VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 31

Vietnam posts US$7 billion trade surplus in 10 months

Vietnam is estimated to reach an import-export revenue of US$427.05 billion in the first 10 months of 2019 and a trade surplus of US$7 billion during the period, the General Statistics Office (GSO) announced on October 29.

During the 10-month period, the export revenue was reported at VND217.05 billion, up 7.4% compared to the same period in 2018. The domestic economic sector has gradually asserted its position and posted an export revenue of US$66.63 billion, up 16.2% over the same period last year, accounting for 30.7% of Vietnam’s total import-export revenue.

Meanwhile, the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector (including crude oil) had an export revenue of US$150.42 billion, up 3.9% over the corresponding period last year and accounting for 69.3% of Vietnam’s total import-export revenue in the 10-month period.

In the January-October period, the total import revenue of Vietnam was estimated at US$210 billion, up 7.8% over the same period in 2018.

Vietnam also saw 29 types of goods with the export revenue exceeding US$1 billion each which made up 91.2% of the total export revenue. In the meantime, 32 types of goods posted an import revenue of over US$1 billion each.

The US continues to be the largest exporting market of Vietnam with an export revenue of US$49.9 billion, up 26.6% compared to the same period last year. The EU market came in second with an export revenue of US$34.2 billion, down 1.9% over the same period in 2018.

Meanwhile, China is the largest importing market of Vietnam, followed by the Republic of Korea, ASEAN and Japan.

Vietnamese durian strives for winning Aussie market



For the first time, Vietnamese durians are widely introduced in Sydney, drawing many Australian consumers to come and try the fruit.

Australia has been witnessing a growing population of durian lovers. They mostly consume the fruit from Malaysia and Thailand as the countries have managed to build their durian brands. The same tactic should be applied for the Vietnamese fruit to win the choosy yet potential market.

According to Vietnamese Consulate General in Australia, Aussie people’s warm welcome for other Vietnamese fruits signal a great potential for durians.

Vietnam Trade Office in Australia said it would strive for building a strong brand of Vietnamese durian following the roadshow./.

Large number of enterprises resume operations

As many as 7,247 enterprises resumed their business activities in October, three times higher than the previous months and up 109.9% over the same period in 2018, the General Statistics Office has announced.

October also saw the establishment of more than 12,000 enterprises with total registered capital of VND143.6 trillion and 94,700 registered workers, up 3.4% in terms of number of enterprises, up 2.5% in terms of registered capital and down 3% in terms of number of workers compared to September 2019.

In the January-October period, 114,400 enterprises registered for establishment, up 4.4% over the same period last year, and 34,900 enterprises returned to their operations, up 24.8% over the same period in 2018.

The average registered capital of a newly established enterprise reached VND12.5 billion in the first 10 months of 2019, an increase of 23.1% compared to the same period last year.

In the first 10 months of 2019, 1,700 newly established enterprises registered to operate in the agricultural, forestry and aquatic sector, accounting for 1.5% of the total number of newly set up enterprises.

Meanwhile, 30,700 enterprises specialise in the industrial and construction sector, accounting for 26.8%, and 82,000 enterprises operate in the service sector, occupying 71.7% of the total number of newly established enterprises.

Vietnam’s overseas investment hits nearly US$412 million

Total foreign investment by Vietnamese companies in the first ten months of 2019 was estimated at US$411.9 million, according to the General Statistics Office.

Detailed data showed licenses were granted to 128 new projects worth US$311.9 million while an additional US$100 million was pledged to 28 existing projects.

Investment in wholesale, retail and motor vehicle repairs was estimated US$110.7 million, accounting for the largest share of Vietnam’s total overseas investment during the January-October period, at 26.9%.

Agricultural investment came second at US$65.6 million while investment in scientific-technological activities ranked third at US$59.4 million. Investment in property trading was US$57.9 million.

During the reviewed period, Vietnamese companies invested in 30 countries and territories, with Australia being the largest recipient at US$140.6 million, followed by the US and Spain at US$61.5 million and US$59.8 million, respectively.

Index of Industrial Production rises 9.5% in January-October

Vietnam’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) saw a year-on-year increase of 9.5% in the January-October period, according to latest updates from the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Of which, the processing and manufacturing industry recorded growth of 10.8%, contributing 8.3 percentage points to the industry’s growth.

Meanwhile, the mining sector increased 1.2%, contributing 0.2 percentage points, electricity production and distribution rose by 9.9%, contributing 0.9 percentage points; and water supply and waste treatment saw growth of 7.2%, contributing 0.1 percentage points.

However, some industries experienced slight growth or even declines in the IIP, such as electronics, computers and optical devices, tobacco, and services in support of the mining industry.

Some major industrial products which achieved high production growth in the first ten months included raw iron and steel (42.8%), oil and gas (33.2%), televisions (16.4), and mobile phones (13%).

In October alone, the country’s IIP expanded by 2.9% as compared with the previous month and up 9.2% year-on-year.

PM approves Dung Quat I and III combined cycle gas turbine power projects

The Prime Minister has approved the investment policy for two combined cycle gas turbine power plant projects - Dung Quat I and Dung Quat III - in central Quang Ngai province.

Investment in the construction of the two projects is to provide a stable source of electricity for the central region’s electricity grid, contributing to ensuring energy security and safety of electricity supply for the network and synchronization with the Blue Whale Gas Project. Each project has a capacity of about 750MW.

Both have been implemented synchronously with the gas supply schedule of the upstream project under the Blue Whale Gas Project. The Dung Quat I combined cycle gas turbine power plant is expected to get underway in January 2021 and begin commercial operations in December 2023, with total investment (preliminary) of VND18.66 trillion ($806.7 million).

Dung Quat III is expected to commence in January 2022 and be put into operation in December 2024, with total investment of VND17.5 trillion ($755.7 million).

Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) contributed 20 per cent of investment capital and a commercial loan for the remainder.

The Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade to direct the investor to carry out the upstream project to clarify the composition of gas and gas parameters to ensure the progress and efficiency of investment of the whole Blue Whale Gas Project.

At the same time, the Ministry needs to inspect, supervise, and direct EVN in selecting the configuration of the set to ensure the capacity and efficiency of investment and clarifying the technological issues of the two projects, especially the combined gas turbine technology when the plant uses gas with low calorific value and high inert gas content exploited at Blue Whale.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will support and guide the Quang Ngai Provincial People’s Committee in allocating and leasing land and permitting changes to land use purposes to implement the two projects in conformity with master plans on land use, which have been approved by competent authorities in accordance with the Land Law; support and guide EVN in completing documents and implementing procedures on environmental impact assessments for the projects in accordance with the Law on Environmental Protection; and evaluate and approve environmental impact assessments to meet the schedule for investment project approval.

The Prime Minister assigned the Committee for State Capital Management at Enterprises to direct investors on implementing the subsequent steps in investment preparation and construction investment at the two projects under current regulations, ensuring targets, progress, and investment efficiency are met and safety in the course of construction and operation of works is ensured.

The Committee for State Capital Management at Enterprises will check, supervise, and clarify EVN’s capital mobilization according to the project implementation process, and on that basis direct EVN to formulate financial plans for project implementation, ensuring investment efficiency and efficiency in using, preserving, and developing State capital in accordance with law.

The Prime Minister also asked the Quang Ngai Provincial People’s Committee to be responsible for the contents of project file appraisals, check the financial capacity of the investor to ensure it is eligible for land allocation, land lease, and conversion of land use purposes to carry out the project according to the schedule and the provisions of the Law on Investment and the Land Law.

EVN is responsible for information and data in the project file, the efficiency of project investment, using, preserving, and developing State capital in accordance with the law, and organizing implementation and project management in accordance with the law.

RoK retains position as Vietnam’s leading source of FDI

Among the 74 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, the Republic of Korea is the biggest foreign investor with a total investment of US$2,752.9 million during the first ten months of the year, accounting for 21.5 per cent of all newly-registered capital, according to the General Statistics Office.

Following the RoK, China is the second largest foreign investor in Vietnam with US$2,115.6 million, trailed by Singapore (US$1,839.8 million), the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China (US$1,639.1 million), and Japan (US$1,630.8 million).

From early this year to October 20, the country draw 3,094 newly-licensed projects capitalized at more than US$12,833 million, up 25.9 per cent in terms of the number of projects, and down 14.6 per cent in the registered capital against the same period last year.

Throughout the reviewed period, the newly-registered and additionally foreign capital suffered a drop of 15.2 per cent to US$18,302.4 million on-year while US$16.2 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) was disbursed for the 10-month period, up 7.4 per cent.

Vietnamese businesses poured nearly US$311.9 million abroad in 128 newly-licensed projects during the reviewed period, bringing the country’s overseas investments, including newly- registered and additional capital, to US$411.9 million.

Most overseas investment focused on the wholesale, retail, automobile, and agro-forestry-aquatic sectors.

Among the 30 countries and territories that receive investment from the nation, Australia was the largest recipient with US$140.6 million, followed by the United States (US$61.5 million) and Spain (US$59.8 million).

First Vân Đồn-Đà Nẵng route starts on Friday

The first ever route between northern Vân Đồn District and central Đà Nẵng City will officially open on November 1, with a frequency of three round trips per week.

Vietnam Airlines will carry passengers between the destinations Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The flight will take off from Đà Nẵng at 14h35 and from Vân Đồn at 16h35. It is the first route from Đà Nẵng to Vân Đồn and the second domestic route at Vân Đồn International Airport, after the HCM City - Vân Đồn route.

For the launch, passengers will enjoy a special promotion with tickets starting from VNĐ199,000 (US$8.5) one way excluding taxes and fees. This promotion is for passengers who buy tickets between October 25 and November 10, 2019 and applies to flights departing from November 1 to December 31, 2019.

In addition to the preferential fares, passengers traveling to Quảng Ninh via Vân Đồn airport are entitled to other incentives including: free two-way bus Vân Đồn-Hạ Long; free tickets to Hạ Long Bay and tickets to Yên Tử; discount ticket for entrance to one of the three parks in Sun World Halong Complex with a 50 per cent discount on group fares and 20 per cent discount regular fares.

Since December 30, 2018, the airport, the first private one built by Sun Group, has operated 1,610 flights including nearly 100 international flights between Vân Đồn and Shenzhen, Hunan (China) and Incheon (South Korea). Most recently, it operated the first flight from Shanghai to Vân Đồn on October 21. The total number of passengers passing through Vân Đồn airport to date is of more than 212,065.

Phạm Ngọc Sáu, director of Vân Đồn International Airport, said the official opening of the new route will contribute to the growth of trade and tourism of the two major tourism centres of Quảng Ninh and Đà Nẵng. The two markets with the highest growth in tourism in the country have great demand for aviation services.

Sáu said: “We will continue to study and welcome new routes from Hainan, Nanning and Guangzhou (China), Japan, Bangkok (Thailand) to Vân Đồn. In the domestic market, Vân Đồn will continue to expand to Phú Quốc.”

Under the 4E airport standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the airport can accommodate all modern aircraft in the world. With the terminal capacity of 2.5 million passengers per year, it expected to expand to five million passengers by 2030.

The airport also helps Quảng Ninh achieve its goal of 15 to 16 million passengers, including seven million international visitors by 2020, and 30 million passengers, including 15 million international visitors by 2030, respectively. By doing so, it will help the province‘s tourism become a key economic sector, making Quảng Ninh an international tourism centre.

Since opening at the end of 2018, Vân Đồn, located at Đoàn Kết Commune, Vân Đồn District, has won the title of "Asia's Leading New Airport 2019" at the World Travel Awards.

First collaboration of Singapore fintech and innovation week to kick off in November

The Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) and Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH) will work together this year to organise a showcase of innovative technologies to encourage business transformation.

The combined event, named SFF x SWITCH, taking place from November 11-15, will focus on five key sectors, including advanced manufacturing and engineering, urban solutions and sustainability, health and biomedical sciences, services and digital economy and fintech.

SFF is the world’s platform for the fintech community to connect and collaborate, while SWITCH is an international platform that enables the confluence of global tech ecosystems. Both events drew nearly 55,000 delegates from 130 economies in 2018.

The collaboration this year will feature a conference and exhibition, competitions, deal-making platforms and workshops which aim to create a cross-country platform for greater exchange and learning, deepening of tech capabilities, synergistic application of resources and partnership development for commercialisation.

The Slingshot event, which is a deep tech start-up competition, will be held during this event. The top 100 global start-ups will be invited to Singapore to pitch their ideas live at the competition finale from November 11-13.

One Vietnamese start-up BusMap will take part in this competition. BusMap is a platform for public transportation services that supports commuters in Việt Nam with more than two million lookups each month.

The event is hosted by Monetary Authority of Singapore, Enterprise Singapore and National Research Foundation, in partnership with SingEx Holdings.

Forestry exports expected to beat 11 billion USD in 2019

Robust signs since the outset of the year have made the timber and forestry sector confident of gaining 11 billion USD in export revenue in 2019, beating the target of 10.5 billion USD.

Director General of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry Nguyen Quoc Tri said on October 29 that the export value of forestry products has risen 18.8 percent year on year to over 9 billion USD.

For the first time the sector won a contract worth more than 1 billion USD in October, he said, adding that foreign countries have high demand for interior and exterior wooden products towards the end of the year.

Vietnamese forestry products are present in over 120 countries and territories, with key markets including the US, Japan, China, the EU and the Republic of Korea. Export revenue to those countries is estimated at 7.81 billion USD, accounting for 86.6 percent of the sector’s total.

Regarding wood materials for processing, Tri said about 16.55 million cubic metres of wood were exploited from planted forests from January-October, accounting for 85 percent of the yearly plan, and up nearly 7 percent from the same time last year.

The materials met some 75 percent of the forestry processing sector’s demand, he added.

Also in the period, the country planted over 175,500 hectares of forest land, making up 82.7 percent of the target for the whole year. However, the work was only equivalent to 98.8 percent of the amount recorded in 2018 due to prolonged drought.

This year, the sector has been entrusted to raise forest coverage to 41.85 percent./.

JLL Vietnam reveals key quality drivers for integrated developments

Real estate consultancy notes key factors for developers to consider for sustainable integrated developments.

Looking at recent projects launched in Vietnam, according to JLL Vietnam, it can be seen that integrated large-scale projects continue to dominate the residential markets in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and satellite provinces.

This trend has become more obvious as numerous new residential developments carry the word “city” in their names, including Swan City, Empire City, Celadon City, Aqua City, and so on.

JLL identified the “city within the city” residential concept, commonly referred to as large-scale integrated developments, as an upcoming trend in a previous blog two years ago. This urban form has grown in popularity as developers seek to attract buyers with holistic, well-planned communities within a city for those who wish to avoid the chaos created by rapid urbanization and lagging infrastructure in shared facilities.

Nowadays developers taking part in city planning have to carefully understand the fundamentals of city planning in order to create sustainable value for their large-scale projects.

Developer considerations for sustainable integrated development

JLL reveals some factors that developers should take into consideration for their sustainable integrated developments. The first is planning traffic and transport infrastructure, which is crucial for large-scale developments.

With growing motor car ownership in Vietnam, congested roads and lack of parking space will spur demand for functioning traffic solutions. Sufficient parking, integrated access to surrounding roads, and public transport will become key selling points that will enhance the development’s value.

Secondly, as the size of developments grows, sensible space planning for various functions and building scales has become a challenge for developers. To achieve convenient, functional and diverse quality public spaces, careful consideration of city planning aspects is mandatory.

Lively street frontage, plazas, sidewalks, and a scaled building arrangement will lead to sustainable and sought-after neighbourhoods, thus ensuring sustained value. Careful phasing should be considered to ensure the sense of completion of each component of each neighbourhood. A good example of this was seen in the Phu My Hung NUA project, where “green” walls were used to separate completed buildings from those under construction.

Thirdly, developers must create and maintain public facilities. One key attraction for large-scale projects is the public facilities within the development. Facilities such as public parks and sports stadiums help attract buyers but can be costly to maintain down the road.

Therefore, developers should raise awareness among buyers regarding potential maintenance costs and how it would be in their interest to fund these costs to safeguard the value of their properties.

The fourth is teaming neighbourhoods with shared facilities. For projects that benefit from existing public facilities, it is critical for developers to differentiate their developments’ internal facilities and create a sense of identity for their projects. A key method would be to harmonize the ratio between the number of users and shared facilities including pools, gyms, and children’s playgrounds to ensure the long-term value of the development.

Finally, a diverse and inclusive living environment is necessary. The beauty of any large-scale development is the ability to offer a diverse range of housing types to various groups of potential buyers. While each building should be custom-designed for a specific group, the overall living environment should still be in harmony.

Vincom Retail reports higher Q3 profit, but core sale drops sharply

Property developer Vincom Retail JSC (HoSE: VRE) has reported its post-tax profit in the third quarter rose 29 per cent year-on-year to VND717 billion.

However, the company recorded its revenue fell a quarter to VND2.2 trillion in the third quarter from last year’s figure.

Q3 revenue fell because the company did not record the sale of any large-scale projects in the past quarter, it said in the statement on Monday.

Sales of property units dropped about 77 per cent year on year to only VND339 billion in the last quarter.

Meanwhile, the lease of property units and services increased by 29.3 per cent compared to 2018 to VND1.8 trillion, offsetting the drop in sales.

After nine months, Vincom Retail earned VND6.5 trillion in combined revenue, up 6 per cent year-on-year.

Post-tax profit rose 15 per cent yearly to VND1.97 trillion in the nine-month period.

The company shares, listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, edged up 0.5 per cent to close Tuesday at VND32,600 per share.

Its shares have lost about 12.6 per cent since its one-year high of around VND37,300 per share.

As of September 30, Vincom Retail owned VND37.6 trillion worth of total asset and VND28 trillion worth of equity capital.

Meanwhile, Vinhomes JSC (HoSE: VHM) – another property development unit of Vingroup JSC, announced its Q3 revenue jumped nearly 58 per cent yearly to VND10.9 trillion.

Gross profit soared nearly 154 per cent yearly to VND6.76 trillion in the past quarter. Pre-tax profit increased by 1.5 times to VND7.62 trillion.

According to the company, sales of property projects and services at Vinhomes Skylake, Vinhomes Ocean Park, Vinhomes Smart City and Vinhomes Star City contributed to the soaring earnings.

In the January-September period, Vinhomes recorded total revenue surged 68 per cent year-on-year to VND37.6 trillion.

Financial revenue, which mainly comes from profit distributed from co-developed projects, fell to VND7.7 trillion from VND11 trillion recorded in last year’s nine months.

Pre-tax profit in the period rose 41 per cent year on year to VND21 trillion.

At the end of September 2019, the company recorded VND161.6 trillion and VND63.5 trillion worth of total asset and equity capital.

 

Vinhomes shares went up 1.9 per cent to end Tuesday at VND87,600 per share.

Its shares have gained total 14.3 per cent since June end.

The parent group of both companies – Vingroup JSC (HoSE: VIC) – has not yet released its Q3 earnings report.

Gelex Electric buys 30 million shares in ceramics firm

Gelex Electrical Equipment Co Ltd (Gelex Electric) has bought 30 million shares in ceramics firm Viglacera, completing 75 per cent of its purchasing target.

The member of the Vietnam Electrical Equipment Corporation (Gelex) had registered to buy 40 million shares from Viglacera’s shareholders from October 3-14.

Through the purchase Gelex Electric has raised its ownership in Viglacera to 87.1 million shares (19.43 per cent stake) from 57.1 million shares (12.74 per cent stake).

The shares fetched VND21,100 (US$0.91), valuing the deal at VND630 billion ($27 million).

Viglacera shares are listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange as VGC. The stock slid 0.3 per cent to end Tuesday at VND19,050.

Its shares have swung between VND18,700 and VND20,000 share over the past two months.

In the first nine months of the year, Viglacera earned VND7.4 trillion in total revenue and VND611.6 billion in post-tax profit.

MBS plans to issue five covered warrant codes

MB Securities Co (MBS) plans to issue five covered warrants that will mature in mid January and late April next year.

The five underlying stocks are steel producer Hoa Phat (HPG), Phu Nhuan Jewellery JSC (PNJ), Techcombank (TCB), logistic firm Gemadept (GMD) and dairy company Vinamilk (VNM).

The first three covered warrants will mature on January 17 and 22, 2020 at respective rates of 2:1, 5:1 and 2:1.

The two others will mature on April 28, 2020 at the rate of 3:1 and 10:1.

Techcombank’s covered warrant is codded CTCB1901 and will debut on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on October 30. It will mature on January 17, 2020.

A total 37 covered warrants have been traded on the market since the market launch on June 28.

SSI Securities Corp (SSI) has issued the highest number of covered warrants with 13 codes, followed by KIS Vietnam Securities Co with 12.

Finding ways to boost coffee exports

As coffee exports dropped in both volume and turnover in the first nine months of this year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said improving product quality and brand development are key for coffee export growth.

Coffee exports reached 1.26 million tonnes, valued at US$2.17 billion, down 12.5 per cent ​​in volume and 20.9 per cent in value compared to the same period last year.

To get Vietnamese coffee into foreign distribution systems, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said it would implement the scheme to help Vietnamese enterprises participate in overseas distribution networks by 2020, aiming to bring Vietnamese coffee directly into foreign markets.

One of the activities includes programmes to connect overseas Vietnamese enterprises in Thailand, France, Germany and Australia with domestic businesses, using overseas networks to help Vietnamese coffee enterprises study export markets.

Communication about the quality of Vietnamese coffee is expected to contribute to its consumption in supermarkets in foreign markets.

Sharing his experiences on exports in the coffee industry, Tran Tan Thien, director general of Hello 5 Coffee Joint Stock Company, said Vietnamese coffee exporters should improve the quality of their products to the world-level, not regional.

“By doing so, Vietnamese businesses exporting coffee will have better access to the EU, US, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean markets,” he told Thoi Bao Kinh Doanh (Business Times).

“This requires Vietnamese enterprises to always set the criteria to go further when the coffee market is growing fast and fiercely competitive,” he added.

Enterprises also needed to choose their target markets, he advised.

The director general noted that coffee exports coffee needed to adapt quickly to international e-commerce channels such as Amazon, Alibaba and Baidu.

The world market was aiming at safe, green and good production for consumers, which was an opportunity for businesses producing safe coffee, he added.

“Enterprises should also choose existing regional advantages,” Thien said.

Ha Nam receives big investment projects

The influx of foreign investment to northern provinces such as Ha Nam is increasing, helping these localities become the next investment destinations after Ha Noi.

FDI inflows into northern provinces

In May 2019, Teijin Group, a wholly-Japanese invested enterprise, was licensed by Ha Nam Provincial People's Committee to invest in a US$12 million project in Dong Van III Industrial Park. The project produces carbon fibre for the aerospace, automotive, plastic engineering, healthcare and sports industries.

Teijin operates in the field of manufacturing high-quality carbon fibre and plastic for automobiles, aircraft, medical equipment and sports businesses in the US, Japan and Europe. Teijin currently has 163 subsidiaries worldwide.

Previously, Yokowo, another wholly-Japanese invested firm specialising in assembling and manufacturing communication equipment for motor vehicles, and many other companies from Japan and South Korea, also chose Ha Nam for their production facilities.

In Ha Nam province, there are currently 82 Japanese enterprises and 108 South Korean enterprises. Of them, many are making profits such as Honda Vietnam Co Ltd, Sumiden Fine Conductors Co Ltd, NMS Co Ltd, and Seoul Semiconductor Vina Co Ltd.

In the past 10 years, the flow of foreign investment into Ha Nam has been increasing, helping the locality quickly become the next investment destination after Ha Noi.

According to real estate consulting firm JLL, in the future, with many manufacturers shifting production to countries outside of China, Viet Nam will become one of their new choices, especially in the key industrial cities of the northern region.

Ha Nam has an industrial land fund, abundant and skilled labour force, guaranteed security and synchronous infrastructure system.

Industrial park network

In a recent interview, Nguyen Mai, Professor and Chairman of Viet Nam's Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises, said that Viet Nam has been effectively attracting foreign investment capital and quickly granting procedures thanks to the Investment Law. In addition, the State management agencies and the Government also provides a lot of incentives for foreign enterprises when investing in Viet Nam.

According to JLL, the industrial market in the northern region still has enough land for investment needs. Moreover, new land supply from the subsequent stages of existing industrial parks and newly built industrial parks also provides more options for investors.

Ha Nam has eight industrial parks approved by the Government soon to be in place, of which the latest is Dong Van III Industrial Park with a scale of 168.41 hectares and investment of VND1.27 trillion.

Ha Nam industrial zones can meet long-term development requirements of businesses. From 2016 to September 2019, industrial zones in the province have attracted 170 projects, of which 68 per cent are foreign-invested projects (FDI).

In the first eight months of 2019, Ha Nam attracted 66 projects. The total newly registered capital was $304.2 million.

In addition to the advantages of geographical location and human resources, the policies to attract investment of Ha Nam are implemented synchronously, especially with the strong commitment from authorities.

Employee-centric culture essential in the digital age

The future of work and business as well as workforce management in the digital age will be discussed at an upcoming HR event in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Vietnam HR Awards Forum 2019, geared towards both major players and potential entrepreneurships, will offer the most insightful and crucial information not only for HR experts but also CEOs and business leaders alike.

Returning to Ho Chi Minh City this year under the theme Entering Tomorrow Today, the forum aims to highlight the new playground, new rulebook, and new players’ insights and skillsets needed to be future-ready and stay ahead of the changing game.

The exclusive event also brings together 2018’s recognised Vietnam HR Awards winners, spearheading case studies and success stories in their business development and transformation journeys. Companies such as Mobile World Investment, Fushan Technology, and Unilever Vietnam will be part of a panel discussion on how they are reinventing their business models and processes to take advantage of new possibilities, and create an agile, thriving workforce for the future.

Melissa Nguyen, country head of Customer Solutions at Google Vietnam and Thailand, will be one of those to share in-depth insights and perspectives at the forum. At a previous event, Talentnet’s Business Innovation Showcase 2019 in June, Nguyen explained what sets Google apart from other companies in the field.

Google has been long known as one of the most sought-after companies to work for, named as tech company with the best corporate culture, and also a consistent top-ranker on Fortune’s list of Best Companies to Work For.

According to Nguyen, the difference is its huge focus on company culture and commitment to improving its employees’ experience. At Google, “people operations” is seen as the core of the company, the one area that connects and facilitates all other departments. Creating an environment that brings out the best in the employees and enables them to reach their full potential has become Google’s philosophy. More to the point, the way a company treats and leads their internal workforce will be reflected on the customers’ experience towards their services, products, and solutions.

Sharing the same sentiment with Nguyen, Talentnet CEO Tieu Yen Trinh said, “As many organisations harness the benefits of digital transformation and automation, one area that has become a point of focus is the pursuit of an employee-centric culture. Placing a high value on employees creates a culture where employees feel valued, empowered, and energised to contribute their best. This translates into higher productivity, better customer service, and stronger financial results.”

Where to begin the change is also a lingering question for businesses. Raymund Chua, another leader who will address the Vietnam HR Awards Forum 2019, is the man who formulates this change for the better. With a master’s in human resource management, and as certified solution-focused coach, Chua has more than 30 years of experience working across various industries.

To Chua, organisation in the digital age should be both consumer-centric and employee-centric. “It is not a situation of choosing one over the other. The digital age provides us with the platform to do things in parallel. Like Vietnamese bánh da lợn cake, the digital age allows us to work on several strategies simultaneously, one layer on top of the other,” he shared.

Fostering the employee-centric culture can feel daunting to HR leaders, especially in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. However, there are several straightforward steps that can be taken to start transforming the workplace. “We should not fear the changes but rather embrace them,” Chua added. “Change is never natural, and employees should be brought to the forefront, supported and trained along the journey. Every organisation must have a strategic focus on excellence.”

Outstanding startup projects to compete at SURF 2019

Individual investors and investment funds at home and abroad will gather at Danang Startup and Innovation Festival 2019 (SURF) on November 1 in Danang City to watch the competition between eight startup projects chosen to enter the final round of SURF Pitching Competition 2019.

These projects include Botstar - an automated dialogue tool representing businesses that interacts with potential and existing customers; Easy Salon - offering spa and salon solutions; MultiGlass – a smart contact device; and Agridential.vn – a blockchain-based traceability service platform.

In preparation for the final round, the eight teams have joined a training bootcamp from October 29 to 31, under the coaching of Bobby Liu, senior director of Topica Edtech Group.

The potential startups and other participating businesses will be introduced to the startup community to seek investment.

This year’s event will be attended by 30 speakers and experts, including foreign investors such as Jan Lederman, president of Canadian Valhalla Private Capital; Dominic Mellor from ADB Ventures; and Peter Vesterbacka, founder of SLUSH, the largest startup and technological event in the world.

Meanwhile, local speakers will be economic expert Nguyen Dinh Cung; Pham Duy Hieu, acting general director of An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank; and Nguyen Manh Dung, director of CyberAgent Capital.

They will share startup experiences and lessons with the local startup community.

SURF 2019, co-hosted by the Danang Department of Science and Technology, the Danang Startup Council and the Da Nang Business Incubator, will include a main session on startups; three symposia on information technology, agritech and tourism; the startup pitching competition; and exhibition activities.

Schindler inaugurates VND190 billion hi-tech plant in Nha Be

Elevator manufacturer Schindler Vietnam has invested US$8 million, or VND190 billion, in a hi-tech factory in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park in HCMC’s outlying district of Nha Be, which it put into operation today, October 29.

The 10,000-square-meter facility will manufacture brackets, beams and related accessories for elevators and escalators. It features a 4,600-square-meter production zone.

Manager of the factory Duong Quy Suu said that with its modern equipment and workforce of 80 employees, the plant is likely to produce 150,000 products a month.

The plant is outfitted with state-of-the-art machinery, including laser cutting machines, CNC machines and a shot blasting machine, Suu said, adding that Vietnam is viewed as a potential market for the expansion of the firm.

Its capacity is set to triple in the next five years to meet the demand of the local market and others such as the United States, Australia, Southeast Asia and Europe.

Schindler’s long-term investment in Vietnam’s production system indicates its desire to develop the elevator market in the country to meet the rising demand among domestic and international customers, said the representative of Schindler Vietnam.

Apart from its production activities, the new facility is designed to save energy and minimize waste, he added.

Founded in Switzerland in 1874, Schindler Group started its operations in Vietnam in 1996. In 1998, its first factory was built in the country, located in Binh Chieu Industrial Park in Thu Duc District, HCMC.

Many lenders report high credit growth

A large number of commercial banks have posted high growth rates of outstanding loans, at roughly 30% between January and September this year.

VnEconomy newspaper reported that 22 out of 29 commercial banks had released their financial reports for the third quarter of this year.

As many as six banks have already exceeded the usual outstanding loan growth rate of 14%.

Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) and Vietnam International Bank posted the highest rates of 28.4% and 28.2%, respectively.

In addition, Orient Commercial Bank and Tien Phong Bank had their rates at 20.7% and 20.4%, respectively.

By contrast, An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank was the only lender that recorded a negative growth rate of 0.1%.

The remaining banks reported credit growth rates of less than 14%. These included two major lenders, the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam at 12.1% and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam at 8.6%.

Outstanding loans among credit institutions are expected to edge up by 4.85% in the fourth quarter and expand by 13.61% this year, according to a survey published by the Monetary Statistics and Forecasting Department, under the State Bank of Vietnam, in September.

Apart from credit growth, capital mobilization in the banking sector is predicted to rise by 4.39% in the fourth quarter and 13.06% this year, down 0.42 percentage point compared with the previous prediction.

As of September 24, credit growth was recorded at 8.64% and capital mobilization rose by 9.03% against the figures seen in early 2019, according to the central bank.

AFD finances EUR 24.2 million for Se San 4 solar power plant construction

A credit agreement for the construction of Se San 4 solar power plant worth EUR 24.2 million has been inked between theViet Nam Electricity (EVN) and the French Development Agency (AFD).

The solar power plant, with the designed capacity of 49 MWp, will be built in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai. The AFD will sponsor the whole project’s EPC (Engineering, procurement and construction) value.

Besides Se San 4 solar power project, AFD has pledged funding the construction of Ialy Hydropower Plant Expansion project and the establishment of electricity grid in the South serving the clearance of renewable energy sources without Government guaranty.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Deputy General Director of EVN Nguyen Xuan Nam said that the EVN appreciates the sponsor and cooperation of the AFD in arranging loans without Government guaranty for power projects amid the public debt ceiling and the Vietnamese Government tightening and tending to completely stop providing guarantees for EVN's power projects.

The AFD is a public financial institution that implements the policy defined by the French Government. It provides non-refundable aid and loans for State organizations and enterprises with the aim of reducing emissions and climate change adaption.

At present, the AFD is the first and sole sponsor that supplies loans without Government guaranty for the EVN to launch power projects.

The first loan without Government guaranty of the AFD is to fund US$100 million for building Houi Quang hydropower plant, which was signed in 2010.

Thai Binh economic zone master plan ratified

The Prime Minister has approved the Thai Binh economic zone master plan in the northern province of Thai Binh till 2040, with visions toward 2050.

The plan aims to maximize the natural conditions and location in connecting economic, trade and service with neighboring areas, develop economics in line with ensuring national defense, security and preserving and upholding the value of marine ecosystems, historical and cultural relics in the region.

The Thai Binh economic zone will become a complex and multidisciplinary economic zone, giving priority to developing industries that can take advantages of the region’s potentials in fields of natural gas and resources and connecting with other economic zones and industrial parks in the Red River Delta.

The economic zone heads to promote the development of agricultural and aquaculture sectors as well as develop urban, service and tourism.

Thai Binh economic zone, located on the area of 30,583 ha, includes 30 communes and one town in the districts of Thai Thuy and Tien Hai.

By 2040, functional areas of the economic zone will be built on the area of 21,000 ha and is home to 300,000 people with the proportion of urbanization of 70%.

Environmental-friendly industries will be developed in the economic zone, including key industries of high-tech industry, manufacturing, automobile and motorbike production and assembly, garment, gas exploitation and processing, harbor logistic service, agricultural and aquaculture processing, food, beverage, health equipment, pharmacy, rubber and plastic products, building material and other commodities.

Vietnam asks Thai SCG to speed up US$5 billion petrochemical project

Long Son Petrochemical Complex plays a significant role in supporting other sectors.

Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung last week asked Thailand’s SCG Group to accelerate the construction of a petrochemical complex project which cost an investment of US$5.2 billion.

Long Son Petrochemical Complex (LSP) is expected to serve the operations of many sectors, so the early completion and operation will make a great contribution to the development of relevant industries in Vietnam, Dung told Roongrote Rangsiyopash, Chairman and CEO of SCG Group – the investor of the project.

Roongrote Rangsiyopash said the investor has fulfiled 24% of the construction progress, 2% later than the given plan.

Initial investment for this project is about US$3.7 billion and SCG is finalizing procedures to raise the investment to US$5.2 billion soon, the CEO said.

LSP is scheduled to be put into operation by the end of 2022.

Located in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, the complex is positioned as Vietnam’s first integrated petrochemical complex to produce a total annual capacity of 2 million tons of olefins (high-density synthetic fibers), polyetylen, and ploypropylen.

Kicked off in 2008 by a joint venture between SCG, Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), and Qatar Petroleum, the project came into a stall due to global recession. In 2015, the Qatari partner withdrew and SCG bought its stake in 2017.

In 2018, SCG also bought PetroVietnam’s 29% stake to become the sole owner. The project was resumed in February 2018.

The complex is designed to produce various petrochemical products, including essential plastic materials such as polyethylene, polypropylene, and other products in excess of 2 million tons per year, enabling it to substitute the import of polyolefin products, according to the Vietnam Investment Review.

 
 

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