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VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JUNE 4

Vietnam striving to enhance transparency in wood sector

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Vietnam is working hard to complete its legal corridor and tighten the examination and supervision of imported wood materials to ensure transparency in the wood sector and meet the strict origin rules in foreign markets.

Though exports of Vietnam’s wood and furniture products have seen strong growth since the beginning of US-China trade tensions, the country has also faced major pressure in the US.

Tran Le Huy, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the Forest Product Association of Binh Dinh province, said the trade tensions have brought about new challenges for Vietnam, especially relating to fraud in origin due to Chinese companies exporting wood products to Vietnam for local labelling before shipping to the US.

The prevention and settlement of trade fraud in an effective and timely manner is therefore vital for Vietnam’s wood sector, Huy stressed.

Meanwhile, Do Xuan Lap, Chairman of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association, said it has proposed that ministries and sectors direct specialised agencies to conduct snap inspections of enterprises suspected of fraud.

Huy suggested that a connection channel be set up between wood associations and management agencies to report signs of fraud, so that timely intervention can be made.

Such measures would not only prevent fraud in exports to the US but also enhance the transparency and prestige of Vietnam’s wooden products in markets like the EU, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, he said.

As part of efforts to control the origin of raw materials for export, Vietnam issued Decree No 102/2020-ND-CP detailing regulations on the timber legality assurance system.

Each year, Vietnam imports 2-2.5 million cubic metres of wood from Africa, certain countries in South America, and Laos, Cambodia, and Papua New Guinea, which is equal to 40-50 percent of its total imported logs and sawnwood.

To Xuan Phuc from Forest Trend said it is necessary to apply policies and practical measures to reduce the risks in importing wood materials.

Bui Chinh Nghia, Vice Director of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, said that along with the application of the timber legality assurance system, businesses should also design their own risk-reduction solutions.

In order to implement Decree No 102, the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association proposed that ministries and sectors direct relevant agencies to require wood material importers, apart from strictly declaring information in line with regulations, to provide supplementary documents such as the exploitation licences of the producers or the operational registration of wood processing facilities, the export licences of exporters, and certificates of origin.

According to representatives from wood processing firms, the majority of importers of Vietnamese furniture request that raw materials come from planted forests and licensed sources. Therefore, in the future, Vietnam should strive to have 100 percent of input materials licensed, they said./.

 

Bãi đỗ xe chui ở Hà Nội-1

Cinema industry asks for recognition as essential service amid pandemic

Major players in the Vietnam’s cinema industry have proposed that film screening to be included in the list of essential services amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“During this difficult moment, entertainment activities should be promoted to reduce illness due to mental stress, in turn relieving pressure on the healthcare system,” stated movie distributors and cineplex operators, including Thien Ngan, BHD Vietnam, CGV and Lotte Cinema, in a joint letter sent to the government.

Under this context, all four companies suggested the government should soon allow cinemas to be reopened on condition that COVID-19 counter measures are met.

They explained that in cinemas, viewers only focus on the movie instead of talking, not to mention a safe distance between seats, along with online ticket purchase, movie screening is safe and effective in avoiding mass gathering.

On behalf of the movie industry, these enterprises also called for cutting 50% of value added tax and payment deferral of such tax until December 31, 2021, as well as waiving or reducing  personal income tax for those working in the industry.

In the letter, enterprises argued that during the 2010-2019 period, the movie industry had gone from strength to strength with the number of modern cinemas nationwide going up from 90 to 1,096, a surge of 1,104%.

Meanwhile, the number of movie-goers also rose sharply from seven million to 57 million per year, up 714%, resulting in revenue of VND4.14 trillion (US$179 million) from VND540 billion (US$23.34 million).

“Such strong growth helps create jobs for 10,000 people and represent a big source of the state budget revenue,” it noted.

However, since early 2020 to date, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a suspension of all entertainment activities, including cinemas.

“With zero revenue, cinema operators still have to cover all operational costs. As a result, all are facing the risk of bankruptcy, regardless of their sizes,” stated the letter.

Hanoi’s export turnover up in five months despite COVID-19

Hanoi’s export value was estimated at 5.89 billion USD in five months of this year, up 8.1 percent annually, reported the municipal People’s Committee.

Of the figure, over 3.1 billion VND was from domestic enterprises, down 2.7 percent, while the remaining from foreign firms, up 23.7 percent.

Almost all sectors recorded increase in export earnings, including mobile phones and spare parts 147.2 million USD (2.1 times higher than that of last year's same period), footwear 136.2 million USD (up 39.8 percent), glass and its products 167.5 million USD (up 29.8 percent), machinery and equipment 791.5 million USD (up 24.8 percent), wood and wooden furniture 273.9 million USD (up 24.6 percent).

Only farm produce and petrol earned less with a respective revenue 315.2 million USD, down 7.1 percent, and 231.5 million USD, down 38.2 percent.

In May alone, the city's export turnover was estimated at 1.252 billion USD, down 0.2 percent month-on-month and up 2.5 percent year-on-year. Of which, 683 million USD was from domestic firms, down 0.1 percent monthly and 14.5 percent yearly. The remaining was from foreign enterprises, representing a monthly decrease of 0.3 percent and an annual increase of 34.5 percent.

Sectors recorded year-on-year export revenue growth include machinery and equipment 152 million USD, transport means and spare parts 125.4 million USD, wood and wooden furniture 56.5 million USD, petroleum 47.5 million USD, mobile phones and spare parts 26.1 million USD.

Others had their revenues drop, including ceramics 17.5 million USD, farm produce 74.9 million USD and other goods 366.9 million USD.

The total State budget collection in Hanoi in the first five months reached 110.6 trillion VND, or 47 percent of the estimate assigned by the Government, up 6.5 percent year-on-year.

The municipal authorities directed agencies and departments to fulfill the dual goals of fighting the pandemic and stepping up production of essentials, as well as seek foreign partners to boost exports./.

Over 1.9 bln USD raised through Govn’t bond auctions in May

The purchase of Government bonds on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) remained vibrant in May on both primary and secondary markets, reported the HNX.

On the primary market, the State Treasury mobilised 44.18 trillion VND (1.9 billion USD) via 16 auctions, up 68 percent month-on-month.

Interest rates for 5-,10-, and 15-year bonds decreased by 0.02-0.09 percent annually while those for bonds with 20 and 30-year maturity remained unchanged.

Bonds with 10- and 15-year maturity were sold the most, accounting for 79.7 percent of the total.

In the first five months of 2021, the State Treasury raised 109.6 trillion VND through G-bonds, mainly 10- and 15-year bonds, or equivalent to 31.1 percent of the yearly target.

On the secondary market, bonds worth 1.37 quadrillion VND were sold as of May 31. The average trading value reached 10.55 trillion VND per session, up 7.65 percent monthly.

The total volume traded via repos made up 34.7 percent of the total. Foreign investors’ purchase accounted for 1.11 percent of the total value in May, with net sales hitting 775 billion VND./.

Nearly 4,000 land tax transactions conducted online

A pilot programme held in Thai Nguyen, Vinh Phuc, Binh Dinh and Tay Ninh provinces on making online payments for financial obligations relating to land recorded close to 4,000 successful transactions in more than four months.

According to the General Department of Taxation, transactions conducted via the national public service portal totalled more than 14 billion VND (605,530 USD).

Beginning in December last year, the pilot programme targeted household and individual taxpayers in the four provinces.

Earlier, on May 18, the general department issued a dispatch to tax departments in cities and provinces regarding the implementation of electronic payments of financial obligations relating to land on the national public service portal and its readiness to support localities during the deployment of such services.

The general department has coordinated with the Government Office to complete the technical connection of data transmission between its portal and the national public service portal./.

Aquatic product exports rise 14 percent in five months

Vietnam earned 790 million USD from exporting aquatic products in May, lifting the total figure in the first five months of this year to nearly 3.3 billion USD, a year-on-year rise of 14 percent.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), after a 23 percent increase in April, shrimp exports continued to maintain a growth rate of 25 percent in May with turnover reaching 375 million USD.

By the end of May, Vietnam's shrimp exports had raked in 1.34 billion USD, up 14 percent over the same period last year.

Tra fish (pangasius) exports also witnessed a higher-than-expected recovery with growth of 26 percent, valued at 134 million USD. Pangasius export turnover in the first five months of the year reached 623 million USD, an increase of 12 percent year-on-year.

Seafood exports still achieved a strong growth rate of 14.5 percent over the same period last year, reaching a turnover of 1.3 billion USD in the first five months of this year.

Among them, tuna exports reached 292 million USD, up 21 percent over last year’s figure.

Especially, in April and May, tuna exports achieved an impressive increase, 1.5 times higher than the same period last year. This is a positive signal for exports in the coming months.

Export of squid and octopus also recovered positively, up 11 percent to 212 million USD.
According to the VASEP, the current supply of aquatic materials for processing is stable, especially for shrimp and pangasius products while seafood materials is more difficult due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the main factor determining the recovery of Vietnam's seafood exports in the current period is the market.

Accordingly, the US, EU and member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) are the markets that play a dominant role in the growth of Vietnam's seafood exports.

The strong rises in March and April have helped lift the total export value of the products to the US in the first four months of this year to 483 million USD, up 28 percent compared with the same period last year, VACEP said.

In addition to shrimp, tuna is expected to have an opportunity to export rapidly to the US market.

The European market is also expected an ideal destination of Vietnamese seafood exporters. Although the economic recovery of this market sector is slower than that of the US, consumption demand is recovering when the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually controlled.

Vietnam's aquatic product export turnover to the EU in May reached nearly 95 million USD, up 30 percent compared to the same period last year.

Accumulated exports to the EU reached over 380 million USD in the first five months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 15 percent.

Shrimp still the main products with nearly 199 million USD, up 22 percent over the same period last year. While the export of shrimp and seafood products to the EU has a positive trend, pangasius exports to the EU have not shown any signs of recovery, continuing to decline by over 25 percent against last year./. 

Vietnam considered promising market for e-commerce: South China Morning Post

With a developing economy and a population of over 97 million in 2020, Vietnam is a promising market for e-commerce and that promise has only grown over the last year despite the coronavirus pandemic, said an article published by the South China Morning Post on June 1.

The article cited a January 2021 report by the country’s Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of E-commerce and Digital Economy, which said 53 percent of the Vietnamese population has already took part in online retail.

It also said the “E-conomy SEA 2020” report from Google, Temasek and Bain & Company pointed out that e-commerce in Vietnam grew 46 percent year on year, alongside strong growth across most sectors except for travel. Looking towards 2025, the report suggested the economy will reach 52 billion USD in value, ranking third in Southeast Asia.

According to the article, the fast-growing middle class is driving the sector’s increasing expenditure, with its number reaching 33 million in 2020, up from 12 million in 2012. As the local middle class expands, there’s also a growing interest in top luxury brands, the author said.

The second most popular channel for shopping for luxury brands is through social networks, the article said, adding that Vietnamese spend about seven hours per day on average on the internet, mostly on Facebook and YouTube but also on Zalo (a local chat app) and Instagram.

It concluded that this all suggests Vietnam can be a gold mine for individual small sellers with private online shops. Fashion and beauty are the two most common searches and purchases online too, accounting for 55 percent and 30 percent respectively, according to the Asia Plus survey.

During COVID-19, e-commerce further surged, noted the author, citing a report conducted by iPrice Group and App Annie, which showed that the total number of visits to online shopping applications in Vietnam in the second quarter of 2020 reached 12.7 billion, the highest ever, and up 43 percent compared to the first quarter. In the first six months of 2020, the average spending on online shopping of Vietnamese people increased by 31 percent compared to the same period in 2019./.

Vietnam, RoK seek to promote trade, industry partnership

Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien held a working session with Ambassador of the Republic of Korea (RoK) to Vietnam Park Noh-wan in Hanoi on June 2 to discuss measures to further facilitate cooperation between the two countries in trade, industry, and energy.

Both sides agreed that they boast major potential to further expand their economic and trade ties to match their sound political relations.

Sharing similarities in consumer interests, having a complementary goods structure, and being members of many joint free trade agreements, Vietnam and the RoK have seen increasingly tight links in the global value chain, they noted.

Believing that COVID-19 is likely to remain a complex issue and create difficulties in bilateral economic and trade ties, Dien and the ambassador sought measures to promote trade, industrial, and energy cooperation between the two sides in the future.

They agreed to continue working closely together and to optimise the efficiency of existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms to reach specific goals, including in COVID-19 prevention and control, while implementing action plans to realise the target of 100 billion USD in two-way trade by 2023.

Both sides will strengthen links in the Vietnam-RoK supply chain while fostering cooperation in energy, strengthening the operations of the Vietnam-RoK Centre for Consultation and Technology Solutions, and organising regular dialogues between the Ministry of Industry and Trade and RoK enterprises.

Dien shared the difficulties facing RoK-funded projects amid COVID-19, including those related to the entry of experts and high-quality human resources into Vietnam, especially in projects in Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Vinh Phuc and Thai Nguyen provinces.

He underlined that these difficulties are only temporary and that the localities will promptly bring COVID-19 under control.

He asked for support from RoK enterprises for Vietnam’s measures in COVID-19 prevention and control, to avoid the spread of the virus in the community.

In order to ensure safe and continued production at foreign firms and those from the RoK, Dien asked the ambassador as well as the Samsung Group and the SK Group, which have signed agreements on COVID-19 vaccine production in the RoK with the Moderna and Novanax Groups, to assist Vietnam in accessing vaccine sources so the country can reach its goal of conducting large-scale vaccinations, especially among workers at companies in industrial parks, including those from the RoK.

For his part, Ambassador Park Noh-wan and representatives from RoK firms affirmed that they will try to provide Vietnam with better access to COVID-19 vaccines, helping the country implement its “dual targets” of protecting people’s health and speeding up socio-economic development and recovery in the “new normal”.

According to figures from the Asian-African Market Department, in the first four months of 2021, two-way trade between Vietnam and the RoK hit 23.7 billion USD, up 15 percent year-on-year, with Vietnam’s exports of 7.1 billion USD being a year-on-year increase of 14.3 percent. Vietnam posted a trade deficit of about 9.5 billion USD with the RoK in the period, up 9.3 percent over the same period last year.

The RoK is Vietnam’s largest foreign investor, with 9,076 projects and capital of nearly 72 billion USD as of May 20, 2021./.

Aquatic product exports to US surge

The export of aquatic products to the United States posted a sharp growth in the past three months despite the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.

According to Le Hang, Deputy Director of the VASEP.PRO centre at the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), aquatic exports to the US increased by 36 percent in March against last year’s figure.

The growth was 64 percent in April, with export value reaching 149 million USD.

The strong rises in March and April have helped lift the total export value of the products to the US in the first four months of this year to 483 million USD, up 28 percent compared with the same period last year.

Shrimp remains the biggest currency earner, bringing home 198 million USD from the US in the first four months of this year, up nearly 25 percent year-on-year and accounting for 21 percent of Vietnam's total shrimp export value and 41 percent of the total seafood export value to the US.

Meanwhile, export revenue from Tra (Pangasius) fish was 102 million USD, an increase of 37 percent year-on-year, making up 21 percent of the country’s pangasius export value and 21 percent of the total seafood export value to the US.

Statistics from the US’s National Marine Fisheries Service showed that in the first quarter of this year, the US imported 743,700 tonnes of seafood products, worth 5.6 billion USD, up 7.2 percent in volume and 7.7 percent in value over the same period last year.

Vietnam has become the fifth largest seafood exporter to the US in term of quantity with 62,800 tonnes, a yearly increase of 24.6 percent. In term of value, it ranks sixth with 341 million USD, up 19.1 percent against the previous year.

Vietnam’s share in the US’s total volume of seafood imports rose to 8.5 percent in Q1 from 7.3 percent in the same period in 2020.

According to VASEP, the consumption and imports of aquatic products in the US will increase remarkably in the second half of this year.

It is forecast that seafood imports of the US this year will climb by 6 percent to 2.9 million tonnes in volume and 9 percent to reach 23.3 billion USD in value, even higher than the levels before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Therefore, the US will be the target market for seafood exporting countries including Vietnam, India, Ecuador, Indonesia and Thailand./.

Rubber exports soar over five-month period

Vietnam exported 548,000 tonnes of rubber worth US$923 million during the opening five months of the year, up 58.7% in volume and 94% in value compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

May alone saw the country ship approximately 80,000 tonnes of rubber worth US$139 million abroad, increasing 26.1% in volume and 7.2% in value from May 2020.

The average export price stood at US$1,738 per tonne, a drop of 2.2% compared to April but a rise of 44 .6% compared to May.

Most notably, China continued to increase rubber imports from Vietnam between January and April, with import turnover reaching US$705.6 million, an annual rise of 81.6%, making it Vietnam’s second largest rubber consumer.  

The market share of Vietnamese rubber in relation to China’s total import value accounted for 16.6%, a sharp increase compared to 11.65% seen during last year’s corresponding period.

Amid a shortage of supply sources of rubber in world market coupled with the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s rubber exports are projected to continue to pick up thanks to an increasing demand from both China and the United States.

This positive outlook can be attributed to the recovery of the Chinese automobile industry and the US’ commodity market in the post-pandemic period.

The US has officially approved an economic stimulus package worth US$1.9 trillion, while the demand for natural latex from factories in this market has also skyrocketed due to the high demand for medical equipment in the global market.

Bright prospects ahead for fruit, vegetable exports to major markets

Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports have enjoyed positive growth in several major markets during the opening five months of the year, including the United States, Japan, Russia, and Australia, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Businesses raked in US$1.77 billion worth of fruit and vegetable exports in five months, up 18.0% against the same period from last year. In May alone, such exports brought home US$400 million, representing an annual increase of 48.3%.

Despite these positives, the current fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to hit the country, coupled with the oversupply source in the Chinese market, is anticipated to hinder local fruit and vegetable exports in the coming months.

In contrast, there remains many positive signs for the export of major Vietnamese fruits, especially lychee, to key markets such as the US, Japan, Russia, and Australia.

According to industry experts, Vietnamese lychee exports are expected to enjoy additional advantages in the Japanese market following the first successful consignments of the product to this demanding market.

At present, Vietnam’s Trade Office in Japan has co-ordinated with relevant authorities, supermarkets, and distribution chains in Japan to promote lychee consumption in the near future. Roughly 1,100 tonnes of lychees are set to be shipped to Japan this year.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s Trade Office in Australia has also requested that Australian agencies facilitate customs clearance procedures when batches of lychees arrive there.

Approximately 100 tonnes of Vietnamese lychees are due to be exported to South Australia and Western Australia this year, according to the trade office.

The US mainly imported fresh mangoes during the first quarter of the year, accounting for 74.6% of their total mango imports.

Vietnam represents the 13th largest supplier of mangoes of all kinds to the US, and the ninth largest provider of fresh mangoes to the demanding market.

The amount of fresh mangoes imported from the Vietnamese market accounted for 0.1% of the US’s total imports.

Most notably, the US increased imports of dried mangoes and mango juice from Vietnam during the reviewed period.

Of the figure, the US purchased 97 tonnes of mango juice worth US$102,600, representing an annual rise of 340% in volume and 160.5% in value as dried mango imports reached 68 tonnes worth US$83,000.

Local gold prices climb to record high on global market rally

Domestic gold prices continued to soar on June 3 morning to reach VND58 million per tael, coinciding with rises in the global market.

Phu Quy Group listed each tael of SJC gold at VND57.07 million for buying and VND57.62 million for selling, adding VND170,000 for buying and VND120,000 for selling respectively compared to the rates a day ago.

The same morning saw Doji rate gold at VND56.9 million for buying and VND57.6 million for selling, marking an increase of VND50,000 compared to the previous trading session.

In the world market, the gold price stood at US$1.908 per ounce on June 3 morning, US$9 per ounce higher than the June 2 trading session.

In  the local forex market, the State Bank of Vietnam adjusted the exchange rate of major foreign currencies, in which a US dollar was sold for VND23,131, a rise of VND10 per dollar against the previous transaction.

Viet Nam aims to shift to circular economy: minister

Việt Nam is working to shift from a linear economy to a circular economy based on the three pillars of designing and prolonging material lifespan, reducing waste and emissions, and restoring the ecological system, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Trần Hồng Hà has said.

The minister made the statement during a webinar held in Hà Nội on Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Circular Economy Forum.

Organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE)’s Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and the Finnish Innovation Fund (SITRA), the event aimed to introduce policies and case studies on the circular economy, principles and recommendations, and discuss green economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the event, Hà said the shift to a circular, green economy with low carbon emissions is an indispensable trend and a revolution of the green industry, presenting a chance for the global community to deliver on international commitments in environmental protection and climate change response.

In response to the World Environment Day (June 5), Việt Nam has launched a number of programmes during the Action Month for the Environment to encourage the development of the circular economy via sustainable production and consumption, he said.

The MoNRE is working with agencies to build regulations on criteria, roadmaps and mechanisms to encourage the development of the circular economy in the country.

The MoNRE, in collaboration with the Finance Ministry, is restructuring the system of economic and financial tools in the field of natural resources and the environment, thus ensuring national financial safety and meeting environmental protection requirements.

According to the minister, the MoNRE is also partnering with the Ministry of Information and Communications, ministries and agencies to build a database to serve national digital transformation.

Participants at the event looked into the legal framework, national and regional policies and regulations, opportunities for the private sector and innovations in cities, and the best solutions to the shift to the circular economy.

HCM City eateries survive social distancing by going online

Like many street food and beverage stalls now in HCM City, the eatery owned by Nguyen Hong Van on Vo Oanh Street near the HCM City University of Transport in Binh Thanh District only offers takeaway.

She says, “I used to sell at least 400 meals during lunch time besides a large quantity of soft drinks and fruit juices, with my customers mainly being students and teachers.

“But sales have fallen dramatically since the city ordered schools to switch online and roadside restaurants to not serve customers on the spot to prevent COVID-19.

“I find many street food stalls have closed temporarily. I can’t do so because then it will be hard for me to find such good staff as I have now when things return to normal. So I have managed to find new customers by promoting sales on social networks and send daily menus to office buildings, construction sites and other places.

“I am negotiating with Now and Grabfood to sell my food on these platforms.”

Businesses with experience selling online have been less affected.

Vy, owner of a food stall on Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street in Binh Thanh District, says: “We have been selling our products on Now and Loship for nearly two years, and are getting an increasing number of orders from these apps. So our total sales reduced but not by much compared to other street food stalls who do not sell online.”

At Phuc Loc Tho broken rice restaurant on the same street, many Grab, Now and Baemin drivers wait to pick up food for delivery.

Linh, a seller at the restaurant, said the restaurant has been receiving an increasing number of orders from these platforms, and has also cut prices sharply to share the burden with customers.

Coffee chains such as The Coffee House, Trung Nguyen, and Cheese Coffee or fast food chains Lotteria and KFC have their own online ordering apps and also use food delivery partners like Grab, Now, or Baemin.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing since 2020, online sales have become inevitable in many sectors, including food and beverages, according to industry insiders.

Nevertheless, onsite dining remains the main source of income for many restaurants, and takeaway accounts for a small portion of their revenues.

Many restaurants have closed temporarily to save costs, but some remain open and sell online to keep their brand’s flag flying.

There are two main online sales trends in the food and beverage sector: tying up with ordering platforms such as Now, Grab and Loship to sell or develop their own sales channel.

If restaurants choose to tie up with third parties for delivery they will not have much pressure in terms of selling and shipping, but have to pay high commissions and will not know their customers to offer post-sales service.

Besides, too many eateries compete to sell on these apps, and buyers sometimes find it hard to get driver to receive their orders.

But developing their own online sales channel means they need to have employees to manage it.

iPOS.vn, a technology company focused on the F&B industry, is providing solutions that support both third party and direct online sales.

Its FABi management software directly connects with GrabFood and Loship, and restaurant owners can register to sell on these platforms easily, with many exclusive supports and preferential treatments.

If restaurants want to build their own channels, it helps them open stores on Zalo and Facebook, and integrates with AhaMove to help deliver when there is an order.

Vu Thanh Hung, CEO of iPOS.vn, said: "It is important for the F&B sector to embrace online sales to maintain their operations because demand for food is still great. Selling through ordering platforms is good if brands can manage the costs and still make a profit.

“However, as these apps are increasingly overloaded with brands, eateries should develop a separate sales channel and gradually attract customers to them. In my opinion, a reasonable rate in the number of online orders today is 80 per cent through third party platforms and 20 per cent on the restaurants’ own sales channels.”

He also said restaurants should consider joining cloud kitchens, or centralised food production facilities set up for multiple restaurants specifically for delivery.

This model enables restaurant to lower costs, while marketing is undertaken by the cloud kitchen owners, so this is a good choice in the context of the current epidemic, he added. 

HCM City to automate labour-intensive industries

HCM City has announced a programme to have its labour-intensive sectors use more technology instead.

It covers industries like foodstuff processing, pharmaceuticals, rubber, textile and garments, and mechanical engineering.

The Department of Science and Technology will work with other relevant authorities to evaluate the use of technology by businesses and help small and medium-sized businesses improve their competitiveness and innovation.

The Department of Information and Technology has been instructed to help them with digital transformation by organising training on production methods and value chains so that they can adopt new production and business models.

The city People’s Committee has ordered the Department of Labour, War invalids and Social affairs to connect businesses with vocational training facilities to improve their workforce quality.

The Department of Planning and Investment will discourage investment in labour-intensive projects or those that use out-dated or energy-inefficient technologies.

The city will also launch programmes to help automate industrial production. 

HCM City FDI down 16.52 per cent but 2nd highest in country

HCM City received US$1.34 billion worth of FDI in the first five months of this year, a 16.52 per cent decline year-on-year.

Of this $378.8 million went into 187 new projects, more than 52 per cent higher in terms of value despite a sharp fall in the number of projects, nearly all of it invested in trade and real estate areas.

Some $416 million was invested in 42 existing projects in manufacturing, technology and trade, triple the amount from last year.

The remaining $542.7 million went into mergers and acquisitions, a 56 per cent fall.

HCM City ranked second after Long An Province in terms of FDI, accounting for 9.6 per cent of total FDI. 

HCM City retailers stock up on essential items for full year

The HCM City Department of Industry and Trade held an online meeting with a representative of supermarkets, food stores and traditional markets to ensure supply of essential items is adequate in the next six months.

Nguyen Nguyen Phuong, its deputy director, said the city would work closely with relevant agencies and businesses to ensure the COVID-19 outbreak does not disrupt the supply of essential goods or causes price hikes, and carry out food safety inspections to ensure people could shop safely.

According to authorities, ensuring supply of goods is the top priority amid the epidemic.

The department has called on all production units, distribution systems and retailers to stockpile essential goods, especially price-stabilised items, to ensure supply.

Retailers such as Saigon Co.op, Central Retail, Lotte Mart, and AEON Mall have stocked enough goods and are taking measures to safeguard the health of customers and staff amid the rising community incidence of COVID-19, according to the department.

The Saigon Union of Trade Cooperatives (Saigon Co.op) said it is seeking to increase stocks of essential goods at its stores.

A spokesperson said thanks to the very large volumes of stockpiles, essential goods, price-stabilised items and dry and frozen goods would be available in abundance in the next six months.

Fresh food supply is also steady, thanks to smooth shipping, he said.

Nguyen Anh Duc, general director of Saigon Co.op, said the co-operative’s retail systems, Co.opmart, Co.opXtra, Co.op Food, and Co.op Smile, have increased inventories of basic necessities such as sugar, rice, cooking oil, salt, fish sauce, meat, eggs, and dry foods besides hand sanitisers, soaps and anti-bacterial cloth masks to ensure steady supply and prices for at least the next six months.

“People should not stock up on goods.”

The retailer is also keeping a close eye on the Covid situation and the market in provinces and cities to co-ordinate between suppliers, its central warehouse and outlets to transport goods in time.

Co.opmart and Co.opXtra supermarkets have co-ordinated with health agencies to disinfect their stores and epidemic prevention measures and test thousands of their staff.

A Big C supermarket spokesperson also said all stores across the country are open as usual and have increased stocks of essential products by two to five times.

A Lotte Mart representative said timings remain unchanged and there is abundant supply of fresh foods at all stores.

Dinh Quang Khoi, marketing manager of MM Mega Market Viet Nam, said in the last two days sales of various items increased by up to 15 per cent.

MM Mega Market would ensure adequate supply of goods until year end, he assured.

Phuong added that retailers should prioritise local goods over imports, and this was an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to show their prestige, enhance their brands, attract domestic consumers, and aim for sustainable growth. 

Over 500 firms in Bac Ninh resume operation

More than 500 firms in Bac Ninh Province resumed operation on June 2 after having closed for Covid-19 prevention.

Bac Ninh industrial parks have over 1,100 firms and 320,000 employees, 75% of the employees are from other provinces and cities so travel demand is high. Amid the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak and rising positive cases, Bac Ninh authorities asked firms to prepare dormitories or long-term residential area for employees so that they would not have to go outside before they were allowed to operate.

Bui Hoang Mai, head of the Bac Ninh Industrial Parks Management Board, said, "As of June 2, over 500 firms have completed and submitted their plans to us. All the work has been carried out online over the past few days. We also set up 40 inspection teams to make sure that all requirements for Covid-19 prevention and fire safety are met."

Que Vo Industrial Park has over 70 firms, of which 13 firms already reported having Covid-19 cases. Goertek Company that provides electronic equipment and components to major firms said they had arranged a living area for the employees inside the factory. The employees must be tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to work. They will be provided with VND150,000 a day subsidy and must be tested every three days.

VSIP Bac Ninh Industrial Park with 90 firms also installed bunk beds, air conditioners and other appliances on May 31. Fushan Technology Vietnam said they also provided VND100,000 (USD4.30), three meals a day and other necessities. Many of their employees have small children but they are willing to co-operate with the new policies.

Vuong Quoc Tuan, vice chairman of Bac Ninh People's Committee, said, "We have asked firms to monitor the situation and re-arrange the schedules to reduce the employee density in the factories by 50%. Firms that are unable to meet preventive requirements will have to be suspended."

The Bac Ninh Industrial Parks Management Board will be the bridge between firms and local authorities. The management boards of local industrial parks will receive and review requests about shuttle bus, foreign experts, material trucks and other service vehicles.

Tuan said, "We'll create the most favourable conditions to set up a living area inside the factories or a shuttle bus to transport employees to and from between factories and the registered hotels and guesthouses. We'll not let the outbreak spread anymore inside the factories while maintaining operations and allowing business activity."

Lotte Mart closes centre in Hanoi’s Mipec Tower

Korean retail giant Lotte Mart is closing its centre in Mipec Tower in Hanoi starting from July 1, 2021 due to the restructuring of its system.

According to a release Lotte Mart sent to VIR, the company has just sent an official notice to its tenants, partners, and customers on the closure of Lotte Mart Dong Da located in Mipec Tower at 229 Tay Son Street, Hanoi.

“The closure of Lotte Mart Dong Da is part of our plan to reshuffle our investment strategy and expand the network nationwide. This closure will not impact other centres in the Lotte Mart's network,” the release read.

Incentives and benefits of the membership cards of customers' registered in this centre will be available at other centres of Lotte Mart system.

“We are working to reduce inconvenience for customers and tenants shopping in this centre from now to July 1. We are welcoming customers to our two other Lotte Mart centres in Ba Dinh and Cau Giay districts,” it said.

Rumours of the closure of Lotte Mart Dong Da have been circling in the market for several months now, while inventories in this centre has been steadily reducing. In addition, Lotte Mart Dong Da's online store was also removed from the GrabMart application.

Lotte Mart Dong Da opened in March 2014 with a total space of 20,000 square metres and was upgraded in 2018.

After closing Lotte Mart Dong Da, Lotte Mart has two centres left in Hanoi and 14 nationwide.

Not long before closing Lotte Mart Dong Da, the South Korean retailer opened Lotte Mart Nha Trang Goal Coast, its second centre in Nha Trang in this April. The company is going to open another centre in Vinh city (Nghe An province) very soon.

Entering Vietnam as one of the first foreign retailers in 2008, Lotte planned to develop a network of 30 centres within ten years. However, after 13 years, the company now has 14 centres only.

Bac Giang’s lychees to be sold on e-commerce platforms

Lychees grown in the northern province of Bac Giang, which is being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, will be put up for sale on major e-commerce platforms in the next three and four days.

The Vietnam e-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency (IDEA) said on June 2 that it had worked with the provincial People’s Committee and e-commerce platforms such as Sendo, Voso of Viettel Post, Tiki, Shopee and Postmart of VNPost to sell Bac Giang lychees.

The fruits will be transported by refrigerator trucks or by air to ensure its quality.

Amidst complicated developments of the pandemic, the sale of lychees online is considered one of the most effective measures to help farmers expand the consumption market throughout 63 provinces and cities./.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes

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