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HCM City speeds up disbursement of public funds to fuel growth


The construction site of Thu Thiem 2 Bridge in HCM City

Districts and sectors in HCM City have been requested to ensure at least 80 percent of this year’s public funds are disbursed by October 15 and to raise the rate to over 95 percent by year’s end, as the city has committed to the Government.

At a meeting on the local socio-economic situation in the first half of 2020, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said the city recorded economic growth of just 2 percent in the period, as the service sector, which accounts for 60 percent of gross regional domestic product, was heavily affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Growth was 7.86 percent in the same period last year.

Though HCM City is home to up to half of all businesses nationwide, 90 percent of local firms are small- and medium-sized enterprises, which are more vulnerable to the pandemic’s impact.

Identifying solutions for the second half, Phong told leaders of local departments, sectors, and districts to focus on disbursing public investment, which he said will stimulate overall economic demand, noting that strong disbursement will facilitate growth.

The chairman also stressed that the city must manage to perform the dual tasks of preventing the return of COVID-19 and recovering its economy, and directed authorities to strongly support businesses.

In the first six months, total retail sales of goods and services reached 614.59 trillion VND (26.5 billion USD), down 3.7 percent year-on-year. Accommodation, food, and travel service providers also saw revenue decline.

Several indexes, however, still recorded positive performance, such as export turnover rising 5.8 percent year-on-year to about 20.7 billion USD and banking activities posting slight growth, according to Director of the municipal Planning and Investment Le Thi Huynh Mai.

Business networking event helps link manufacturers with local suppliers

The Vietnam Association for Supporting Industries (VASI) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) teamed up to organise the Manufacturing Match Making Event 2020 in Hanoi on July 23.

Supported by the USAID Linkages for Small and Medium Enterprises Project (LinkSME), the event was held at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on all social and economic matters around the world. Vietnam is no exception, as its supply chains in the manufacturing industry has been badly disrupted by the outbreak.

In her opening remarks, VASI Secretary General Truong Thi Chi Binh said the event provides a platform to enhance links between manufacturers and small and medium-sized Vietnamese suppliers.

VASI will support these local firms to climb up the global supply chains, she said, adding that she expects many deals will be inked following the event.

The shifting of supply chains worldwide from the impact of COVID-19 offers plenty of opportunities for Vietnamese SMEs to gain access to and take part in global supply chains, Deputy Director of USAID LinkSME Duong Thi Kim Lien said.

The event gathered together more than 100 manufacturers in Vietnam, including major players such as automakers Vinfast, Truong Hai, Ford Vietnam, and Mitsubishi Motors Vietnam, as well as Panasonic Vietnam and Samsung Vietnam, who met with domestic suppliers of various parts and components.

On July 24, 50 Vietnamese companies will accompany VASI on a tour to two major manufacturers in metalworking and electronics, to learn from their experience in participating in global supply chains.

Deputy PM calls for selective FDI attraction

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has said that as Vietnam’s stature has increasingly improved it is now time for the country to be more selective in its FDI attraction efforts.

Chairing a meeting of the working group in charge of promoting foreign investment in Hanoi on July 23, Minh, who is also the group’s head, said Vietnam has become one of the most attractive destinations in the world thanks to its competitiveness, business climate reform, and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He highlighted the need to identify challenges in foreign investment cooperation as well as adopt solutions to attract capital.

Minh hailed the Ministry of Planning and Investment, ministries, and localities for proposing measures to lure high-quality projects to the country.

The working group was asked to look into the criteria on technology and environmental protection so as to draw investment selectively and efficiently, with priority to be given to projects using advanced and clean technology, applying modern governance methods, and facilitating technology transfer and links with global production and supply chains.

The Deputy PM also called for special attention to be paid to developing domestic enterprises, via incentives.

Between now and year’s-end, the working group will focus on three key tasks: promoting investment, offering policy consultations, and advocating for Vietnam and its business environment.

Khanh Hoa steps up application of advanced technologies in marine aquaculture

The south central province of Khanh Hoa will increase the use of advanced technologies in marine aquaculture in the next five years, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The department said it would encourage farmers to replace wood with new materials that are more resistant to winds and waves such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to make floating cages for breeding.

Farmers would also be encouraged to adopt advanced techniques for farming lobsters, seabass, grouper, cobia, and yellow pomfret, it added.

During a meeting with province authorities last week, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said Khanh Hoa has strengths in the three main pillars of fisheries, namely offshore fishing, large – scale marine aquaculture and seafood processing.

But considering it has more than 300km of coast and numerous bays and lagoons, it has not fulfilled its potential, he said.

Besides, its use of traditional techniques for marine aquaculture threatens environmental pollution and the safety of workers, Cuong warned.

It should therefore pursue development of smart agriculture which is a suitable solution for the province in the future, the minister said.

The province has three marine aquaculture models that use advanced techniques and new materials developed by Australis Aquaculture Vietnam Limited, Research Institute for Aquaculture No 2 and its Agriculture Extension Centre.

The centre is breeding cobia in round-shaped HDPE floating cages based on Norwegian techniques.

The success of the models has helped expand the province’s marine economy and its marine aquaculture to an industrial scale, the department said.

It has also helped restructure fisheries towards increasing value-addition and sustainable development, it said.

The province has more than 54,000 lobster breeding cages with an annual output of more than 1,300 tonnes and 10,000 cages for fishes with an annual output of 4,000 tonnes.

Lobster is one of the province’s key products and is bred mostly in Van Ninh district, Ninh Hoa town and Nha Trang and Cam Ranh cities. Marine fish is mostly bred in bays and lagoons.

Most farmers breeding them in floating cages not only use traditional methods and technologies but also operate on a small scale, which cause environmental pollution, according to the department.

Digiworld reports highest ever quarterly sales

Digiworld Corporation reported record quarterly revenues of nearly 2.6 trillion VND (112 million USD) in the second quarter, a 29 percent year-on-year increase.

Profit after tax was up 36 percent to 48 billion VND (2.1 million USD), it said.

First half revenues and profits increased 45 percent and 55 percent to 4.9 trillion VND (211 million USD) and 93 billion VND (4 million USD).

The company said laptop and tablets sales increased by 65 percent during the second quarter to nearly 1.1 trillion VND (47.4 million USD).

It attributed this to the demand for equipment for learning and working online due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mobile phones sales rose 19 percent to 1.15 trillion VND (49.5 million USD).

Office equipment and consumer goods sales were worth 298 billion VND (12.8 million USD) and 59 billion VND (2.5 million USD).

The company said performance indicators are at their best ever levels.

It said it is striving to achieve the year’s targets of 10.2 trillion VND (439 million USD) in revenues and 202 billion VND (8.7 million USD) in profit after tax, increases of 20 percent and 25 percent over last year’s figures.

Digiworld is the country’s leading market expansion services provider.

HCM City set to host Vietfood and Beverage - ProPack 2020

The 24th Vietfood and Beverage - ProPack International exhibition is to take place at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) in HCM City from August 6 to 9.

On a total area of 5,000 sq m, the expo will showcase agro-forestry-fisheries products, beverages, nutritional foods, supplements, and food additives.

The Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Co (Vinexad) - the event’s organiser - said it will also display food processing, packaging, and preservation machinery.

Visitors and businesses can also find franchise opportunities and join business-to-business (B2B) activities.

The highlight will be an exhibition area of the EU-funded Biotrade Vietnam project, which will feature internationally-certified natural materials from nine outstanding businesses in terms of organic agriculture: Ladophar, Visimex, Dace, Ich Nhan, Moocos, Hiep Thanh HTC, Vipagro, Vietmec, and Traphaco Sapa.

Vietnam’s annual food and beverage consumption accounts for about 15 percent of its GDP and is increasing, according to estimates from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Its food and beverage industry is attracting foreign investors given the country possesses numerous advantages, such as a stable political system, a young population, abundant raw material supply, and a dynamic consumer market.

Singapore, EU bolster aviation cooperation amid pandemic

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) will collaborate to create common standards so as to promote safe air travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a joint statement on July 22, CAAS and Easa said that a memorandum of cooperation they signed will boost traveller confidence to facilitate the recovery of air travel between Singapore and Europe.

It will cover several measures, such as the implementation of physical distancing, enhanced hygiene measures as well as more intensive cleaning of facilities. The cooperation is the first of its kind in Asia.

The agreement will also see CAAS and Easa support the participation of Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) in the Easa Aviation Industry Charter, which promotes guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

CAAS Director-General Kevin Shum said the collaboration is timely and crucial in supporting the aviation industry's efforts to tackle issues caused by the pandemic.

Easa Executive Director Patrick Ky said the cooperation was a significant step forward in increasing passenger confidence in flights between Europe and Singapore.

In a separate announcement the same day, CAAS and Changi General Hospital (CGH) signed an agreement to team up in establishing a civil aviation medical examination centre at Changi Airport.

The centre will provide Singapore aviation licence holders, such as pilots and air traffic controllers, convenient access to various medical services, including medical examinations, fitness evaluation and aeromedical review, among others.

Sacombank profit reaches 61.7 million USD in first half

Sacombank has released its consolidated financial statements for the second quarter, with pre-tax profit going up by more than 10 percent from the same period last year to 441 billion VND (19 million USD).

This took its profit for the first half of the year to 1.42 trillion VND (61.7 million USD), or nearly 56 percent of the full-year target, but falling by 2.2 percent year-on-year.

Its net interest income for the second quarter was up nearly 31 percent to reach 2.63 trillion VND (113.6 million USD).

This was a much higher increase than the income achieved by other banks, and despite a sharp decrease in lending interest rates.

The bank’s profit from foreign exchange trading rose 54 percent to 165 billion VND (7.1 million USD).

Operating income topped 3.56 trillion VND (153.3 million USD), a year-on-year increase of 8 percent, while operating expenses decreased by nearly 14 percent to 1.97 trillion VND (85 million USD).

Sacombank has made a provision of 1.14 trillion VND (49.4 million USD) for bad and doubtful debts, an increase of 86 percent.

As of the end of June total assets were worth 481.89 trillion VND (20.7 billion USD), an increase of more than 6 percent from the beginning of the year.

Outstanding loans were up nearly 5 percent to 310.67 trillion VND (13.38 billion USD), and deposits increased by over 6 percent to 426.23 trillion VND (18.36 billion USD).

Non-performing loans (NPLs) in the balance sheet as of June 30 were worth 6.68 trillion VND (288 million USD), an increase of nearly 950 billion VND for the year, as the NPL ratio in the balance sheet increased to 2.15 percent from 1.94 percent a year earlier.

The bad debts in group 3 increased by 185 percent to 851 billion VND (36.68 million USD).

At the end of June the bank had 18,638 employees (including at subsidiaries), a sharp decrease from the 19,237 people it had employed at the beginning of the year.

Slow recovery projected for Indonesia’ economy

Indonesia’s economy could contract between 4-4.8 percent in the second quarter of 2020, said Bank Indonesia (BI)’s senior deputy governor Destry Damayanti.

The official noted the recovery would be slower than expected as COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the country.

Indonesia’s recorded number of COVID-19 cases surpassed China’s official tally on July 18 before the country logged its highest daily death toll on July 19.

Destry said fears of a prolonged global economic downturn had also put pressure on emerging market assets, hitting the country’s rupiah exchange rate as investors steered away from high-risk assets in favour of safe-haven assets.

Indonesia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the fourth time this year to 4 percent last week to bolster the economy and reasserted its commitment to a bond-buying programme worth 40 billion USD to rescue the economy and reduce the government’s debt burden.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Government has allocated 695.2 trillion Rp (47.35 billion USD) to spur the economy. It expected the budget deficit to reach 6.34 percent and the economy to shrink 0.4 percent this year under a worst-case scenario or grow 1 percent in a best-case scenario.

Shrimp exports up 5.7 percent in H1 despite COVID-19

Shrimp exports increased by 5.7 percent year-on-year in January-June to 1.5 billion USD despite the impact of COVID-19, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

In June alone, Vietnam raked in 349.9 million USD from selling the product abroad, up 19.2 percent against the same month last year. This is the best growth since March 2020 as the pandemic is still raging worldwide.

Positive growth was seen in Vietnam’s major markets – the US and China, while shipments to the Republic of Korea, the UK and Canada recorded two-digit growth.

In the US, Vietnamese shrimp enjoyed a competitive advantage since the world’s major exporters India and Ecuador are suffering from heavy impact of COVID-19.

Vietnam is the third largest shrimp producer in the world. Shrimp is the biggest hard currency earner in the group of aquaculture products with the annual export turnover of nearly 4 billion USD.

Fifteen more Japanese firms want to open plants in Vietnam

Fifteen more Japanese businesses want to open plants in Vietnam, Chief Representative of the Hanoi Office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Takeo Nakajima told a press conference on July 23.

Nakajima said the Japanese Government has launched a programme to help Japanese firms diversify their supply chains in ASEAN member countries. As many as 30 enterprises have registered for the programme, 15 of them want to open factories in Vietnam, he added.

Due to the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide since February, the supply chains for the automobile, mobile phone and machinery industries have been disrupted, resulting in a shortage of components, he elaborated.

The Japanese Government is encouraging companies to diversify their supply chains to avoid dependence on a single market, he said, adding that each business joining the programme will receive a maximum grant of 5 billion JPY (47 million USD).

Explaining the reason why Vietnam is attractive to Japanese firms, Nakajima said the Vietnamese Government’s dedicated effort to draw Japanese capital is a crucial factor.

Another Vietnam’s advantage is the fact that a large number of its workers are fluent in Japanese language though those from Malaysia and the Philippines have better English skills.

According to the JETRO official, a 95 million population along with improving living conditions will soon turn Vietnam into an attractive market. Apart from exports, Japanese goods made in Vietnam could also cater to the host country.

However, he also noted that as Vietnam’s labour and land lease costs have been rising over the years, it will gradually soon lose low-cost advantages. Moreover, the country also should develop its supporting industry to raise the rate of locally-made products.

Đồng Nai Province to train workers for Long Thành International Airport 

The Long Thành International Airport needs employees who are not only professional and disciplined but also know foreign languages, executives running training institutions said.

They were speaking at last week seminar on training human resources for the airport project organised by the Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs of Đồng Nai Province, where the airport is coming up.

Attending the event were representatives of the Việt Nam Association of Aviation Science and Technology and a number of vocational schools in Đồng Nai among others.

Huỳnh Văn Tịnh, director of the province Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, unveiled a plan to create jobs and offer vocational training to members of nearly 4,870 households affected by the airport construction.

Each would be provided with tuition fees for certain training courses or VNĐ3 million for basic vocational training courses of less than three months.

After the training, they would be offered preferential loans like poor households are.

The province will also support them financially if they prefer to work overseas.

Authorities found out recently that of 6,500 affected locals aged 15 and above, 700 would like to pursue a career overseas or change their jobs, while the rest prefer to get receiving vocational training, work in co-operatives or continue with what they have been doing.

Most young people currently in school said they desire to work at the airport after they graduate.

Armed with these findings, the province plans to organise vocational training for locals and work with the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam to keep abreast of labour needs, especially with the start and completion of construction of the airport, Tịnh said.

At the seminar, representatives of several training institutes said the airport workers have to be disciplined and understand work ethics, and have some cultural knowledge since they would be the ones interacting with foreign visitors and creating an impression about the country.

Foreign language training, especially English, would be emphasised, they said. 

Deputy director of the Việt nam Aviation Science and Technology Institute, Đỗ Hồng Trường, said the airport would need around 14,000 employees in its first phase and 37,000 finally.

The Long Thành International Airport covers a total area of more than 5,580 hectares six communes in Long Thành District in Đồng Nai Province.

The airport’s total investment is VNĐ336.63 trillion ($14.35 billion), with construction divided into three phases.

In the first phase expected to be completed by 2025, a runway and one passenger terminal along with other support works will be built to serve 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo each year.

is expected to handle 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of freight each year.

The first phase is expected to be completed by 2025

Once fully operational, Long Thành Airport will reduce the load on Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City, handling 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of freight each year.

US increases Vietnamese fruit imports

The United States imported 302 tonnes of mango, guava, and mangosteen from Vietnam worth US$850,000 during the opening five months of the year, representing a 1.8-fold increase on-year, according to statistics released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs. 

The end of the second quarter of the year saw the country’s fruit and vegetable exports to the US enjoy a surge of 9.8% to US$77 million.

The increase indicates that these fruits are popular among US consumers, creating a wealth of opportunities for local firms to boost their exports of the fruits to this demanding in the near future, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

However, statistics show the amount of Vietnamese fruits exported to the US remains rather small, making up just 0.1% of the country’s total imports in the first five months of the year.

Meanwhile, June alone witnessed Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports to foreign markets fall by 7.1% to US$257.3 million in comparison to May, resulting in the total export value during the first half of the year declining 13.6% to US$1.76 billion.

Vietnam managed to bag US$1.04 billion from exporting fruit and vegetables to China in six months, representing a decrease of 29.3% on-year. By contrast,  exports to other markets such as the Republic of Korea, Thailand, the US, Japan, and Taiwan (China) obtained rapid increases.

The sharp increase recorded in these markets has yet to offset the reduction in the Chinese market during the reviewed period. Despite this, the northern neighbour, as the country’s traditional export market, has reduced its imports of fruit and vegetables, according to the MoIT.

Currently, Thailand is increasing the import of fruits and vegetables to meet the demand for its processing industry, and Vietnam emerges as a potential trading partner.

Singapore is also potential consumer of Vietnamese fruits. According to the Vietnam Trade Office in Singapore, approximately 50 tonnes of local lychees were shipped to the Singaporean market from Hai Phong in June.

Elsewhere, Vietnamese businesses recently exported first batches of lychees to Japan, a very demanding market in Asia, paving the way for Vietnamese fruits to penetrate other markets worldwide.

With the EU, the Vietnam Trade Office in the Netherlands said its large market size and seasonal demand has made the EU an attractive market for suppliers in developing countries, including Vietnam.

Business networking event helps link manufacturers with local suppliers

The Vietnam Association for Supporting Industries (VASI) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) teamed up to organise the Manufacturing Match Making Event 2020 in Hanoi on July 23. 

Supported by the USAID Linkages for Small and Medium Enterprises Project (LinkSME), the event was held at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on all social and economic matters around the world. Vietnam is no exception, as its supply chains in the manufacturing industry has been badly disrupted by the outbreak.

In her opening remarks, VASI Secretary General Truong Thi Chi Binh said the event provides a platform to enhance links between manufacturers and small and medium-sized Vietnamese suppliers.

VASI will support these local firms to climb up the global supply chains, she said, adding that she expects many deals will be inked following the event.

The shifting of supply chains worldwide from the impact of COVID-19 offers plenty of opportunities for Vietnamese SMEs to gain access to and take part in global supply chains, Deputy Director of USAID LinkSME Duong Thi Kim Lien said.

The event gathered together more than 100 manufacturers in Vietnam, including major players such as automakers Vinfast, Truong Hai, Ford Vietnam, and Mitsubishi Motors Vietnam, as well as Panasonic Vietnam and Samsung Vietnam, who met with domestic suppliers of various parts and components.

On July 24, 50 Vietnamese companies will accompany VASI on a tour to two major manufacturers in metalworking and electronics, to learn from their experience in participating in global supply chains.

European business leaders’ confidence in VN returning after COVID-19 

European business leaders were positive about Viet Nam’s trade and investment environment in the first few months after COVID-19, according to data from the Business Climate Index (BCI) of the European Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (EuroCham).

During the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, when social distancing and travel restrictions brought normal business operations to a halt, the EuroCham BCI fell to its lowest-ever score of 27 per cent in Quarter 1 of this year.

However, after the Government implemented a world-leading public-health and economic response, Viet Nam was able to return to business-as-usual much sooner than other countries, who continue to struggle with the impact of the virus.

As a result, the positive sentiment of European business leaders began to bounce back, recording a 7 per cent jump between February and April to reach 34 per cent.

Meanwhile, more than half of executives predicted that Viet Nam’s macro-economic climate would “stabilise and improve” in the next quarter.

The BCI also found that more than a quarter of European enterprises had benefitted from the Government’s postponement of tax, while around one-in-five had benefitted from a reduction in rent and a suspension of social insurance contributions.

Despite these positive signs, however, challenges remain for European enterprises. While the impact of COVID-19 has lessened a little, a large proportion (88 per cent) felt negative effects as a result of the pandemic in the three months to April.

Meanwhile, more than 50 per cent said that a reduction in taxes such as corporate income tax (CIT), personal income tax (PIT) and value-added tax (VAT) would help them emerge stronger from the crisis.

“This data is further evidence that Viet Nam is one of the international success stories of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also shows that the Government’s effective and sure-footed handling has had a tangible impact on the confidence of European business leaders," said Nicolas Audier, chairman of EuroCham.

US supports Vietnam's efforts to help enterprises develop sustainable value chains

This is a good time for both local and foreign enterprises to restructure their value chains, discover solutions to become more resilient, actively seize new opportunities, and enhance production capabilities. 

The USAID and the MPI organised a conference on developing sustainable value chains
Today, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organised a conference on supporting Vietnamese enterprises to develop sustainable value chains in Hanoi, co-chaired by Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung and USAID Vietnam mission director Michael Greene.

The conference was attended by more than 200 representatives from ministries, agencies, provincial people's committees, Departments of Planning and Investment, Agricultural and Rural Development, and Industry and Trade from 30 provinces and cities in North and Central Vietnam, as well as representatives from business support organisations, business associations, industry associations, lead firms, and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected many countries in the world, including Vietnam. Vietnam's business community has been hit hard by COVID-19. Supply chains have been disrupted and many businesses, especially SMEs and businesses dependent on exports, are suffering from revenue loss, suspension of operations, and staff cutbacks.

They are struggling to regain their former momentum and continue their operations. According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam's gross domestic product growth rate in the first half of 2020 was only 1.81 per cent. This is the lowest growth rate that Vietnam has experienced in the last ten years.

The government of Vietnam and the prime minister have issued policies to support post-COVID-19 business recovery: prime minister's Directive No.11 issued on March 4, 2020 on urgent objectives and solutions to assist businesses facing difficulties and assurances of social welfare amid COVID-19; and the government of Vietnam's Resolutions No.84 issued on May 29, 2020 to further reduce the pandemic's impact on businesses, promote effectiveness of public investment, and ensure social security in the COVID-19 context.

These timely efforts have been recognised by the business community and international organisations, and continue to encourage businesses to overcome this challenging period.

The conference support Vietnam's post-pandemic business recovery efforts and Vietnamese businesses, especially SMEs to adapt to shifts in the global supply chain and create new and sustainable value chains. Participants learned about lead firms' expectations and requirements, and discussed how enterprises can become more resilient to sudden changes in supply chains, actively seize new market opportunities and enhance production capability.

The MPI's Agency for Enterprise Development, public and private business support organisations, and the USAID LinkSME project will work closely to implement practical activities to timely assist SMEs to upgrade their capability and participate in sustainable value chains.

Thailand-Vietnam trade leapfrogs up the ranks

Vietnam is preparing for a new wave of investment from one of its neighbours as Thai companies are signalling interest in expanding their operations in the domestic market. 

Brewers ThaiBev spent nearly $5 billion to acquire a majority stake of Vietnamese beer group Sabeco
Thailand’s Central Retail, a subsidiary of retail giant Central Group, plans to promote its presence in Vietnam to cover more than 90 per cent of cities and provinces in the next five years and mitigate dependence on the parent company’s home market.

At present, Central Retail operates 35 trade centres and 230 supermarkets and stores in the country, which contributed 20 per cent to its 2019 total revenue, making Vietnam the group’s largest market after Thailand.

Twelve Thai producers specialising in machinery and accessories, food and beverages, oil, textiles and garments, furniture, and medical gloves last week participated in both off- and online business-matching sessions to discover market potential and facilitate tie-ups between Thai and Vietnamese businesses.

Twelve exhibitors including four companies for offline sessions and eight companies for online sessions were selected and are willing to show their best products and support Vietnamese partners to penetrate regional supply chains for mutual benefits.

Fully foreign-owned P.S.P Specialties Co., Ltd. is trying to seek long-term distributors and partners who use lubricant blending in their manufacturing operation in Vietnam. Watcharapong Pathompanich, business development manager of P.S.P, said that Vietnam’s market potential is high as annual GDP shows a positive growth, which is a reliable indicator appealing to the company.

Chance and Challenge Co. Ltd. (CAC), a Vietnamese exclusive dealer for Thai products, specialising in biscuits, cheese, and butter, is also discovering new Vietnamese partners. The company aims at tourism destinations, such as Nha Trang and Quy Nhon, to expand its products’ reach beyond the north and central of Vietnam, apart from Ho Chi Minh City and the central city of Danang.

Duong Thi Hong Hieu, manager of CAC’s Department of Food Service and Industry, confirmed that the Vietnamese market is attracting more and more Thai products. Although these products’ presence previously declined during the pandemic, their suppliers who want to enter the Vietnamese market are increasing in numbers again. Since 2018, CAC has seen a a rise in its annual turnover of about 200-300 per cent.

Audsitti Sroithong, minister counsellor of Thailand in Vietnam, noted that Thailand has good products that fit the needs of the Vietnamese market. Besides this, the open policies of the Vietnamese government, a similar mindset, flavour, taste, and reasonable prices are also considerable aspects.

Amidst the current global trade situation, a growing number of businesses are seeking out the ASEAN or other alternative markets to invest in. Within the region, Vietnam has emerged as a highly attractive option for relocation, thanks to its pursuit of foreign investment, competitive costs, trade agreements, and liberal investment environment.

Sroithong stated that in the first five months of this year, trade volume between Thailand and Vietnam reached about $6.2 billion. Additionally, in the first six months, Thailand ranked second in terms of investment into Vietnam, with $1.58 billion, accounting for 10.1 per cent of the total, followed by China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

According to the Thailand Board of Investment, in the first half of 2020, Vietnam’s processing and manufacturing industry witnessed the largest volume of newly-licensed projects from Thai investors, reaching $173 million, accounting for 11 per cent of the total registered capital. It was followed by the production and distribution of electricity, gas, and air conditioners with $400 million; science and technology with $18,34 million; and wholesale, retail, and vehicle maintenance with $33.54 million.

The minister counsellor of Thailand also commented that the COVID-19 pandemic has not been a big problem for the trade connection of both countries. It is hoped that the Vietnamese government is moving to ease entry restrictions following the containment of the coronavirus, opening the entry ports for trade.

Programme on shifting from pig breeding to Australian cow production under high-tech value chains Announcement

1. Seeking suppliers of cows, grass, herbs, farming houses, rooftop electricity, and worker container homestay for the programme on shifting from pig breeding to Australian cow production under high-tech value chains initiated by Ly Nhan Development Investment Co., Ltd. The programme has received support from the government, ministries, and localities, as well as livestock farmers and banks.

The company has succeeded in developing its own “Ly Nhan Australia cow chain” registered with 60,245 farms, 12,600 of which have obtained contracts to connect with solar power grids (one hectare for each farm, producing 1MW).

The programme has been supported by the state, which commits that it will ensure capital for the programme when the company picks up loans from commercial banks to implement the project (as per Article 12.1, Article 3.6, and Article 15.7 of Decree No.57/2018/ND-CP dated April 17, 2018 of the government on incentive policies for enterprises investing in agriculture and rural development). The programme has been provided with a guiding document from the Ministry of Planning and Investment and offered power by Electricity of Vietnam for 20 years under the prime minister’s Decision No.13/2020/QD-TTg on incentives for the development of solar energy in Vietnam.

The company’s farm in Trang Dinh district in the northern province of Lang Son has received VND12 billion ($521,740) in support while the farm in Cam My district in the southern province of Dong Nai has been raising Australian cows. The farm in Hung Ha district in the northern province of Thai Binh has obtained Australia’s high-quality assurance ESCAS, with cows raised separately to become a model for visits and for business and designing of the said 60,245 farms.

2. Seeking partners to receive:

(1) Cow villas; (2) Meadow (3) Herbal mountains; (4) Roads; (5) Windmills; (6) Rooftop solar power; (7) Lumberjack village on the mountain; and (8) Herdsman hamlet by the river.

Priorities are for farm owners, locals, and students majoring in animal health and other majors related to the said supply chains but without employment.

3. Seeking partners to perform off-take contracts for products of these supply chains.

Priority will be given to partners from 60 nations hit by the African swine fever and regions hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic and flood.

Fair highlights specialties of four southern provinces

A trade fair introducing local specialties of four southern provinces - An Giang, Dong Thap, Long An and Tay Ninh - opened in Chau Doc city of An Giang on July 24.

The three-day event features more than 1,000 products of 50 businesses from the provinces, including rice, dried fruits, juice, tea and fish products.

It offers a chance for local companies to promote provincial specialties to tourists and people in An Giang in particular, according to the organising board.

Director of the An Giang Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Minh Hung said that the province has devised measures to help firms resume business and production activities in post-COVID-19.

The event is among efforts of the provinces to expand market, bolster trade and domestic consumption in the post-pandemic period, he added.

Safe farm produce week opens in Can Tho

A safe farm produce week is underway in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho from July 24.

The three-day event is being held by the Trade Promotion Centre for Agriculture (Agritrade) and the Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development under Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, together with the Central Retail Vietnam.

On display are 30 pavilions introducing local specialties such as custard apple tea and fish products of Can Tho, Ngoc Linh ginseng of Kon Tum, coffee and dried fruits of Lam Dong, along with products of firms and cooperatives nationwide.

Agritrade Director Dao Van Ho said the fair aims to bolster consumption and popularise safe farm produce towards the establishment of a sustainable value chain.

It is the fourth of its kind held in this year, he said, adding that the next one is slated for August in Nha Trang beach city, the south central province of Khanh Hoa.

Various activities will be held within the framework of the event, including seminars on food safety, supply-demand for cooperatives’ products and partnership between firms, cooperatives and supermarkets, and voting for the most favoured products, among others.

Apartment supply in Hanoi to surge in H2: Savills

The apartment supply in Hanoi is expected to surge in the second half of this year to meet higher demand in this segment, according to Savills Vietnam.

In the second half of this year, about 24,200 units from four existing, and 18 future projects, will enter the market, with Grade B continuing to lead segment share.

Do Thu Hang, Director, Advisory Services, Savills Hanoi, made the statement at Savills Vietnam's press conference on a report on Hanoi's property market in the first half of this year, held on July 21.

Of the 22 projects announced, 68 percent are under construction with 32 percent at the foundation level. Leading future suppliers are Tu Liem district with 45 percent of stock, Gia Lam with 32 percent and Hoang Mai with 9 percent.

"Grade B remains the driver, however, all classes have suffered short term demand pressure. Large supply handed over in 2020 may see rental yields soften. With abundant infrastructure being completed, long term returns remain sound," said Hang.

However, urbanisation, strong population growth and shrinking households all contribute to residential property demand, she said.

In 2020, Vietnam's urbanisation was 37 percent lower than Southeast Asia (50 percent) and Asian peers (51 percent). Lagging urbanisation implies strong future development potential.

A 96-million population in 2019 is expected to surge to 120 million by 2050 with a national urbanisation rate at 57 percent. The emerging middle class, currently accounting for 13 percent, is expected to reach 26 percent of the population by 2026, according to Savills.

Total households increased 1.8 percent per annum from 2009-19. Of which, each household had an average of 3.5 persons, 0.3 persons fewer than in 2009.

In line with Hanoi's urban expansion, supply is shifting from urban areas to rural districts. In 2016, Hoai Duc and Thanh Tri districts provided 10 percent of supply. In the second quarter of this year, Gia Lam, Dong Anh, Hoai Duc and Thanh Tri districts together provided a 27 percent share. Strongly performing Eastern districts in the first half of this year made suburban district sales account for 22 percent.

Those districts have future large satellite projects, including Xuan Mai Smart City (3,072 ha), Vinhomes Co Loa (299 ha), BRG Smart City (272 ha) and Vinhomes Wonder Park (133 ha). These developments were expected to deliver sustainable solutions to population pressure, traffic congestion and infrastructure shortages.

This Savills quarterly report also said the lockdown lasting just 22 days helped ease downward pressure. In the second quarter of this year, five new and the next phases of seven existing projects provided about 6,200 apartments, up 28 percent quarter on quarter (QoQ) but down 6 percent YoY.

Primary supply increased 5 percent QoQ but decreased by 6 percent YoY to 29,200 units. Grade B accounting for 74 percent remained the largest supplier.

Increased developer and buyer confidence accelerated new project launches and second-quarter performance. There were about 5,400 sales, up 11 percent QoQ but down 43 percent YoY.

In the first six months of this year, the market had about 10,300 sales, down 47 percent YoY with a 30 percent absorption, decreasing 17 percentage points (ppts) YoY.

Pandemic effects made sales difficult in the first six months but average primary prices remained stable QoQ and moved up 7 percent YoY to 1,460 USD per sq.m.

Meanwhile, Savills saw HCM City market's primary stock in the first half of this year down 52 percent YoY to over 9,100 apartments, to a five-year low.

The long Tet holiday followed by the pandemic has severely affected developer planning. Supply in the second quarter of this year from four new entries and 10 next phases totaling 2,100 units, plunged 55 percent QoQ and 74 percent YoY.

Seven planned launches have been postponed to the second half of this year. Sunshine Horizon launched limited stock pre-lockdown with an upgraded online approach. With foreign customers' lower demand and more cautious investors, Grade A and B launches each provided less than 100 units.

"The pandemic delayed new launches and slowed foreign investors. However, local demand remains steady, particularly for affordable units," said Nguyen Khanh Duy, Savills Residential Sales Director.

Sales in the first half of this year in HCM City fell 55 percent YoY, to just over 6,800 units, the lowest in five years. Grade C performed best with up to 84 percent absorption while contributing 64 percent of all sales in the first half of this year.

The three new Grade C projects each achieved over 80 percent absorption. Overall demand was positive with 75 percent absorption slightly easing 4 ppts YoY.


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Young singers entertain fans with new content

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PM inspects infrastructure projects in HCM City

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Tiny traditional houses provide cultural model

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Authentic Korean flavour in Hanoi

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Vietnam, UK yet to tap potential of trade deal