VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES

Outdated database, policies hinder sharing economy development

Databases and policies that have failed to keep pace with the market’s development have hindered the development of the sharing economic model.

At a workshop themed “Strengthening the implementation of the project to promote the sharing economy model,” held in Hanoi on October 10, Pham Xuan Hoe, deputy director of the Banking Strategy Institute, noted that the project had been approved by the prime minister on August 12.

The project is aimed at creating a fair business environment for enterprises applying the sharing economy and traditional models and encouraging innovation and the application of digital technology.

Vietnam holds strong potential for developing the sharing economy. Recently, Google, Temasek and Bain & Company released a report on the e-economy in Southeast Asia this year. Accordingly, Vietnam’s digital economy will be worth US$12 billion this year and US$43 billion by 2025 through the ecommerce, online tourism, online communications and ride-hailing sectors.

This year, Vietnam has 61 million Internet users. A Vietnamese user spends an average of three hours and 12 minutes per day using the Internet on mobile devices such as smartphones.

However, the country has faced obstacles in the form of outdated policies. The market has grown rapidly, but the State management agencies tend to be conservative and sluggish.

Moreover, the lack of a database has been a major hindrance to the sharing economy’s development. Hoe cited Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue as saying that up to half of the ministries and agencies have yet to share their data.

According to Nguyen Thi Tue Anh, deputy director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, the State management agencies should change their thinking to accept new ideas and allow the trial of new economic models. Unreasonable regulations should be abolished.

Ngo Vinh Bach Duong, head of the economic law division at the Institute of State and Law, shared this view, noting that antiquated regulations on competition, consumer protection, personal data security, contracts and taxes are no longer appropriate to the rapid growth of the economy.

The Government should remove unreasonable business conditions instead of trying to fit obsolete regulations, currently applied to traditional business models, to modern models. Policymakers must also place greater emphasis on protecting consumers’ rights.

HCMC likely to exceed tax revenue target by VND10 trillion

The HCMC Customs Department is expected to pass its tax revenue target by some VND10 trillion (US$430 million) for this year, thanks to favorable import and export conditions.

The department said in a report that it expected to earn VND10.2 trillion in tax income in October, thereby taking the ten-month revenues to an estimated VND98.6 trillion (US$4.2 billion), or a year-on-year increase of 14.3%.

Compared with the all-year target of VND108.8 trillion (US$4.6 billion), the tax revenues for the ten months will be equivalent to 90.6% of the total.

Therefore, the agency will only need an additional VND10.2 trillion to meet their goal, possibly in November. If successful, the revenue for December would be the surplus amount.

As of late September, the city saw a year-on-year increase of 10.6% in import spending, at more than US$46 billion.

Notably, imports of cars of less than nine seats rose by a whopping 222% from one year earlier to US$212 million, while imports of computers, electronics and their spare parts were up 51.5% to some US$10 billion.

Textile-garment export target looks unobtainable

The textile-garment sector may fail to reach its export target this year, as export revenues from apparel products to date have totaled US$29.24 billion, or 74% of the full-year target. Meanwhile, many textile-garment firms have yet to secure enough orders for this year.

According to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), the number of orders received so far in 2019 was equal to only two-thirds of those in the same period in 2018.

The United States was Vietnam’s largest importer of textile and garment products in the nine-month period, with revenues of US$11.5 billion, followed by Europe with US$4.4 billion, China with US$3.1 billion and Japan with over US$3 billion, news site VnEconomy reported.

The Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) has forecast to export nearly US$2.9 billion worth of textile and garment products this year, reaching only 97.6% of its target.

Vinatex attributed the situation to complicated developments in the global economy, especially the ongoing United States-China trade war.

According to a report on import-export performance in the January-September period by Vinatex, most Vinatex subsidiaries have yet to sign enough orders for this year. Only Viet Tien has reached its target of orders for 2019, while other large firms, such as May 10, Duc Giang, Hoa Tho and Hanosimex, only have orders through November.

Customers seem hesitant to place long-term orders due to the volatility of the global economy. In addition, orders for Chinese products tend to be shifted to other countries with more tax incentives, such as Bangladesh and Cambodia, instead of Vietnam.

Vinatex’s subsidiaries reported export revenues of US$2.1 billion in the January-September period this year, up 2% year-on-year and reaching 70% of the full-year target. Their inventories were valued at nearly US$7 billion, up 0.03% over the same period last year.

As for the cotton market, the cotton price plunged in the nine-month period to some 60 U.S. cents per pound, with lower global economic growth negatively affecting cotton sales.

In addition, late last year and the first quarter of this year witnessed a decline in both demand and prices of fiber products.

Vinatex’s report also showed that local fiber enterprises have been placed in jeopardy, as they have faced obstacles in competing with rivals from India, Thailand, Indonesia and Pakistan, as well as foreign direct investment firms.

Vietnamese retailers seize opportunities to conquer domestic market

The Vietnamese retail market has proved a fierce competition but also offers huge potentials for domestic retailers if they could seize advantages to accelerate market domination.

With investment in the domestic retail market forecasted to increase to US$180 billion by 2020, Vietnam is an attractive destination for foreign investors. However, in the past year, the market also witnessed the departure of several foreign retail brands, such as Shop & Go (Singapore) or Auchan (France). This shows the fierce completion in the market but, and also opens up new opportunities for domestic enterprises if they take advantage of opportunities to conquer the market.

Reverse the situation

In the first half of 2019, Vietnam’s retail marker witnessed a change in market share as domestic retailers continued to expand their coverage through a series of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). On April 2, VinCommerce, the unit managing the retail system of VinMart and VinMart+ under the conglomerate Vingroup, announced the receipt of transfer of a chain of 87 Shop & Go stores. Most recently, Saigon Co.op has transferred a system of 18 supermarkets and e-commerce platform and activities of Auchan in Vietnam. With this deal, for the first time ever there is a Vietnamese retailer that has acquired a world-class retail brand.

The departure of the "big names" in the market shows their struggle to acquire market share in Vietnam. Even existing businesses like Big C or Lotte Mart cannot avoid these difficulties. Since falling into to the hands of a Thai boss, Big C has recorded poor business results. The latest financial statements of the three Big C supermarkets of Thang Long, An Lac and Dong Nai show that the profits of some Big C supermarkets have dropped by 10% compared to the pre-transfer period in 2016. Besides, the Korean retail giant Lotte Mart is also reporting accumulated losses of up to VND800 billion.

In recent years, the market share of the retail industry has changed significantly. In 2016, the public was startled by the statistics that more than 50% of Vietnam's retail market share went to foreign enterprises, with a forecast for a grey future of the country's retail industry. However, after more than three years, the new statistics showed that domestic retailers have recorded superior in coverage compared to foreign ones and are gradually prevailing in the market.

According to the statistics from the market research company Asia Plus, in Vietnam’s retail market, for the supermarket and hypermarket segments, Vietnamese retail businesses account for nearly 70% of selling points out of a total of 479 points, of which VinMart accounting for 120 venues and Co.op Mart having 116 ones. For shopping malls, Vincom accounts for more than 60% with 67 out of 96 selling points. While in the growing model of convenience store and mini-supermarkets, this number is also overwhelming with more than 80% of the selling points are domestic enterprises out of over 3,000 venues. In particular, VinMart+ alone accounts for more than 1,800 points, The gioi di dong (Mobile World) more than 500 points and Santra Food over 200 venues.

The expansion of coverage through M&A shows that domestic retailers do not give up and they have still silently expanded their scale to actively reverse the situation and conquer their own "home ground" with their own capacity. Domestic retailers have shown their ingenuity when both strengthening market share in major provinces and cities and targeting niche markets. In several localities and regions, there are local small and medium-sized retail models appear, such as Lan Chi, Bach Hoa Xanh, Thanh Hao or Me Linh. The development of convenient stores and supermarket there is a smart choice to meet the quick, convenient purchase demand of consumers.

Taking advantage, capturing new technologies

Vietnam’s retail market has so far attracted the participation of various large domestic and foreign retailers. However, it is still in the first stage of development and there are many opportunities for latecomers, especially branded retail businesses with difference and application of sales management technologies. Businesses have seized upon the trend in the retailing market and established virtual supermarket models in order to promote the application of e-commerce in retailing as the model of Vingroup.

Accordingly, instead of going directly to supermarkets for shopping and waiting for payment, now, with just a phone with the VinID application and a smart shopping guide from the supermarket system VinMart, customers can choose the products they want to buy and pay instantly with e-wallets. About two to four hours later, VinMart staff will deliver the product to the customers’ addresses. They can also scan QR codes of the products they want to buy printed on large-sized posters of the virtual supermarket "VinMart 4.0" located in residential areas, office buildings, schools or bus stops to "go shopping" at any time. Or as Saigon Co.op has cooperated with the Ho Chi Minh City Television to open HTV Co.op sales channel to bring consumers an enjoyable and convenient shopping experience, making shopping more easily through online business models.

According to the assessment of the president of the Vietnam Association of Retailers (AVR), Dinh Thi My Loan, domestic retailers have certain advantages compared to foreign enterprises when they are able to cover retail points throughout the country, not just focusing only on two big cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Domestic enterprises always have the home-field advantage as they understand the Vietnamese consumer behaviours. However, many of them are still weak in terms of capital, with limited scale and a lack of professional management ability, making their competitiveness even weaker.

Therefore, they should know how to cooperate and seize the opportunities right now to accelerate and dominate the market in many ways. Vietnamese retailers should master the new retail trends and create experiences as well as bring added value to customers. At the same time, they should also integrate multi-channel sales in both direct and online manners to meet the diverse needs of consumers. In addition, it is necessary to take advantage of technological development to be able to successfully compete with foreign retail corporations.

Three more kinds of Vietnamese seafood exported to China

The Asian-African Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has announced that the General Administration of Customs of China has agreed to allow three more types of Vietnamese seafood to be exported to the country.

According to the Chinese side, Vietnamese white clams, spotted clams and oysters have been assessed by China through fisheries control systems

These products are naturally exploited, managed and certified by the Vietnamese side with a similar process, it said.

The Chinese side suggested that Vietnam should conduct quarantine tests and issue certificates in the form agreed by the two parties so that Vietnam’s seafood products can be exported to China smoothly.

With the latest agreement, 48 kinds of Vietnamese seafood are now being exported to the Chinese market.

Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that in the first nine months of 2019, Vietnam’s export turnover of aquatic products to China hit 831.8 million USD, up 14.19 percent year-on-year, representing 3.2 percent of Vietnam’s total seafood exports./.

Dat Xanh subsidiary sells 14 million LDG shares

Dat Xanh Real Estate Service JSC has sold all 14.3 million shares at LDG Investment JSC, equivalent to 5.95 per cent of the company’s capital.

The shares were sold under agreement method with a value of more than VND175 billion, meaning a share was sold at VND12,400 (US$0.5), higher than the matching price of VND11,300 per share.

Dat Xanh Real Estate Service Company is a subsidiary of Dat Xanh Group.

The date of the transaction was October 4. At the time of the sale, LDG share price hit 6-month peak of VND11,300 per share, up by 47 per cent.

In recent meeting with the media, Nguyen Khanh Hung, LDG's Chairman said that in the next three years, LDG would not issue shares to raise capital.

LDG plans to earn VND28 trillion in revenue and VND5 trillion in profit in 2030. To achieve the target, LDG has partnered with foreign funds from the UK, Singapore and Brunei, Hung said.

The company recently signed an investment agreement with Red Brick Capital International fund with a scale of $350 million.

LDG would continue to boost real estate investment, focusing on large-scale urban areas.

HDI Global SE to buy 4 million shares in PVI

HDI Global SE has registered to buy 4 million more shares of PetroVietnam Insurance (PVI) to increase its ownership in the firm.

HDI Global SE is currently the largest shareholder in PVI, holding 94.87 million shares, equivalent to 41.05 per cent of the company’s capital.

After the sale, HDI Global SE will increase its ownership in PVI to 42.78 per cent. The company is expected to spend VND128 billion (US$5.5 million) buying the shares.

The transaction will be carried out under the order matching method and agreement method, in the period from October 14 to November 12, 2019.

In addition to HDI Global SE, PVI also has two other major shareholders – the Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PVN), holding 35.47 per cent and Funderburk Lighthouse Limited, holding 11.73 per cent.

On the stock market, PVI shares have declined sharply since the middle of August this year. PVI closed Friday at VND32,000 per share, down nearly 20 per cent after two months.

In the first six months of this year, PVI earned VND3.3 trillion in revenue and VND463 billion in post-tax profit, up by 41 per cent and 89 per cent year-on-year, respectively. Earnings per share (EPS) reached VND1,733. With the results, PVI achieved 77 per cent of the profit target for the whole of 2019. 

SCIC to auction nearly 53 per cent of An Giang Port's capital

The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) will put up more than 7.3 million shares of An Giang Port Joint Stock Company (CAG) for public auction on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on October 30.

The initial price of each share will be VND99,000 (US$4.2).

Interested investors must register to buy all shares. Foreign investors are not allowed to participate in the auction.

The shares are equivalent to nearly 53 per cent of CAG. SCIC is expected to collect VND723 billion through the sale.

An Giang Port, formerly known as An Giang My Thoi Port, was established in 1985.

The company was equitised in 2011 with charter capital of VND138 billion, and the People's Committee of An Giang Province owned nearly 53 per cent of the capital.

In 2015, the State capital at An Giang Port was transferred to SCIC. The company listed shares on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange in December 2017.

CAG shares closed Friday at VND85,900 per share.

An Giang Port specialises in loading and unloading, warehousing and storage of goods, online support services for waterways, road transport, and retail sales of engine fuels.

The company has two ports – My Thoi Port and Binh Long Port, both in the southern province of An Giang.

In the first half of 2019, the company's net revenue reached VND36.6 billion, equivalent to the same period last year. Post-tax profit touched VND3.7 billion, up by 54 per cent year-on-year.

The company plans to expand My Thoi and Binh Long ports, while developing a container shipping logistics system to become a major hub for the Mekong Delta region.

Sai Gon Thuong Tin Real Estate JSC to pay dividend in shares

Sai Gon Thuong Tin Real Estate JSC (SCR) plans to issue more than 27.1 million shares to pay 2018’s dividend in the fourth quarter of this year.

The shares, valued at VND271 billion, will be issued at a rate of 8 per cent, meaning that a shareholder owning 100 shares will receive 8 new shares.

Capital for the issuance comes from undistributed after-tax profit estimated on the audited semi-annual financial statements of 2019.

Last year, SCR earned VND2.9 trillion in revenue, an increase of more than 60 per cent compared to the previous year. Post-tax profit rose by VND220 billion to VND331 billion.

In the first six months of 2019, SCR’s revenue reached less than one fourth of that in the same period last year, standing at VND418 billion. Post-tax profit decreased by 19 per cent to VND134.8 billion.

On the stock market, SCR has declined sharply, currently at a three-year low of VND6,300 per share.

HCM City housing prices rise on shortage of new supply

Housing prices continue to rise rapidly in HCM City because of a shortage of new supply, increasing population and lack of transport infrastructure in outlying areas.

It has become very difficult to find apartments for less than VND 2 billion (US$ 85,500) in the city.

Prices are up 5-10 per cent compared to just six months ago.

At one apartment project in District 1, an 85sq.m unit with two bedrooms costs VND 21 billion (nearly $900,000). Apartments measuring 140-180sq.m sell at VND47.7-50 billion.

A bit further from the city centre, in Thu Duc District, near the Ha Noi Highway, apartments in the Tan Hai Minh project was selling at VND35-40 million last year, but now cost VND50-60 million per square meter.

Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCM City Real Estate Association (HoREA), said housing prices continue increase because of a lack of new projects and demand far outstripping supply.

Administrative procedures take too much time while transportation between the central and suburban areas is not good, meaning people do not want to stay outside the main areas, he said.

With the Government likely to take time to simplify the administrative procedures, developers could now price their projects at whatever level they want, he added.

The rapidly rising population is also a reason for the soaring housing prices.

HoREA pointed out the city’s population increases by one million every five years. The Department of Construction has said 476,000 families lack housing while 21,000 others living along canals and 35,000 living in dilapidated apartments need to relocate.

To resolve the shortage, HoREA has called on authorities to build more housing at reasonable prices for low-income people and simplify administrative procedures for social housing projects, Chau said.

 

Le Huu Nghia, director of Le Thanh Real Estate Company, said his company submitted a proposal for a social housing project in Binh Chanh District in March, but has not heard back from the Department of Planning and Investment though the project area is earmarked for social housing.

“We recommend that the Government should speed up and simplify administrative procedures and draft new policies to encourage investment in social housing.”

Tran Khanh Quang, general director of Viet An real estate Company, said the Government should also create support policies for first-time buyers of housing. This would also preclude the purchase of social housing as an investment, he added.

Chau said HoREA has called for upgrading traffic infrastructure to link the five suburban districts of Cu Chi, Can Gio, Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon, and Nha Be with the city’s central areas so that they become more attractive as residential areas. 

Central province approves new automotive manufacturing complex

The People’s Committee of Thua Thien-Hue Province has approved the addition of an automotive manufacturing and assembly complex to the province's list of projects calling for investment in 2019.

The complex, expected to cost more than VND2.5 trillion (US$107.3 million), will span nearly 50ha at the Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone in Phu Loc District. It will manufacture and assemble cars meeting Euro 4 or higher emissions standards, online newspaper baodautu.vn reported.

Earlier this year, the central province also approved Kim Long Nam JSC to develop an auto manufacturing and assembly complex in this economic zone.

The Kim Long Motors Hue complex spans approximately 160ha, with its first phase costing some VND3.33 trillion ($143.72 million). It is designed to produce 16,000 buses annually meeting Euro emission standards. The project is expected to become operational in 24 months.

With more than 140 operating projects, worth VND95 trillion, economic zones (EZs) and industrial parks (IPs) in Thua Thien-Hue have become magnets to both domestic and foreign investors.

According to Thua Thien-Hue Industrial and Economic Zones Authority (IEZA), many foreign companies, mainly from the US, South Korea, Japan and China had visited and explored opportunities in the province since the beginning of this year.

The IEZA said it had also worked with strategic investors and those with adequate financial capacities to facilitate investment in large-scale projects, aiming at creating a greater momentum for the development of the IPs and EZs in the near future.

Following the completion of the infrastructure of the IPs and EZs, IEZA is going to co-ordinate with the provincial Department of Planning and Investment to continue to deploy investment promotion plans with a focus on key areas, stressing the attraction of large corporations which can invest in infrastructure and high-quality tourism projects in addition to luring reputable and competent secondary investors at the same time. 

Startups advised to Identify core values, develop initiatives for social change

Young entrepreneurs need to understand the core value of their product instead of focusing too much on technology as their competitive advantage, according to the Business Start-up Support Centre (BSSC).

With her eight years of experience in supporting young businesses, BSSC founder Truong Ly Hoang Phi said that startups should focus on proving the value that the projects can bring to the market.

“People create technology. A successful product must create real value for users," she said. "Technology is a means to help us save time and resources to create products with real value for our users.”

Speaking at a "Women Will" conference in HCM City last week, she said: “The digital economy gives us the advantage of searching for information. We can refer to many successful business models around the world.”

She said that startups should look for their own path instead of copying the ideas of other people. They should also develop business initiatives that contribute to addressing social challenges and making positive contributions to consumers and the community.

They also need to conduct deep researches, thoroughly understand their choices, and never stop learning, she said.

All of the factors that influence the success of a startup in the digital age do not stop at the flashy things on the outside, she said, adding that projects should be perfected starting from the smallest things.

Organised by Google and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the conference was part of the "Women Will" programme, a Google initiative to create economic opportunity for women everywhere, including Viet Nam, so that they can grow and succeed.

Former diplomat Ton Nu Thi Ninh, director and actress Hong Anh, businesswoman and model Helly Tong also participated in the event.

Delegates at the conference agreed that age is not a barrier in preventing people to realise their dream of starting a business.

Nguyen The Hung, deputy director of VCCI’s HCM City branch, expressed optimism about the development of Viet Nam's digital economy and the increasing participation of women in the sector.

There are many women-led businesses in Viet Nam. Figures show that 31 per cent of CEOs in the country are women, a high ranking internationally.

Ngoc Ha, representative of the Accelerate Vietnam digital 4.0, a Google initiative, said that taking advantage of digital technology would help women more quickly and easily access new knowledge and find business opportunities.

Delegates said that women who want to succeed need to have find inner confidence and take advantage of all the tools they have, including digital ones, to realize their dreams.

India, VN eye closer co-operation in engineering sector

Significant potential for growth in trade in the engineering sector exists between India and Viet Nam, a top Indian official has said.

Dr. K Srikar Reddy, Indian consul general in HCM City, said India has made considerable progress in engineering as shown in its record-high engineering exports over the last five years.

“Even at a time of global economic slowdown, we saw record-high engineering exports last year," Reddy said at an India-Viet Nam business interaction event held on Friday in HCM City.

"The brand value of Indian engineering has been rising rapidly in developed as well as emerging economies, while the Indian government has always been ready to make Indian exports globally competitive and to turn India into an exporter of high-value engineering products by addressing the technology gap and other concerns adequately and efficiently.”

India’s engineering exports to Viet Nam increased from US$602 million in 2014-15 to over $1.17 billion in 2018-19, he said, adding that bilateral trade in the engineering sector reached $2.5 billion in the 2018-19 period.

Ferrous and non-ferrous metals, industrial machinery, electrical machinery and automobile components are some of the main engineering commodities traded between the two countries.

Adhip Mitra, additional executive director and secretary of Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) of India, said that India’s share in Viet Nam’s engineering import basket was around 1.3 per cent and the Indian side wanted to increase its share.

Though trade between the two countries in engineering products has grown significantly over the past years, there is still huge potential to boost co-operation in the sector since demand for these products have increased in Viet Nam and the country has to import a significant amount, according to Reddy.

Dr. Nguyen Huu Tho, lecturer at the HCM City University of Food Industry’s engineering technology faculty, said Viet Nam’s mechanical engineering industry meets only 32.5 per cent of domestic demand and is mainly dependent on imports.

Local mechanical engineering companies mainly import milling, drilling, plasma cutting, wiring, sharpening, planning, grinding, and lathe machines, with the main suppliers from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and mainland China.

Organised by the Indian consulate, the event saw the participation of 56 Indian engineering companies led by the EEPC, who exhibited products at 2019 METALEX Vietnam in HCM City from Thursday to Saturday, together with many Vietnamese companies.

At the event, Mitra also invited Vietnamese companies to participate in India’s largest Engineering Sourcing Show (IESS IX) to be held on March 4-6 next year in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India.

Poultry breeders suffer losses due to oversupply

The oversupply of poultry has led to high costs and low selling prices, causing losses for breeders nationwide, especially in Đồng Nai Province, the leading area for battery chicken production.

Nguyễn Kim Đoán, vice chairman of Đồng Nai Livestock Association, said that breeders had mistakenly thought that consumers would pay more for poultry because of the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) among pigs.

In fact, the number of customers buying poultry has been much lower than chicken sales.

Đỗ Văn Thông from the province’s Long Khánh City in the past raised 40,000 battery chickens, but he doubled the quantity after the outbreak of ASF.

Thông sold a kilo of live chicken for only VNĐ14,000 (US$0.6) per kg but breeding costs were up to VNĐ26,000 ($1.1). After deducting expenses, he lost nearly VNĐ1 billion ($43,100).

Đoán said the current number of chickens and ducks in Đồng Nai is 26 million, an increase of 4 million. For every 1,000 battery chickens sold, a breeder suffers a loss of VNĐ15-20 million ($646-862 million).

According to the Việt Nam Poultry Association, oversupply is also caused by the way the General Statistics Office counts chicken breeding rotations. The office’s breeding rotation is only 1.5 flocks per year.

However, the process to raise battery chickens often lasts between 42-60 days, so the rotation is up to 3-6 flocks per year.

The association estimated that the country has 317 million battery chickens and yearly productivity of up to 1.2 billion.

Journey launched to ignite passion for startups among Vietnamese youngsters

The StarUp Journey 2019 – a programme gathering creative start-up products and ideas in tourism and technology from Vietnamese youngsters – was officially launched at Cam Mountain Tourist Area in Tinh Bien district, the southern province of An Giang on October 10.

Held by the Supporting Centre for Youth's Startup (SYS Vietnam) under the Vietnam Youth Federation Central Committee, the journey will arrive to other provinces and cities across the nation after An Giang.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Nguyen Duc Tung, Director of the SYS Vietnam, said that the event gathers young entrepreneurs and students nationwide with startup products in the field of tourism and technology. It would enable participants to experience potential tourism destinations to develop their unique tourism products in the direction of effective and sustainable development.

In addition, the StarUp Journey 2019 also contributes to promoting IT application in tourism to support visitors, thus helping improve management efficiency and develop intelligent and sustainable tourism for the destinations, Tung added.

In its first destination in An Giang, the journey also features a training class on skills in technology application in building online travel solutions and tourism promotion activities, as well as a culinary contest at Cam Mountain Cable Car Resort.

After the launching ceremony, the SYS Vietnam in collaboration with the Centre for Trade and Investment Promotion of An Giang province held a seminar on An Giang tourism development solutions. The event saw the participation of over 200 youngsters joining the journey and representatives from local travel agencies to discuss the potential and advantages of An Giang tourism and share experiences in local tourism development.

Le Trung Hieu, Director of the An Giang Trade and Investment Promotion Centre, said that the province holds great potentials and advantages to developing tourism and turning into an attractive destination. In the past nine months alone, An Giang welcomed over 8 million visitors, an increase of nearly 4% over the same period last year, with revenue from tourism activities estimated at VND4.7 trillion, up 17.5%.

According to Hieu, An Giang tourism is now "a piece wasteland " that needs to be “cultivated,” making the journey important to the province as it offers an opportunity for local young people to be passionate about startups in the field of tourism, as well as introducing its tourism products and services.

Strict penalties needed to fight fraudulent property firms

It is necessary to develop strict penalties to combat those operating fraudulent real estate businesses to protect the legitimate rights of consumers and legitimate firms, according to executives from real estate firms and experts.

The HCMC government has urged the Ministry of Construction to propose the Government issue regulations forcing real estate firms to publicize information about their projects and impose heavy penalties on those deliberately violating regulations.

Ngo Quang Phuc, general director of Phu Dong Group, said he supports the proposal, as real estate is a conditional business sector and enterprises must meet conditions therein.

Heavy penalties are aimed at ensuring that the market is transparent. If regulations are not strict enough, law-abiding firms will lose their confidence in State management agencies, while those with fraudulent business activities will benefit, Phuc added.

The leader of another property firm said penalties should be imposed cautiously, as an investor may develop multiple projects. If the information about a certain project is not publicized adequately, leading to the company’s suspension, both the company and banks offering loans to it will be placed in jeopardy.

At present, not only home buyers, but also property developers are facing a high risk of losses due to overlapping and unreasonable regulations.

Therefore, agencies should support enterprises to remove obstacles that prevent them from quickly executing projects. Once regulations are tightened and made reasonable, enterprises will be willing to publicize information about their projects.

According to Bui Quang Tin, President and CEO of BizLight Business School, the disclosure of information about real estate projects is necessary, but it is more important to help consumers easily find such information.

In HCMC, many real estate projects whose capital has been raised illegally are selling properties to the public. In order to ensure the rights and benefits of home buyers, the HCMC government has proposed suspending for one year the operations of enterprises violating regulations on information disclosure.

In addition, investors of real estate projects must have credit guarantee contracts from credit institutions.

Kien Giang calls for investment in major tourism destinations

The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is calling for investment in major tourism spots, such as Ha Tien, Kien Luong, Rach Gia, Kien Hai and U Minh Thuong.

According to the Kien Giang Department of Tourism, the province welcomed more than 6.8 million passengers in the January-September period this year, up 12.5% year-on-year and reaching nearly 83% of the full-year target, news site Vietnamplus reported.

The province’s tourism revenue in the nine-month period totaled VND6.28 trillion (US$270.7 million), surging 35% over the same period last year.

The areas in the province that were most frequented by tourists are Phu Quoc, Kien Hai, Ha Tien, Hon Dat, U Minh Thuong and Rach Gia. Phu Quoc alone attracted 3.9 million tourists, accounting for more than 57% of the total in Kien Giang and rising over 33% against the year-ago period.

The province has also attracted investment in traffic infrastructure projects, contributing to the development of the tourism industry. Many large projects meeting international standards have been put into service, such as the Phu Quoc cable car system, Vinpearl Phu Quoc and Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc.

Phu Quoc Island was listed among the top five up-and-coming Asia-Pacific destinations to visit in the fall season of 2018. In addition, JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay, a five-star resort in Phu Quoc, was honored as Asia’s top new luxury resort in 2018 and ranked second among Asia’s best resorts this year.

In the coming months, Kien Giang will restructure the tourism sector to develop tourism value chains and will roll out its tourism development plan, focusing on developing Phu Quoc Island into a world-class tourism center.

In addition, the province will develop special, high-quality tourism products and services to attract more tourists, focusing on ecotourism and cultural tourism.

Kien Giang also called for enterprises’ cooperation in training human resources for the tourism sector, aiming to have 20,000-25,000 trained laborers by 2020.

The province will cooperate with airlines to open direct and charter flights between Phu Quoc and international destinations; waterway tours from Phu Quoc to Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia; and coastal road tours to Ca Mau, Cambodia and Thailand.

Tourism promotion programs will be organized in large source markets to attract more tourists from traditional markets such as China, South Korea, Japan and the ASEAN, as well as those from Australia, western Europe and northern America, who tend to stay a long while and spend a lot on tourism services.

PM issues measures for sustainable development of northern key economic zone

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed Directive 25/CT-TG on measures to promote sustainable growth and development of the northern key economic zone.

The northern key economic zone, comprising the capital city of Ha Noi, Hai Phong city, and the provinces of Quang Ninh, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Vinh Phuc and Bac Ninh, is the political, economic, cultural and defence-security centre of the country.

The zone accounts for almost 32 percent of the national GDP and 35.52 percent of the combined GRDP of the four key economic zones. The seven localities contribute over 31 percent of the State budget and 32 percent of the national export revenue.

However, the zone’s sustainable development is facing several problems, particularly the uneven development levels among localities in the zone, and some localities’ dependence on large-scale FDI projects for State budget collection, among others.

Directive 25 outlines a number of measures to address the problems, the first of which is to build favourable, open and stable policies and mechanisms that suit the region’s situation.

Ministries are assigned specific tasks in reviewing and drafting laws and other legal documents on investment, corporates, planning, while People’s Committees of cities and provinces in the zone are asked to issue specific mechanisms to facilitate the development of several major businesses into corporations of regional and global importance, thus leading the way for firms in the zone.

Another measure is to promote connectivity among sectors and industries.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment is asked to build a programme supporting connectivity among small- and medium-sized enterprises according to regions.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is assigned to coordinate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to build linkages between distribution companies and agricultural producers, and develop a network of logistics centre in the region.

The Ministry of Construction must research and design a national urban and rural development master plan, propose mechanisms and solutions to develop social housing in urban areas and industrial parks, and for low-income earners.

The PM urges People’s Committees of cities, provinces in the zone to pay attention to linkages with each other and with localities outside the zone in attracting investment, mobilizing and distributing resources, and building socio-economic infrastructure, and protecting the environment and adapting to climate change.

He reminded the zone’s localities to improve the efficiency in using resources in socio-economic infrastructure and attract more investment in the form of public-private partnership, particularly into transport./.

 
 
 
 
 
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