reach 6.33 percent in the first quarter of 2020, 6.27 percent in the second quarter, 6.58 percent in the third quarter, and 6.64 percent in the last one.

The whole year’s growth is projected at 6.48 percent. Meanwhile, the inflation rate in the respective quarters would be 4.88 percent, 4.49 percent, 4.13 percent, and 4.04 percent.

According to the group, Vietnam’s economic outlook in the long run will depend on the attraction of the foreign direct investment (FDI), the removal of institutional barriers, the improvement of business environment, and the equitisation of State-owned enterprises.

Trade and international investment activities are expected to thrive after the signing of free trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

However, Vietnam should be cautious in international trade relations, the group said.

In 2019, Vietnam’s economy expanded by 7.02 percent, lower than 7.08 percent in 2018. The growth was mainly driven by industry, construction, and service sectors.

Despites headwinds in 2019 such as unfavourbale weather conditions and the outbreak of African swine fever, the agro-forestry-fishery sector recorded growth of 2.01 percent. The aquaculture sector in particular posted an impressive growth of over 6 percent.

The service sector expanded more than that in the previous year, with growth of over 7 percent seen in finance, banking, insurance, wholesale and retail fields./.

Majority of groups, corporations fulfil 2019 targets

A majority of groups and corporations fulfilled 2019 targets assigned by the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC), heard a conference in Hanoi on January 16.

CMSC Vice Chairman Ho Sy Hung said the total revenue of 19 groups and corporations surpassed 1.48 quadrillion VND (64.2 billion USD) in 2019, up 6.4 percent year-on-year. Their before-tax profit went up 28 percent to over 99.8 trillion VND.

Their revenue to the State budget surpassed 221 trillion VND, up 17.6 percent from 2018.

The CMSC pointed out that several works are less efficient, causing losses of State capital and assets, while restructuring, equitisation and divestment in State-owned enterprises (SOEs) remain slow.

Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the enterprises to perform better in terms of revenue and governance, as well as promptly deal with existing difficulties.

CMSC Nguyen Hoang Anh said the committee will continue suggesting amendments and supplements to laws to facilitate restructuring, equitisation and divestment; strengthen managerial staff and representatives of State capital at SOEs, as well as rotate and deploy qualified personnel between the CMSC and SOEs./

Vietnam to develop 10-yeat seaport master plan

Vietnam will develop a seaport master plan for 2021-30, with an aim to enhance infrastructure connectivity, reduce logistics costs and promote marine economic development.

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung early this week approved the development of the seaport master plan, which is part of efforts to implement the strategy for the sustainable development of Vietnam’s marine economy to 2030.

The plan will include solutions to improve the efficiency of investment in developing seaports in Vietnam and ensure synchronous development between seaports and other transport infrastructure.

The seaport master plan must also help improve regional linkage to enhance investment efficiency and reduce logistics costs, Dung asked.

He also asked the plan to be made based on the current natural condition, resources and existing seaports, as well as forecast transportation demand with regard to climate change.

The impacts of science and technology on seaport development must also be taken into account.

Most importantly, seaport development planning must be based on the evaluation of the connectivity of seaports throughout the country, with seaports in other countries, with other transport infrastructure (road, railway, airport and in-land waterway system), with urban areas, economic zones, tourism zones, industrial zones and logistics centre.

Ensuring connectivity was of critical importance, Dung stressed.

He asked that the seaport development must take environmental protection into account.

Focus must be placed on developing seaports which played important roles in promoting the country’s socio-economic development.

According to the Vietnam Marine Administration, Vietnam now has 44 seaports./.

VN’s national forest stewardship standard effective from May

The National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS) for Vietnam has been launched and will be effective from May 1 this year, according to the Vietnam Office of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

“The National Standard for Vietnam is a comprehensive tool developed specifically for forests in this country to allow them to be well-managed now and in the future, and to promote the responsible sourcing of forest products,” said FSC Asia Pacific Regional Director Cindy Cheng at the launch event earlier this month.

“Applying this new standard will enable FSC certificate holders to gain greater access to global markets by proving their commitment to good forest management, and the positive impact that their operations have on the environment, as well as the communities and workers who depend on these forests,” she added.

“With 199,000 hectares of forests already certified by FSC in Vietnam, we hope that now, more forest managers, processors, brands and retailers along the value chain will see the importance and benefits of FSC certification.”

This standard applies to all forest operations seeking FSC certification within Vietnam. It covers natural forests, plantations and small and low-intensity managed forests.

Many organisations have played a role in developing the NFSS for Vietnam, including the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST); the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; WWF Vietnam; the Forest Certification for Ecosystem Services (ForCES) project; the German Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ) GmbH Ecosystem Services project; the Research Institute for Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification (SFMI); and more.

The Forest Stewardship Council is a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible forest management around the world. Officially founded in 1994 with a mission to stop global deforestation, the FSC certification scheme ensures that forests products are responsibly managed and harvested.

Vietnam is the third largest wood exporter in Asia./.

Hanoi to have enough pork during Tet: officials

Hanoi will not have to face a shortage of pork during the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, an official of the capital city’s Industry and Trade Department has said.

A nationwide shortage has held for about 10 months due to the impact of African swine fever.

Tran Thi Phuong Lan, the department’s deputy director, said Hanoians’ demand for pork will be met because suppliers from neighbouring provinces and cities have committed to providing the city with an estimated volume of 43,000 tonnes of pork during the holiday.

The capital city’s demand for pork is predicted at about 22,300 tonnes during the holiday.

The price of pork at traditional markets ranges from 130,000 - 180,000 VND (5.6 - 7.74 USD) per kilo, about 40 - 50,000 VND higher during the same period last year.

Meanwhile, in many supermarkets, the price of pork has been cooling down. At Co.op mart supermarket chain in Hanoi, the pork price of CP Joint Stock Company decreased by 5,000-10,000 VND per kilo compared with a week ago.

According to pork sellers, although the price of pork has decreased slightly, consumption has not increased.

A report of Hanoi Customs Department shows the capital city imported nearly 100,000 kilos of pork in December last year.

“We have not yet considered the possibility of importing pork because the domestic supply will meet the city’s demand during the holiday,” Lan said.

The city’s businesses have reserved goods, including pork, to stabilise the market, avoiding importing products before Tet at expensive prices. Notably, businesses who take part in the city’s market stabilisation programme have committed to keeping pork prices 5 percent lower than the market price./.

ABBANK reports 36 percent rise in profit

The An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank reported a profit after-tax of 1.23 trillion VND (53.18 million USD) for 2019, an increase of 36 percent from the previous year.

Its earnings from interest were 2.44 trillion VND (105.65 million USD), a 22 percent increase.

The bank has deposits of 74.78 trillion VND, an increase of 16 percent, and loans outstanding of 63.03 trillion VND, up 10 percent.

It has assets of 102.55 trillion VND, 14 percent up from the end of 2018.

Non-performing loans were below 2 percent, while its return on assets was 1.4 percent, return on equity was 17 percent and capital adequacy ratio was 10.5 percent./.

Quality key to pepper growth, not quantity

For two decades, farmer To Nguyen Ho Hai in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai grew peppers, enjoying a boon in production.

Five years ago, the industry was doing so well, and the price of peppers so high, he more than doubled his investment, increasing from 900 pepper pillars to 2,000.

At the time, farmers took their profits and reinvested with prices hitting as much as 260,000 VND (11.2 USD) per kg at their peak in 2015.

Hoang Phuoc Binh, Vice Chairman of the Pepper Association of Gia Lai province’s Chu Se district, recalled the time when peppers were hot in more ways than one.

 

“Every farmer, every household grew peppers,” he said. “The more profit they earned, the more money they poured in investing in buying land to grow more pepper.”

According to Vu Ngoc An, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, when people saw households making profits of up to 500 million VND (21,600 USD) per ha, others followed suit.

Everyone wanted a piece of the action, it was a gold rush for pepper producers.

But overproduction saw a staggering 97 percent of the area, some 16,300ha, being used to farm peppers and the bubble eventually burst.

Despite warnings, some farmers abused fertilisers in a bid to increase output and as a result, diseases broke out among crops, causing low yields and killing many plants.

Last year, pepper prices plummeted to as low as 40,000-45,000 VND (1.7-1.9 USD) per kilo, a fraction of the amount that was seen in days gone by.

As a result, a lot of pepper growers fell deep into debt.

Accounting for more than 40 percent of the world’s pepper quantity and over 60 percent of the world’s market share, Vietnam has been the worlds’ biggest pepper producer and exporter since 2001 with peppers exported to more than 100 countries.

Today the statistics paint a far bleaker picture, so for farmers like Hai, who invested a small fortune buying land, installing electricity lines, digging wells and purchasing other necessary equipment, times became tough.

Today you won't find peppers growing on his land, but instead coffee plantations alongside goats he raises.

Another farmer, Vo Hoai Nhon from Hoa Binh hamlet, also suffered as a result of the pepper crash, leaving him with debts totaling 300 million VND.

He even could not sell the lands used to cultivate the pepper. “The land used to cost 40 million VND (1,700 USD) per sq.m during the peak period but now no one wanted to buy,” he said.

But it is not all doom and gloom for pepper farmers. Some stuck at it, and using organic growing methods, have reaped the rewards.

Nguyen Tan Cong, CEO of the Le Chi Pepper Nam Yang Agricultural and Services Cooperative in Nam Yang Commune, Dak Doa district, said while the price of normal peppers dropped to 40,000-45,000 VND per kg in 2019, the price of organic pepper produced by his cooperative still reached more than 100,000 VND (4.3 USD) per kg.

It means that organic pepper products could be sold at a price 150-200 percent higher than normal products.

During the 2018-19 crop, his family earned 1 billion VND (43,000 USD) from growing 5ha of peppers.

The cooperative has 80 members who grow peppers on a total area of 100ha.

He said his cooperative has invested in growing pepper products that meet organic standards of the US and Europe. The cooperative’s products are sold for both domestic and foreign markets.

“However, the cooperative does not aim to produce en mass for export,” he said. “The most important thing is to ensure good quality so that the products will be sold at high price and to build a trademark in foreign markets.”

“All members of the cooperative are not required to grow organic pepper plants but they must ensure quality products and meet standards and market demands. That is the trend for sustainable development of this sector,” Cong said.

Vu Ngoc An, deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said local farmers should switch to organic cultivation to achieve sustainability.

The department has developed pilot models in growing peppers and coffee for local farmers to follow, he said.

Local authorities also encourage farmers to switch to grow other crops such as fruit on land that not suitable for peppers.

Tran Cong Thang, head of the Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development Strategy and Policy, said it was necessary to develop production areas that meet good agricultural practice and international standards as well as support farmers to switch to organic cultivation methods.

He pointed to the need to build effective market information and forecast system and increase promotion activities to export pepper to potential markets.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh urged the authorities of localities which are key pepper growers, to guide farmers to grow, take care and preserve pepper following organic standards to meet increasing requirements of foreign markets.

They should also encourage farmers to invest in modern processing technology and diversify pepper products to improve products value, he said./.

Oil firm bags nearly 4.4 billion USD in 2019

The Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical JSC (BSR), a subsidiary of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), has reported gross revenue of 102.82 trillion VND (nearly 4.4 billion USD) in 2019.

According to a consolidated financial report released on January 20, BSR’s after-tax profit hit more than 2.75 trillion VND, contributing over 9.7 billion VND to the State budget.

The firm’s equity increased from 31.37 trillion VND at the end of 2018 to over 33.9 trillion VND in 2019. Meanwhile, its liabilities decreased nearly 2 trillion VND to 19.5 trillion VND.
Total assets of BSR stood at over 53.4 trillion VND.

In the first quarter of 2020, the company wants to ramp up operations at the Dung Quat Oil Refinery Plant to its maximum capacity to complete its production targets for the year./.

VNPOLY, SSFC team up for yarn production

The Vietnam Petrochemical and Fiber Joint Stock Company (VNPOLY) and Shinkong Synthetic Fibers Corporation (SSFC) from China’s Taiwan have agreed to work together to produce drawn textured yarn (DTY) in Vietnam.

A cooperation agreement to this effective was inked between the two companies’ representatives in Hanoi on January 20.

Under the agreement, SSFC will be in charge of providing raw materials and selling products, while VNPOLY with technical assistance so the Vietnamese firm can improve product quality and facilitating high-end market expansion.

Initially, the two sides will run at least 10 DTY production lines at VNPOLY and will gradually operate all DTY line in the future./.

Clear policies – launching platform for private economy

Clear mechanisms and policies play a specially important role as a launching platform for the private economic sector to make breakthroughs and greatly contribute to the national economic development.

Resolution 10/NQ-TW of the Party Central Committee on developing the private economy into an important driving force of the socialist-oriented market economy reflected the strong renovation of the Party regarding this issue, paving the way for the private economy to become a dynamic and creative economic sector.

To realise the resolution, the National Assembly issued and instructed the implementation of several important laws such as the Law on Competition and the Law on Support for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises. The legislature also issued a law amending some articles of the Investment Law in which conditional businesses lines were cut down from 267 to 243 from July 2017.

The Government, ministries, sectors and localities have issued many guiding documents and implementing a wide range of action programmes, thus creating a favourable and clear business environment for the private economy to grow.

Talking with private businesses, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc pledged to continue providing a space, resources and opportunities for the private sector to develop more easily.

The Government leader’s commitment has been concretised with a series of important policies such as Resolution 19/NQ-CP on major tasks and solutions to improve the business environment and enhancing national competitiveness in 2017, with orientation to 2020; Resolution 35/NQ-CP on business support and development by 2020; Resolution 98/NQ-CP promulgating the Government’s action programme to realise the Party Central Committee’s Resolution 10/NQ-TW.

In addition, an array of business environment improvement measures have been launched by the Government and the Prime Minister such as reforming administrative procedures, reducing production and business costs, accessing markets, reorganize inspection activities, and simplifying and reducing business conditions.

Many legal documents have been issued to guide the implementation of laws related to business and management activities of the private sector.

Resolution 98 delivers a message of building “a government of action” that focuses on removing institutional obstacles to help businesses reduce costs, improve operational efficiency, and raise competitiveness. On that spirit, the resolution called on ministries, sectors and localities to engage in performing the task of “creating a favourable business and investment environment for the development of the private sector and support it in renovating and modernising technologies, developing human resources, and improving labour productivity”.

The action programme also urged People’s Committees of provinces and cities to organise periodical open dialogue at least twice a year with the business community and press agencies to promptly remove difficulties and obstacles facing enterprises.

In its Resolution 35, the Government has launched a series of measures to create a favourable business and investment environment, support firms in accessing credit, production and business premises, and markets as well as those to help enterprises cut production costs, thus contributing to increasing national competitiveness, promoting the development of the private sector, and forming several potential, large-scale economic groups.

A noteworthy thing in the implementation of the Government’s reform programmes is the activeness and proactiveness of the concerned ministries and agencies.

In 2018, the ministries and agencies reviewed and submitted 28 legal documents, cut more than 3,300 out of nearly 6,200 business conditions, or 54.5 percent, exceeding 8,1 percent compared to that required by the Government. Those with the largest number of simplified business conditions included the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Transport.

In 2019, improving the business investment environment continued to be one of focuses of the Government. On January 1, 2019, the Government issued Resolution 02/NQ-CP on continuing to implement key tasks and solutions to improve the business environment and enhance national competitiveness in 2019, with orientation to 2021.

One and a half years since the Law on Support for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) took effect, decrees and circulars guiding the implementation of the law have basically been fully promulgated. In order to urgently bring a number of policies stipulated in the law to life, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Finance have been actively finalizing a draft Government Decree on supplementing a number of professions and sectors eligible for investment incentives prescribed in the Law on Support for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises and the National Assembly's Resolution on corporate income tax incentives for SMEs.

Many localities have developed plans and projects to support small and medium-sized businesses with specific policies to meet their real SMEs development requirements.

The efforts of the Government, ministries, agencies and localities in building a transparent business environment have created a foundation for the strong development of the private sector in recent years.

The sector has become one of the important driving forces for the national economy as it creates about 42 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), contributes 30 percent of State budget revenue, and attracts 85 percent of labour force./.

Viettel IDC, Vietnam’s world standard data center

Viettel's data center (Viettel IDC) has been granted the most prestigious data center certification in the world by Singapore-based Enterprise Products Integration Pte Ltd.

The recognition makes Viettel IDC the first and only data center service provider in Vietnam that meets the strict international standards set by the American Telecommunications Industry Association. 

To gain the certificate, the Viettel data center was evaluated for telecommunications, electricity, architecture, electrical infrastructure and planning, disaster recovery, security, and environmental control. The assessment included more than 2,600 checks.

This rigorous evaluation process ensures that Viettel’s data center is capable of protecting customers’ data and minimizes the risk of business interruption in the event of a disaster.  

Nguyen Manh Tung, head of the center’s technical section, said the system must meet the most stringent and comprehensive requirements in design, construction, and operation to ensure the highest level of security and readiness.

“We have built 4 data centers. Customers can store data at the first center and if something happens, their data can be moved to the second or the third center. There are backup options for storing customers’ data but the first center is the location with the highest security level meeting international standards,” said Tung.

Le Duc Hoang, Viettel IDC’s Deputy Director, said the company plans to expand the model to meet the increasing demand for data centers.

“Our target clients are state agencies. Pursuant to the Prime Minister’s guideline, this will be a national data center for ministries and sectors. Vietnam has applied IT in areas such as personal income tax, finance, and banking which need to store a great deal of data. Once Vietnam has its own large data centers, they will bring much benefit to the country. I hope that in the future Viettel IDC will become a hub for Asia,” said Hoang.

Professional third party data management has become increasingly popular for companies that have to store large amounts of data and require great accuracy and reliability. 

Hiring a company that specializes in providing this service is economical for agencies and enterprises. But the new market needs regulation to manage it effectively. The Ministry of Information and Communications, the regulators in the field, has developed guidelines for implementing data centers.

Viettel IDC, with this certification, has become Vietnam’s first and only world-class data center and has made Vietnam one of just 5 countries in Southeast Asia with a world-class data center.

Hanoi retail market in Q4/2019: New shopping center enters market

The additional supply drives up Hanoi's retail space to roughly 1.2 million square meters in the fourth quarter 2019.

Hanoi’s retail market in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019 witness the opening of a new shopping center – Aeon Mall – which supplies 74,000 square meters (sq.m) in Ha Dong district, JLL has said in a recent report.

The shopping center, which is the fifth of its kind in Vietnam, introduced new brands to Hanoi such as Koi Thé and Digiking. The excitement toward new brands and the new project have helped Aeon Mall Ha Dong attract an impressive number of customers since the opening in late November.

With Aeon Mall, the total supply of retail market in Hanoi reached approximately 1.2 millions sq.m in Q4/2019. Of the total, shopping centers dominate the supply, while department stores and prime retail spaces did not record any significant growth.

Despite the new supply, occupancy rate posted an increase during the quarter. The rate reached almost 91% in Q4.

Aeon Mall Ha Dong alone recorded small vacant which was about 5%, indicating an effective leasing strategy.

Little vacant space was recorded at some Vincom shopping centers, except for Vincom Pham Ngoc Thach which was under renovation for re-opening in February 2020.

Rental, meanwhile, kept unchanged during the quarter. The average rent stayed at the same level compared to that in the previous quarter, at US$29.3/sq.m/month, an increase of 1.6% on-year.

Aeon Mall Ha Dong, despite of position in an outer district, was still able to set an asking price that was approximately on par with the general market, proving the appeal of the Aeon Mall chains to consumers and tenants, JLL said in the report.

The world’s leading services firm forecast the market would welcome new supply, mainly from two mega malls of Vingroup in Smart City and Ocean Park townships on the outskirt of the city.

This is also a new trend in the market in which shopping centers are located in impressive areas outside the city center. Those shopping centers usually provide a variety of entertainment and lifestyle activities such as gym, kid playgrounds, instead of purely for shopping.

In addition, new brands, including Uniqlo, are expected to enter Hanoi market in 2020. This brand is expected to open its first store in Hanoi in Spring 2020, after the successful opening of the first in HCM City in December 2019, showed the report.

Phu Tho province to attract investment into new IPs

The northern midland province of Phu Tho plans to build three more industrial park (IPs) with a total area of 750ha this year, according to the Phu Tho Industrial Parks Management Board. 

Once established, the 100ha Phu Ninh, 350ha Tam Nong and 400ha Ha Hoa IPs would open up opportunities for the province to lure new domestic and foreign investors, contributing to the province’s socio-economic development, it said. 

Currently, Phu Tho is calling for businesses with sufficient capacities and experience to pump investment into developing infrastructures at its IPs. The province said it would offer land rental exemptions for investors that build basic infrastructure facilities.

Phu Tho is now home to four operational IPs including Thuy Van, Trung Ha, Cam Khe and Phu Ha. Spanning a total area of nearly 2,000ha, the parks have to date attracted 175 foreign-invested projects, and 134 of them are already operational.

The Trung Ha IP has reported full land occupancy with 14 foreign-invested projects capitalised at 162.6 million USD, while the Thuy Van IP has 96 percent land occupancy with 97 domestically and foreign-financed projects valued at 787 milllion USD.

In 2019, IPs-based businesses generated an estimated revenue of 40 trillion VND (1.72 billion USD), up 33 percent year-on-year, contributing 1.6 trillion VND (689.3 million USD) to the State budget.

The province is offering incentives for investment projects in its IPs including corporate income tax exemption for the first two years and a 50 percent break for the four following years.

For projects involved in the high-tech and supporting industries, the province provides exemption stretches to 100 percent over four years and 50 percent for the following nine.

It will also foster administrative reform and create an open business environment with favourable conditions offered to businesses, while solving their difficulties in a timely manner.

Mekong Delta provinces boost shrimp exports

Last year Vietnam earned nearly 4 billion USD from exporting shrimp products. The Ca Mau Peninsula, one of the country’s key areas of brackish water shrimp aquaculture, is aiming to produce 1.1 million tons and earn 10 billion USD in exports by 2025.

Huynh Van Dung in Tan Bang commune, Ca Mau province, has pursued a rice-shrimp farming model for more than a decade. A few years ago, salt intrusion and epidemics caused great losses on his 1.5 ha farmland. 

But thanks to a project to improve the sustainability of the shrimp-rice farming system, his family's shrimp farming productivity has increased steadily. By applying new techniques, Dung can earn 3,500 USD per hectare a year.

Dung told VOV “The rice-shrimp farming model is more efficient. Rice cultivation is harder but results in lower economic efficiency. The shrimp price is high now, yielding from 20 to 35 USD per kilo.”

Bac Lieu province, the second largest shrimp farming area in Vietnam after Ca Mau, has more than 34,000 hectares of land applying the rice-shrimp farming model.

Aiming to become the hub of Vietnam’s shrimp production, Bac Lieu is applying science and technology to shrimp farming models. The model of super-intensive shrimp farming in a closed house of Vietnam-Australia Company yields a yearly productivity of 100 tons per ha.

Many local businesses and farmers have shifted to this model, raising Bac Lieu’s total shrimp production last year to more than 142,000 tons, up 10% against the previous year.

Duong Thanh Trung, Chairman of the provincial People's Committee, said Bac Lieu has constructed a high-tech shrimp production zone covering 418 ha and with total investment of more than 43 million USD.

“20 investors have registered in the high-tech zone. Several institutes and universities have followed suit because they want to introduce scientific and technological advances in shrimp production to make the zone a national shrimp production hub. We hope in the future the high-tech zone and high-tech farming models will be expanded across Bac Lieu province and the Ca Mau Peninsula in general,” said Trung.

Vietnamese shrimp has long been popular to consumers around the world and available in nearly 80 countries and territories. Every year, it contributes about 4 billion USD to the national export turnover.

Nguyen Viet Trung, Head of the Trade Section of Ca Mau’s Department of Industry and Trade, said there remain lots of difficulties for the sector  including technical barriers.

Vietnam's seafood has been imposed with the EU’s yellow card leading to stricter control for shrimp products. In addition to traditional markets such as the US, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, Vietnamese exporters have expanded export markets to Russia and Britain and paid greater attention to the domestic market.

Trung said, “Exports are a fundamental direction to improve the value of agricultural products. We have exported shrimp products to many countries, helping gain high profits. Thanks to attaching more importance to the domestic market, Ca Mau’s shrimp products have become widely popular among Vietnamese consumers, especially in HCMC and Hanoi. The export of Ca Mau’s shrimp and other types of seafood is expected to continue to grow in the future.”

Vietnamese fruit enjoys breakthroughs in demanding markets

Vietnamese fruit products have recently been granted licenses to make inroads into a number of the global market, opening up plenty of prospects that can ensure the sustainable export of the local fruit items.

According to the latest figures released by the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Development (MARD), the export value of Vietnam’s fruit and vegetables for 2019 was estimated to stand at US$3.74 billion, a fall of 1.9 per cent in comparison to 2018. 

China remains the country’s largest export market for fruit and vegetables, holding more than 65 per cent of the total market share. In spite of this, the nation’s export of fruit and vegetables to the Chinese market has undergone a downward trend in recent times as the northern neighbour seeks to tighten exports coming in from unofficial channels.

As a result, some of the country’s major fruit and vegetable items have not yet been granted licensing to export to China through official channels, leading to the increase in domestic consumption and  processing activities.

Most notably, the nation’s fruit and vegetable exports to other major markets have enjoyed robust growth, including to the United States with US$137.7 million, up 9.2 per cent, the Republic of Korea (RoK) with US$119.4 million, an increase of 14.2 per cent, and Japan with US$112.4 million, up 14.4 per cent.

Several fruit products with great potential for exports have so far penetrated almost all fastidious markets in the world, including strong growth markets such as the US, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Canada.

Despite these positives, there is an increasing threat from emerging regional rivals such as Cambodia exporting mangoes to the RoK whilst China seeks to expand its dragon fruit cultivation area.

The MARD noted that the Vietnamese fruit industry could face numerous challenges in export activities if the sector fails to ensure factors such as product quality, food hygiene and safety.

Moreover, farmers must be capable of producing goods on a large scale in order to meet the orders of importers, an issue that has remained a problem for the domestic fruit sector for several years, according to the MARD.

 
 

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