BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES MAY 26

Banks urged to promote digitalisation

 
     

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES MAY 26
Customers use a banking app. To promote digital economy, banks should find way to quickly bring ordinary users to become digital customers. — Photo vneconomy.vn

 
 
 
 The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a serious effect to the economy, but it has helped accelerate the race for banks to go digital.

With many people looking for new options to deal with their financial affairs, digitalisation of services and e-payments are becoming crucial.

Vu Tien Loc, chairman of Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) told an online forum held in Ha Noi yesterday there can be positives to take from the pandemic.

“COVID-19 has been a catalyst that helps Viet Nam accelerate digitalisation of the economy, businesses, banks as well as e-commerce,” Loc said.

Statistics showed the country now has 70 credit institutions and intermediaries unit such as E-wallets providing payment services online and through cell phone apps. The total value of digital financial transactions topped VND7.3 quadrillion and 300,000 transactions via mobilephone so far.

Although there has been progress building a legal corridor for digital payment services, there were still obstacles in place. These have deterred digital payments from expanding quickly and easily to customers who prefer convenience, he said.

The Decision No 645/QD-TTg on the overall plan of the national e-commerce development in 2021-25 period targets to have 55 per cent of the country’s population shopping online and 50 per cent of small-and-medium sized enterprises having business activities on e-commerce floors by 2025. The targets required determination from firms and banks in promoting digitalisation and non-cash payment.

Pham Tien Dung, director of the Payment Department under the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) said the current policies have lagged behind the technology development.

To promote digital economy, banks should find ways to bring ordinary users to become their digital customers. To support banks, the SBV recently drafted a regulation on opening accounts by the electronic system, Know your customers (eKYC). Banks must increase customer experience to make them satisfied with products and services.

The central bank was expected to submit a decree to replace the Decree No 101/2012/ND-CP on non-cash payment in June. This would see Viet Nam having a definition for electronic money and correspondent banks for the first time. This is the basis for banks to develop comprehensive digital banking.

Dung said in recent years, many digital banks have developed strongly, helping to improve operational efficiency. For example, a traditional bank processing credit files for businesses takes about a week, the digital bank can disburse for businesses in around two hours by digitising all the data, using public credit appraisal technology.

“The growth rate of mobile banking in our country was 200 per cent, showing that we are growing very well. On average, there were 30-50 million transactions through the payment system,” he added.

However, the SBV also said that the biggest barrier of digital banking development is still habit and a push is needed to change people's mindsets.

He said banks need to build a smart and diverse ecosystem to develop digital banking. In digital banking and payments, it is impossible to mention the co-operation between banks and fintech. Currently, 81 per cent of credit institutions choose the co-operation model between banks and fintech for mutual development.

In addition, banks must also strengthen integration, connectivity of infrastructure and applications of the banking industry with other industries and services to expand the digital ecosystem.

Sharing ideas, Huynh Ngoc Huy, chairman of LienVietPostBank said Government should quickly build a national database, especially personal identification for sustainable development of digital banks and e-payment system.

“When building digital banking, it is important to have cryptocurrencies and a national database of residents. If we can't connect to the national database of the population, we can't identify it. Therefore, the Government should immediately implement this because this is the root of the problem, through which we will apply a lot of things, including digital banking development,” Huy said. 

Investors consider Vietnam as safe investment destination after COVID-19

Many investors have considered Vietnam as a safe investment destination with a lot of advantages after the COVID-19 pandemic is pushed back, heard a meeting of permanent government members chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi on May 22.

The meeting also saw the attendance of leaders from several ministries, sectors and provinces and cities which have attracted large sums of foreign direct investment (FDI), and economic experts.

According to experts, the investment flow is expected to be poured into four industries: information technology and high technology, electronic equipment, e-commerce and logistics, consumer goods and retail. Therefore, localities should recognise and seize this opportunity to draw investment.

PM Phuc said Vietnam has achieved initial successes in fighting COVID-19, but it is necessary to focus on developing the country to realise the dual target of preventing the pandemic and boosting socio-economic development.

The PM asked the participants to deliberate concrete measures to optimise the investment flow shifted to Vietnam, especially from major multinational groups and high-tech firms.

He suggested attracting selective projects, aiming at big multinational groups utilising new cutting-edge and environmentally friendly technologies.

The Government leader requested building a project to address bottlenecks for investors such as land clearance and human resources.

He agreed on the establishment of a working group in charge of this matter, which is headed by the Minister of Planning and Investment.

Emphasising the role of the communication work, PM Phuc suggested promoting Vietnam as an attractive investment for investors and tourists.

The Government, localities and sectors must create optimal conditions in terms of production premises, necessary and attractive incentives, administrative procedures, and human resources, he said.

Attracting foreign investment with high-tech and high added value projects is an essential trend, the PM said, adding that authorities should make it easier for all economic sectors, particularly the private one, to successfully do business in Vietnam./.

WB: Indonesia may lose market confidence due to debts

The World Bank (WB) has called on the Indonesian government to formulate a sound fiscal strategy to “flatten the debt curve” and maintain financial market confidence as debt mounts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indonesia’s debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio would rise to 37 percent this year from 29.8 percent last year, driven by an increase in borrowings to cover for the widening budget deficit and to cope with the economic slowdown and rupiah exchange rate depreciation, according to WB senior economist for Indonesia Ralph van Doorn.

The Indonesian government should provide assurances over its fiscal strategy to raise revenues back to at least the 2018 level to flatten the debt curve, he said, adding the country risked losing market confidence over its mounting debts.

He also suggested Indonesia show a credible path for the economy to unwind exceptional measures taken by the government to battle the pandemic.

Indonesia’s budget deficit is expected to increase to 6.27 percent of its GDP this year, more than double the initial ceiling of 3 percent,

The WB has projected zero percent growth for the Indonesian economy under the baseline scenario. However, the economy may contract 3.5 percent under the worst-case scenario./.

Laos not immune to global economic crisis: WB

Laos’ economic growth is projected to decline in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to contain its spread, unveiled a World Bank report on the country’s growth and debt in the year.

The pandemic will have a significant impact on various sectors of Laos, particularly tourism, trade, investment and remittances, it said.

Lao economic growth is projected to decline to 1 percent in the baseline scenario and negative 1.8 percent in a worse-case scenario.

The economic downturn has particularly affected the service sector. A sharp drop in the performance of the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors – which account for 11 percent of total employment and 22 percent of employment in urban areas – has caused widespread job losses.

Between 96,000 and 214,000 additional people are estimated to fall into poverty as a result of the pandemic.

The impact of the COVID-19 is also projected to increase the fiscal deficit in 2020 to between 7.5 and 8.8 percent of GDP, from 5.1 percent in 2019.

Consequently, debt levels are expected to increase to between 65 and 68 percent of GDP in 2020, from 59 percent of GDP in 2019. Reserve buffers are expected to fall in 2020 and cover less than one month of imports.

The report also includes a thematic section on Building Resilient Health Systems. Evidence shows that Laos needs to invest more in building a resilient health system to effectively respond to health emergencies.

At the same time, it is important to ensure that adequate resources continue to be available to provide quality essential health services to all citizens./.

Khanh Hoa launches programme to stimulate tourism after COVID-19

A total of 74 firms will take part in a tourism stimulus programme in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, offering deals with discounts of up to 50 percent, Director of the provincial Department of Tourism Tran Viet Trung told a press conference on May 22.

The press conference was held by the province’s Departments of Tourism and Information and Communications and the Nha Trang - Khanh Hoa Tourism Association to launch the programme, which primarily sets its sights on domestic visitors.

The move aims to help Khanh Hoa revive the local tourism industry, which has been majorly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly three months.

Trung said participating companies, including 50 accommodation providers, 13 tourist sites, 10 tour operators, and a transport firm, have vowed to offer visitors discounts ranging from 20 to 50 percent.

The province is calling on local tourism companies to develop new high-quality products and services to spark demand.

The tourism department plans to hold promotional events in several domestic markets, such as Hanoi, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho, while a seminar will be organised to seek solutions to improving the quality of tourism in Khanh Hoa.

Khanh Hoa is home to over 770 accommodation providers with more than 42,000 rooms in total, including 86 hotels rated three to five stars with nearly 19,000 rooms.

Because of the impact of COVID-19, the province expects to welcome just 3.2 million visitors this year, including 1.5 million foreigners.

It received 7 million holidaymakers last year, including more than 3.5 million from overseas./.

Thailand expects to harvest 24mn tonnes of rice in 2020

Thailand’s Royal Irrigation Department (RID) expects more rain this year and a harvest of 24 million tonnes of rice in the 2020-2021 crop.

The Rice Policy and Management Committee believes that between November 2019 and April 2020, the Chao Phraya River basin will have 5.5 billion cubic metres of water, which would cover 59 percent of the country’s water supply.

It decided to boost rice crops in the 2020-2021 period by allocating more than 9.5 million ha to the grain, including 4.4 million ha for jasmine rice, over 330,000 ha for Pathum Thani rice, more than 2.15 million ha for normal rice, 2.6 million ha for sticky rice, and about 90,000 ha for other types.

RID Director General Thongplew Kongjan said this farmland is expected to produce up to 24.65 million tonnes.

As the second-largest rice exporter in the world, behind India, Thailand expects to ship 7-8 million tonnes worth 4.2 billion USD this year - the lowest level in seven years./.

Da Nang working hard to accelerate post-pandemic economic recovery

Authorities in the central city of Da Nang have adopted a series of measures to bolster its post-pandemic economic development, focusing on attracting investment, promoting production, business, and exports, stimulating domestic tourism and consumption, and addressing difficulties facing key projects.

Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Truong Quang Nghia said the municipal People’s Committee and relevant agencies have been directed to effectively implement support policies to promote production and business activities, accelerate the disbursement of public investment, and ensure social security.

He urged the People’s Committee and relevant agencies to actively propose major targets and budget balance plans for 2020 while focusing on building socio-economic development plans and medium-term public investment plans for the 2021-2025 period.

Nghia stressed the need to complete adjustments to the general planning of Da Nang city by 2030 and vision to 2045, and design an economic development strategy to 2030.

Da Nang plans to submit a resolution on the pilot of organising the urban administration model as well as specific mechanisms and policies for Da Nang city to the National Assembly for approval, he said.

Nghia also asked for solutions to quickly support and remove difficulties facing key industrial sectors such as automobile manufacturing, the rubber industry, and electronic components.

It is necessary to build plans and scenarios and mobilise resources to recover the tourism sector, he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on Da Nang’s economic indicators. In the first four months of this year, the number of tourists to the city and tourism revenue fell 57.6 percent and 51.2 percent, respectively.

The total retail sales of goods and services was down 6.8 percent, while export turnover fell 8.4 percent./.

Vietnam records trade deficit in first half of May as exports drop

Vietnam reported a trade deficit of nearly 1 billion USD in the first half of May as exports reached only 8.22 billion USD – the lowest level since the beginning of this year (excluding the first half of January when the Tet holiday fell on), the General Department of Customs announced has announced.

Only two groups of products posted an export turnover of at least 1 billion USD during the period including computers, electronics and components at some 1.5 billion USD and telephones and parts at 1 billion USD. That brought export earnings of these products total to 13.6 billion USD and 16.4 billion USD, respectively so far this year.

Several other staples with an encouraging export value were textile and garment with 828 million USD, totalling 9.47 billion USD to date this year; machinery, equipment and parts with 753.5 million USD, totalling more than 7.5 billion USD and footwear with 587 million USD, totalling 5.94 billion USD.

Meanwhile, the country imported nearly 9.2 billion USD worth of goods in the first half of May with computers, electronics and components and machinery, equipment and parts recording respective earnings of 2.1 billion USD and 1.4 billion USD, according to the department.

Since the beginning of this year to mid-May, the nation’s trade value hit about 177 billion USD. Of the total, more than 89 billion USD came from exports while the remainder of 88 billion USD from imports. That resulted in a trade surplus of more than 1 billion USD, the department noted.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade predicted that Vietnam’s export value would increase again in the second half of this year if the pandemic was controlled in the second quarter.

The ministry would continue to give priority to promoting trade connections between Vietnamese enterprises and foreign partners, and the introduction of made-in-Vietnam goods to domestic and international consumers.

Vietnam has set a goal of reaching 300 billion USD export value target by the end of this year after four-year trade surplus record. Last year, the country’s trade surplus hit a record high of 9.9 billion USD, the highest level seen in the past four years./.

Thailand promotes airport city project in Eastern Economic Corridor

The Eastern Economic Corridor Policy Committee of Thailand has agreed with a draft contract on the 290-billion-baht (over 9 billion USD) eastern airport city project at U-tapao airport.

Local media on May 22 reported that the project is one of five megaprojects under the government's infrastructure development in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

As scheduled, after the draft contract is approved by the Thai cabinet, the country’s navy will sign a 50-year contract with the BBS consortium to implement the project.

Covering an area of more than 10sq.km, the project includes a third passenger terminal at U-tapao airport, a commercial gateway and a ground transport centre, an MRO (maintenance repair and overhaul) centre, a cargo complex and an aviation training centre.

It is expected to earn the government 305 billion THB from land lease and revenue-sharing and 62 billion THB from tax.

In the first five years, the project will create 15,600 jobs.

Kanit Sangsubhan, the EEC Office's secretary-general, said the project will be completed in 2023 along with the high-speed railway linking the three key airports of Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao./.

Indonesia, RoK sign MoU on oil and gas cooperation

Indonesian energy producer, PT Pertamina, and a consortium of companies of the Republic of Korea (RoK) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore business cooperation opportunities in Indonesia’ oil and gas industry, specifically in the Refinery Development Master Plan (RDMP) of Dumai in Riau.

The signing was carried out online on May 20, witnessed by head of the Investment Coordinating Board Bahlil Lahadalia.

The state construction firm, PT Nindya Karya, also involved in the deal while the Korean consortium was represented by DH Global Holdings Co. Ltd.

The 1.5 billion USD project is expected to increase domestic oil and fuel production capacity, reduce the reliance on oil imports and address the current account deficit in the future, said Lahadalia in an official statement released on May 21.

The deal is accordance with the Indonesian Government’s efforts to support the acceleration of the implementation of mega projects under the National Strategic Projects.

Pertamina Director, Ignatius Tallulembang, said the third parties will conduct a study on upgrading the Dumai Refinery, expressing his hope that there will be an important milestone in December.

Pertamina aimed to double its capacity to 2 million barrels per day, produce environmentally friendly fuel products of the Euro5 standard and petrochemical products./.

Bac Giang to host lychee trade promotion teleconference next month

The northern province of Bac Giang will host a teleconference on June 6 to promote the domestic consumption and export of lychee, a local specialty, as the harvest season has just come.

The video conference will connect representatives from the Government Office, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, trade offices and embassies in Vietnam of China, Japan, and Thailand, leading local and foreign retailers such as Aeon, the Central Group, Mega Market, Saigon Co.op, Hapro and Vinmart, and a number of major wholesale markets and distributors.

It is part of a series of promotional events Bac Giang is holding to boost sales of lychee.

Luc Ngan and Tan Yen districts, home to the largest lychee areas in the province, will prepare a list of foreign wholesalers who have demand for lychee and ask authorities to allow their entry into Vietnam to purchase the fruit. They will also formulate plans to quarantine these traders, in line with regulations.

Bac Giang currently has more than 28,100 ha of lychee, with output likely to increase 10,000 tonnes to 160,000 tonnes this year. This includes 45,000 tonnes of early-ripening lychee harvested on an estimated area of 6,000 ha and 115,000 tonnes of lychee from the main crop on an area of 22,100 ha.

The harvest is expected to last until July 10.

VietGAP-standard lychee has been grown on 15,000 ha this year, or half of the province’s total area. Output is forecast at 110,000 tonnes, or 68.7 percent of the total.

Bac Giang has developed different plans and scenarios for lychee trade promotion this year in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which is still ravaging many countries around the world. It has set its sights on several main markets, such as Japan, the US, Australia, the EU, and China.

Japan has approved a total of 19 Production Unit Codes (PUCs) for 103 ha of lychee in the province, including 98 ha in Luc Ngan and 5 ha in Tan Yen.

The province has also received 18 PUCs for 218 ha of lychee in Luc Ngan’s six communes for export to the US, Australia, and the EU./.

Asian Banker names Techcombank best bank for SMEs in 2020

The Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) has been named 2020 Best Solutions Provider for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) by prestigious magazine The Asian Banker.

The magazine said the bank has solidified its position as a one-stop solutions provider for SMEs in Vietnam with a value chain-focused strategy and business model.

Head of Research and Survey at The Asian Banker, Mobasher Kazmi, said leading experts have been impressed by the bank’s deep customer insight in addressing the evolving needs of SMEs, which led to its strong income and profit growth in 2019.

The bank has targeted the six consumption-led economic sectors that contribute almost half of Vietnam’s GDP.

Vishal Shah, Head of Techcombank’s Business Banking Division, said that within its growing footprint of more than 300 branches nationwide, Techcombank has enabled a dedicated business unit focused on SMEs and mid-corporate businesses through 43 dedicated branches.

He added that the bank continues to upgrade its Fast E-Bank online banking platform to improve customers’ experience in terms of speed, convenience, efficiency, and security.

It also introduced Overseas Remittance-embedded Foreign Currency Exchange with enhanced functionalities to support internal customer control and risk management.

The bank also launched a preferential loan package of 20 trillion VND (869 million USD) to businesses affected by COVID-19./.

EVN calls for investment in solar power plants on reservoirs

Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) is seeking investors in new electricity projects, including solar power plants on reservoirs, in an effort to ensure the safe and stable operation of the country’s electricity market.

Home to nearly 7,000 reservoirs covering millions of square kilometres, Vietnam has the conditions necessary to develop solar power plants on water surfaces, with total capacity amounting to 15,000 MW.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Hoang Hiep, the Ministry has received numerous proposals for solar power plants on reservoirs over the last three months.

 

The 420 MWp solar power plant in the semi-flooded area of Dau Tieng Reservoir in southern Tay Ninh province and another with a capacity of 47.5 MWp on the Da Mi Reservoir in south-central Binh Thuan province are the first of their kind in the country and are operating successfully.

These projects have safely churned out commercial electricity for the national power grid, said Nguyen Dinh Chien, Deputy Director of the Da Nhim-Ham Thuan-Da Mi Hydropower JSC in Binh Thuan.

According to Hoang Tien Dung, Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority, as at May 11, 6,000 MW of solar and wind power had been turned out commercially.

Some solar and wind power plants have been transferred partially or fully to foreign investors from Thailand, the Philippines, and China, he added.

Regulations allowing private and foreign investors to engage in electricity development without Government guarantee have made the sector more appealing to investors.

Under its production and business plan for 2016-2020, EVN is to diversify the mobilising of capital at home and abroad and effectively use State budget funds for site clearance in service of power projects.

EVN Director General Tran Dinh Nhan said the group will continue to coordinate with relevant ministries and agencies to accelerate the capacity release of the solar power projects, which are scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

In climate change-hit Tiền Giang, rice farmers switch to fruits, vegetables

More rice farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tiền Giang have switched to other crops as part of efforts to adapt to climate change.

In Cai Lậy and Cái Bè districts in the upstream area of the Tiền River, a tributary of the Mekong, they either switched completely or rotated rice with other crops in the ongoing 2019 -20 dry season, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Cái Bè now uses more than 5,300ha of low-yield rice paddies to grow speciality fruits and rotates vegetables and rice on another 1,200ha.

Phạm Văn Thanh, head of the Cái Bè Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmers had grown many high-value vegetables like bitter gourd, cucumber and onion.

They have short growing periods and high yields, and require less water and offer higher profits than rice, according to Thanh.

Farmers who grow vegetables in the two districts earn three to five times more than from rice, according to the department.

Trần Lý Ngự Bình, head of the Cai Lậy Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said to enable rice farmers to switch to other crops, the district has upgraded irrigation canals and built new ones to ensure sufficient water.

Cai Lậy has invested more than VNĐ29.6 billion (US$1.3 million) so far this year in 67 irrigation projects.

Cái Bè has spent more than VNĐ56 billion ($2.4 million) to build 167 irrigation projects, dredge canals and upgrade sluices to keep out saltwater.

Affected areas

Drought and saltwater intrusion have affected nearly 60,000ha of crops in the 2019 -20 dry season in the province’s western region, which includes the two districts and Cai Lậy Town.

They include more than 23,000ha of rice and 36,000ha of speciality fruits.

Besides improving irrigation facilities, the localities have also installed water salinity testing devices along rivers.

The Cái Bè District People’s Committee has installed 25 of them in communes along the Tiền River to measure salinity on a daily basis.

Communes and farmers have hundreds more of the devices. 

In Cai Lậy, in areas that lack saltwater prevention dykes, authorities have told farmers how to store water and keep out saltwater in the Hàm Luông River, one of the province’s largest.

Authorities regularly provide information about saltwater intrusion and the schedule for opening and closing sluices to farmers so that they know when to draw water from rivers and canals for irrigation.  

The province has transported water from other places to save speciality fruit crops, which are facing a severe shortage of water due to drought and saltwater intrusion.

Around 2,275ha of fruit orchards have been affected by the water shortage, with 2,186ha being damaged by 30 – 70 per cent and the rest by more than 70 per cent.

Tiền Giang, the country’s largest fruit producer, has more than 77,700ha under fruits, which include specialty fruits like Lò Rèn milk apple, Hòa Lộc mango, Ngũ Hiệp durian, and Chợ Gạo dragon fruit.

The province grows more than 1.5 million tonnes annually.

VPBank to sell 17 million treasury shares to employees

The Viet Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) will sell 17 million treasury shares for current employees in 2020, worth a total VND170 billion (US$7.31 million).

The issuance, which accounts for 0.67 per cent of its total shares, would be submitted to its annual shareholder meeting, scheduled to be organised on May 29, for approval.

The shares, with a price of VND10,000 each, will be restricted from trading for three years, the bank said in a document sent to shareholders.

However, the management board could decide to loosen the restricted time for transfer depending on human resource policies. Thirty per cent of the shares will be restricted from trading for one year. Thirty-five per cent of the shares will be available for trading after two years and shareholders will be able to trade the remainder after three years.

The issuance was expected to be implemented in the third quarter of this year.

VPBank targeted to increase its total assets by 12.7 per cent to VND425.1 trillion in 2020, customer deposits and valuable papers planned to reach VND299.7 trillion, an increase of more than 10 per cent and an outstanding loan of VND304.7 trillion, an increase of 12 per cent. The bank also targeted before-tax profit of VND10.2 trillion, down 1.1 per cent compared to 2019 while non-performing loans (NPL) ratio would be under 3 per cent.

The bank’s leaders said they have seen positive business results in terms of credit growth, revenue and consolidated profit despite the affects of COVID-19.

VPBank expected that the banking sector would regain its growth by the end of second quarter this year while the pandemic is under control, pushing recovery of production and business activities.

The bank planned to not pay dividends for 2019 to retain the capital for its business activities.

At the upcoming shareholder meeting, VPBank would vote for its management board and Supervisory Board in 2020-25 period. The current members such as Ngo Chi Dung, Bui Hai Quan, Lo Bang Giang and Nguyen Duc Vinh would be still in the voting list. Nguyen Van Phuc, a member of the Independent Board of Directors would be a new candidate this term.

Tiki commits to support VPBank’s business households

E-commerce platform Tiki has become the fourth partner of VPBank to join the bank’s “Household Business Academy” programme, which enables business owners to conduct transactions via online channels in light of the social distancing order, as well as to maintain their revenue sources.

Accordingly, Tiki would have consultants to support the first 200 household businesses participating into the programme and open an online shop at https://tinyurl.com/vpbank-tiki. The households would be given training on online trading on the e-commerce platform.

In addition, they would also be offered preferential policies such as free designs of image and banners for ads, Tiki Ads and a livestream Tiki live advertising package.

A Tiki representative said this e-commerce floor has seen strong growth in the first months of this year. It was estimated that there were 3,000-4,000 orders a minute at peak times on this platform.

VPBank said the participation of Tiki in its programme has affirmed that digital transformation has been a vital trend for household businesses in the current context. The launch of its “Household Business Academy” programme has been in time to support the businesses overcome difficulties caused by COVID-19.

“We expect that household businesses could take advantage of the support from e-commerce floors to have good results for their online trading,” he added.

The pandemic has caused changes in consumers’ shopping habits, opening new opportunities for online trading. Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that revenue of traditional markets in Ha Noi was reduced by 50-80 per cent in the first four months of the year. Meanwhile, that from online shopping through e-commerce increased by 20-30 per cent.

After a month of launching, the bank’s programme attracted participation of more than 12,500 household businesses nationwide. Hundreds of household businesses have successfully applied online sale skills.

Earlier, three partners including Shopee, Sendo and Be also joined the programme.

SSI asset management to IPO new fund by end of June

SSI Asset Management Co Ltd (SSIAM) will launch an IPO for its exchange-traded fund ETF SSIAM VN30 between May 26 and June 29.

The new fund mimics the movement of the large-cap tracker VN30-Index, which contains the 30 largest stocks by market value and trading liquidity on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE).

The initial value of the fund is estimated at VND50 billion (US$2.13 million).

SSIAM gained approval from the State Securities Commission for the IPO on Friday.

SSI Securities (SSI), Mirae Asset Vietnam Securities and BIDV Securities are the managers of the fund, while the supervisor is the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank).

The ETF will be listed on HoSE following the offering.

SSIAM VN30 ETF is the second fund that tracks the large-cap VN30-Index. The first is the VFMVN30 ETF managed by VietFund Management (VFM) with a total value of VND6 trillion ($255.75 million).

According to SSIAM, the 30 stocks in the VN30 basket account for 73.4 per cent of total market capitalisation. Those stocks are also leading companies in their sectors.

The new fund is expected to become a good-quality and low-cost option for investors. It will help increase capital flowing into investment funds and make investors pay more attention to fund certificates in addition to buying stocks.

On March 18, SSIAM’s exchange-traded fund SSIAM VNFIN LEAD debuted on HoSE. 

Gelex CEO to raise ownership

Chairman and CEO of the Vietnam Electrical Equipment Joint Stock Corporation (Gelex) Nguyen Van Tuan plans to up his stake in the company by 3.07 per cent.

The firm’s CEO will buy 15 million shares from May 26 to June 24, equal to 3.0722 per cent of the company’s total outstanding shares.

The company has recently announced a plan to sell its logistics arm in the third quarter of the year in an attempt to restructure its portfolio and focus more on electrical equipment and infrastructure sectors.

Gelex has also decided to offload a 20.25 per cent stake in Dong Nai Port JSC.

Gelex shares, listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange with code GEX, gained 1.5 per cent to trade at VND17,150 (US$0.73) apiece on Friday. Shares have gained 14.3 per cent in the last three weeks.

In January-March, Gelex earned VND3.5 trillion ($150 million) worth of net revenue, up 14.2 per cent on-year. But net profit dropped 43 per cent on-year to VND93.5 billion due to increased selling, financial and management expenses. 

MPI introduces state-of-the-art operating platform

Viet Nam's Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) on Friday launched a cutting-edge integrated operating centre that is capable of collecting, analysing and disseminating information in the shortest time possible with the highest accuracy.

Minister Nguyen Chi Dung said the centre was built to integrate existing databases of the ministry’s subsidiaries. It is expected to issue early and clear warnings, improve the country’s socio-economic landscape as well as enhance the MPI’s internal management.

The centre uses information and analytical technology to assist policymakers to make timely decisions and respond to a wide range of issues, including those that have been anticipated and emergencies, according to Nguyen Nhu Son, director of the MPI’s IT Centre. Information is integrated from six national information portals on business registration, foreign investment, public investment, procurement network, investment management and statistical databases.

“It can be viewed as the ministry’s “brain” which offers overviews and insights involving the MPI,” said Dung.

The centre will continue bringing in other information systems and databases to track missions of the Government and Prime Minister, monitor public servants, manage dossiers and even hold teleconferences. 

HCM City-Vung Tau ferry service to be launched in September

HCM City is set to launch a ferry route linking the city's Can Gio District and the popular beach city of Vung Tau in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province from September.

Bui Hoa An, deputy director of the municipal Department of Transport, said that the work on the project has mostly been completed for the operation scheduled to start from September 2.

Six ferries will be used for the 15-km route which will take around 30 minutes. They can transport 350-500 passengers, 100 motorbikes and 20 cars and make 24 return trips a day.

The proposed one-way ticket is VND50,000 (USD2.17) per person.

The service will help to shorten the travel between HCM City and Vung Tau City.

At present, the wharf construction is underway which is slated for completion for nearly one month to come.

The ferry route is also expected to promote tourism in the HCM City’s coastal suburban district of Can Gio where owns great potentials for tourism development.

According to experts, the ferry service will help to ease pressure on roads connecting HCM City and Vung Tau City, including the HCM City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway which often faces traffic congestion during holidays.

Tran Song Hai, general director of Cong Nghe Xanh DP Ltd. Co. which operates the high-speed HCM City-Vung Tau catamaran said that the travel demand between the two cities has been on the rise. So, it is necessary to open the ferry route which can carry bulky goods.  

Solutions sought to turn Can Tho into centre of Mekong Delta region

A seminar was held in Can Tho on May 23 to discuss measures to turn the city into a centre of the Mekong Delta region with sustainable development.

Participants to the event analysed and assessed potential and advantages of Can Tho city as well as achievements made by the municipal authorities over the last 15 years.

They proposed solutions, mechanisms and policies to remove bottlenecks, thus promoting rapid and sustainable development in the locality in the time to come.

Addressing the seminar, head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh stressed the need for Can Tho to take measures to adapt to increasing complicated climate change in the region.

He said attention should be paid to promoting industry and service development, especially scientific and technological services in the fields of health, education and training, towards turning Can Tho into a centre of providing solutions on science and technology in all fields for the Mekong Delta region.

Binh urged the municipal authorities to focus on upgrading and developing infrastructure systems, especially those serving transport, economic development, education, science and technology, and human resources training.

Regarding agricultural development, Professor Vo Tong Xuan, principal of Nam Can Tho University, said the city needs to find big investors and businesses that are capable of seeking export markets for local agricultural products.

He also underlined the importance to make planning on official agricultural growing areas to ensure the provision of materials for enterprises, while enterprises should cooperate with farmers to form production chains meeting new standards, thus producing clean materials to provide for businesses.

Can Tho recorded stable economic growth in the 2006-2019 period, with an annual average growth rate of 7.23 percent, higher than the nation’s average growth. GDP per capita reached 88.3 million VND in 2019, seven times higher than that in 2005.

The city has affirmed its central role in the Mekong Delta in some areas such as education - training, health, culture, science and technology, and social security.

Indonesia to receive 56 million USD from Norway for reducing emissions

Indonesia is set to receive a 56 million USD grant from Norway as the first payment for the Southeast Asian nation’s success in reducing deforestation and carbon emissions under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD ) cooperation scheme.

According to a statement from the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry issued on May 21, the grant would be handed over in June – coinciding with the commemoration of a decade of climate funding cooperation in which Indonesia would receive a total of 1 billion USD for protecting its tropical forests.

Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said the grant was a result-based payment.

“This is going to be the first payment for Indonesia’s achievement in its REDD effort during the period between 2016 and 2017,” The Jakarta Post newspaper quoted the minister as saying.

The ministry reported to Norway that Indonesia saw a decline in the deforestation rate in the 2016-2017 period, with 480,000 hectares of forest lost that was believed to have prevented the release of about 4.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions to the atmosphere – a figure lower than the baseline agreed upon by both countries.

According to the verification process conducted by the Norwegian government from November last year to March, the emissions reduction achieved by Indonesia in the 2016-2017 period was counted at 11.2 million tonnes CO2e – higher than its initial report of 4.8 million tonnes.

According to Minister Siti, each tonne of CO2e under the scheme is valued at 5 USD, referring to the price designated by the World Bank for the REDD scheme.

She said Indonesia expects to receive another round of payments for its progress in the 2017-2018 period and onward.

The fund will be channeled through the Indonesian Environmental Estate Fund (BPDLH), a public service agency tasked with managing funds related to environmental protection and conservation. The agency was launched in October last year.

The fund will be used to finance community-based environmental recovery efforts under President Joko Widodo’s direction.

Cambodia’s bicycle export surges despite pandemic

Cambodia’s export of locally-assembled bicycles has increased in the context that bicycle industries around the world rust during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Local channel BTV News reported that Cambodia exported some 498,000 bicycles worth about 119 million USD in the first quarter of this year, 10 million USD higher than that of the same period last year.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said exports of locally-assembled bicycles can only gain traction as traffic and health concerns force people to reconsider their primary means of transportation.

Bicycle exports are expected to continue to increase in the second quarter when local people still avoid public transportation and need to use bicycles to exercise, said Heng.

He highlighted that now is the opportunity to invest in bicycle assembly in Cambodia for export.

According to the Royal Academy of Cambodia's economic researcher Hong Vanak, although some orders were cancelled in the first three months of this year because of the pandemic, Cambodia’s bicycle export is still a bright spot, making an important contribution to the national economic development.

A report of the World Bank shows that Cambodia exported a total of 1.52 million bikes to the European market in 2018, raking in 331 million USD.

Vietjet offers promotional tickets to celebrate Int'l Children's Day

Vietjet is offering more than 2 million super-saver tickets priced from only 1,600 VND on all 45 of its domestic routes, the airline announced on May 24.

The programme aims to celebrate International Children's Day on June 1 and Vietnamese Family Day on June 28.

"This is a gift from Vietjet so children and their families can experience a joyful summer and connect in all parts of the country," Vietjet said in a statement.

The tickets will be available between May 25 and June 1, 2020 on www.vietjetair.com and the Vietjet Air mobile app.

The flight period will run from June 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 (excluding national holidays).

Earlier this month, the airline also launched a promotional campaign with more than 200,000 tickets priced at zero VND on all routes until June 30.

From now until June 30, each Vietjet flight will have 25 seats at a price of zero VND (excluding taxes and fees) for travel companies, with the others available for purchase by individuals, the airline said.

With 45 domestic routes covering the country and an on-time performance rate of 97.4 percent, Vietjet is in position to stimulate domestic tourism and create favourable conditions for people to travel after the COVID-19 pandemic.

 
 

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