VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 15

RoK airline to launch route to Nha Trang in December

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 15
An aircraft of Air Seoul (Photo: Yonhap news agency)


Budget carrier Air Seoul Inc., announced on October 8 that it will open a new route to Nha Trang coastal city of the south central province of Khanh Hoa in December as it diversifies its routes, reported the Yonhap news agency.

Air Seoul is wholly owned by the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Asiana Airlines Inc.

Starting December 18, Air Seoul plans to offer seven flights a week to Nha Trang as it strives to strengthen services on routes to Southeast Asia to offset declining demand on Japanese routes, the company said in a statement.

Since early July, RoK airlines have halted or reduced services on their Japanese routes, while expanding flights on non-Japanese ones after the neighbouring country implemented export restrictions of key materials to the RoK./.

Banks forecast strong performance despite credit slowdown

Most domestic credit institutions and foreign banks’ branches in Vietnam expect their business performance in 2019 to be better than last year despite the predicted slowdown in credit growth, according to the State Bank of Vietnam's latest survey released late last week.

In the survey, which covered all domestic and foreign banks in the country, some 91 percent of credit institutions forecast their pre-tax profits in 2019 to grow against last year, whereas 3 percent expected them to remain unchanged.

A majority of the credit institutions participating in the survey stated that their business performance in the third quarter had improved significantly, compared with the previous quarter.

Up to 82.3 percent of credit institutions expect their fourth-quarter business results to be better than those seen in the previous quarter, according to the survey.

According to the survey, liquidity in terms of both the Vietnamese dong and foreign currencies of the banking system by the end of the third quarter remained good. A total 55 percent of banks expected the positive trend would continue for the rest of the year.

According to the survey, outstanding loans at banks are expected to edge up by 4.85 percent in the fourth quarter and expand by 13.61 percent this year. The predicted credit growth for 2019 is a bit lower than the 14 percent target set by the SBV.

Apart from credit growth, capital mobilisation in the banking sector is forecast to rise by 4.39 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 and 13.06 percent this year, down 0.42 percentage point compared with the level in the previous survey conducted in June this year.

The central bank’s recent report showed that as of September 26, credit growth was recorded at 8.64 percent and capital mobilisation rose by 9.03 percent against the figures seen in early 2019.

Aside from this, the survey found that demand for loans will continue its upward spiral, higher than the demand for payments, cards and deposit accounts.

Accordingly, some 68-73 percent of credit institutions expect the demand for banking services to surge for the rest of the year.

Notably, the survey showed the resolution of non-performing loans (NPL) at banks has shown positive signs, with 27.6 percent of banks reporting their NPL ratio declined in Q3 and 28.9 percent expected a drop in Q4. The rates are higher than 27.4 percent and 26.9 percent in the previous survey conducted in June this year.

The survey also indicated that many banks saw a reduction in credit risk in the third quarter./.

Hai Duong province boosts cooperation with neighbouring Bac Giang

The northern province of Hai Duong has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on expanding cooperation with the neighbouring province of Bac Giang during the period from 2020 to 2025.

Under the deal, signed at a conference held by the Party Committees of the two provinces in Hai Duong's Chi Linh city on October 5, the two sides committed to boosting partnerships across the fields and assisting each other in tapping their potential and advantages for mutual development.

Specifically, the two provinces will share experience in developing clean and hi-tech agricultural production, including the building of a brand name for lychee, which is grown on large areas in both localities.

They will look for ways to increase transport connectivity, listing some projects such as a road connecting the special national relic site of Con Son – Kiep Bac and Thanh Mai Pagoda of Hai Duong with the West Yen Tu relic site and Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Bac Giang; the Dong Viet bridge connecting Hai Duong’s Chi Linh city and Bac Giang’s Yen Dung district; and the upgrade of some sections and Cam Ly flyover on National Highway 37.

The two sides reached consensus on strengthening collaboration in stopping illegal sand mining, and in protecting water resources in rivers.

Hai Duong and Bac Giang also planned to work together to build tourism products and connect tourism destinations in the form of “two localities, one destination,” with a focus on linkages between the Con Son – Kiep Bac, Thanh Mai Pagoda, the West Yen Tu relic site and Vinh Nghiem Pagoda. They will coordinate with Quang Ninh province to complete the dossier of the Complex of Yen Tu Monuments and Landscape, with the aim of seeking UNESCO recognition of the complex as a world natural heritage site.

The two provinces are to collaborate closely in protecting political security and social order and safety, and fighting all types of crime.

According to Hai Duong People’s Committee, the province collected over 11 trillion VND (nearly 475 million USD) for the State budget, and earned 5.5 billion USD from exports in the first nine months of this year. Three districts and 191 communes in the province have so far been recognized as new-style rural areas./.

Hanoi to host first Vietnam Festival Media & Design

The first Vietnam Festival Media & Design will be held in Hanoi on November 1-17 to honour Vietnam’s culture and creativeness.

The event will be organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS) in collaboration with RMIT Vietnam University, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and partners.

The organising board said at a press conference on October 8 that more than 30 events will be held during the festival, including fashion shows, an exhibition showcasing media and design students’ creative projects, an art tour, a startup and innovation workshop and a conference on future of Vietnam’s innovative education.

Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Vietnam Michael Croft described the festival as an important event, especially after Hanoi decided to apply to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

The festival will become a channel to connect partners and annual initiatives, while helping build development platform in the fields of media and design and introduce applicable initiatives to other cities, he added.

Meanwhile, VICAS Director Bui Hoai Son believed that the festival will raise public awareness of the importance of creative activities and innovative education in Vietnam.

Besides, he said the event is expected to make great contributions to realising the strategy on developing Vietnam’s cultural industries by 2020 with vision until 2030./.

Hanoi to host first Vietnam Festival Media & Design

The first Vietnam Festival Media & Design will be held in Hanoi on November 1-17 to honour Vietnam’s culture and creativeness.

The event will be organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS) in collaboration with RMIT Vietnam University, the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and partners.

The organising board said at a press conference on October 8 that more than 30 events will be held during the festival, including fashion shows, an exhibition showcasing media and design students’ creative
projects, an art tour, a startup and innovation workshop and a conference on future of Vietnam’s innovative education.

Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Vietnam Michael Croft described the festival as an important event, especially after Hanoi decided to apply to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

The festival will become a channel to connect partners and annual initiatives, while helping build development platform in the fields of media and design and introduce applicable initiatives to other cities, he
added.

Meanwhile, VICAS Director Bui Hoai Son believed that the festival will raise public awareness of the importance of creative activities and innovative education in Vietnam.

Besides, he said the event is expected to make great contributions to realising the strategy on developing Vietnam’s cultural industries by 2020 with vision until 2030./.

Sacombank’s profit up 89.5 percent year-on-year

The Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank)’s pre-tax profit hit 2.491 trillion VND (102.21 million USD) in the first nine months of this year, a year-on-year rise of 89.5
percent, the bank reported.

Its assets were worth 450.2 trillion VND (19.4 billion USD), up 10.9 percent since the beginning of the year.

It had deposits of nearly 408.9 trillion VND (17.6 billion USD) at the end of September and outstanding loans of more than 290.9 trillion VND (12.5 billion USD), year-on-year increases of 14.4 percent and 13.1 percent respectively.

Sacombank’s revenue sources continued to grow steadily during the period. Total net revenue grew 36.5 percent year-on-year to 10.86 trillion VND, with net interest income accounting for 7.41 trillion VND, an increase of 34.1 percent.

Other areas also saw impressive growth, with earnings from services and foreign exchange trading growing by 21.1 percent and 35 percent to 2.13 trillion VND and 422 billion VND./.

Japan continues to be largest market of Vietnamese workers

Japan remained the largest market for Vietnamese guest workers in the first nine months of 2019, according to the Department of Overseas Labour under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA).

In January-September, the total number of Vietnamese employees working abroad was 104,615, including 35,815 female workers, reaching 87.2 percent of the yearly target.

Japan received the largest number of Vietnamese workers with 53,610, including 20,250 females, followed by China’s Taiwan 41,174, the Republic of Korea 5,898, Romania 1,103, Saudi Arabia 817, Macau 324, and Malaysia 304.

Deputy head of the Department of Overseas Labour Nguyen Gia Liem said Taiwan and Japan are traditional labour export markets of Vietnam.

Japan is the most potential at present thanks to good wages and numerous opportunities for skilled workers, he added.

In 2018, close to 70,000 Vietnamese workers went to work in Japan. Currently, nearly 200,000 are working in the East Asian country.

Japan has demands for over 345,000 foreign workers in various fields such as caregiving for the elderly, hotel reception, electricity, car repair and maintenance, aviation logistics, restaurant, construction, shipbuilding and agriculture./.

Agriculture businesses forge connection to join global value chains

Agriculture businesses should embrace connection in order to participate in global value chains, heard a forum held in Hanoi recently.

Nguyen Quoc Toan, director of the agricultural products processing and development department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said as of September 2019, the country counted 1,478 value chains of agricultural products across 63 cities and provinces nationwide.

There are 14,810 agricultural cooperatives and over 7,000 agro-forestry-fishery processing facilities, he said, adding that more than 25,500 households have joined production chains with businesses certified with Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) while over 619,000 households engaged in large-scale field production.

Vietnam is exporting farm produce to 185 countries and territories, ranking second in the Southeast Asian region and 15th in the world. The country has also joined and signed 16 new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs), thus creating more opportunities for the export of agricultural products, Toan said.

In the first nine months of 2019, Vietnam exported 30.2 billion USD worth of farm produce, a year-on-year rise of 2.7 percent, he added.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan said the number of agriculture businesses in Vietnam has increased rapidly in the past three years.

About 500 enterprises are involved in agricultural value chains from production, harvesting, and processing to trading, he added./.

Hardware & Handtools Expo to open in December

The 2019 Hardware & Handtools Expo will take place from December 4-7 in Ho Chi Minh City, bringing together 300 businesses from 18 countries and territories worldwide, according to organisers.

The event will gather suppliers from a wide range of spheres like manufacturing, production, mechanics, construction and DIY devices, a representative of the Vietnam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company (Vinesad) said.

Themed “The Fourth Industrial Revolution and global supply chain,” the expo, in its fourth edition, aims to improve the quality of connectivity in various sectors.

It is expected to draw the attention of prestigious international brands to the big domestic market, thus attracting more investments and promoting technological transfer and cooperation in building the global supply chain.

Through the event, the organisers also hope to promote local brands, boost exports and stimulate the consumption of domestic products.

Frank Yang, development director for the Asia-Pacific region of WERA – German manufacturer of screwdriving tools, said Vietnam is a potential market.

Therefore, the exhibition provides a venue for his firm to access both local and foreign manufacturers in the machinery and tool sectors. /.

Pig prices inch up in Vietnam’s southeast region

The price of pigs in southeastern provinces has increased by VND10,000 (US$0.43) per kilogram since the start of October as pig farmers in the region begin to rebuild their herds, the Voice of Vietnam reports.

In Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Binh Phuoc provinces, live pigs were sold at VND52,000 (US$2.236) per kilogram on October 7, up VND2,000 from the previous day.

According to the Dong Nai Animal Husbandry Association, despite an uptick in pig prices, there is not much supply due to low stock as a result of African swine fever, which forced 80% of pig farmers to stop raising the animal.

Currently a number of farmers have begun to rebuild their herds, leading to a rise in the price of piglets.

Deputy chairman of the association Nguyen Kim Dan said the price of piglets has increased to VND100,000 (US$4.3) per kilogram, compared to about VND50,000-60,000 about two months ago.

Banks announce huge profit in first nine months

Domestic banks have unveiled positive business performance results in the first nine months of this year.

Vietcombank’s pre-tax profits hit a record high of over VND17.25 trillion (US$741.75 million) in the first nine months of 2019, a year-on-year increase of 51.9%, meeting 86.4% of the bank’s annual plan. Capital mobilisation by the bank reached VND998.24 trillion, completing 101% of the plan for the third quarter of 2019.

Sacombank also announced huge profits, with pre-tax profits hitting VND2.49 trillion, an increase of 89.5% over the same period last year.

TPBank also posted record high profits of VND2.40 trillion in the first nine months of 2019. The value was 1.5 times higher compared to the same period last year and met 75% of the bank’s annual plan.

With these positive results, the financial activities of the banking sector are considered to be safe with sustainable growth. Currently, the total assets of banks reached over VND154 trillion, fulfilling 98.76% of the target plan set at the shareholders' meeting in April.

According to the State Bank of Vietnam, the business situation in 2019 continues to improve. Many credit institutions have been expecting that this year's business results would be higher than last year.

UPS introduces e-Fulfillment program

Global logistics provider UPS recently announced the rollout of its e-Fulfillment program, offering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) worldwide streamlined fulfillment and shipping services to consumers in the US and Canada.

The solution supports purchases and orders from 21 different marketplaces and web stores, including eBay, Walmart, Etsy, and Amazon, including Prime. The new platform augments UPS’s suite of customized e-commerce solutions designed to support SMEs. Across markets in Asia, including Vietnam, UPS has already partnered with businesses looking to broaden their presence in different markets.

Smart businesses know marketplaces are the heart of e-commerce, but they can be cumbersome. Sellers must juggle multiple logins, the labor and logistics of packing, shipping and tracking sales, and managing inventory. Then comes updating all the marketplace listings, which can take hours.

“The US is Vietnam’s top export destination, and with 96 per cent of consumers in the US making online purchases from marketplaces, we want to help SMEs in Vietnam scale up and expand their reach,” said Mr. Russell Reed, Managing Director of UPS Thailand and Vietnam. “However, just 12 per cent of SMEs here sell on e-commerce platforms, with many citing barriers such as a lack of skills and confidence to navigate online selling.”

“That’s why UPS has launched e-Fulfillment for Vietnamese SMEs, to streamline the process of listing, storing, packing, shipping, and tracking their products across multiple marketplaces. In doing so, they can focus on growing their business and capturing a larger piece of the e-commerce pie.”

UPS e-Fulfillment can be used by merchants in Vietnam and around the world who want to list on US marketplaces and sell to customers in the US and in Canada. Their inventory for sale needs to be stored in warehouses located in the US.

Signing up is as easy as enrolling via a quick onboarding process and listing products. UPS, which is currently offering a risk free 60-day trial, handles storing the merchandise, packaging products once a sale is made, and shipping from warehouses strategically located in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, and Bloomington, California.

Inventory stored in other locations, such as an existing warehouse, can be added to the platform to ensure dynamic updates as sales occur, allowing for fulfillment efficiencies. Merchants select when the package needs to be delivered.

UPS began piloting the program in 2017 as a way to provide cutting-edge fulfillment and logistics options with access to multiple marketplaces. Pilot participant Tidal New York saw sales of its New York City-made flip flops more than triple during the pilot.

According to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study, online consumers want upfront visibility along their entire path to purchase, including product details, prices, fees, shipping costs and delivery times.

UPS’s e-Fulfillment service offers merchants the flexibility and speed needed to meet customer needs at good value. The pricing is bundled, giving sellers a clear picture of fulfillment costs. Tracking and billing are integrated, helping to reduce the time and effort it takes a business owner to keep up with the status and cost of shipments. Finally, sellers can quickly and dynamically update listings on multiple sites.

MindX receives $500K from ESP Capital

MindX, a chain of schools training in new skills for the Industry 4.0 era, has recently completed a first round of $500,000 in funding led by ESP Capital and a number of other individual investors.

Formerly known as TechKids, MindX aims to build an ecosystem that includes schools for new skill sets in Industry 4.0 (programming, robotics, design, 3D drawing, etc.) and coworking space. Each complex is considered a “little Silicon Valley” that contributes to nourishing inventors, social change agents, and talented entrepreneurs.

Founded in 2015, MindX now has five centers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, training more than 8,500 students and working adults. Many MindX students have won prestigious awards in national and international contests such as ACM and ISEF or received scholarships from the US, South Korea, or elsewhere.

They are currently studying and working in more than 20 countries and territories around the world. Many are employed at reputable tech companies such as Google and Facebook. At the same time, MindX is also office complexes that host more than 200 domestic and international tech startups and investment funds such as Wefit, Ninja Van, Nextrans Capital, and others.

Worldwide, the priority for technology education has become a guideline for leading countries in technology such as India, the US, Germany, and South Korea. At MindX, Programming and Science have become mandatory subjects from elementary school level.

Education is prioritized in Vietnam, with expenditure accounting for the highest percentage of GDP in Southeast Asia (4.7 per cent in 2018). With more than 23 million students, the market for training in new skills for the Industry 4.0 era has a lot of development potential.

While the English teaching market has grown significantly over the last decade thanks to globalization, the education market for new skills promises to break out to capture Industry 4.0. After English, programming will become the second universal language for people to communicate and work together globally.

MindX was established with the goal of helping students, especially those in primary and secondary schools, to learn and experience skills in the most comprehensive way, integrating studying theory and practice in a startup environment.

Specifically, MindX’s education segment focuses on empowering students with the skills necessary in the Industry 4.0 era, including programming, robotic applications, or multimedia subjects such as Designing, 3D Drawing, and VR / AR (virtual reality / augmented reality), etc. Students from the age of six can successfully program mobile apps for studying and entertainment purposes.

The coworking space segment, meanwhile, provides office space at extremely affordable prices for startups. After school, students are free to go to the MindX campus to read books, work on projects, and meet programmers and business owners.

 

They therefore experience a real workplace environment and learn about entrepreneurship from leading tech companies. This effectively empowers them to grow up and integrate into the real world. In addition, startups at MindX’s coworking space also possess abundant technology human resources to support their development.

Dispelling AI startups' mistrust of investors

The inability to approach traditional companies and not trusting investors are the two biggest weak points of local startups, as shared by leading technology experts at the Vietnam Frontier Summit 2019 themed Intelligence in Motion recently.

Discussing with other speakers at the event, Nguyen Hoa Binh, chairman of NextTech Group, said that traditional companies should be the main targets of AI startups because their business depends on traditional methods, which is a great opportunity for startups using AI to bring them up to speed. However, more importantly, startups should prove that applying AI helps traditional companies save costs and make profits.

Binh also explained that the majority of local startups do not know how to prove themselves for investors. “They cannot prove their products make more money and create more profit, while the majority of investors who are not so knowledgeable about technology only care about profitability,” said Binh.

"Not being able to prove their capabilities has been worsening the situation of local startups," said Park Yun Young, director of the Korea IT Cooperation Center.

In addition to the discussion session between speakers, the event also gathered the breakthrough technology products made by local and overseas startups that stand at the forefront of the AI wave. Vietnam Frontier Summit 2019 was also a gathering place for leading technology experts discussing the core issues of AI and Industry 4.0, aiming to create a tight connection between managers, authorities, and technology startups.

The event welcomed more than 2,000 attendees, 35 showcases of AI products, and 40 guests, including the experts and representatives of companies applying AI into their operation. The co-organisers of the event this year were rubikAI, Nexus, FrontierTech, and VTV24.

ME Corp licensed to provide payment intermediary services

The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) has licensed the Mobile Entertainment Corporation (ME Corp) to provide payment intermediary services.

Under the licence, ME Corp is allowed to provide electronic payment portal, cash collections and payment services, and e-wallet services.

When ME CORP wants to provide the payment support services to its customers it must connect with a SBV-licensed financial switching services and electronic clearing services organisation and meet all technical standards set by the organisation.

The SBV has so far licensed 30 non-bank institutions to provide intermediary payment services, of which 20 offered e-wallets and most of the institutions have foreign investments.

Most providers currently offer free or low-cost e-wallets in order to attract users. This explains why the transaction value via e-wallet has increased sharply.

Customers are also attracted to the payment method because it allows them to use mobile applications to quickly pay for goods and services in just a few seconds.

Established in 2010, ME Corp provides digital content on mobile platforms, including apps and games.

Shrimp breeders expand production, seek to join global supply chains

Local shrimp-breeding enterprises have mobilised investment from various sources to expand production in an aim to attract partners from shrimp supply chains from around the world.

After four decades of development, Viet Nam’s shrimp breeding industry has been recognised as the third top exporter in the world market. Shrimp is one of the country’s major farm exports.

Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said that Viet Nam’s shrimp exports surpassed Thailand in 2013, attaining an export turnover of US$3.1 billion, compared with Thailand’s US$2.3 billion.

In 2017, Viet Nam had shrimp export turnover of US$3.8 billion, double Thailand’s shrimp exports of US$1.9 billion, said Hoe.

To reach the target of shrimp export value of US$10 billion for 2025 (as instructed by the Prime Minister), shrimp breeding firms have mobilized capital to expand areas under shrimp breeding and ensure shrimp quality and safety, allowing for traceability of produce to meet consumption demand.

Sao Ta Foods Joint Stock Company has announced that it would offer more than 8 million shares priced at VND25,000 each. With the offer, Sao Ta is expected to attain stakes of about VND200 billion (US$8.7 million).

A spokesman from Sao Ta Foods said that capital mobilisation is expected to help the joint-stock firm become less reliant on bank loans, while ensuring sufficient capital for the firm’s production and business activities.

He said all the sales of shares from Sao Ta Foods will be spent on purchasing materials and the expansion of shrimp breeding ponds.

By the end of the third quarter, Sao Ta’s 200 ha of shrimp breeding ponds had supplied 10 per cent of shrimp used as materials for the company’s processing lines. Sao Ta had to purchase the remaining 90 per cent from shrimp breeders in the market.

To reduce the volume of shrimp used for its production line purchased from the market, the company has unveiled plans to invest VND100 billion to expand shrimp breeding ponds from the existing 200ha to 400ha in 2020 and to 800 ha in 2025, raising the ratio of the volume of shrimp supplied from the company’s breeding pond networks to 30 per cent.

Similarly, Minh Phu Seafood Corporation has sold 35.1 per cent of its shares to Mitsui & Co Ltd. for 17 billion yen (about US$155 million), making Mitsui & Co the biggest shareholder of Minh Phu Seafood.

Le Van Quang, chairman of Minh Phu Seafood Corp.’s management board, said the company would further invest in production facilities in the Mekong province of Ca Mau.

Quang said the company would also apply more advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), in aquaculture and seafood production and processing in the near future, aiming to cut 50 per cent to 70 per cent of the company’s labour force, and at the same time increase profits.

According to a spokesman for Sao Ta Foods, to reach a partnership with global shrimp supply chains, local shrimp suppliers must meet high standards.

He said that most global shrimp supply chains require not only production and manufacturing traceability but also ASC standards for aquaculture, the highest standards for aquaculture.

To attain ASC standards for aquaculture, aqua-breeding enterprises must have strong financial capacity for investment in big breeding facilities that help to reduce breeding costs, he added.

International bakery equipment show to kick off in HCMC for first time

First-ever Vietnam International Bakery Equipment Show will be organized at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in HCMC's District 7 on October 16, with as many as 70 exhibitors attending.

The event, jointly held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Taipei Bakery Association (TBA), Chan Chao International Co., Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company and Yorkers Trade and Marketing Service Co., is expected to showcase a wide range of baking and packaging machines and equipment, materials and types of cake at 130 booths.

An exhibition space will be earmarked for introducing information and techniques related to the bakery industry at the show. Vietnamese and foreign bakers will display their baking skills at the event.

Besides this, a forum will be organized at the show to exchange information and discuss issues related to the bakery industry, including food safety and industry management.

During the expo, a program called “Family Day" will provide visitors with information on baking techniques, giving them a chance to learn new baking methods and turn out high-quality products.

Several well-known and prestigious local and international pastry brands will join the event, which wraps up on October 19, including ABC, Unifood, Japanese oven-maker Rheon; the Sanko machine manufacturer from Japan; India’s BakeMate, Namchow, Uni-President and Chung Pu from Taiwan.

In addition, the show will feature chef Johnny (Yung-Hsin) Chen, who won the Mondial du Pain 2015 competition.

Red carpet unattractive enough to keep talented workforces in Gov’t agencies

A lot of high-performing employees are still hesitant to work at governmental agencies despite countless efforts to attract them with benefits in accordance with various official resolutions and decisions.

For decade there have been attempts all across the board from Vietnam’s municipalities to implement preferential policies aimed towards human resource development for state agencies.

One notable instance of this movement is Yen Bai Province People Council’s Resolution 07 in 2016, and subsequently Resolution 11 in 2018, a long-term scheme which helped the province recruit 150 employees according to Mr. Hoang Manh Ha, Deputy Head of the Organization Board of Yen Bai Provincial Party Committee. It requires a long-term process for municipalities to balance their policies to attract talents, he added.

Other examples include Tuyen Quang Province People Council’s Resolution 47, multiplying wages for candidates with doctorates or master degrees, as stated by Mr. Le Tien Thang, Head of the Organization Board of the Provincial Party Committee. Mr. Thang believed a good working environment is what will keep talented people working in the long run.

According to Mr. Vu Duc Bao, Head of the Organization Board of Hanoi Party Committee, the city has implemented multiple policies such as holding open recruitment and improving quality training. In the meantime, representative of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union in Hanoi said that 186 graduates of universities and institutes in the capital have been recruited into state agencies by the end of 2018, but only about 150 still work at their positions.

Still at a seminar between Hanoi’s officials and the youth union members, Mr. Bao acknowledged that many graduates have shown great capacity and efficiency after being recruited into state agencies and even got promoted and appointed, but resign after a while due to low income.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said that they had implemented a project to allocate 600 elite young intellectuals with bachelor's degree to 20 provinces, and they all received excellent remarks from the local authorities. At the end of the project, 18.21% of the candidates were sent to primary political classes, 61.79% got sent to intermediate political theory courses, and 1.25% got sent to advanced political theory courses. Currently, 506 out of 559 candidate have been assigned important positions in the project.

Japanese firms increase investment in Vietnam’s agriculture

Up to 70 percent of Japanese businesses want to expand investment in Vietnam, especially in agriculture, a recent survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) showed.

With huge consumption demand, stable economic growth and low labour costs, Vietnam boasts various advantages to attract Japanese firms, said Kazuko Nagura, Deputy Chief Representative of JETRO Hanoi.

As many as 48 Japanese companies invested in Vietnam’s agricultural sector in the first nine months of this year, with combined registered capital of 270 million USD.

The projects were mainly invested in the northern province of Ha Nam and the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

Japanese investors are seeking a key partner for agricultural cooperation, while Vietnam, with huge potential for high-tech agriculture, is looking to bolster cooperation in the field.

According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the number of Japanese businesses doing market surveys to start investment in the country has been on the rise.

Mentioning Japan’s agricultural development policy, JICA’s Senior Advisor on Agricultural Development Police Yoshihisa Kimura said that the Japanese agricultural sector has succeeded in expanding its husbandry sector and fruit and vegetable planting, as well as given priority to large-scale rice cultivation.

He also shared measures to improve productivity through developing large-scale rice fields, which enable easier access to traffic and irrigation systems.

In addition, Japanese firms have paid special attention to international recognition on good agricultural practices (GAP) to gain consumers’ trust and improve quality of products.

Japan is willing to share experience in the field with Vietnam to attract investment and boost farm produce trading, he said./.

Microbiological factory to be built in Thừa Thiên-Huế

A fertiliser company is teaming up with Sky Life, a Japanese corporation to build a microbiological factory in central Thừa Thiên-Huế Province.

The announcement was made by Nguyễn Hồng Lam, chairman of Quế Lâm Group's board of directors.

The 15ha plant has an estimated capacity of 5,000 tonnes of microorganisms per year and will be built in 2020 to serve fertiliser production, animal husbandry and environmental treatment.

The production of microorganisms in Việt Nam is important and necessary to reduce costs for farmers, according to Lam.

He said the plant will include a complex area including breeding, cultivation, processing and ecotourism with an investment capital of VNĐ500 billion (US$21.7 million).

Quế Lâm Group is among the leading firms producing and trading organic fertiliser. It is now operating nine organic fertiliser plants across Việt Nam, providing 500,000 tonnes of products each year.

Lâm said the group will soon increase its organic fertiliser production capacity to one million tonnes per year.

The company aims to produce 1.5 million tonnes of organic fertiliser by 2020, two million tonnes by 2025 and 3.5 million tonnes by 2035. 

Cần Thơ looks for foreign support to economic development, urban management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Int’l forum to discuss HCM City’s future as Asian financial hub

Building HCM City into the next Asian financial hub will top the agenda of the HCM City Economic Forum 2019 to be held on October 18 in the city.

Organised by the city’s People’s Committee and the HCM City Union of Business Association (HUBA), the annual forum will focus on four main topics: the current roadmap to build the city into a global financial centre; lessons from other global financial hubs; the ecosystem needed for sustainable development of an international financial centre; and the national policy and role of the city government in developing the city into an Asian and, later, a global financial centre.

More than 800 local and international experts, including leaders of the World Bank, IMF, IFC and ADB as well as financial experts and leaders of financial centres are expected to participate in the two-day event.

Key leaders from the Government and State agencies will also attend the event, themed “Turning HCM City into an Asian and International Financial Centre”.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday in the city, Chu Tien Dung, chairman of HUBA, said "HCM City’s location is ideal for an international financial hub since it is only a two-hour flight to major financial hubs in Southeast Asia".

“The city must have a complete financial ecosystem that meets international standards,” he said, adding that an international financial centre should conduct cross-border financial transactions and have diverse financial products.

The city would continue to aim for sustainable growth by improving the quality of its competitiveness and growth through healthy economic restructuring, he added.

Dung said the city would also ensure a favourable business environment for enterprises, and encourage start-ups, innovation and smart-city measures.

The forum would feature speakers from respected companies, organisations and educational institutions around the world.

“In addition, the city will discuss the progress of the ongoing project to develop the city’s eastern part into an innovative urban area,” Dung noted.

The event is expected to connect Vietnamese businesses with investors in many fields from other countries.

With a focus on sustainability and a knowledge-based economy, HCM City wants to hear feedback from forum participants and seek cooperation from foreign investors, according to Dung.

Speaking at a conference recently in the city, Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the city’s Party Committee, revealed that the city had an ambitious goal to become a regional and international financial hub after years of delay in carrying out the ambitious goal.

Nhan urged the city to develop a detailed plan to turn HCM City into a regional and international financial hub.

As a global financial hub, HCM City, which contributes 45 per cent to Viet Nam’s gross domestic product, would enhance socio-economic growth locally, nationally and regionally, he added.

By June next year, the city is expected to start building a financial centre complex in the Thu Thiem new urban area in District 2.

HCM City accounts for only 9.36 per cent of the national population, but it contributes 14 per cent to the country’s export value and 27 per cent to state revenue. It also accounts for 14.1 per cent of the country’s total foreign investment. The city, however, is still not listed among global financial centres, experts said.

Experts said the city should receive assistance from the government and should not be expected to shoulder the burden alone. New policies are seriously needed, including measures to address the lack of high-skilled human resources, they said.

The city has assigned the HCM City Financial Investment Company to work with Fulbright University Viet Nam to conduct a survey of major financial centres around the world.

Nearly 400 companies to showcase products at int’l printing expo

As many as 375 firms will display their products at the Vietnam International Printing and Packaging Industry Exhibition (VietnamPrintPack), which will held in HCM City from October 16 to 19.

The exhibitors come from 10 countries and territories including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, the US, the UK, and Thailand besides host Vietnam.

The number of exhibitors from the carton packaging industry has doubled from last year.

On display at more than 60 booths will be the latest products, technologies and solutions used in the sectors such as high speed automatic flute laminator, label printing machine, double piece corrugated folder gluer, automatic pile turning machine, offset printers, semiautomatic book case making machine, among others.

The exhibition will feature two seminars on "Training and improving human resources quality in the printing industry in Vietnam ", and "The key factors to improve the quality of printing products" organised by the HCM City Printing Association.

They will provide information to businesses in the sectors to help them adapt to future trends and remain competitive in today's changing environment.

The exhibition is expected to provide a platform for local and foreign companies in the two industries to exchange information and explore business opportunities.

Organised by the Vietnam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company and Yorkers Trade and Marketing Service Co., Ltd., the 19th annual expo will take place at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in District 7./.

 
 
 
 
 
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