Vietnam, Russia agree on measures to boost bilateral ties
Government officials and businesses of Vietnam and Russia attended a high-level dialogue forum held in Hanoi on October 29 by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the office of the Russian Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights.
Addressing the forum, which was occasioned by a working trip to Vietnam by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov and a business delegation, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said the event is a good initiative to enhance the effectiveness of Vietnam-Russia cooperation in many fields.
He expressed the hope that the time-tested relations between the two countries will continue to advance further, and affirmed that the Vietnamese Government will always be a reliable strategic partner of Russia.
Vietnam is committed to creating the best possible conditions for Russian businesses to invest in Vietnam, the Deputy PM said.
On the Russian part, Deputy PM Akimov noted that the business communities of the two countries have cooperated with each other for years, reaping positive outcomes.
He said he is certain that Russian businesses will make a greater presence in Vietnam. At the same time, the Russian Government pledges to create favourable conditions for Vietnamese firms to invest in Russia.
Besides the traditional cooperative areas of oil and gas and energy, Russia plans to expand ties with Vietnam in high technology, telecoms and electronics, and digital technology, the Deputy PM said, stressing that e-Government, information security and smart city will be the three focuses of bilateral cooperation in the time to come.
The Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov said Russia has realized that the two countries have not made full use of their potential and opportunities in economic cooperation. Therefore, Vietnam and Russia should promote their partnership, and specific measures are needed to address issues of mutual concern, he said.
On behalf of the Vietnamese business circle, VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc reported that trade between Vietnam and Russia has developed strongly with an average growth of 30 percent a year after the signing of the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union.
Two-way trade turnover rose by 28.6 percent year-on-year to reach nearly 4.6 billion USD in 2018, with Russia’s exports valued at 2.44 billion USD.
At present, Russia is the 24th largest foreign investors in Vietnam with 123 projects and 932 million USD in registered capital.
Meanwhile, Vietnam has 22 investment projects in Russia with total capital of nearly 3 billion USD.
Loc highlighted the dairy cow farming and milk processing projects invested by TH True Milk in Moscow and Kaluga as the bright examples in Vietnam-Russia relations.
Vietnam is currently the 23rd biggest trade partner of Russia globally, the largest in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the sixth in APEC, Loc said, stressing that those figures demonstrated that bilateral ties have been growing strongly based on not only traditional advantages but also new opportunities./.
10th Vietnam Int’l Retailtech & Franchise Show underway
Following its success in previous years, the Vietnam International Retail Tech and Franchise Show will see its 11th edition organised in Ho Chi Minh City this week.
The expo (VIETRF) will bring together 180 franchising brands and 100 store technology companies from many countries and territories such as the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Indonesia and the Philippines.
At the only exhibition in Vietnam in the franchising and retail sectors, owners can find solutions for their own stores and also suitable franchise brands of all sizes.
It will showcase products, services and concepts involved such as retail tech-equipment like POS, barcode system, gate entry solution, sales order processing, radio-frequency identification system, smart card technology, retail software application, self-service system, robotic kiosk, and security system and retail store furnishing like display racks, cooling and heating cabinets, carts, packing machines, and others.
Retail services and internet retailing solutions will also be on display.
Many franchise brands in various fields such as food and beverages, beauty and healthcare, fashion, retail and wholesale, education, training and consultation services, retail start-ups, and other specialised retail models like automotive and motorcycle repair shops and laundry stores will also participate and look for potential franchisees.
The top exhibitors will include South Korea’s GS25, which will unveil its franchise concept in Vietnam at the event, Trung Nguyen with its flexible coffee franchise concept E-Coffee, Samsung with its smart display solutions, and TORO with its smart vending machine and Toro wallet.
Many seminars and conferences will be held during the show, with speakers being experts in retail and franchising.
Entry is free for visitors, with each member of pre-registering groups of seven people or more getting a book by Nguyen Phi Van, the 2017 and 2018 winner of the 100 Top Great Retail Minds award at the World Retail Congress and the 2019 ASEAN Outstanding Business award winner.
Organised by Coex Vietnam, Retail and Franchise Asia, and Vinexad, the exhibition will be held at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre from October 31 to November 2./.
CPI in October shows three-year high rise
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in October picked up 0.59 percent from September, the biggest increase for the same month during the past three years, the General Statistics Office (GSO) announced on October 29.
The GSO said the high increase is attributable to declining supply of pork due to the African swine fever disease, rising world petrol price, and upward adjustment of education fees.
The average CPI for the first 10 months of the year went up 2.48 percent on a yearly basis, the lowest increase for the period in the recent three years.
Among the 11 groups of commodities and services in the price basket, 10 groups posted increases, with the highest rise of 1.04 percent seen in restaurants and catering services prices. Transport prices rose 0.99 percent, housing and construction materials 0.53 percent, and education 0.19 percent.
Only the prices of post and telecommunication declined, by 0.06 percent.
According to Do Thi Ngoc, director of the GSO’s Pricing Statistics, besides the factors that pushed up the CPI, the decreases in the prices of live poultry and eggs, fruits, and train tickets helped curbed the CPI.
The core CPI in October (excluding foodstuff, fresh food, energy and State-controlled commodities which are health care and educational services) grew 0.15 percent month-on-month and 1.99 percent year-on-year. The average core CPI for the January-October period rose 1.92 percent from the same period last year./.
Japanese firms seek investment opportunities in Can Tho
Can Tho city attracted the largest number of Japanese businesses who came to the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) in Ho Chi Minh City to learn about the investment environment in Vietnam’s southern provinces and cities, a JETRO official has said.
Chief Representative of JETRO HCM City Hirai Shinji told Can Tho’s leaders during a working session on October 29 that the Japanese firms wanted to study the city’s infrastructure and incentives for investors, as well as local businesses and customers.
Statistics unveiled that in 2018, nearly 3,100 Japanese businesses came to JETRO HCM City to get information about the investment climate in southern cities and provinces, he said.
Truong Quang Hoai Nam, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the city is calling for investment in projects on building industrial parks and smart urban areas, and constructing and operating logistics centres, as well as others on education, health care and personnel training.
Can Tho has considered Japan its strategic partner, he said, adding that apart from common support for foreign investors, those from Japan will be provided with cleared land and infrastructure connectivity.
Nam informed his guests that the city has continuously improved administrative services while investing in infrastructure to meet the demand for housing, entertainment, health care and transport of Japanese businesspeople and experts in the locality.
He cited the launching of direct flights from Can Tho to Japan in 2020 and the upcoming operation of Vinmec international hospital in the city, along with other projects like an international golf course and the approved project on Can Tho – HCM City high-speed railway.
For his part, Shinji said JETRO HCM City will provide information about Vietnamese localities for Japanese firms in the most rapid and accurate way, and help to introduce more Japanese investors to Can Tho./.
Vietnam Airlines launches direct route to China’s Hainan province
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines officially has opened a new direct route connecting Ho Chi Minh City and Haikou city in China’s southern province of Hainan.
Its first flight coded VN688 on the route landed at Meilan international airport in Haikou city on October 28.
Hainan authorities said this is the 7th international air route of the Meilan international airport put into operation this year.
Vietnam Airlines would operate four flights on the route per week, using Airbus A321 aircraft.
Flights depart from HCM City at 22.45pm on Thursdays and Sundays, and from Haikou at 2.45 pm (local time) on Mondays and Fridays.
According to Chinese media, HCM City is the largest city of Vietnam and is considered as “Paris of the Orient”.
The opening of the direct flight between Haikou and HCM City will create favourable conditions for passengers from both countries to travel between China and Vietnam.
Reportedly, more flights from the Meilan international airport to Busan city of the Republic of Korea and Hanoi of Vietnam are scheduled to be opened in 2019, towards building Hainan into an airport connecting the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean./.
Hau Giang’s waste-to-energy plant expected to be operational in 2020
The first 6MW turbine of a new waste-to-energy (WTE) plant in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang will start generating commercial electricity in December, 2020, according to Greenity Hau Giang Company.
The second 6MW turbine is scheduled to be put into operation four years later, doubling the plant’s capacity, said Greenity Hau Giang Deputy Director Ha Nhu Y at a meeting with the provincial People’s Committee on October 28.
The company has so far completed environmental impact assessment and electricity metering, Y said, adding that the firm is waiting for the provincial authority to approve the 1/500 detailed plan for changing the project from the initial waste treatment factory to WTE plant and grant permit for the construction of the WTE plant.
According to the provincial Department of Investment and Planning, the WTE plant covers an area of 23 hectares in Hoa An commune, Phung Hiep district. It is designed to use about 200 tonnes of waste per day for power generation. The project has a total investment of nearly 270 billion VND (11.6 million USD).
However, Greenity Hau Giang has failed to keep the project’s progress on schedule and been warned that the project would be suspended if the progress is not improved./.
First Vietnam Economic Forum held in Seoul
The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Newsis news agency held the first Vietnam Economic Forum in Seoul on October 29 to popularise business opportunities.
The event drew over 400 Korean delegates, including leaders of government agencies, parliament, leading groups and financial institutions.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang said the RoK is now the largest investor, the second largest tourism and bilateral development cooperation partner, and the third largest trade partner of Vietnam.
With over 66 billion USD worth of total registered capital, Korean firms are playing an active role in key economic sectors in Vietnam such as apparel, electronics, infrastructure, energy, automobiles, aerospace, finance-banking, and logistics, the official said.
He noted that the Vietnamese Government will prioritise projects using advanced and clean technology, giving high added values and linking with the global supply chain.
On the occasion, Thang chaired a dialogue with representatives from more than 20 Korean enterprises interested in doing business in Vietnam and responded to their suggestions in the fields of energy, transportation, infrastructure and processing industry.
While in the RoK from October 28 – 29, Thang held a working session with Chairman of the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises (KBIZ) Kim Ki-mun.
Both sides discussed orientations to foreign investment attraction and agreed to build a cooperation mechanism between the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the KBIZ.
The Vietnamese official also held working sessions with Chairman of the Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative Kim Sil-gil and leaders of Hanwha and LG groups to talk opportunities in energy, agricultural machinery, aerospace, among others./.
Agro-forestry-fishery exports generate over 33 billion USD
The agro-forestry-fishery sector raked in 3.6 billion USD from exports in October, raising the total export revenue in 10 months to 33.18 billion, rising 1.6 percent from the same time last year.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), forestry products were the best performers in the period as they brought home 9.04 billion USD, up 18.8 percent year on year and accounting for 27.2 percent of the total volume shipped abroad.
Strong growth was seen in the export of rubber (up 5.6 percent), tea (14.3 percent), cinnamon (32 percent), and rattan (40.6 percent).
In stark contrast, shipments of key agricultural products dwindled 7.4 percent to 15.25 billion USD, and those of seafood dropped 2.4 percent to 7.06 billion USD.
The ministry said a strong decrease in export price of several agricultural products like cashew, pepper, rice and coffee was the main factor leading to the fall in the revenue in the period.
Vietnam sold 2.3 billion USD worth of fruits and vegetables in the 10-month period, decreasing 1.3 percent from the same time last year. Most of the exports were destined to China where authorities have tightened regulations on chemical residue, food safety, and package material requirements.
China remained the largest importer of Vietnamese agricultural products as it made up 26.8 percent of the market share, followed by the US (21.7 percent), the EU (11.9 percent) and ASEAN (10.3 percent).
The MARD has forecast shipments of farm produce will face tough seas in the coming time, sparked by global trade slowdown and increasing trade barriers from the Chinese market.
The ministry will keep close watch on market development, and give detailed evaluation on Chinese policies on official exports and temporary imports for re-export at border gates.
Besides working with competent ministries and sectors to accelerate negotiations so as to stabilise traditional markets while seeking potential ones, the ministry will support local businesses to take full advantage of the signed free trade deals./.
Diverged deposit rates in Vietnam’s banking system to persist in next 6 months
The Hanoitimes - The issue was due to pressure from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) looking to upgrade the whole banking system’s safety level under the circumstance of downward risk on global economic growth.
Diverged deposit rates in Vietnam’s banking system are predicted to persist at least in the next six months, particularly with wide-spread gap of the discriminated advantages of large-cap and small-cap banks as the latter conventionally deal with the liquidity issue, according to Viet Dragon Securities Company (VDSC).
The issue was due to pressure from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) looking to upgrade the whole banking system’s safety level under the circumstance of downward risk on global economic growth.
Mid- and small-cap commercial banks have been setting higher long-term deposit rates applied to normal deposits or certificates of deposit for the last twelve months. There are familiar names, including Sai Gon Bank, VietCapital Bank, NamABank, CBBank, VietABank, among others, in the extended list. In general, most of them are small-cap and pressured to raise long-term deposits to fulfill the requirement of SBV.
The issue is popular in economies like Vietnam and China where there is a significant government intervention, stated VDSC.
In China, there has been interventions from the People Bank of China (PBOC) in Baoshang, Junzhou and Hengfeng banks in the first eight months of 2019. Investors questioned the creditworthiness of such weak and small bank. Immediately, the interbank funding markets became strained and the spread between the funding costs of weak and strong banks widened from an average of 16 basic points to 90 basic points. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), these events underscore several vulnerabilities in Chinese financial system.
Firstly, liquidity, funding and solvency risk. Regional small-cap banks relied on wholesale funding and held a large share of risky assets. A low capital and weak profitability make such banks more vulnerable when the economy slowdown.
Secondly, interlinkages between banks, nonbank financial institutions, and investment vehicles. Banks that rely on funding through certificates of deposit are also investors of investment vehicles or certificate holders of other issuers. They introduce circularity and interconnectedness that amplify the transmission of shocks.
Thirdly, maturity mismatches. Commercial banks issue and rely in short-term and less diversified funding sources while investing in long-term projects, including credit to government’s projects.
All of them warns of liquidity risks and these banks’ tier-1 capital ratio will decrease as the policymakers deliver their tight regulation. From this point, it is not hard to figure out the similarity between Vietnam’s and China’s banking system. In Vietnam, small-cap banks are struggling to raise deposits while 5 years ago, the SBV bought three commercial banks by VND0. Currently, these under supervision banks still suffered losses and the restructure process is incomplete.
In the 8th meeting of the 14th National Assembly, the SBV’s Governor Le Minh Hung said that the bank was actively looking for local and foreign strategic partners to restructure these loss making credit institutions.
Currently, South Korean financial institutions are leading players in Vietnam’s M&A market as their money is poured into most of sectors, including banking, securities and insurance. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that South Korean institutions acquire Vietnamese struggled banks’ stakes.
However, before the success of the deals, the SBV is in charge of handling these banks and stabilizing the financial system. The current policy rate cut, dragging interbank rates down, has positively supported the short-term liquidity and make the borrowing/lending rates stay calm on average. But, it is a temporary solution and the divergence of deposit rates is still on the way for at least next six months.
Vietnam’s solid economic fundamentals continue to attract overseas investors: Baker McKenzie
Vietnam recorded 58 M&A deals in 2019 worth US$2.6 billion, lower than the number of deals in 2018 but with higher value (122 transactions worth US$1.9 billion).
Vietnam’s solid economic fundamentals continue to attract overseas investors, while cross-border acquisitions will dominate M&A deals in coming years, according to Baker McKenzie’s latest report “Global Transactions Forecast 2020”.
The report forecast Vietnam’s GDP growth to continue to ease over the next 18 months from 6.7% in 2019 to 6.3% in 2020 and 6% in 2021, mainly due to the fact that export growth trends lower amid cooling Chinese import demand and increased global protectionism.
However, the country’s average GDP growth in the 2019 – 2022 period, projected at 6.2%, remains higher than the global average at 2.8%.
“Vietnam remains active in M&A right now, due to positive market factors and confidence that help create business opportunities as well as multilateral agreements that continue to prompt regulatory reform,” Seck Yee Chung, who heads Baker McKenzie’s M&A practice in Vietnam, said in the report.
In 2019, the largest M&A deal was US$1-billion investment from South Korea’s SK Group in Vietnam’s major privately-run conglomerate Vingroup, followed by a 15% stake acquisition in state-run Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) by South Korea’s Hana Bank worth US$850 million.
Overall, Vietnam recorded 58 M&A deals in 2019 worth US$2.6 billion, including 17 domestic deals and 41 involving foreign investors.
In 2020, the number of deals is expected to reach 55 with total transactions of US$1.7 billion, and the number of cross-border deals continue to dominate the Vietnam’s M&A market with 36 or 65% of the total number.
By 2021, the M&A transactions could rise to US$2.8 billion and US$3.4 billion by 2022, in which the number of deals to increase to 98 and 119 in the 2021 – 2022.
Baker McKenzie pointed to 10 transaction attractiveness indicators of Vietnam, in which the openness level of the economy ranked as best performer at 10 out of 10 maximum score. Other indicators such as government effectiveness, money supply and ease of doing business were in range of six to eight points, while the lowest point was given to GDP per capita.
Export turnover of Vietnamese farm produce to South Korea remains low
Every year, South Korea imports lots of agricultural products, however, Vietnamese farm produce merely accounts for 6 percent as the prices of Vietnamese products are still fairly high while the quality is uneven. In order to increase exports, Vietnamese enterprises need to cooperate with South Korean ones to together resolve entanglements in regulations.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, total agricultural imports in 2018 of South Korea was US$35.2 billion, of which, Vietnamese agro-foresty-aquatic products merely accounted for nearly 6 percent. Bilateral trade between Vietnam and South Korea from 1992 to 2018 was 132 times higher, from $500 million to more than $66 billion, and is aiming for $100 billion in 2020. However, Vietnam has always seen trade deficit as the country had trade deficit of nearly $32 billion from South Korea last year; in the first half of this year, Vietnam exported $9.1 billion to South Korea and imported $22.5 billion, trade deficit of more than $13 billion.
Korean people favor agricultural and aquatic products of Vietnam. It is the condition to promote export of agricultural products to South Korea in order to reduce trade deficit. After the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed, several agricultural products have received tariff reduction, such as seafood and agro-forestry products and market has been opened for garlic, ginger, honey and sweet potato. Besides five kinds of fruits, consisting of coconut, pineapple, banana, mango and dragon fruit that are allowed to import by South Korea, Vietnam need to promote export of potential products, including coffee, chili, garlic, rice, shrimp, frozen fish, cabbage, German turnip and tomato.
Why do the volume of Vietnamese farm produce imported into South Korea remain at modest level? Mr. Hong Sun, vice chairman of the Association of South Korean Enterprises in Vietnam, said that it is difficult for South Korean enterprises to look for Vietnamese partners who have the capacity to produce products that meet standards set by importers.
Especially, quality and price are the main issues. The volume of Vietnamese products imported into South Korea is not high as their prices fail to compete with those of other countries, including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Mexico. According to Mr. Hong Sun, Vietnamese Government should give support in building brand names for agricultural products.
As one of the enterprises which are investing in raw material areas in Vietnam to export to South Korea, Mr Son Sung Hoon, CEO of CJ Vietnam, said that enterprises need to build stable sources of raw material with quality meeting standards of South Korea at first as if initial raw materials fail to meet standards, finished products will not be able to be exported. In order to do that, enterprises must constantly cooperate with farmers to timely tackle weakness in technique, quality as well as production. In addition, two government must both adjust tariffs so as to increase competitive edge against other countries.
In Vietnam, raw material areas currently are fragmented. The Government need to have more policies to build large-scale raw material areas in order to ensure material sources, creating an agriculture that meets standards for export. With such farming method, the cost prices of Vietnamese products might be able to compete with other countries. Especially, enterprises should improve capacity and awareness in understanding regulations of the market and supervise every stage in the whole production chain.
In order to increase export turnover, deputy minister Tran Thanh Nam of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that it is necessary to establish regular market information channel for enterprises and head to establish the association of Vietnam-South Korea agricultural enterprises in order to build raw material areas that qualify export standards. The Agricultural Products Processing and Market Development Department will collaborate with the Association of Korean Enterprises in Vietnam to organize training courses, increase trade promotion, build raw material areas and establish cooperation mechanism between authorities, enterprises and farmers to ensure the entire supply chain. At the same time, quality control agencies should always update and popularize regulations of South Korea on food safety control and guide farmers to build safe foundation in accordance with regulations of Vietnam and South Korea.
On average, Korean people consume 200 kilogram of vegetables per person per year and 60 kilogram of fruits per person per year. Mr. Le Thanh Hoa, deputy head of the Agricultural Products Processing and Market Development Department, said that there is still room for agricultural exports of Vietnam. In 2018 alone, South Korea imported 8,446 tons of vegetables and fruits but only 304 tons of vegetables and fruits were from Vietnam; 5,045 tons of seafood but only 647 tons of seafood were from Vietnam; and 3,825 tons of forestry products but 795 tons were from Vietnam.
Number of visitors to Mekong Delta provinces sharply increases
The People’s Committee of Kien Giang Province said that since the beginning of this year the province has held several events to advertise tourism, promote investment and carry out tourism projects in order to attract more tourists to the province.
Up to now, the province has welcomed more than 6.86 million local and foreign visitors, meeting 82.7 percent of this year’s plan, an increase of 12.5 percent over the same period last year, with total revenue of more than VND6.2 trillion, up more than 35 percent. Of which, Phu Quoc Island alone has received more than 3.9 million visitors with total revenue of VND5.7 trillion.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nguyen Khanh Hiep, director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of An Giang Province, said that in the first nine months of this year, tourism spots in the province have been visited by nearly 8.4 million tourists, an increase of nearly 4 percent over the same period last year. Total revenue from tourism activities was estimated at VND4.7 trillion, up 17 percent. Ba Chua Xu Temple on Sam Mountain, Cam Mountain, Tra Su Cajuput Forest, President Ton Duc Thang Memorial Zone and Sap Mountain in Thoai Son District are the places that attracted visitors most.
In Can Tho City, in the first nine months of this year, tourism industry also greeted more than 7 million visitors, up 4.2 percent over the same period last year, with total revenue of more than VND3.39 trillion, up 15 percent over the same period last year.
Mr. Ngo Quang Tuyen, deputy head of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Dong Thap Province, excitedly shared that since the beginning of this year, the province welcomed more than 2.8 million tourists, up 12 percent. Of which, foreign visitors were 70,000 people, an increase of 49 percent. Total revenue from tourism activities was more than VND700 billion.
At the present, authorities in Dong Thap Province along with travel agencies and business households have been zealously preparing activities in order to attract more tourists to the province in the last days of this year and during the upcoming lunar New Year. The province planned to welcome around 3.9 million visitors this year with total revenue of more than VND1 trillion.
According to Mr. Ly Thanh Sang, director of Cam Mountain Cable Car Tourism Zone, the company has been promptly upgrading and expanding the tourism zone so as to timely put it into operation at the beginning of next year to serve entertainment demand during the upcoming festive season.
Protecting brand names to keep export market share
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the US currently is the largest export market of Vietnam. Up to now, export turnover to the US market has exceeded US$45 billion, an increase of more than 28 percent over the same period last year.
Vietnam is also among top ten largest exporters to this market. However, on the contrary to being one of largest exporters to the US market, the number of Vietnamese goods with brand names having been registered and protected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is limited. At the present, only 1,938 Vietnamese brand names have been registered with the USPTO, of which, 1,090 brand names are existing.
Meanwhile, other countries are behind Vietnam in terms of export turnover to the US market but their number of registered brand names is much higher than that of Vietnam. For instance, Taiwan has 33,820 registered brand names; Singapore has 10,811; and Malaysia has 2,690.
This shows that raw material export of Vietnamese goods to the US market remains quite popular. On the other hand, Vietnamese enterprises have not paid much attention to building brand names as well as registering for brand name ownership protection.
The Vietnamese commercial counsellor in the US said that by not focusing on investing in Vietnamese brand names will lead to the risk that Vietnamese exporters lose their brand names in the US market. In fact, many famous brand names of Vietnam were registered by enterprises of other countries in the US market. If export enterprises want to get back brand names, it will cost them lots of time, effort and expenses. There were cases in which enterprises must spend lots of money to buy back their own brand names at high prices or to sue to get back their brand names. Or they even have to use another brand name in the US market.
Obviously, trade mark is considered to be an important asset of enterprise, attaching to market. Losing trade mark means that enterprises lose that market. Therefore, it is crucial to protect brand names not only in domestic market but also at any market that enterprises have exported goods or intend to export goods to. Registering for intellectual ownership protection in general and for brand name protection in particular will help enterprises to safely approach market as well as avoid unhealthy competition so as to protect their brand names and market shares.
Mon Hue fails to pay debts
Mon Hue Restaurant Co., Ltd, has failed to pay its debts to its suppliers by October 28 as committed, with some suppliers claiming to have received only half or a quarter of the committed amounts, while others have yet to receive any payments.
Mon Hue had earlier promised to pay VND200 million out of a total debt of VND3 billion to a supplier between October 25 and 28, but it has transferred only VND100 million.
Another supplier has received only VND50 million though Mon Hue had committed to paying it VND100 million.
Most suppliers were anxious as they could not contact the managers of the restaurant chain. They wanted representatives of Mon Hue to meet with them and take responsibility for paying off the debts.
Regarding the news that a supplier wanted to acquire the chain and cooperate with other suppliers to resume the restaurant chain’s operations, some suppliers said they were willing to cooperate with the new owners if they have plans to settle existing debts.
The supplier actively seeking to acquire Mon Hue eateries told Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper that she needs to work with Huy Vietnam Group Limited, the parent company of Mon Hue Restaurant Co., Ltd, and other investors first.
Over the next 10 days, if she is unable to contact Huy Vietnam, she will seek the advice of attorneys.
Huy Vietnam has closed a series of Mon Hue eateries, a major Vietnamese restaurant chain with some 100 outlets nationwide, over the course of a month due to being heavily steeped in debt.
As of October 27, Mon Hue was indebted to 60 investors in HCMC, Hue and Hanoi by nearly VND40 billion.
These investors are completing procedures to sue Mon Hue Restaurant Co., Ltd. They noted they would sue Huy Nhat and his partners, including Ngo Thi My Hanh, managing director of the restaurant chain, for alleged irregularities in transactions and possible fraud.
New perspective for Danang’s real estate
When investors are concerned about their return in real estate, developers who offer less-riskier properties with a prime location, international quality design, and a prestigious management brand can win widest confidence.
Earlier this month, PPC An Thinh Danang JSC (PPCAT) signed a deal with the nation’s leading real estate sales agents, who are confident in selling the 1,186 apartments of Nimbus tower, the second phrase of Wyndham Soleil Danang.
After the success of Ethereal, the first skyscraper in the central city of Danang and which boasted 882 apartments, Nimbus is to be its heir, built at the four-tower complex of Wyndham Soleil and ideally situated nearby My Khe Beach. As PPCAT’s maiden luxury residential and hotel development, the complex will stand 57-storeys at its tallest point and will consist of hotel rooms, serviced-apartments, conference facilities, restaurants, and retail spaces.
With poetic views of the East Sea, the complex developer expects it to be an outstanding addition to the city’s architectural landscape as well as a magnet for both tourists and investors.
“The construction of Nimbus will be completed in the second quarter of 2022. This timeframe is a challenging but achievable target for us to complete a building scaled at three times more than a regular hotel,” said Nguyen Thi Minh Phuong, deputy general director of PPCAT.
Phuong noted while many developers had begun to sell their properties right after they completed construction of basements, PPCAT has a consistent philosophy of focusing on quality of the building before launching the sales to market.
With the vision of this development to replace other symbols of Danang to attract tourists to visit and experience the destination, this building is also meant to satisfy worldwide investors, who are seeking opportunities to step in Vietnam’s most livable city as their second homes.
Vietnam’s coastal locations are a magnet for international tourists thanks to a tropical climate and 3,000 kilometre-long beautiful coastline. Among them, Danang is the red-hot property market because of its proximity to famous World Heritage sites such as Hoi An, Hue, and My Son Holy Land.
In addition, Danang is home to one of the six most beautiful beaches in the world, My Khe Beach. In the first nine months of 2019, the city hosted around 7,173,500 visitors, an increase of 18.4 per cent, of which nearly 2,811,800 of them were from outside the country.
Economic expert Dinh The Hien explained that investors from the North had outnumbered those from the South because northerners had a more-diversified investment portfolio.
“They are eager to invest in areas in the South which are far from their hometowns. Especially, they are more interested in famous tourist destinations where they can find luxury tourism property projects developed by prestigious developers and high potential for long-term return,” said Hien, adding that northern investors avail themselves of every investment opportunity. Meanwhile, southern investors are more intent to closeout following inspiration.
Despite the different attitudes, they both acknowledge real estate is the most profitable channel to invest in Vietnam. “Over past years, investment in property has been more profitable for investors than investing in other channels,” Hien said. “But nowadays, many of them are changing investment strategies, shifting from high-profit but risky products to long-term return and safe products.”
Instead of investing in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where real estate prices are cooling down, affluent investors have begun to pour money into second-home serviced apartments or villas in so-called newer cities where the markets are more young and fresh. The second home can help to generate a stable investment return and become the sweet escape for them to enjoy a luxury lifestyle away from a life swamped with work.
“This is a trend in many developed countries. Therefore, second-home properties in well-known tourist destinations are being hunted by wealthy investors,” said Hien.
Hien said investing in condotels could generate high return but also make investors suffer huge losses if they failed to choose the right development. Therefore, he advises investors to place attention on risk reduction before making any investment decision, by accessing advantages of hotel-apartment projects including location, market demand, and the reputation of the developer and operation.
“In my perspective on investment, I prefer a less-risky project. This means the return may be low, but the risk of loss is minimum. Therefore, I will choose to invest in a project with clear legal status and high liquidity,” said Hien, adding that Wyndham Soleil Danang is a wise option.
Hien explained with the advantage of strategic location, international quality construction, and management carried out by prestigious brands, Wyndham Soleil Danang promises to be a prominent resort property in the most livable city. PPCAT acknowledged the concerns of investors so that it also took cautious steps before launching the first Wyndham five-star to the nation.
“Building a 50-storey building near the sea with unique architecture is not an easy thing. We have worked hard on research to design and build a tower not only at the highest safety but also ensuring connectivity and harmony with the sun, wind, and the sea,” said PPCAT’s Phuong.
She cited the standard of wall-bearing construction and fireproof doors that are implemented, at two times higher than set requirements. PCCAT also supervised every detail of the project by itself during the construction process.
“The luxury class and quality of the project can be evident in the involvement of the world-leading brands in design, management, and equipment at the building. We want to ensure the customer service capacity and operation in the building are optimised, enhancing the satisfaction of residents,” she continued.
When the criteria of location and quality have been resolved, the involvement of a reputable management and operation brand will help to operate the development effectively and reach the return expectations of investors.
In Vietnam, Wyndham now manages 19 hotels and resorts nationwide, including Wyndham Garden in Hanoi, which is also developed by PPCAT.
As a member of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Wyndham Soleil Danang (Ethereal Building) will connect to 77 million loyal members of Wyndham Rewards who can be its guests in the future.
In addition to having Wyndham as the Hotel Manager, PCCAT reveals that customers who own the next buildings developed after Ethereal can decide to operate their own apartments in the most effective manner.
“I think this is a project offering new experience to customers. It is not just the best project, but a product for people to invest in for the experience of their family. They can manage their own building autonomously and effectively,” said Phuong.
Danang currently lacks high-quality projects, which will lead to an increase of new developers, as investors are continuously interested in the highly-profitable potential in this market. Instead of focusing merely on profits, only projects which differentiate themselves from the rest in unique designs, prime locations, and outstanding quality services like Wyndham Soleil Danang can ensure for a high long-term return for investors.
EuroCham in Vietnam recognizes best European businesses
Almost 400 business leaders, investors, ambassadors, and diplomats gathered last week for the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) Gala Dinner and Business Awards.
The prestigious event brought together high-level representatives from the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, and embassies and consulates of EU member states.
The highlight of the 2019 European business calendar also attracted some of the largest multinational enterprises in all sectors and industries, including BNP Paribas, VinFast, PVI Insurance, Pernod Ricard, Shire Oak International, Mazars, and Sanofi.
EuroCham Chairman Mr. Nicolas Audier welcomed guests to the Gala and introduced the event’s two high-level speakers: Mr. Tran Vinh Tuyen, Deputy Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, and the new Head of the EU Delegation and EU Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Giorgio Aliberti.
EuroCham now represents over a thousand members in Vietnam and recognized some of its most successful enterprises with five business awards at the Gala Dinner. More than 50 companies entered the contest, and after careful deliberation a panel of independent judges chose B. Braun as the winner of the evening’s top award for “Business Excellence”.
The award for “Best Entrepreneur” went to Archetype, one of the largest construction consultancies in Asia-Pacific. Tetra Pak, the packaging and processing provider founded in Sweden, won the award for “Best Sustainable Business Initiatives” for its work to reduce the environmental impact of its operations.
The award for “Best Green Business” was presented to two companies - the Caravelle Hotel and Boydens Engineering - for their strong contribution to green business solutions. Meanwhile, the award for “Best New Business” went to Spanish craft beer producer Tê Tê.
“The fact that hundreds of European business leaders gathered together for this event shows just how far Vietnam has come as an attractive destination for foreign trade and investment,” said Mr. Nicolas Audier, Chairman of EuroCham. “It also shows how much European enterprises have contributed to the country and its economy, epitomized by our five Business Award winners.”
“Now, with the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement signed and soon to enter into force - following upcoming votes in the European Parliament and the National Assembly - more innovative, successful, and sustainable European companies will follow in their footsteps and establish operations in this fast-growing market.”
Aeon Vietnam opens General Merchandise Store and Supermarket Aeon Ha Dong
The General Merchandise Store and Supermarket Aeon Ha Dong is to open in November, marking Aeon Vietnam’s fifth outlet in the country.
Lifestyles have changed dramatically in Vietnam given its economic development. To adapt to such changes, Aeon will offer a variety of new products and services to respond to customer needs and support them to enrich their daily lives.
Its fruit, vegetables and fresh food area offers diversified and safe products at reasonable prices. In the produce corner, there will be organic, GLOBAL GAP-certified, and VietGAP-certified fruit and vegetables. On the daily food floor will be a wide range of ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products that help customers save time. There will also be a lineup of local specialty products as well as Japanese grocery products, daily products, and daily commodities.
The DELICA area, which has over 250 seats, provides an extensive menu to meet the tastes of all generations with multiple choices of Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine, together with over 300 kinds of sweets and drinks, not only coffee, ice cream, and cakes but also traditional Vietnamese and Japanese desserts.
The Glam Beautique Specialty Store will be launched for the first time in Hanoi, selling beauty and healthcare products and combined with the “Aeon Wellness Store”, with premium cosmetics. There will also be exclusive Aeon products, such as the skin care brand “GLAMATICAL” and “TOPVALU” supplements.
Kids Republic is a sales area with products for Mom & Dad, babies, and for kids with the theme “Fun for the Family”. Not only a place for enjoying shopping with a wide selection of products, it also supports families with children through playing and learning activities.
With Aeon’s philosophy of providing assurance and winning the trust of customers through its retail business activities in keeping with its view that “Everything we do, we do for our customers”, Aeon commits to offering an outstanding shopping experience with convenient services and facilities.
Located in Duong Noi ward, Ha Dong district, Hanoi, Aeon Mall is operated and managed by Aeon Vietnam. According to Aeon leaders, it is expected that Aeon Mall Hai Phong will open in 2020 and 20 other shopping malls will be built in Vietnam by 2025.
In 2018, the total value of goods Aeon exported from Vietnam to sell in supermarkets in Japan reached about $250 million and this is expected to double to $500 million by 2020. Vietnam has a lot of potential to become a quality food supplier to Japanese consumers, with the figure to reach $1 billion by 2025.
FLC Group & Samsung Vina sign strategic cooperation deal
The FLC Group and Samsung Vina signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement on October 28 in Hanoi on exploiting and optimizing the product and service ecosystem of both parties.
Products from Samsung’s technology ecosystem such as air conditioners, electronics, household appliances, digital door locks, and Smart Home solutions will be provided to real estate projects invested by or cooperating with the FLC Group. Samsung will prioritize the use of FLC’s services such as hotels, resorts, entertainment - golf, and aviation to enhance the experience and comfort of employees and partners.
The two sides will also coordinate to develop preferential sales and after-sales policies for each other and promote both brand images through the media efforts of both.
“We believe that with this strategic cooperation agreement, Samsung and FLC will work closely together to create meaningful real estate projects for the future to enhance the experience of Vietnamese customers,” said Mr. Suh Kyung Wook, General Director of Samsung Vina.
Mr. Trinh Van Quyet, Chairman of the FLC Group, expects that by having a strategic partner like Samsung, the real estate, resort, and aviation ecosystems of FLC and Samsung’s technology ecosystem will support each other effectively and develop sustainably together and bring great values to society and Vietnam.
FLC has had strengths in the real estate industry in Vietnam for many years through outstanding projects such as FLC Sam Son, FLC Quy Nhon, FLC Ha Long, and Bamboo Airways Tower. Applying intelligent technology from Samsung will make a difference and provide advantages when introducing FLC’s products to customers. FLC aims to build a complete ecosystem with diverse products and services, meeting the needs of the community and society.
Samsung Vina has innovative ideas and technologies in TVs, smartphones, tablets, digital home appliances, networks, memory cards, semiconductor technology, and LED solutions. It is committed to providing technological values to society and partners.
US companies seeking investment opportunities in Hanoi
The Ministry of Planning and Investment’s (MPI) Foreign Investment Agency and US-based strategy and capital advisory group The Asia Group have led a delegation of over a dozen senior executives from US corporations to Hanoi to explore investment opportunities.
They inlude Morgan Stanley, Acorn International, General Dynamics, Nue Capital LLC, BlackRock’s Asian Credit, Lockheed Martin International, Smart City Works, Google, Columbia University, and USTelecom.
The delegation will have an intimate cocktail reception in Hanoi today evening, hosted by The Asia Group. This reception presents an excellent chance to meet with US executives and investors and to explore opportunities for partnership and collaboration.
The group has arranged for this high-level delegation including senior executives from major US corporations and investment funds, as well as former senior government officials to travel to Hanoi to meet with Vietnamese government officials and Vietnamese private sector executives as they consider opportunities for investment or expansion in the market.
The Asia Group is a leading consulting and strategic advisory firm with a successful track record of advancing US-Vietnamese commercial relations across many sectors, including finance, tech, real estate, and defence.
As of October 20, Vietnam had 973 valid investment projects from the US registered at $9.26 billion, according to statistics from the MPI.
Vietnam is one of the most dynamic and exciting growth markets in the world. Its demographics paint a clear picture of its future potential: tens of millions of talented and hard-working Vietnamese are entering the workforce and large global corporations are setting up shop to take advantage of the country’s desire to become a hub for innovation and a stable destination for complex supply chains and manufacturing.
As trade tensions between the world’s largest economies are pushing globalised firms to diversify manufacturing operations into new markets, Vietnam has become a leading destination for those looking to capitalise on its well-educated, low-cost labour pool. Even before tensions between the United States and China threatened to rupture regional supply chains, forward-looking international investors and multinationals were drawn to Vietnam’s strategic location and favourable demographics. Add in a rapidly growing middle class and rising domestic consumption, and it’s easy to understand the country’s appeal.
In the decade since Vietnam’s accession to the WTO, the country has made significant steps towards shifting to a modern, market-led economy, and Vietnamese people have reaped the rewards. Incomes have more than tripled from around $700 to nearly $2,400, and the broader economy has averaged at over 6 per cent annual growth, quickly expanding as Vietnam became an integral part of Asian supply chains. From a baseline of textiles and simple household goods, Vietnam has now matured into a robust manufacturing base for mobile phones, computers, and complex electronics components, as well as a regional leader for tech startups.
In 2018, the Vietnamese economy expanded by an impressive 7.1 per cent, and it is expected to nearly match that at 6.8 per cent growth in 2019. Expansion in the services and value-added manufacturing sectors is lifting wages and supporting a fast-growing middle class with increasingly sophisticated tastes and demands for consumer goods. The country’s strong fundamentals are expected to keep growth strong in the near-term, but Vietnam has an even greater prize within reach if it can implement an intelligent and business-friendly regulatory regime to unlock the tremendous potential of the digital economy.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ambitiously called for Vietnam to seize the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution to supercharge the country’s economic development. His support of an innovative and entrepreneurial domestic private sector has set the stage for rapid development of the country’s digital economy and has put Vietnam at the forefront of regional high-tech development. Indeed, growth in the digital economy has been remarkable, with revenues doubling to $2 billion over the last two years.
The government of Vietnam and its people stand at a historic moment: now is the time to attract American companies seeking to invest in the local markets, streamline bureaucratic procedures to create the efficient decision-making that companies require and ensure a level playing field for foreign businesses. American companies and investors are bullish on Vietnam’s future – now is the time to invest and act.