VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 18
Vietnam’s 500 most profitable enterprises in 2021 announced
The Vietnam Report and online newspaper VietNamNet have just announced the Profit 500 list, featuring the top 500 most profitable enterprises in Vietnam this year.
Prominent in the list are Samsung Electronics Thai Nguyen Co Ltd, Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group (Viettel), Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank), Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank), Hoa Phat Group JSC, Vietnam Electricity (EVN), Vingroup, and Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk).
During the 2017-21 period, the three sectors of property development and construction, finance, and food and beverages, had the largest number of companies in the rankings, said General Director of the Vietnam Report JSC Vu Dang Vinh.
The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of all companies in the Profit 500 list this year averaged 10.12 percent.
Statistics also indicate that 53.1 percent of 339 publicly traded companies maintain their growth momentum during 2019-20 and the first half of this year.
Meanwhile, 24.4 percent of firms have shown signs of recovery in the first half of 2021.
Due to difficulties caused by COVID-19, the return on asset (ROA) of foreign enterprises inched down by 0.1 percent from 2020 to 12.4 percent this year, while that of the private economic sector saw a year-on-year decline of 0.4 percent to 9.4 percent.
ROA of public firms fell to 8.4 percent from 11.7 percent recorded in the previous year./.
Market uptrend expected to continue this week
Even though the VN-Index has not yet surpassed the psychological level of 1,400 points, the market was still considered positive last week. The uptrend reappeared in many stock groups, with increases in liquidity.
Analysts from securities companies are quite optimistic about the market this week as their expectations on rallies have not changed.
On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), the market benchmark VN-Index closed last week at 1,392.7 points, up 0.06 per cent, while the HNX-Index on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) was stable at 384.84 points.
Both benchmarks recorded a weekly gain, with the VN-Index up 1.45 per cent and HNX-Index up 3.47 per cent.
The liquidity rose compared to the previous week and was higher than the 20-day moving average, with about VND24.1 trillion (US$1.1 billion) traded per session on the two exchanges.
For the whole week, the trading value on HOSE climbed by 8.5 per to nearly VND108 trillion, equivalent to a trading volume of 3.6 billion shares, up 9.8 per cent. Meanwhile, the trading value on the HNX dropped by 3.1 per cent to VND12.81 trillion, with a decrease of 7.3 per cent in volume to 564 million shares.
Vietcombank Securities Company (VCBS) said that the VN-Index recorded a positive week after successfully surpassing the resistance level of 1,380 points while the trading volume of the week remained at a high level. The index's gaining momentum was led by bank and financial stocks, and large-cap stocks like Hoa Phat (HPG), Vinhomes (VHM), Vingroup (VIC), and Vincome Retail (VRE).
After surging above 1,390 points in the first session of last week, the index moved sideways in a tight range around this level for the rest of the week due to strong and persistent short-term profit-taking pressure.
Even though it failed to break over the psychological level of 1,400 points, the market benchmark showed more positive signals with a slow but firm rally in each session, along with large trading volumes.
However, many large-cap stocks, which have recorded outstanding gains compared to the general index recently, have not yet exited the correction trend after skyrocketing.
VCBS believes that the market will continue to witness division between stock groups, and opportunities are seen in both large-caps and penny stocks.
"Investors should diversify their portfolios more during this period, when there is still no industry or stock group leading the market,” VCBS recommended.
According to VCBS, the sideways trend of the VN-Index is expected to continue this week, while cash flows will gradually shift to stocks with positive business results in the fourth quarter of 2021 and benefiting from easing and removing social distancing measures. It includes fertilisers, chemicals, electricity, oil and gas stocks and thereby opens doors for "surfing" for short-term investors.
Meanwhile, MB Securities JSC (MBS) said that the country’s stock market ended the week with gains, but still has not surpassed the psychological resistance of 1,400 points. The liquidity last week was also more positive than the previous week, but the cash flow was active in small and medium stocks. Both groups have maintained their upward momentum and closed at historical highs.
Technically, the market’s uptrend has not changed, and investors are paying more attention to specific stocks than looking at the index as business results are being released.
On the market, most sectors recorded growth in the past week. Of which, materials group rose the most, up 3.6 per cent in market capitalisation, supported by key stocks like HPG up 2.9 per cent, Hoa Sen Group (HSG) up 4.4 per cent, and Nam Kim Group (NKG) up 7.6 per cent.
It was followed by bank stocks with an increase of 2.2 per cent in market capitalisation. Stock with outstanding performance in the group were BIDV (BID), Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB), MBBank (MBB) and Techcombank (TCB).
Can EPR turn back the rising tide of waste?
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the looming climate crisis has fallen down the agenda, with efforts to stave off future environmental catastrophe waylaid in favour of immediate public concerns.
However, as global leaders highlighted at the recent UN General Assembly meeting in New York, humanity is on the edge of an abyss in terms of its heavily damaged ecosystems.
Last November, the Vietnamese Government adopted the amended Law on Environmental Protection, which provides a legal framework on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The application of the decree will be followed by a circular on January 1, 2022. Such a framework compels companies to find solutions and take ultimate responsibility for their plastic consumption and production.
In Viet Nam, the EPR concept was first introduced in the Law on Environmental Protection in 2005. However, the current EPR schemes are only modestly effective due to a lack of comprehensive targets, effective financial tools, or detailed guidance in implementation.
Under a strengthened EPR system, producers would take responsibility for the management of the disposal of products they produce, once those products are designated as no longer useful by consumers. This in turn would contribute to a circular economy, reduce pressure on landfills and help to ameliorate a problem that is too often ignored.
In practice, firms would have to deal with the collection; pre-treatment (sorting, dismantling or de-pollution); (preparation for) reuse; recovery (including recycling and energy recovery) or final disposal.
As proposed in Viet Nam, under an EPR, producers would have to either organise a system of recycling for their products and packaging, reporting results annually to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, or make a financial contribution to the Viet Nam Environment Protection Fund to support product and packaging recycling.
For some activists, such a requirement is vital to tackle the growing waste crisis which threatens to damage our shores and bury communities in trash.
“The time for implementing the EPR cannot be postponed. At least 80 per cent of the operating costs of the domestic solid waste management system are being subsidised from the public budget," Quach Thi Xuan, coordinator of the Viet Nam Zero Waste Alliance, spoke at an online event titled ‘The urgency of putting the EPR decree into practice,' launched last month.
“Many localities are struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, but a lack of revenue means they are unable to pay solid waste management costs. For example, Hoi An owes an urban environment company about VND8 billion (US$352 million),” she added.
Viet Nam is ranked fourth in the top countries causing ocean plastic pollution, while 15-16 per cent of total waste in urban areas and 45-60 per cent in rural areas is not collected for any kind of treatment.
Businesses have been pressing to delay the implementation of EPR, saying they are facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But not every business is in trouble. In 2020, despite the pandemic, sales of consumer goods grew 6.8 per cent and are forecast to rise at least 9 per cent this year, Xuan added.
The issue extends beyond packaging and plastic straws. As multinational companies continue to develop, sell and ship new electronic equipment and products every year, the number of these items ending up in landfills rises exponentially. As Viet Nam seeks to go ‘digital’ and have its entire population using smartphones by 2023, the associated e-waste is sure to place a huge burden on the country’s recycling system. Right now, Viet Nam’s biggest FDI enterprises are only starting to face the problem.
Nguyen Hoang Phuong, a policy and law consultant, also spoke during the online event on the EPR.
According to Phuong: “LG Viet Nam has only one collecting centre at their own manufacturing plant in Hai Phong. Panasonic, at first only had two centres accepted recalled items. But it is opening others in Hai Phong, Da Nang, Can Tho, Nghe An and Thanh Hoa. However, they note that they only receive genuine products, without broken components. And customers are responsible for transporting products to the centres, emphasising that no gift policy is applied to exchanges.”
These initiatives represent some small steps towards addressing the threat of e-waste. But other groups are taking the issue more seriously.
Phuong added: “One of the brightest is Viet Nam Recycles Programme, a free e-waste recall, treatment and recycling programme initiated by electronics manufacturers including HP and Apple Viet Nam, and managed by Reverse Logistics. They issue clear information to consumers, provide services, and collect waste at home. In 2020, despite the impact of the pandemic, they still collected more than 30 tonnes of e-waste, mostly from households."
According to Phuong, before an EPR system can be implemented successfully, the Government needs to define a mandatory recycling ratio, without which manufacturers transfer the recycling responsibility to their customers. Currently, information on EPR is very limited and there is no pressure to implement mandatory recycling, resulting in almost no incentives for businesses to cooperate or set up mechanisms for collective action.
These kinds of policies only go some way to tackling the waste problem on our horizon.
“While EPR is a necessary and vital part of the solution to packaging waste and pollution, it is by itself insufficient and needs to be complemented by a wider set of policies, and voluntary industry action and innovation towards a circular economy for packaging,” says The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a UK-registered charity which promotes the circular economy.
For a comprehensive solution to the challenge of waste, the EPR is a good starting point. But such measures will need buy-in from a wider range of stakeholders, including ourselves as consumers. If we don’t want to find ourselves buried in trash, a whole community approach is needed to push reusing, reducing and recycling as a priority.
Over half of SMEs suffer cyberattacks in the past year
According to a study by Cisco Secure, as many as 59 percent SMEs in Vietnam have been victims of cyberattacks in the past year, of which 86 percent lost customer information to malicious hackers.
The study is based on an independent survey of over 3,700 business and IT leaders across 14 markets in the Asia-Pacific, including 152 in Vietnam where businesses are fostering the digitalization of their operations in response to COVID-19.
Besides the loss of customer data, Vietnamese SMEs suffering cyber incident also lost employee data, financial information, and sensitive business information, among others. In addition, 61 percent admitted that cyberattacks have hurt their reputation.
Cisco’s study also found that while SMEs in Vietnam are worried about cyberattacks, they are taking steps to improve their cybersecurity./.
Reference exchange rate up 1 VND at week’s beginning
The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate at 23,160 VND/USD on October 18, up 1 VND from the rate on the last working day of previous week (October 15).
With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applicable to commercial banks during the day is 23,854 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,465 VND/USD.
The opening-hour rates at commercial banks stayed stable.
At 8:25 am, Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,630 VND/USD and the selling rate at 22,860 VND/USD, unchanged from October 15.
BIDV also kept both rates unchanged at 22,660 VND/USD (buying) and 22,860 VND/USD (selling).
Similarly, the rates at Vietinbank remained unchanged at 22,635 VND/USD (buying) and 22,855 VND/USD (selling)./.
Vietnam Airlines to resume Hanoi-Can Tho air route from October 18
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has officially restored its regular route between Hanoi and Can Tho in a pilot period from October 18 to 20.
Tickets for the flights are now open for sale at the carrier’s website, mobile application and official ticket offices and agents to meet the travel demand of passengers.
Specifically, Vietnam Airlines will operate one flight per day from Hanoi to Can Tho and vice versa by Airbus A321. The flight departs from Hanoi at 10:00 and from Can Tho at 13:05.
Passengers on the flight must satisfy pandemic prevention and control requirements, including a negative testing COVID-19 certificate within 72 hours and full vaccination of two shots, or certificate of recovery from the disease within six months.
From October 10, Vietnam Airlines has restored 16 domestic routes including between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang; between Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Da Nang, Chu Lai, Hue, Nha Trang, Tuy Hoa, Dong Hoi, Quy Nhon, Phu Quoc, Rach Gia, Ca Mau; and between Thanh Hoa and Da Lat./.
Traditional markets in HCM City reopen
About 47 out of 234 traditional markets in HCM City with traders of fresh food, dry food and essential goods have opened.
According to the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, traditional markets earlier this week remained closed in districts 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, Go Vap, Phu Nhuan, Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon and Nha Be.
About 22 markets are planning to reopen, including Dan Sinh and Thai Binh in District 1; Ban Co, Nguyen Van Troi and Vuon Chuoi in District 3; Phung Hung, Tan Thanh and Dong Khanh in District 5; Tan My in District 7; Rach Ong, Pham The Hien, Nhi Thien Duong and Xom Cui in District 8; Binh Hung Hoa, Da Sa, Khu pho 2, Binh Long and Kien Duc in Binh Tan District; Phu Nhuan, Tran Huu Trang and Nguyen Dinh Chieu in Phu Nhuan District and Phuoc Loc in Nha Be District.
All unofficial gathering and trading activities, however, that encroach on roads and fail to ensure epidemic prevention and control and food hygiene and safety are prohibited.
Locals are encouraged not to support or trade at prohibited market areas.
Resolution 128, classifying four levels of the epidemic, states that traditional markets, restaurants and eateries are allowed to operate on the basis of epidemic prevention and control.
However, in very high-risk areas, the provincial People’s Committees will announce necessary and specific conditions for these activities to be carried out more safely.
Some traders in traditional markets are concerned about a decrease in buying power from customers. Trinh Minh Quang told e-newspaper VnExpress that he has been able to sell one-tenth of his seafood compared to months ago.
“Fresh seafood, when it cannot be sold within three to four days, will go to waste. We are trying to keep my store open as a reminder to our customers that we are still in business,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pham Trung Hieu, owner of a chicken eatery, pointed out that locals’ habits of dining at home has discouraged them to order takeaways.
Digital transformation vital to business recovery
Digital transformation will play a vital part in helping businesses recover after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to experts.
The digital transformation is an irreversible trend, according to Nguyen Phu Tien, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Information and Communications. He added that this transformation will help to reconstruct markets in the new normal. His comments were part of a seminar held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi on October 15.
The Prime Minister was encouraging this digital transformation, including digital government, digital economy and digital society, he said. This change would not only be limited to large enterprises; in fact, smaller enterprises perhaps would have the most to gain.
Tien said that raising awareness was the most important part of the digital transformation. Enterprise leaders must realise that this would be an unstoppable trend, and react appropriately. The earlier businesses exploit this change the greater the rewards to be reaped.
Le Thanh Liem, Chief Financial Officer of the Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk), said the digital transformation needed foundation and commitments from the government, ministries and the sector itself.
Vinamilk identified the digital transformation trend in business development nearly 20 years ago, from production, supply, and sales to financial management, he said.
The company had almost maintained normal production and business activities during the pandemic, even though its office operation was reduced to 10 percent and sales activities were limited.
Vinamilk had applied technology to all stages of its operation, including production, transport and storage, he said.
Liem said Vietnam has had many laws and guiding circulars relating to digital technology. However, it is necessary to promote digitalisation in management and administrative procedures to create more favourable conditions for businesses.
The application of technology in financial and tax activities gained good results in the past years, he said.
At the event, Nguyen Hai Hung, Managing Director of Deloitte Vietnam, said that while COVID-19 had created a crisis, it would not be the only crisis in the coming years. Enterprises must prepare to overcome these difficulties.
These preparations would include good management in human resources, risk and finance, Hung said.
According to Pham Hoang Hai, head of Cooperation Group at VCCI’s Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), the council has the corporate sustainability index (CSI) to help businesses manage risks and restructure themselves.
Enterprises applying these CSI indicators have gained growth in corporate revenue and labour income, and stabilisation in labour force and production. Human resources and corporate management are important factors for enterprises at the moment.
Doan Thi Mai Huong, General Director, the South Aviation Services Joint Stock Company (SASCO), said the pandemic had forced the company to change its business strategy and focus more on human resources. If human resources were protected, the company would be protected.
The company had ensured income for employees during the pandemic. In addition, during the pandemic, SASCO had provided training courses to improve the quality of human resources, Huong said./.
Vietnam’s master plan focuses on development of six major port clusters
Vietnam’s master plan on developing domestic seaport network over the next 10 years, with a vision to 2050, will focus on the development of six major port clusters, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The has said.
The Minister made the remark during a recent conference of the Transport Ministry announcing the master plan.
The plan gives priority to upgrading the system of seaports in northern Hai Phong city, with an aim of turning Lach Huyen into a port serving container cargo, along with the port clusters in Thanh Hoa, Da Nang and Khanh Hoa in the central region, and Cai Mep (Ba Ria-Vung Tau) and Tran De (Soc Trang) in the south.
He said that a specific mechanism will be devised to seek consideration of the Prime Minister.
Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Xuan Sang said that the plan was among national ones that receive the earliest approval of the Government. It holds significant meaning in realising socio-economic development and maritime economy strategies.
Under the plan, priority will also be given to international gateway ports, large-scale seaports and those serving tourism development and industrial parks.
Up to 95 percent of about 313 trillion VND (nearly 13.8 billion USD) needed for the plan’s implementation will be mobilised outside the State budget./.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau firms move to adapt to new normal
Despite being battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau have done their utmost to protect and maintain production activities.
With a flexible response, the province’s industrial production enjoyed sound growth in the first nine months of the year. Nearly 450 local enterprises applied the “three on-site” model, where employees work, eat, and sleep on-site, to keep production going while ensuring the safety of more than 50,000 workers.
Chien Chung Chih, Administration Manager of San Fang Chemical Industry Co., Ltd., said: "We applied the “three on-site” model for 750 workers, or 60 percent of our workforce. They lived in a 70-room dormitory, each from 20-40 square metres. The company was in charge of transporting them from their living quarters to the worksite every day. They were directed to strictly follow the “5K message” while at the dormitory and the workplace."
"We recommended to local authorities that workers be given vaccinations at the earliest possible time," he said.
"We have calculated that the “three on-site” model will cost us billions of VND. But we accept this to ensure production and worker safety," said Le Van Tinh, Director of Pacific Lighting Equipment Production & Trading JSC.
The two-month social distancing order under Directive No. 16 affected enterprises in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, with employee numbers falling, logistics services disrupted, charges incurred in COVID-19 testing and pandemic prevention work, and a surge in wages and business costs.
Eighty companies with 16,500 workers had to suspend operations.
After several discussions with local companies, Ba Ria-Vung Tau introduced a number of policies to support the restoration of production and boost socio-economic development.
According to Nguyen Cong Vinh, Vice Chairman of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provincial People’s Committee, said: "We have provided local companies with tax and credit support policies. Favourable conditions have also been created for enterprises to gain access to support under the Government’s Resolution No. 68."
Together with pushing up the vaccination drive, the provincial People’s Committee also established a working group in charge of hearing from local companies about challenges and solutions to removing bottlenecks. This aimed to accelerate the recovery of local production and adapt to the development of the pandemic./.
EVFTA gives fresh impetus to trade and investment co-operation
The Vietnam-EU Trade Forum is expected to take place on October 27 in Hanoi to highlight the importance of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which has provided fresh impetus to trade and investment co-operation as the world moves into the new normal situation.
The virtual event is set to be co-hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Delegation of the EU to Vietnam, and the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) in Vietnam.
Most notably, the function will serve to connect 14 points of Vietnamese Trade Offices in Europe, while guests will be directly provided with market information whilst receiving support in a bid to strengthen connectivity with partners in the region.
The forum will primarily focus on assessing the economic and trade changes between the nation and the bloc following the enforcement of the EVFTA, the practical effectiveness of taking advantage of the trade deal, while also devising scenarios aimed at restoring and boosting both trade and investment in the new context.
The event also provides an ideal venue in which experts can exchange information and their views on market trends, co-operation prospects, and practical recommendations for businesses in a bid for them to adapt and take full advantage of market opportunities.
According to data compiled by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the total import-export turnover between the country and the EU enjoyed a surge of 11.9% to US$54.6 billion compared to the same period from last year after the enforcement of the trade deal a one year previously.
Of the figure, export and import turnover increased by 11.3% and 12.4% to reach US$38.48 billion and US$16.16 billion, respectively.
Despite these positive figures, local firms are being advised to fully met the stringent requirements and technical barriers in terms of human health, environment, and sustainable development as a means of taking advantage of the incentives brought about by the EVFTA.
Moreover, domestic businesses are recommended to quickly grasp the situation, proactively adapt and innovate themselves to deeply participate in the restructuring of global supply chains and values.
Viet Nam likely to achieve rice export target this year
Viet Nam is expected to achieve its rice export target of 6.3 million tonnes worth US$3.2 billion this year due to high global demand and an increase in export prices.
Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed the country exported 593,600 tonnes of rice in September, worth over $293.1 million, increasing by 19 per cent in volume and 20.5 per cent in value compared to last year’s figures.
Viet Nam shipped abroad 4.57 million tonnes of rice worth over $2.41 billion during the nine-month period, a drop of 8.3 per cent in volume and 1.2 per cent in value year-on-year.
“The rice export has resumed since September despite the fact that social distancing is still being applied in many southern provinces and cities,” said Nguyen Quoc Toan, General Director of the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Nguyen Thanh Phong, Director of Van Loi Company, attributed the increase in the Vietnamese rice export prices to the fact that the Government has boosted its purchase for national reserves, along with the rising demand in the global market since the beginning of September.
Other insiders also expressed their optimism as foreign importers allow the resumption of rice trading once the COVID-19 pandemic is put under control.
Some major rice exporters are predicted to increase their rice exports in the last months of this year and the first half of 2022, they said.
The export prices of Viet Nam’s 5-per cent broken rice soared to the highest level over the past three months, according to the Viet Nam Food Association.
The country’s five-per cent broken rice is currently sold at between $433 and $437 per tonne, surpassing that of other competitors such as Thailand, India and Pakistan.
Specifically, the prices of Vietnamese rice were $49, $68 and $55 higher than that of Thailand, India and Pakistan, respectively.
In mid-August, the export price of Viet Nam’s 5-per cent broken rice was offered at $393-307, $8 lower than the Thai product.
Quang Ninh maintains position as safe tourist destination
In spite of the outbreaks of COVID-19 nationwide, the northern province of Quang Ninh has still maintained its position as one of the safe tourism destinations in the country.
Local authorities are actively implementing a mass vaccination drive against COVID-19 in the province with the aim of reaching herd immunity against COVID-19 as soon as possible, towards gradually resuming tourism activities in the locality.
With a coastline of 120km, the UNESCO heritage site Ha Long Bay of Quang Ninh is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vietnam. It features thousands of islands, each topped with thick jungle vegetation, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars.
Amidst the beautiful landscape, Sun World Ha Long Park complex in Ha Long Bay provides fun and tremendous excitement to visitors of all ages, as they can take part in exciting and adventurous games at Dragon Park and Typhoon Water Park.
Like a Japanese peaceful village in Quang Hanh valley, Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh is also an attractive destination to tourists. It offers Japanese-style healthcare tourism service with hot spring baths. Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh is a perfect choice for health and beauty care./.
Binh Thuan enhances dragon fruit exports
The Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Binh Thuan Province have implemented many solutions to promote the consumption of dragon fruit.
They have organised events on connecting local enterprises with partners at home and abroad to expand the consumption market for dragon fruit. They have also implemented solutions to speed up the clearance of goods at border gates, including priority in plant quarantine and transport for exported dragon fruit.
In August, the Binh Thuan Department of Industry and Trade coordinated with the Trade Promotion Department (under the Ministry of Industry and Trade) to hold an online conference on Vietnamese dragon fruit with potential export markets in 2021.
At the conference, dragon fruit production and trading enterprises and cooperatives in Binh Thuan connected with Indian partners, as well as businesses in Australia, Japan, China and Europe, opening up opportunities on expanding the export market for dragon fruit in the future.
Earlier this year, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) officially granted the Protected Geographical Indication certificate to Binh Thuan dragon fruit. This is the second agricultural product of Viet Nam to receive the certificate, after Luc Ngan lychee.
This certificate has a great significance to affirm the prestige of Binh Thuan dragon fruit and create many new opportunities for exporting this product to key markets such as Europe, South Korea and New Zealand.
Binh Thuan Department of Industry and Trade in September issued a plan to develop production and expand the consumption market for Binh Thuan dragon fruit.
Accordingly, the plan would help expand the dragon fruit export market, besides increasing export volume to traditional export markets and enhancing trade promotion activities.
At present, Binh Thuan mainly consumes fresh dragon fruit, of which 80-85 per cent are for export and about 15-20 per cent for the domestic market.
Binh Thuan Province now encourages farmers to increase product quality in dragon fruit production but not expanding production areas for the sustainable development of this product.
According to Phan Van Tan, deputy director of the Binh Thuan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, VietGAP standards are also applied for sustainable development of dragon fruit production. That has increased the value of dragon fruit products and met demand of export markets. On the other hand, the use of pesticides is also minimised, increasing the prestige and quality of Binh Thuan dragon fruit products.
By September, the VietGAP-certified area growing dragon fruit has reached 11,500ha, accounting for more than 30 per cent of the area growing dragon fruit in the province.
Besides, Binh Thuan Province is forming a dragon fruit production region with high technology in two districts of Ham Thuan Nam and Ham Thuan Bac.
The Binh Thuan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has also requested the Sub-Department of Crop Production and Plant Protection and relevant agencies to strengthen the management and supervision of the use of planting region codes and codes of dragon fruit packing establishments that have been granted to organisations and individuals in the province.
It would also coordinate with the Market Management Department to strengthen inspection and control of the labelling at dragon fruit packaging facilities in accordance with existing regulations.
Binh Thuan has so far proposed the Plant Protection Department to grant codes to 78 dragon fruit growing regions and 268 of dragon fruit packaging facilities in the province.
This province has 33,750ha growing dragon fruit trees with a total output of 700,000 tonnes per year. China has been one of the key export markets of Binh Thuan dragon fruit.
Experts seek ways for Viet Nam to have healthier supply chain
Though the pandemic has seriously impacted the world and Viet Nam, it has accelerated the supply chain shift by diversifying, regionalising the production chain and scaling up global value chains, said an expert in Ha Noi on October 14.
Tran Toan Thang, director of the Department of Industrial Forecast and Enterprise Development (DIFED), National Center for Economic Forecast and Information (NCIF), told a seminar hosted by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH) in collaboration with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Foundation (KAS) of Germany on the pandemic influence on the global supply chain and local logistics sector and business operations: “Though there is global prospects for production, the impact from the pandemic will affect enterprises at least until 2023.”
Thang said most of the production chains that Viet Nam can access or have the potential to move to are suitable with the import and export trend of Viet Nam, saying: “In the long term, Viet Nam's import-export activities will grow well.”
While Thang saw a better future for import-export activities, Tran Dinh Thien, former Director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said the pandemic has revealed the limitations of the current global supply chain, specifically when the global economic dependence on “one locality" production, mentioning logistics was among issues for the activities.
Thien said the pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to business production, disrupting global supply chains and leading to high freight rates and a shortage of workforce for production.
In addition, social distancing measures and travel restrictions, along with COVID-19 testing fees, have disrupted production lines and put additional financial burdens on businesses.
At the seminar, Prof. Dr. Heribert Dieter, Institute of International and Security Affairs, Germany, said that the main obstacle to the recovery of the supply chain was transportation costs, adding the cost of shipping containers from East Asia to Europe had increased by nearly 10 times.
The German expert said the shift of the supply chain would create opportunities for some economies like Viet Nam or India but the negative impacts on the supply chain would continue to linger, adding it would be difficult for transportation costs to return to normal levels before 2023 or 2024.
In this case, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Institute for Diplomatic Strategy Studies, Vietnam Diplomatic Academy, suggested local anti-pandemic work must pay attention to the economic stability, saying: “The COVID-19 prevention strategy must be accompanied by a unified logistics service strategy to avoid sudden and unexpected social distancing that affects transport activities."
Tuan also recommended renewing the approach and thinking on supply chain issues, making plans and scenarios for options suitable to the pandemic situation as well as quickly and widely implement measures to support post-pandemic recovery.
He also suggested promoting local production to replace imports and at the same time to diversify sources of importing intermediate goods, avoiding dependence on a few single sources of goods.
Viet Nam should also increase the production of essential commodities such as food and healthcare, support small and medium-sized enterprises, and prioritise the development of qualified labour resources to keep pace with the transformation of the digital economy.
Thien, former director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said as China, Europe and the US were gradually turning to high-tech economies, it explained the strong recovery in the second pandemic year while the digital economy helped to solve some physical problems such as supply chains and logistics.
Therefore, he proposed to apply high technology for economic activities and to restructure the economy sustainably at the global level with good forecasts to avoid unusual risks.
At the seminar, Florian Feyerabend, Chief Representative of KAS, said: "Viet Nam is a major trading partner among ASEAN and also the top choice of investment destinations in this region.”
After social distancing measures are lifted and the vaccination campaign ramped up, a new normal will begin with economic dynamics restarting, he said: “Viet Nam will always be an attractive destination for foreign investors, especially Germany.”
Education stocks seriously affected by COVID-19
Education stocks that have small capitalisation, low liquidity and ill-diversified products have been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fourth strain of COVID-19 led to prolonged social distancing measures in provinces and cities, especially in HCM City and Ha Noi, which have the largest market shares of educational equipment and products.
Many book stores and stationery stores had to shut down, while businesses were halted. This affects not only suppliers of equipment and stationery for educational activities, but also book publishers.
Phuong Nam Culture Joint Stock Company (PNC) lost VND8.2 billion (US$360,600) in the first half of 2021, although revenue was 1.13 times higher than the same period last year, reaching VND246.3 billion.
Ho Chi Minh City Book Distribution Corporation (FHS), which has more than 110 bookstores in 46 provinces and cities, expects sales to continue to decline, as many stores in the system have to temporarily close.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools in many provinces and cities to conduct distance learning, causing unprecedented difficulties for businesses in the field of education.
Book publishers said they focused on online sales during the social distancing period, but the delivery of products was disrupted because most of the delivery providers had to stop working.
At the same time, applying digital transformation in selling e-books is not easy, they said.
Some leading names in the industry in the education sector still performed well in the first half of 2021.
Ha Noi Education Development and Investment Joint Stock Company (EID) achieved VND499.4 billion in revenue and VND34.7 billion in profit after tax in H1, up by 1.28 times and 1.27 times, respectively.
Phuong Nam Education Development and Investment Joint Stock Company (SED) recorded VND364.6 billion in revenue and VND16.7 billion in profit after tax, 1.53 times and 1.24 times higher, respectively.
Thang Long Star Investment Joint Stock Company (DST) reported VND15.8 billion in revenue and more than VND4 billion in profit after tax, while Southern Book and Educational Equipment Joint Stock Company (SMN) attained VND274.2 billion in revenue and VND5.2 billion in profit after tax.
Thien Long Group Joint Stock Company (TLG) achieved revenue of VND1.43 trillion and profit after tax of VND176 billion in the first six months of 2021, up by 1.27 times and 10 times over the same period in 2020, respectively.
Education and training are among the prioritised industries of the Party, State and the whole country. However, many businesses operating in the field of education admit that they are lagging behind the market's needs and requirements.
On the stock market, there are more than 20 businesses operating in the field of education, but most of them are in the field of publishing and stationery products, which are seasonal and highly affected by events such as COVID-19. Therefore, there are few activities to develop specialised educational training associated with technology infrastructure.
Except for Tan Tao University under FPT Corporation, there are very few enterprises on the stock exchange applying technology in education-related services.
There are some businesses starting to apply technology in their English teaching apps or self-study apps, but most of them are just start-up ideas with a modest scale.
In the first six months of 2021, FPT’s education segment revenue increased by 53 per cent compared to the same period last year, reaching VND1.36 trillion. However, FPT leaders themselves admitted that the work in the field of specialised education requires much more effort.
According to many securities companies, the demand for education products will increase sharply in the coming years as the market size increases, but now most businesses prefer stability and have not yet adapted to drastic changes in technology to meet demand.
Majority of businesses to start immediate recruitment
Nearly 57 percent of companies plan to start recruiting immediately as things resume normality, after the fourth Covid-19 wave forced their suspension for months.
IT has the highest demand growth rate for recruitment, rising 50 percent and 45 percent from pre-pandemic levels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, respectively.
Half of respondents said they would recruit completely new and inexperienced employees as they seek to optimize recruitment costs, with priorities for sales and IT candidates, said the survey, which polled over 400 employers and 1,200 jobseekers in August.
The figures show a high demand for labor amid major shortages being reported in southern manufacturing facilities as workers leave major industrial localities like HCMC and Binh Duong for their hometowns, their cash depleted.
More than 87 percent of jobseekers said they were affected by the pandemic.
More than half of respondents have been tightening their spending.
Nearly 52 percent of employees will switch to a new job when the Covid-19 situation is controlled./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan
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