VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 16

Plastics industry confident of achieving 3.2 billion USD export target

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 16

The local plastic industry, with solid growth in shipments, will surely meet its yearly export target of 3.2 billion USD, according to the Vietnam Plastics Association.

According to Ho Duc Lam, its chairman, said exports saw impressive growth last year to 3 billion USD while overall revenues jumped to 12 billion USD.

“Exports in the first nine months of the year increased by 5 percent and will continue to enjoy good growth in the rest months of the year.

“The US-China trade war has offered opportunities to Vietnamese plastics firms to boost exports.”

According to the association, exports go to more than 150 countries and territories, with the US and Japan being key markets.

In the domestic market, some industries, even those such as aerospace which use high-grade materials, are shifting to plastic products, and as a result sales have grown rapidly, Lam said.

Locally-made plastic products are confidently taking on imports from Thailand, Malaysia and China, he said.

The industry has stepped up investment in technology and facilities and cooperation with foreign partners to make more products meeting local and export demand, he said.

“Many countries have put up safeguard measures to protect their domestic plastics industry from imports. Some producers have shifted their production to Vietnam, which requires the Government and business groups to ensure transparency in the manufacture of products in Vietnam, and accurate certificates of origin.

“Another challenge is that we are importing 60-70 percent of raw materials.

“The world commodities market has been volatile, affecting the industry. Besides, the Government plans to raise import tariffs on some raw materials, which will affect producers.”

Foreign investors are enamoured of Vietnam’s plastics industry due to its high growth rates, increasing exports and enormous potential, he said.

“But huge investments by foreign investors also pose challenges to Vietnamese firms since they have to face fierce competition, requiring them to transform and invest in new technologies to improve productivity and cut costs.”

According to the Vietnam Plastics Industry Development Plan for the period until 2020 approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the industry is expected to achieve average annual growth of 17.5 per cent in 2011-20.

The industry also targets to become a key sector by 2020 with a high and sustainable growth rate.

It seeks to gradually build a complete supply chain encompassing all stages from raw material production to final processing, increasing the ratio of locally sourced raw materials to reduce reliance on imports.

Pham Thi Hue Anh of the University of Economics - Technology for Industries said plastics firms need to further improve designs, models and quality, restructure, invest in advanced technologies, develop local sources of raw materials and cut costs to improve competitiveness.

The Government needs to have policies to encourage investment in raw material production and develop supporting industries, she added.

The plastics industry has nearly 4,000 enterprises, most of them small and medium-sized ones./.

Hanoi Gift Show 2019 on horizon

The eighth edition of the Hanoi Gift Show will take place from October 17 to 20 at the National Exhibition Construction Center in the capital’s Nam Tu Liem district.

Organized by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade, and the Hanoi People’s Committee, the fair will feature 650 booths of some 250 domestic and foreign enterprises and handicraft producers.

A wide range of products with contemporary designs from Vietnam and elsewhere made from rattan, bamboo, pottery, textiles, and wood, among others, will be showcased at the fair. Also included is a zone for the display of products made with artistic creativity, exquisite design, and superb workmanship.

There will be an international seminar discussing the sustainable development of handicrafts on the back of Vietnam signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), attracting domestic and foreign speakers and attended by domestic and foreign experts providing information on world handicraft trends.

Moreover, a “Match and Meet” event is expected to attract 1,000 handicraft importers and suppliers, joining together to negotiate contracts and helping importers find business with appropriate products.

In order to create the best conditions for importers to directly access sources of goods, the Organizing Committee will also provide trips for businesses to visit craft villages on Hanoi’s outskirts.

The event will again open up opportunities to offer traditional handicrafts from Vietnam in general and from Hanoi in particular to international clients and promote the export and sustainable development of Hanoi’s handicraft industry, according to the Department of Industry and Trade.

The fair is expected to welcome 10,000 visitors.

Vietnam is a large and reliable supplier of home décor and gifts, with over 2,000 craft villages nationwide. Starting in 2012, the Hanoi Gift Show is an annual event held in October to create the best opportunities for Vietnamese handicraft, home décor, and gift companies to meet and establish contacts and strike up relationships with potential national and international buyers.

ACV proposes two road projects for Long Thanh airport

Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has proposed adding two roads leading to the Long Thanh International Airport which is underway in Dong Nai Province, as part of the first phase of the multi-billion-dollar airport project.

The first route (3.8 kilometers long) will connect with National Highway 51, while the other (12.5 kilometers long) will start at HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway and connect with the first route, Thanh Nien Online newspaper reported.

According to ACV, the two roads are important parts of the project and should be put in use quickly. ACV wants to be the investor of the two road projects, which require a total of some VND4.7 trillion. The capital for land clearance and construction work will be sourced from ACV’s budget rather than from the capital allocated by the National Assembly to the Dong Nai government for the airport project’s site clearance.

Tu Nam Thanh, director of the Dong Nai Department of Transport, said that the department is conducting procedures to hold tenders to choose consultants for the two road projects. However, site clearance for the roads will not be conducted until the Government approves the feasibility report for the airport project.

ACV also proposed building a third road leading to the airport from the east and connecting with Dau Giay-Phan Thiet Expressway as part of the second phase of the airport project.

Consulting firms and ACV also suggested developing a railway system leading to the airport, including a high-speed railway and a 37-kilometer light rail between the Thu Thiem new urban area in District 2 and the Long Thanh International Airport.

Long Thanh, when operational, would serve an estimated 100 million passengers per year and require some 100,000 employees. Therefore, it is necessary to develop the traffic system connecting to the airport and the nearby urban areas.

However, the traffic system must be included in the airport’s development plan, while the public should be consulted for urban area projects before proposals are submitted to the National Assembly.

Vietnam Report: Top 10 Food & Beverage Companies in Vietnam 2019

Vietnam Report officially announced the top 10 prestigious food and beverage companies in 2019 on October 8.

Companies in the list are evaluated and ranked based on 3 main criteria as follow: Financial capabilities based on the most recent accounting report (total assets, total revenue, net profit, efficiency in capital utilization) (contributing to 30% of the total score); Credibility to the media based on media coding measure – coding articles advertised for companies in influential media channels (contributing to 30% of the total score); online survey on brand recognition, customers’ product satisfaction and the quality of services of companies, survey on the status of the company in each respective field, and survey on companies conduct in September with regard to market scale, labor force, capital and revenue growth rate, profit, and action plan in 2019 (40% of the total score).

The Vietnam Report's consumer survey, conducted in September 2019, showed some of the most popular brands selected by consumers (divided into groups) including: Vissan (Fresh food), Cai Lan (Spices, Cooking oil), Vinamilk (Milk), Quang Ngai Sugar (Confectionery), Heineken (Beer and wine), Pepsi (Soft drink), Trung Nguyen (Coffee), Acecook (Packaging, canned food).

According to Vietnam Report, communication plays an important role in direct connection between manufacturers and consumers, helping consumers to better identify prestigious brands when making shopping decisions.

However, the analysis results show that the media presence of enterprises in the food and beverage industry is currently limited. Only 49.7% of the businesses surveyed have enough information to reach the awareness threshold, of which 52.1% have the frequency of appearing at least once a month.

The majority of food and beverage businesses in the Vietnam Report survey also said that risks related to brand and business reputation will have a significant impact on production and business activities. However, in general, not only businesses in the food and beverage industry, most Vietnamese businesses are quite cautious about the media because of the lack of information control.

Grab launches GrabKitchen in HCMC

Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading multi-service super app, officially launched GrabKitchen on October 8 in Ho Chi Minh City’s Thu Duc district, featuring 12 favorite restaurants on the GrabFood platform. GrabKitchen presents a new solution for merchants to accelerate expansion in a convenient and efficient manner.

GrabKitchen offers users in a particular geography a variety of curated food selections by leveraging data from historical orders to address cuisine gaps. GrabKitchens are strategically located to bridge consumer demand and availability of food selections while reducing the time for food delivery.

For merchants, GrabKitchen is a convenient way for micro- and small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to expand the geographic area they serve and reach more consumers using technology. Cloud kitchens can also lower their cost of operation as they are mostly delivery only, which means that merchants do not need to put in capital to cover rental costs - one of the highest cost items for F&B operators.

The launch of GrabKitchen in Vietnam and concurrently in Thailand makes GrabFood the largest operator of cloud kitchens in Southeast Asia, with a total of 20 in the region. The launch also marks the first time GrabFood has expanded the GrabKitchens service outside of Indonesia.

By the end of 2019, GrabFood aims to be operating a regional network of cloud kitchens totaling over 50 GrabKitchens in Indonesia, becoming the only truly regional food delivery platform with the largest footprint. GrabFood currently operates in 221 cities across six countries and territories.

Grab users can now easily order their favorite cuisine quickly and conveniently through GrabKitchen on the Grab app. The dishes of restaurants will be displayed on a single menu, enabling customers to freely choose and easily combine main dishes and snacks in one order.

GrabKitchen is an initiative actively invested and implemented by Grab. All Ministry of Health food safety and hygiene standards are secured, and every restaurant in GrabKitchen is required to obtain food safety and hygiene licenses.

Through GrabKitchen, Grab once again demonstrates its efforts to benefit all stakeholders in its ecosystem and is a solution that enables merchants to expand easily into new areas beyond their current location, maximize convenience for customers in the area, and improve livelihoods for driver-partners.

In the first half of 2019, GrabFood, Vietnam’s top food delivery platform, saw gross merchandise value grow 400 per cent, with average daily orders hitting 300,000.

“Vietnam is the second country where Grab operates the GrabKitchen model,” said Mr. Jerry Lim, Country Head of Grab in Vietnam. “In the Indonesian market, as at September this year, within a short span of six months we expanded to more than ten GrabKitchens and aim to launch more than 50 by the end of this year, giving us the largest regional network of cloud kitchens in Southeast Asia.”

The concept was launched in Indonesia last April after a successful pilot. There are now 20 GrabKitchens in operation across Indonesia. While typically delivery-only, GrabFood also launched its first GrabKitchen with a dine-in feature at Capital Place, Jakarta, in September, to serve a base of consumers working in offices nearby. GrabFood takes a hyper-local approach to GrabKitchen, and the regional expansion will see variations in GrabKitchen offerings in each country and territory.

Vinachem subsidiary DHB appoints new CEO to tackle losses

Habac Nitrogenous Fertilizer & Chemicals Co., Ltd. (HANICHEMCO – code DHB), a branch of Vinachem, has just appointed Nguyen Duc Ninh, member of the Board of Directors (BoD) and deputy general manager, as the new CEO for a term of three years, effective from October 5. At the end of the second quarter this year, DHB's accumulated losses exceeded VND2.876 trillion ($125 million).

On December 25 last year, DHB suddenly announced terminating the term of Doan Doan Hung as general manager from January 1, at the same time appointing Nguyen Duc Ninh to take over the role.

Since then, Nguyen Duc Ninh has been officially appointed as CEO of DHB. Previously, he held a series of other positions in DHB since 1993.

After being equitised on January 1, 2016, DHB recorded the loss of more than VND1 trillion ($43.48 million) wthin the same year. As of December 31, 2018, DHB recorded cumulative losses of over VND2.65 trillion ($115.22 million).

DHB's business did not improve under Nguyen Duc Ninh in the first half 2019, with the gross profit of VND1.6 trillion ($69.57 million), up only 1 per cent compared to the VND1.56 trillion ($67.83 million) in 2018. After deductibles, DHB ended up with a loss of VND220 billion ($9.57 million), increasing accumulated losses to VND2.876 trillion ($125 million), equivalent to a negative equity of VND108 billion ($4.7 million).

One of the reasons leading to the losses of DHB is loan interest. The total debts to pay until the end of this second quarter were VND9.47 trillion ($411.74 million), including VND1.586 trillion ($68.96 million) of short-term financial loans and VND6.11 trillion ($265.65 million) of long-term financial loans.

DHB added that the company is currently struggling with large financial costs, especially since the beginning of this year. The company has not managed to arrange an extension to its repayment schedules with lenders, and has been unable to balance its finances to pay off debts, racking up overdue interest of 18 per cent on overdue capital.

In 2019, DHB expects a revenue of nearly VND3.041 trillion ($132.22 million) and expects negative after-tax deficit of more than VND530 billion ($23 million).

KEMA Laboratories to change ownership from DNV GL to CESI

DNV GL and CES – two industry leaders in the global energy sector – have signed an agreement to transfer the ownership of KEMA Laboratories to CESI.

The transfer comprises KEMA and all the high-voltage and high-power testing and inspection activities performed by its personnel in its own laboratories in Arnhem (NL), Prague (CZ), and Chalfont (US).

The completion of the transaction is expected to take place at the end of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

The KEMA testing and inspection facilities include the world’s largest high-power laboratory, with the highest short circuit power of 10,000 MVA, and the world’s first laboratory capable of testing ultra-high voltage components for super grids, as well as the Flex Power Grid Laboratory for advanced testing of smart grids components.

All former KEMA advisory employees will remain within DNV GL including all the advisory services as well as DNV GL’s testing and verification services for power failures, battery testing, transformer oil testing, and smart grid testing.

Once finalised, the transfer will generate significant benefits for both CESI, a global leader in testing, inspections, and technical consulting services in the energy sector, and DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent power and renewables experts. CESI, by combining the extensive expertise and capabilities of its laboratories with those of KEMA, will become the world leader for independent testing of advanced technological components for the energy industry.

When the transaction is completed, DNV GL will have a more focused global energy organisation of 2,000 power and renewable experts, which can be scaled much faster in the years to come.
When the transaction is completed, DNV GL will have a more focused global energy organisation of 2,000 power and renewable experts, which can be scaled much faster in the years to come in order to meet the rapidly changing future market and technology demands, as the electrification and decarbonising in the world continues.

“The energy sector is undergoing a deep transformation, with client needs continuously evolving. Through the combination of CESI and KEMA's respective laboratories, and the mutual expertise of our talented professionals, we are creating the global market leader in independent testing and inspections for the energy industry,” said CEO of CESI, Matteo Codazzi.

“Together, CESI and KEMA will be uniquely positioned to provide our worldwide customers with outstanding services to effectively address the challenges of the energy transition.”

Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL-Energy, said: “Following a thorough review of our strategy for our laboratories in 2018, we are glad we have found a very good new owner for the KEMA Laboratories."

“In DNV GL’s energy business we will continue to focus and expand our business in advanced – often digital – advisory, testing, and certification services that help our customers handle the exponential growth of wind, solar, and storage and their integration into the power grid,” he added. “In line with this strategy, we acquired top-notch companies in recent years with expertise in digital platforms, solar PV and grids, and invested in promising innovations like Instatrust, a digital market place for renewable power purchase agreements, and Smart Cable Guard, a digital fault detection service for reliable grids. We will continue on this path to grow and extend our trusted advisory and certification service.”

US$2.58 billion coal power project kicked off in Van Phong SAEZ

Van Phong 1 coal-fired power plant developed by Van Phong Power Co., Ltd., a Vietnamese company invested by Sumitomo Corporation, is expected to start operation in 2023 with the generation capacity of 1,320MW.

On October 6, Sumitomo Corporation organised the ground-breaking ceremony of Van Phong 1 coal-fired power project after 12 years of waiting.

Entailing the construction of a new supercritical coal-fired power plant with a generation capacity of 1,320MW (two 660MW power-generation units) in Van Phong Special Administrative-Economic Zone (SAEZ)in Vietnam’s Khanh Hoa province, Van Phong 1 is a build-operate-transfer (BOT) power generation project that will sell electricity to EVN (Vietnam’s state-owned power company) over a period of 25 years.

Total project costs should reach about $2.58 billion and will generate 9 billion kWh per year.

The project was implemented in 2007, however, it was not until July 2017 that the Ministry of Planning and Investment granted the investment registration certificate for Sumitomo. In October 2018, the investor official signed the BOT contract and power selling contract with partners while simultaneously receiving government guarantee.

It has been 12 years since the investor expressed interest in the project and land clearance was finished in May 2019.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, Nguyen Tan Tuan, chairman of the Khanh Hoa People’s Committee, said that the Van Phong 1 coal-fired power project is the largest industrial project in the province so far.

In this April, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) signed a loan agreement for project finance (a financing scheme in which repayments for a loan are made solely from the cash flows generated by the project) amounting up to approximately $1.19 billion (JBIC's portion) with Van Phong Power CO., Ltd., for the Van Phong 1 project.

The loan is co-financed with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, and DBS Bank, and the Bank of China, with a total co-financing amount of approximately $1.99 billion. The co-financed portion will be covered by insurance from Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI).

Besides, in this August, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS) announced that the four-party consortium of Toshiba ESS, IHI Corporation, CTCI Corporation, and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction has won an EPC contract from Van Phong Power Co., Ltd. Accordingly, Toshiba ESS will be in charge of the design, manufacturing, installation, and test operation for the stream turbines and generators (STGs) used in the project.

According to EVN, Vietnam’s energy demand has risen sharply in line with its economic growth, and the power supply is getting tight especially in the southern region. To respond to the situation, the Vietnamese government aims to increase the country’s total power generation capacity from power plants to approximately 129,500MW in 2030, according to the Revised National Power Development Master Plan for the 2011-2020 period with vision to 2030 issued in 2016.

Once built, the Van Phong 1 plant will increase power generation at an amount equivalent to about 3 per cent of the current total installed capacity of the country, equalling 48,573MW.

Liquor and sweets for abandoned aircraft not a sweet deal

Aviation authorities have rejected a proposal to accept liquor and sweets for an abandoned aircraft in Hanoi, citing a lack of legal grounds.

A representative of Tiffany and Son (TiffSon), told VnExpress on October 8 that the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has rejected its offer of VND3 billion ($129,000) worth of beer, wine and confectionery for a Boeing-727 aircraft that’s been abandoned for 12 years at the Noi Bai International Airport.
There are no legal grounds for exchanging the aircraft for non-cash assets, the CAAV told Hanoi-based TiffSon, a company that provides inventory solutions through bartering goods and services.

The TiffSon representative, who did not want to be named, said that the company is trying to find out what legal requirements have to be met to strike a barter deal for the aircraft. TiffSon is the only private company that has submitted a written proposal for such a trade, the representative said.

The company had said earlier that it was acting as an intermediary for business partners who are planning to convert the aircraft into a restaurant, entertainment facility and advertising space.

The CAAV had said that many businesses have bid for the aircraft, but the CAAV has not been able to sell it because relevant agencies have not yet made a proper valuation.

The Boeing 727-200, which belonged to the Royal Khmer Airlines, had run into technical problems after carrying passengers to Noi Bai airport. It did not meet safety conditions to return to Siem Reap, and has been parked at Noi Bai since May 1, 2007.

The Cambodian airline went bankrupt soon after and left the plane in Hanoi, because it would cost too much to repair. Cambodian authorities have subsequently removed the aircraft from its national registry, allowing the CAAV to deal with the asset in accordance with Vietnamese law.

The CAAV has proposed two options for handling the abandoned aircraft by either auctioning it or handing it over to the Airports Corporation of Vietnam, the state-owned airports operator. Previously, the Vietnam Aviation Academy had also asked for the Boeing 727 to be used as a teaching aid, but no decision was made.

Quang Nam rakes in VND4,400 billion in tourism revenue

The central province of Quang Nam earned approximately VND4,400 billion in tourism revenue during the first nine months of the year, according to figures released by the Quang Nam Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

 

The strong earnings can be attributed to improvements made in the local overall service quality and increased diversification in terms of tourism products.
Most notably, the number of visitors staying in the province in the reviewed period reached over 2,854, including 1,328 foreign arrivals, up 7 per cent.

The total visitor numbers surged by 14.5 per cent to nearly 2,575 against the same period last year, including 1,492 foreign arrivals. Tourism revenue in the reviewed period soared by roughly 18 per cent to over VND 4,400 billion, with social income from tourism activities estimated to be VND10,340 billion.

Furthermore, the quality of accommodation facilities has improved dramatically as Quang Nam is home to over 1,000 accommodation establishments with more than 15,000 rooms, an 8.7 per cent increase.

The number of international standard hotels grew by 2.4 per cent to 128 with nearly 8,000 rooms, of which seven are five-star hotels, 23 four-star hotels, 20 three-star hotels, 38 two-star hotels, and 40 one-star hotels.

This year, Quang Nam province is set to celebrate 20 years since Hoi An Ancient Town and the My Son Sanctuary were recognised as World Cultural Heritage sites by UNESCO, in addition to the 10-year anniversary of Cu Lao Cham being named a World Biosphere Reserve.

As a result, the province has organised a range of cultural, sporting, and tourism activities, apart from attractive programs aimed at entertaining tourists.

Delivery firm GHN to splash out on automatic sorting system

Delivery company GHN has unveiled plans to invest millions of USD to install automated sorting systems at its warehouses in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

According to CEO Luong Duy Hoai, the system will increase productivity and reduce mistakes to ensure faster and more stable delivery times.

It is expected to help the company push its share in the e-commerce delivery market to 30 percent from the current 17 percent.

Established in 2012, GHN now has over 2,000 drop-off and pick-up points nationwide. It serves more than 300,000 delivery orders on a daily basis.

In 2015, the company introduced its super-speed delivery service AhaMove.

In 2019, it has teamed up with convenience store chain VinMart+ to collect goods for customers from 1,000 VinMart+ stores across the country./.

Outbound tours popular during Tet holiday

Tour agencies have opened various programmes for the coming Tet Holiday.

Saigontourist has launched their Tet programmes since early September. The holiday will have include a seven-day break, it is expected that tour agencies will receive a large number of family tours. More young people are also travelling with friends.

A survey conducted by Fiditour shows that family groups still prefer to buy a complete package but their demand for quality has increased. There are customers whose focus is not visiting destinations and would only book plane tickets and hotel rooms.

Office workers are travelling more and more and like unique tours. This group often travel during Tet Holiday to relax. Tran Thi Bao Thu, Fiditour's director of marketing and communications, said they had launched many tours to Australia, Bhutan and Europe to attract this group of tourists with cuisine and cultural exploration.

Truong Thi Thu Giang from Vietravel said some tours would be popular this year like the tour to explore Fukushima and Bhutan.

Fiditour predicted that the number of visitors booking outbound tours will be higher than inbound tours, accounting for 60% of the total Tet Holiday customers. Other agencies agreed that tours to Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia will still be popular thanks to reasonable prices. The tours to China, South Korea and Japan are also continuing to attract many visitors.

Tran The Dung, deputy director of The He Tre Travel, said the prices this year wouldn't change too much as they have more options with new airlines.

"We'll open new domestic tours in Quang Ninh and Central Highlands to make a difference. We hope the number of customers will increase by 30-40% compared to the same period last year," he said.

Land revocation for Long Thanh International Airport announced

Land of 17 agencies and enterprises will be revoked for the implementation of Long Thanh International Airport in the southern province of Dong Nai.

Among the eight affected companies, General Dong Nai Rubber Company accounts for the largest area with 1,800 hectares, followed by Hoa An Joint Stock Company and Hong Phat Trading and Construction Ltd. Co with 31 hectares each; Dong Nai Food Industrial Corporation with 19 hectares and Dong Tan JS Company with 17 hectares; Hung Nghiep Formosa Ltd. Co. with 0.3 hectares.

The others include Buu Lam Pagoda with 11,000 square metres and Thanh Tam and Thanh Duc with 14,000 square metres and 3,760 square metres respectively.

The list also includes some schools in Long Thanh District.

Long Thanh International Airport has a total area of more than 5,580 ha, spreading across six communes in Long Thanh District, the southern province of Dong Nai. It is set to have a total investment of VND336.63 trillion (USD14.8 billion), with construction divided into three phases.

In the first phase, a runway and a passenger terminal, along with other supporting works, will be built to serve some 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo each year. This phase is hoped to be finished by 2025.

In the second phase, an additional runway and passenger terminal will be constructed to serve 50 million passengers and 1.5 million tonnes of cargo per year.

Can Tho looks for foreign support to economic development, urban management

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho hopes to receive support from foreign organisations to help them develop.

They city is looking to learn more about topics including adapting to climate change, human resource training, smart city development and renovation work.

This statement was made by Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Quang Manh during a working session with the World Bank (WB) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of Switzerland on Monday.

The province’s leader discussed potential partnership programmes on economics, trade and urban management between Can Tho and the two agencies.

Manh said the city wanted to learn from experience and good models in administrative reform, and to perfect policies through the assistance of the WB and the SECO.

Municipal authorities are focusing on promoting economic restructuring and improving quality and competitiveness for its farm produce in regional and global markets through building key production areas and applying high technologies, and fully tapping local resources.

Manh said the city hopes the WB will assist in expanding markets for the locality’s agricultural products, applying new technologies in agricultural production and building brands for farm produce and goods, and accessing ordinary capital resources (OCR).

Ousmane Dione, Country Director of the WB in Viet Nam, praised the city’s economic growth as well as transition from a rural to an urban economy, saying the WB's expert group will work with local officials and technical staff to determine investment priorities and appropriate areas to serve Can Tho’s socio-economic development goals.

Accordingly, the WB suggested Can Tho take part in technical assistance projects to enhance agricultural competitiveness and hi-tech agricultural technical assistance.

The bank will also support the city in calling for and attracting corporations and enterprises to invest in production, processing and consumption of local agricultural and aquatic products; connecting businesses with cooperatives and households in the production and consumption of products.

Regarding human resources training, the WB is ready to help higher education institutions in Can Tho collaborate with foreign universities to expand education related to knowledge of artificial intelligence trends to apply to the e-government model.

Chief Representative of SECO in Viet Nam Marcel Reymond said Switzerland will assist in urban development in a sustainable and highly adaptable manner to climate change in Viet Nam.

The official said he hopes that through the budget support programmes from the SECO and the WB, Can Tho will play a leading role in enhancing urban resilience and scaling up models of natural disaster response to other localities in the Mekong Delta. 

HCM City targets eco-friendly packaging

HCM City has set a goal of ensuring all supermarkets, commercial centres, convenience stores and bookstores use eco-friendly packaging by the end of 2020.

The city also said market stalls needed to cut the use of plastic bags by 50 per cent this year.

The city's People's Committee said it wanted to provide information services for all residents about the importance of protecting the environment, while making them foot the bill for collecting, transporting and treating solid waste by the end of this year.

By 2020, the city wants at least 50 per cent of rubbish to be classified to facilitate recycling, while 50 per cent of solid waste should be treated by hygienic landfill technology.

Agricultural businesses urged to work together

Co-operation among businesses is a driving force to help Viet Nam penetrate international markets, meet foreign standards and ensure firms make high-quality products.

The statement was made by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Ha Cong Tuan at the Viet Nam Business Forum jointly held by the ministry and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

Tuan said the number of enterprises in the agricultural sector has rapidly increased over the past three years. To date, Viet Nam has about 500 enterprises involved in the chain, from production, harvest, processing, to trading, import and export of agricultural products.

He said the State had issued many policies to support agricultural enterprises, especially to enhance connections in agricultural production.

“Viet Nam has a system of businesses, co-operatives and many agricultural scientists, along with the State's support. That’s enough for us to promote the participation in global export chains,” Tuan said.

“Co-operation among businesses is extremely important, and needs to diversify towards safe, traceable and higher value-added agricultural production," Tuan said.

Statistics from MARD shows that Viet Nam had 1,478 production chains by the end of September, an increase of 660 units compared to the same period last year.

The country has more than 25,500 households co-operating with businesses in production meeting VietGAP standards. About 619,000 others are involved in production.

Viet Nam’s agricultural products are currently exported to 185 countries and territories, ranking second in Southeast Asia and 15th globally. The country has also signed 16 new-generation free trade agreements, thereby creating more opportunities for agricultural exports.

In the first nine months of this year, the country’s agricultural exports reached US$30.2 billion, up 2.7 per cent year-on-year.

General Director of South Korea’s Dreamfarm Company, Park Hyang Jin, said the weakest point in Vietnamese agricultural enterprises is production and processing technology. In addition, State support has not been effective while the linkage among enterprises to improve the value of agricultural products is poor.

Park said Vietnamese businesses needed to further invest in technology from production to processing, packaging and consumption, ensuring the entire process is properly controlled.

According to Pham Hoang Van Anh, an expert at the World Bank in Viet Nam, global demand for food will increase by 70-100 per cent by 2050 due to population growth and changes in eating and drinking habits.

“To catch up with these changes, Vietnamese businesses need to participate deeply in the global value chain, building an infrastructure of quality to raise competitiveness. This infrastructure is a key factor for the development of the agriculture and food industry,” Van Anh said.

Pham Thi Thanh Tung, head of the central bank’s Department of Credit for Agriculture, said that the re-organisation of production in the value chain and application of science and technology is a key driver for the country’s development of sustainable agriculture.

However, she said production under the associated models revealed limitations due to weak co-operation and linkages. The number of safe agricultural chains is also low.

“Many associated contracts are not close, causing violations to people and businesses. This makes it difficult for credit institutions to control the cash flow when lending,” Tung said.

In addition, she said the agricultural sector is always at risk of natural disasters and epidemics. Many agricultural enterprises lack transparency and security assets, making it difficult to access credit.

In order to increase credit for agricultural development and encourage businesses to invest in agricultural value chains, Tung said that it was necessary to improve the appraisal efficiency and assess customers’ trustworthiness, as well as enhancing the possibility of lending without collateral and removing difficulties for agricultural enterprises.

At the forum, participants discussed and put forward solutions to increase the development of the agricultural sector, including training for businesses, planning production areas, trade promotion and market expansion.

They agreed that IT policies would need to be renovated, helping businesses access capital and land, in addition to strengthening the application of standards to enhance the quality of products, ensuring food safety, branding and supporting people to implement VietGap, GlobalGap and Organic standards. 

Conference considers reward strategies for firms to attract, keep talent

How to create a reward strategy that could attract and retain talent and how to align it with the business strategy and organisation values in the industry 4.0 era were on the agenda of the first Vietnam Rewards Summit in HCM City on Tuesday.

Delegates said industry 4.0 technology brings businesses opportunities but also challenges, requiring them to adjust their operation processes and business strategies based on evolving requirements.

“But no matter how far technology develops, the emotional factor is always an important foundation,” Le Thu Thuy, CEO of SeaBank, said.

Human resources are always a top priority, and how to align the human resources strategy with business strategies to leverage business growth is a concern in the digital age, according to Thuy.

Speaking about her experience in building an efficient rewards strategy, she said positioning the corporate culture and enabling an innovative growth mindset in every employee are very important.

The culture is the "soul" of every business, and stems from every employee in that organisation, and HR and the CEO's mission is to create a working environment and build a corporate culture where every employee feels happy, respected and listened to and is given the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential.

Quyen Le, cluster HR business partner director, Coats Phong Phu, said HR strategists needed to understand their organisation's business strategies and priorities, and understand the demand and desires of their existing and future employees and their priorities, thereby developing a rewards strategy that harmonises both companies and employees’ top priorities.

She said the remuneration policy must be consistent and connected with the organisation's core values, and have a positive impact on the business strategy.

Secondly, the remuneration strategy should be competitive, fair and flexible, along with transparent and open communication with employees, she said.

In addition, the effective use of rewards funds, constant updating of the market benchmark and improving remuneration strategies to meet employees’ needs were also indispensable in building a smart remuneration framework, delegates said.

Many people think an attractive salary would attract and keep talent, but it was not enough, Nguyen Thi Quynh Phuong, director of executive search and selection at Talentnet, said.

"Besides the salary, factors like bonus, rewards, opportunity to grow their career in the company, and the company having a positive impact on society and the environment are also very important to attract and retain talent, especially young people," she added.

Remuneration survey

The event also saw the release of Talentnet – Mercer’s remuneration survey report results covering data from 16 industries and 543 multinationals and 62 large local companies with over 342,000 employees.

The report covers salary increases, common allowances, bonuses, employee turnover rates, and other data.

It found that the salary increase in 2019 was 8.6 per cent at multinational companies and 8.9 per cent at local businesses, higher than Viet Nam’s inflation and GDP growth rates.

Technology, chemical and trading were the sectors with the highest salary increases of 10.2 per cent, 9 per cent and 8.6 per cent.

Oil and mining, education and financial services-banking reported the lowest increases of 4.5 per cent, 6.6 per cent and 6.9 per cent.

In terms of bonuses, non-banking financial services and insurance topped with 30.4 per cent and 22.9 per cent of the annual base salary.

There was a remarkable increase in the bonuses paid in the agricultural sector (19.4 per cent).

Logistics, retail and education had the lowest bonus rates of 13.8 per cent, 14.8 per cent and 15.4 per cent.

The 2019 Vietnam Rewards Summit, organised by Talentnet Corporation, attracted over 600 local and foreign business leaders and HR professionals.

HCM City’s authorities meet British firms to tackle business difficulties

The administration of Ho Chi Minh City and the British Business Group Vietnam (BBGV) held a conference on October 14 to seek ways for removing difficulties facing British investors.

Pham Thiet Hoa, Director of the municipal Investment and Trade Promotion Centre, said the UK is an important partner in multiple spheres of Vietnam, including HCM City.

In 2018, trade between the two countries hit 6.74 billion USD (up 9.5 percent year on year), turning the UK the third biggest EU trade partner of Vietnam.

In the first eight months of this year, bilateral trade reached 4.53 billion USD, including 3.08 billion USD of exports and 557 million USD of imports by Vietnam, up 1.7 percent and 4.84 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, by the end of August, the UK had invested in 366 projects worth 3.64 billion USD in Vietnam, ranking 15th among the 132 countries and territories directly investing here. In HCM City alone, there are 153 valid investment projects of the UK at present, with a combined capital of over 600 million USD.

Hoa said the British business community in Vietnam has been growing in both the size and quality of their projects, showing the huge potential for investment partnership between the UK and HCM City.

Local authorities wish to listen to British firms’ opinions to help the city devise suitable solutions and policies to facilitate operations of foreign investors, including those from the UK, he added.

Neill James, Deputy Consul General of the UK in HCM City, said Vietnam is assessed as one of the most dynamic economies in Asia, and it has attracted great attention from foreign businesses and investors. British businesses also consider the country an important market and potential investment destination.

Therefore, the BBGV has organised many activities to introduce Vietnam to the business community in the UK to foster bilateral trade and investment, he noted.

At the conference, local officials informed British companies of the projects HCM City wants to attract investment to, mainly in urban landscape improvement, water supply and drainage, and transport infrastructure. They also fielded the firms’ questions about difficulties and obstacles relevant to labour contract and social insurance procedures, along with tax and customs regulations.

According to Kenneth Atkinson, a BBGV leader, British businesses are investing in various fields in HCM City, including education, finance – banking, hotel, real estate and service business.

The BBGV hopes the city will continue creating favourable conditions for their investment and business activities through more information exchange and difficulty removal so that British enterprises can further contribute to the development of the city as well as the Vietnam – UK cooperation, he added./.

 
 
 
 
 
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