VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS SEPTEMBER 28
Global growth investor Warburg Pincus with headquarters in New York, the US, has decided to invest in a cross-border e-commerce project in the southern province of Binh Duong.
Covering 75 hectares, the project will include high-tech factories, warehouse, customs bonded warehouse, showrooms and offices.
The southern industrial hub of Binh Duong is a popular destination for foreign investors. As of September 15, the province was home to 4,069 foreign-invested projects with total registered capital of nearly 39.6 billion USD. Binh Duong is currently ranked 2nd in the country in attracting foreign direct investment, after Ho Chi Minh City.
It has attracted 2.6 billion USD in the first nine months of 2022. The US currently ranks 13th out of 65 countries and territories that have invested in the province with 131 projects, worth 1.3 billion USD.
Commercial banks raise deposit rates after SBV’s adjustment
Many commercial banks have increased interest rates for Vietnamese dong deposits over the past few days after the State Bank of Viet Nam raised its policy rate by 100 basis points last Thursday.
Vietnam Prosperity Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VPBank) has sharply increased deposit interest rates for short terms. Specifically, customers who deposit at VPBank for a term of 2-5 months will enjoy a ceiling interest rate of 5 per cent per year for savings of VND10 billion or more, up 1 percentage point. As for deposits from VND3 billion to less than VND10 billion, the interest rate is 4.9 per cent per year. The rate of 4.8 per cent per year is for deposits from VND300 million to less than VND3 billion.
At Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB), the deposit interest rate for terms of less than one month has also increased to a maximum of 0.5 percentage point per year. The rate for deposits from one month to less than six months has also increased by 0.8-0.9 percentage point per year to range from 4.38-4.9 per cent per year.
Many other banks, such as Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB), Vietnam Import-Export Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank), Bac A Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Bac A Bank), Viet Capital Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Viet Capital Bank) and Kien Long Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Kienlongbank), have also adjusted up the deposit interest rate for many terms, especially terms of less than six months.
Meanwhile, large-sized State-owned banks in the Big 4 group, including Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank), Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade of Vietnam (VietinBank) and Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank), have not yet made a new adjustment. Currently, the highest interest rates listed by these banks range from 5.6-5.8 per cent per year for online deposits and 5.6 per cent per year for over-the-counter deposits. Their interest rates for short terms under six months are at 3.1-3.4 per cent per year.
Maybank Investment Banking Group (Maybank IBG) forecast after last week’s adjustment, the SBV would keep the deposit interest rate unchanged from now until the end of 2022.
According to Maybank IBG, the SBV’s policy rate hike last week would not significantly affect the economic recovery. Maybank IBG maintains its GDP growth forecast of 8 per cent for Viet Nam for 2022 and 6 per cent for 2023, respectively.
VCCI proposes abolishing excise tax on gasoline
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has proposed the Ministry of Finance consider abolishing the special consumption tax on gasoline to cushion the impact of the steep global fuel price rises.
Tax reduction is a good solution, but eliminating the special consumption tax on gasoline should be considered a necessary measure to reduce the negative impact of global fuel price surges in the long term, said VCCI.
Experts believed that it was not reasonal to impose a special consumption tax on gasoline. Gasoline is an essential consumer product and widely used in production and daily life, while this tax should only be levied on non-essential goods to discourage consumption, such as cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and luxury cars.
Currently, fuel is subject to four taxes, namely import, environmental protection, special consumption and value added taxes. The special consumption tax on fuel is 10%.
Previously, the Ministry of Finance asked for feedback on a draft resolution of the National Assembly on halving both the special consumption tax and the value added tax on fuel, receiving firm support from the VCCI.
According to the draft resolution, the excise tax and value added tax would be reduced by 50% and 20-50%, respectively, based on the decision of the National Assembly and the actual conditions. The tax reduction period is expected to last six months from the effective date of the resolution.
The Ministry of Finance estimated that state budget revenue would drop by VND7.5 trillion to VND12 trillion due to the reduction of the two fuel taxes in six months.
Japanese firm to buy 2.1 million FTS shares
Japan’s SBI Financial Services Co., a company related to Ueno Taro, who is a board member at FPT Securities JSC, has registered to buy 2.1 million FTS shares.
The transaction will be conducted from September 29 to October 27, the local media reported.
After the purchase, the Japanese firm will raise its ownership in FPT Securities, which trades its FTS shares on the Hochiminh Stock Exchange, to 22.51%, or 43.9 million shares.
Each FTS share is priced at VND31,000, so SBI will spend some VND65.1 billion on the purchase.
SBI, the largest shareholder of FTS, had bought some 1.2 million FTS shares between June 28 and July 12.
In the first half of the year, FPT Securities JSC reported over VND578 billion in revenue, inching down 2% year-on-year, and VND365.5 billion in pre-tax profit, a year-on-year decrease of 15%.
Hanoi holds trade fair to promote OCOP products
A week-long event to introduce and sell goods under the ‘One Commune, One Product’ (OCOP) programme is taking place at the centre of culture, information and sports of Hanoi’s Thanh Tri district.
OCOP goods are highly localised products, often food, that come from one small specific area.
So far, Hanoi has recognised 1,649 OCOP goods, including four products rated five stars, 1,098 others rated four stars, and 534 rated three stars. They include 1,071 food, 35 beverage, 17 herbal, 492 handicraft, and 34 fabric and apparel products. The capital city is taking the lead nationwide in terms of the numbers of OCOP products and five-star OCOP products.
The city houses 1,350 craft villages, accounting for the largest number of such villages in the country. These places are home to 47 out of 52 traditional crafts of Vietnam. Among them, there are 313 accredited by Hanoi People's Committee as craft villages and traditional craft villages.
The capital city, meanwhile, has over 9,900 agricultural and food products with QR code serving their traceability.
Vietnam emerges as winner from era of deglobalisation
UK media outlet the Economist has recently published an article highlighting huge advantages enjoyed by Vietnam in the era of deglobalisation.
The article outlines that since 2000, Vietnamese GDP has grown at a faster rate than that of any other Asian country bar China, averaging 6.2% annually.
It has lured major foreign firms in droves, starting with apparel makers such as Nike and Adidas seeking low-skilled labour, before eventually booming into electronics and higher-value goods which create better-paid jobs for more highly-skilled workers. In 2020, electronics made up 38% of the country’s goods exports, up from 14% of a far smaller total back in 2010.
The Economist points out that the trade war between the US and China, which initially started in 2018 has been a factor behind this. In 2019 the country produced nearly half of the US$31 billion-worth of American imports that had moved from China to other low-cost Asian countries.
Apple’s largest suppliers, Foxconn and Pegatron, which make Apple Watches, MacBooks, and other gadgets, are building big factories in Vietnam and look set to join the ranks of the country’s largest employers. Other major names include Dell and HP, with a focus on laptops, Google, with a focus on phones, and Microsoft, with a focus on gaming consoles.
All of which could lead to stronger growth and make millions of Vietnamese people better off. Vietnam aims to become rich, with GDP per capita exceeding US$18,000 by 2045, up from the current US$2,800. It hopes to do this partly by moving away from cheap garments to complex electronics which require greater investment and more skilled labour, the article notes.
Furthermore, the country is an enthusiastic member of over a dozen free-trade agreements, giving it easier access to scores of international markets. With the recent COVID-19 outbreak bought under control, the government has eased domestic travel restrictions and reopened all borders to tourism and trade exchanges.
According to the article, Vietnam offers advantages in terms of geographical blessings, such as more than 3,000km of coastline, massive infrastructure spending on things such as new roads, and its electronics cluster operating profitably.
However, there is much to be done if Vietnamese factories are to move farther up the value chain, says the article. Whilst foreign firms would love to buy more parts locally, which could be faster and more convenient than sourcing them from just over the border, they usually fail to find what they seek.
The article notes that Vietnam has many things working in its favour, including a young workforce. If Vietnam is to grow as rich as China, let alone Japan, the Republic of Korea, or Taiwan (China), then it will have to invest not just in infrastructure, but also in its people, the article concludes.
Rice companies benefit from rising prices
Rice companies are benefiting from rising rice prices, especially the group of companies with a large export weight of rice.
The price of rice is increasing because India restricted rice exports. India exports rice to more than 150 countries and contributes about 36.7 per cent of the global rice trade, so any drop in export volume will put pressure on rice prices.
The global rice supply still faces risks due to severe weather conditions in major exporting countries, as stated in the new report of VNDirect Securities (VND).
Recent extreme weather in Asia's top rice exporting countries, which account for about 90 per cent of world rice production, is likely to reduce yields and output this year, VND said. VND said that rice prices may increase in the near future.
Viet Nam is the world's third largest rice exporter, after India and Thailand, with 7.8 per cent of global trade; and is the largest exporter to China with 24.5 per cent market share. Indian rice prices are in a weaker competitive position due to higher tariffs, which in turn pushes buyers to shift to Thai and Vietnamese rice.
In the first eight months of 2022, Viet Nam's rice export value and output reached US$2.3 billion and 4.8 million tonnes, up 9.9 per cent and 20.7 per cent year-on-year, respectively. China is Viet Nam's second largest rice export market, after the Philippines, accounting for 12 per cent of total rice exports in the first eight months of 2022.
The Prime Minister has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to develop a project on sustainable production of 1 million hectares of high-quality specialised rice, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Mekong Delta region.
Wood processing sector eyes digital transformation despite hurdles
Nguyen Chanh Phuong, vice chairman and secretary general of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA), said: “The number of wood processing firms adopting digital transformation is not high. We are striving to scale up. There are good practices in digital transformation in the association and we strive to share those stories.”
To begin with, the association has stepped up communication to help wood processing firms to grasp the concept of digital transformation and where it should start, he said.
The association launched a CIO network development project last April to foster digital transformation in the sector, he said.
The project has completed the first step, which focused on providing professional training to personnel in charge of digital transformation at businesses, raising awareness of the importance of digital transformation, developing a CIO team, and reducing the gap between business leaders and those who perform transformational work, according to Phuong.
In the second step, it will consolidate the CIO team and try to introduce specific solutions appropriate for enterprises.
The country’s wood product exports reached US$14.8 billion last year. Phuong said the exports hadbeen worth nearly $12 billion so far this year, and were expected to increase by 7-8 per cent for the entire year.
Vinh Phuc to have 200-hectare industrial park
Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh has given the green light to the 207-hectare Dong Soc industrial park project in Vinh Phuc Province.
The Vinh Phuc Trading Investment Company also obtained approval to serve as the owner of the industrial park, the local media reported.
The industrial park, which will encompass parts of Van Xuan and Vu Di communes and Tu Trung Town in Vinh Tuong District, needs over VND2.2 trillion for infrastructure development, with some VND336 billion sourced from the investor and the rest from other sources.
The project will be executed 36 months after the site is handed over.
Networking events held to enhance Vietnam - RoK business partnerships
The Korea Trade - Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) have arranged 166 direct meetings between 25 businesses from Incheon city, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and nearly 100 Vietnamese importers over the past few days to seek partnership opportunities.
Businesses from Incheon, which accommodates many major industrial production complexes, have come to Vietnam to seek partners. They brought along a wide range of products in the fields of cosmetics, beauty care, instant food, household appliances, education, to medical tools, electronic devices, industrial equipment, and construction materials.
Tran Thi Hai Yen, head of KOTRA Hanoi, said the office will connect over 1,300 Korean firms with 1,000 Vietnamese partners via 80 networking events to be held both in person and online in the time ahead.
This October, KOTRA will hold an international event - Korea Brand & Entertainment Expo (KBEE) - to further promote trading activities so that bilateral trade can reach 100 billion USD this year, she noted.
Kim Yo Keun, Director of the Prime Co. Ltd - a dishwasher manufacturer, said Vietnam is a potential market with numerous development opportunities for Korean enterprises, noting that his company is exporting about 300 million KRW (212,000 USD) worth of the products to Vietnam each year.
Vinfast expands cooperation with Japanese electronics company in EV manufacturing
VinFast, Viet Nam’s first global EV maker, and Renesas Electronics Corporation, Japan’s premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, announced on Monday that they are expanding their collaboration agreement to include automotive technology development of electric vehicles (EVs) and delivery of system components.
As part of the newly expanded agreement, Renesas will provide a broader range of products to VinFast, including SoCs (System on Chips), microcontrollers, analog and power semiconductors. It will also provide technical support to assist VinFast in developing future automotive applications and mobility services.
By gaining access to Renesas' leading-edge technologies and expertise in the automotive industry, VinFast will accelerate the development of new EVs and market expansion with the aim to aggressively increase its annual production and sales.
The two companies will regularly share product development roadmaps, market trends and requirements, project implementation progress as well as new cooperation opportunities.
UKVFTA brings more investment to Vietnam real estate market
Vietnam’s real estate market is seeing more investments from the UK thanks to the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).
The UK is known for consulting services, especially in the real estate industry. Real estate is not only the choice of many investors but also a safe and very effective investment channel, according to Savills Vietnam, a UK real estate consulting provider in Vietnam.
Although Asian countries like Singapore and South Korea lead investment, there are several active multinationals from the UK in Vietnam, especially in the financial services sector. For example, Standard Chartered launched its new head office in Hanoi at Capital Place in June.
On December 29, 2020, the UK and Vietnam signed the free trade agreement (UKVFTA) with an aim to pave the way for continued and increasing trade between the two countries. The agreement came into effect on May 1, 2021.
As can be seen from previously signed agreements, participation in trade agreements can bring great benefits to the investment market in Vietnam, according to Cushman & Wakefield Vietnam. A good example is the 1 billion USD capital flow from Denmark for the Lego factory project in Vietnam, after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) came into effect.
As of May 2022, the UK has a total of 462 investment projects in Vietnam, with a total registered investment capital of 4.15 billion USD.
UK investors invested the most in Vietnam's manufacturing and processing industry with 120 projects registered investment capital of nearly 1.6 billion USD, accounting for nearly 40% of total investment capital.
The second was the real estate industry with 23 projects having an investment capital of 1.04 billion USD, accounting for 26% of the total investment capital.
Vingroup injects VND6.3 trillion into LFP battery line
VinES Energy Solutions Joint Stock Company, an affiliate of Vingroup – the largest private conglomerate in Vietnam, has decided to pour VND6,329 billion into a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery factory in Ha Tinh province.
VinES’ investment plan has been approved by the Ha Tinh Economic Zone Management Board.
The factory will be built on an area of more than 14ha in Vung Ang economic zone. The project will have a total investment capital of VND6,329 billion, including VND2,405 billion sourced from VinES and the remainder from stakeholders.
The facility is designed to produce approximately 30 million LFP rechargeable battery cells mainly used for electric cars batteries and energy storage systems (ESS).
The production line is expected to churn out first commercial products in the third quarter of 2024.
Most consumers in Viet Nam are managing personal finances digitally
Most Vietnamese consumers have now gone digital when it comes to managing a range of personal financial matters, including paying bills, banking, opening new bank accounts, and financial planning.
According to Mastercard’s New Payments Index 2022, 89 per cent of consumers in Viet Nam have used digital tools for at least one financial task in the last year, with paying bills (85 per cent), banking (80 per cent) and starting a savings habit (73 per cent) forming the top three.
The latest data on payment habits, attitudes and preferences was published in Mastercard’s second annual New Payments Index: a global consumer survey spanning 40 markets across five regions, including seven in APAC: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand and Viet Nam.
The survey also found that Vietnamese consumers were typically more enthusiastic about using digital forms of payments than the regional average. This same enthusiasm is seen with Vietnamese consumers’ broader use of payments, with 94 per cent having used at least one digital payment method such as digital wallets, QR codes, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), biometrics and other forms of digital payments in the last year, compared to the APAC regional average of 88 per cent. What’s more, 78 per cent of Vietnamese consumers increased their usage of at least one digital payment method during the same period, demonstrating momentum.
When asked about their reasoning for using digital methods to pay bills, convenience was the top response (78 per cent), followed by the fact that it was seen as more secure/safe (60 per cent), and that it enabled consumers to avoid missed or late payments (58 per cent). Despite this, broader overarching concerns linger about security, indicating an opportunity for service providers to offer consumers additional education and reassurance.
Vietnamese consumers are also among the most enthusiastic in the region about using new payment technologies, with tappable smartphone mobile wallets being the leading digital technology (60 per cent), followed by account-to-account payments (59 per cent), and QR codes (54 per cent), according to the survey.
Quang Ninh to develop tourism along Ha Long-Mong Cai expy
The northern province of Quang Ninh is planning to develop tourism products along the 176-kilometer Ha Long-Mong Cai Expressway to spur local tourism growth, the authority told the media.
The Quang Ninh government has told the Department of Tourism to tap the tourism resources of each district along the expressway to ensure tourism will grow 15-20%.
Each district and city will be assigned to develop different forms of tourism, such as spiritual and cultural tourism in Quang Yen District and Uong Bi City, community-based and eco-tourism in the districts of Tien Yen, Ba Che, Binh Lieu, Dam Ha, and Hai Hai and entertainment activities in Mong Cai City.
When this plan is carried out, Quang Ninh can boost tourism and revenue in the province and create more job opportunities for locals.
Changing mindset in fishery industry
The fishery industry has begun to shift from a catch-based to a farm-based mindset, and it needs support from associations to accelerate the transition, according to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến.
Tiến made the remarks at a recent meeting with eight fishery associations, saying the industry is growing by roughly 6 per cent annually. However, the growth is expected to slow down sooner or later as a result of diminishing marginal productivity.
To keep the marginal productivity unabated, the industry has to transform itself into a large-scale industry that is deeply involved in global supply chains and comprised of well-known trademarks.
The deputy minister urged relevant ministries and associations to cooperate to speed up the market-oriented industrialisation and modernisation of the industry, preserve its fishery resources and biodiversity, maintain its biosafety and biosecurity, and improve its adaptability to climate change.
Additionally, he urged the industry to further enhance people's living standards and engage in the new-style rural area programme. He also called for more infrastructure investments, more education and training programmes and the employment of advanced technology in the industry.
Trần Đình Luân, director general of the Directorate of Fisheries, revealed that the industry is aiming to cut capture fisheries by one million tonnes by 2030 and seeking ways to reduce post-harvest losses.
The director general called for a close cooperation between the ministry and the assocations to keep firms and fishermen well-informed about fishery regulations and ethics.
He also called for the associations' active involvement in policy making and trade promotion. It is equally important to engage in trademark buiding and networking.
The associations are also called on to support fishermen with training courses and technology transfers and support firms with investments to promote sustainable production.
Warrant market to be active in the rest of 2022
With the number of new released covered warrant (CW) codes increasing nearly four times between August 2021 and August 2022, the warrant market is expected to be active again in the last three months of the year thanks to new issuances.
SSI Securities Corporation listed 423 million covered warrants under 28 new CW codes that it issued at the end of August on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on Thursday.
The 28 are based on 12 blue-chip stocks, mainly in banking (ACB, MBB, STB, TCB, TPB, and VPB), real estate and building materials (VHM, KDH and HPG) and retail (FPT, MWG and VRE).
They have maturities of four, seven and 12 months, and conversion ratios of 2:1, 4:1, 6:1, 8:1, and 10:1.
An SSI spokesperson said the company constantly seeks to issue covered warrants for a diverse range of underlying stocks in different industry groups in the VN30 index basket, but focuses on certain stocks in demand such as HPG, STB and FPT.
Investors can buy and sell CWs issued by SSI on HOSE on a T+1.5 settlement cycle just like stocks. If they hold a warrant to maturity, the difference will be paid in cash in case it is in a profitable position.
Viet Nam’s covered warrant market has grown significantly in the three years since it came into being. It had 157 warrant codes of seven issuers as of the end of last month compared to 48 a year ago.
Raising awareness on blockchain potential crucial: experts
To make blockchain more accessible and more widely adopted, raising awareness of its potential through education, successful applications and having regulatory frameworks are crucial, according to experts at blockchain conference BUIDL Viet Nam 2022.
Viet Nam is a leading adopter of cryptocurrency in the world and has advantages in developing blockchain, it was noted at the global conference on blockchain held in HCM City on September 23 and 24.
Nguyen Hoang Long, CTO of blockchain platform Aura Network, said that blockchain technology could store and process data in a transparent and decentralised manner, where stores of data are very resistant to alteration attempts.
He proposed that universities should educate students on blockchain, cryptocurrency and decentralised systems, even students in non-IT fields, to raise awareness of its potential.
Mai Duy Quang, a member of the Viet Nam Blockchain Association, said that Viet Nam lagged behind other countries in prior technology trends, but with regard to the blockchain, it had been home to many renowned, remarkable projects and developers.
Nicole Nguyen, ASEAN deputy chairwoman of Global Impact Fintech Forum, said that for blockchain to be more accessible to the general public, blockchain programmes and applications needed to have better user interfaces to be more user-friendly.
Mai Duy Quang added that his association was also working with foreign partners to acquire solutions to detect and tackle fraudulent cases related to blockchain.
One of the biggest applications of blockchain is decentralised storage, which is a method of storage where data are stored across many different servers as opposed to only one server. Data stored this way are cryptographically encrypted with blockchain technology.
Pranshu Rastogi, Vice President of Engineering of Ethereum Push Notification Service project, said that only the original owner of a piece of data could access and view it, in addition to whoever the owner granted viewing access to.
VTC and Microsoft enter strategic partnership to leverage Viet Nam’s e-sport market
VTC Multimedia Corporation and Microsoft Vietnam on Thursday signed a comprehensive strategic partnership in the 2022-25 period with an aim to leverage Viet Nam’s e-sport market.
Under the cooperation, Microsoft and VTC will focus on four main areas. Accordingly, after signing, Microsoft authorised VTC to release Age of Empires (AoE) games versions I, II, III, and IV in Viet Nam. VTC would publish, distribute, build, and officially deploy e-sports tournaments and make AoE an official sport in national and regional e-sports tournaments.
In addition, Microsoft will build a hybrid cloud platform for VTC and connect VTC's data centre with Microsoft's global network of data centres to provide the best service for developers operating games in the market.
VTC will invest resources to implement the project, taking advantage of Microsoft's technological strength in the field of games, infrastructure platforms, digital working environment, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and solutions for digital security.
Female Developer Innovation Tournament 2022 seeks to close gender gap in technology
Female Developer Innovation Tournament 2022, a tech competition hosted by Code Like A Girl Vietnam, and sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam and GeoComply, has attracted 24 participating teams who are working to address the challenge “How Geolocation technology can mitigate fraud risks in banking and financial services?”
The annual tournament, which calls for women passionate about coding, regardless of age, gender, nationality and background, to sign up in teams of two to four members, creates a playground to encourage and honour the pursuit of technology majors for the future generation of women. It offers VND130 million in cash prizes for the top teams.
The champion receives a grand prize and a three-day trip to Singapore to join a Boot Camp with SC Ventures and GeoComply to present the final idea.