Da Nang High-Tech Park tries to attract more investment
After seven years in operation, Da Nang High-Tech Park is one of three high-tech parks in Vietnam receiving the government’s especially preferential treatment to lure greater investment.
The park aims to promote technological innovation, technology incubators, and science and technology market development for the central and central highlands regions.
The government and Da Nang municipal administration have invested nearly US$84 million in upgrading Da Nang High-Tech Park’s infrastructure.
Covering more than 400 hectares, Da Nang Hi-Tech Park currently houses 10 projects with a total investment capital of US$250 million, three of them are 100% foreign invested projects.
Doan Ngoc Hung Anh, Deputy Director of the Park’s Management Board, said since the beginning of this year an increasing number of domestic and foreign investors has visited the park to seek investment opportunities thanks to the government’s especially preferential policy and the successful organization of the APEC Leaders’ Week 2017.
Mr. Hung Anh said, “We are outlining a plan to accelerate investment attraction and introduce the park on media overseas. We have met potential investors and introduced them to our preferential policies. During APEC Leaders’ Week in Da Nang, we had an opportunity to connect with a number of investors. A big investment project is likely and if it’s successful, it will create a momentum for the development high-tech parks in Da Nang.”
Da Nang Hi-tech Park is one of three key national hi-tech parks together with Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Hi-tech Park to enjoy the government’s preferential treatment in investment attraction. New investment projects in these parks will be completely exempted from land lease fees for the project’s entire duration and from the compensation for land clearance. The projects that are worth US$132 million or more will be entitled to a preferential tax rate of 10% for 30 years, exemption of corporate income tax and tax reduction and exemption for import goods.
Overseas Vietnamese investors, experts, and workers or foreigners working directly in the park and their family members including parents, wives, offspring or adopted children under 18 years old will be likely granted with multiple entry visas or visas with validity suitable with entry purposes.
Huynh Duc Tho, chairman of Da Nang People’s Committee, said, “The directions are correct and efficient. They will bring in a great source of revenue, especially create a high skilled workforce and help the city grow rapidly in many aspects.”
Following the success of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week 2017, this year Da Nang will continue to prioritize funding infrastructure improvement, connect transportation routes within the high-tech park, put into operation bus routes from the city center to the hi-tech park, and build houses for workers and kindergartens for their children. In its development plan, Da Nang identifies IT and tourism its top priorities.
Ceramic exports to Argentina rise sharply
Despite Argentina accounting for just 0.3% of the total value of Vietnam’s trade in ceramic products, exports to the market skyrocketed by 476.12% to US$309,600 during the first two months of the year when compared to the same period of last year.
February’s exports of ceramic products amounted to US$29.3 million, a drop of 43% against January’s figures. This was the first month to have suffered a decline after five consecutive months of growth. As a result, exports of the product for the first two months of the year reached US$80.9 million, up 14% against the corresponding period last year.
The US remained the key importer of Vietnamese products, accounting for 22.3% of total export value with US$18 million (up 21.01%), trailed by Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines.
The general picture for February was that most export markets saw a decline compared to January, particularly Russia (down 91.11%) and Thailand (down 77.52%).
US giants voice their policy concerns
While trending toward investment expansion in Vietnam, US investors are seeking the government’s support to solve their policy concerns regarding the renewable energy, mechanical engineering, beverage, and IT sectors.
A group of 33 US investors of the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC)-their biggest involvement to date-last week met with Vietnamese ministries to present their future plans and concerns. They included powerful brands such as General Electric (GE), Coca Cola Company, ExxonMobil, Amazon, Suntory PepsiCo, Dow Chemical Company, and AES-VCM.
“Over the years, we invested in manufacturing, capacity building, and training, and we will continue to do so in the years to come. The focus for GE’s business activities are power generation, oil and gas, healthcare, and aviation-all of which offer great opportunities in Vietnam. We are also really keen to work with Vietnam in regards to Industry 4.0 and other digital areas,” said a GE representative.
Having operated in Vietnam for 25 years, GE now boasts 2,000 employees and a number of state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the country that deliver components to the rest of the world.
“We are very proud to have diversified activities in Vietnam with power generation and hydro and has plants-last week, we also announced plans in solar energy. In oil and gas, the Blue Whale project with ExxonMobil is a big priority for GE,” the representative added.
The US conglomerate, however, raised its concerns over paper invoicing in Vietnam, which caused difficulties for foreign investors.
“It’s normal to have a lot of paper invoicing requests in Vietnam. We really urge Vietnam to move to digital invoicing. When we do big projects, we have to have hundreds of different suppliers all handling paper invoicing, which becomes quite complicated and could result in some mistakes caused by human error,” he warned.
The Ministry of Finance recently launched a digital invoicing system applied to a limited number of enterprises as an initial step. It will take time, thus, to meet investors’ expectations.
US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil is fast-tracking its Blue Whale project in the central region of Vietnam. It could become the largest foreign-invested project ever seen in Vietnam and substantially change the US’ position at the foreign investment table.
“We have made progress with the completion of basic works over the past two years and are now ready to commence with engineering design. However, prior to this, we need to complete a government guarantee. We have not yet completed negotiations. That, effectively, is a critical part of the project, affecting when it starts and when it will finish. Our plan still is to commence power and gas production in 2030,” said a representative of ExxonMobil.
Another US energy firm that is keen on expanding its activities is AES-VCM Mong Duong Power Co., Ltd. In 2015, the company completed the Mong Duong 2 thermal power plant in Quang Ninh province and is now looking for its next projects in Vietnam.
“Our priority at the moment is the Son My 2 gas-fired thermal power project, on which we partner with PetroVietnam and PetroVietnam Gas. However, we need governmental support to join the project,” said an AES-VCM official.
In IT, Amazon Website Services (AWS), which marked its official entry into Vietnam in early 2017, looks forward to solving concerns in draft cyber security laws in order to expand its business and investment in Vietnam. This issue affects not only AWS, but also other digital economy and technology companies.
“Currently, the draft law requires the data of Vietnamese citizens to stay in Vietnam. It means that foreign companies who want to invest in Vietnam and provide services for Vietnamese citizens have to build data centres in Vietnam in order to operate in the market. This will increase costs for firms who want to expand business in Vietnam,” said an Amazon representative.
In the lucrative healthcare sector, global pharmaceutical company GSK, which has been active in Vietnam for 20 years, worries about growing issues related to legal entities.
“Like other foreign pharmaceutical companies operating in Vietnam, GSK needs a solution regarding the growing concern related to legal entities. It would enable multinational pharmaceutical companies to be efficient and flexible about partnerships, allowing them to work with local companies to maintain quality, supply, and safety,” said Daniel Millard, chief representative of GSK Vietnam.
To date, the US had registered to invest an accumulated US$10.5 billion in Vietnam. If investments of US subsidiaries in third countries is taken into account, the amount reached US$14 billion.
“Business activity started slowly for Americans here, but now we see US companies and investors active in almost every sector of Vietnam’s economy. Among other things, we support a path leading to a free trade agreement (FTA) between our two countries. For an FTA to move forward, it will need to be viewed as beneficial and fair by all parties. The American business community in Vietnam stands ready to do our part to make this goal a reality,” Adam Slitkoff, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi, said.
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Efforts to improve tourism promotion activities
With more than 10 millions foreign visitors recorded in 2017, Vietnam ranks high in the most prominent tourism market. To achieve this outstanding result, tourism promotion activities play a vital part. However, much is needed to be done to improve the work.
Quang Ninh province which is rich in tourism development advantages, has focused on investing and building a brand for the local tourism. After various efforts, Quang Ninh Department of Tourism admits that with small-scale investment and limited promotion capabilities, it is tough to bring Vietnam tourism status to a new level.
“In the progress of promoting for local tourism, sometimes many localities don’t report back to the National Administration of Tourism and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It leads to the problem in which information is mismatche,” said Trinh Dang Thanh, Deputy Head of Quang Ninh Department of Tourism
The financial aspect is also mentioned; the annual budget used for promotional activities and tourism promotion in general is inadequate and often too small. Standing at 2 million USD, the number is relatively modest compared to Singapore, Thailand and other countries in the Southeast Asia which have spent over dozen, to hundred million USD on promotional activities.
Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu said: “Overseas and international tourism promotion activities require enormous capital and it can only be achieved through mobilizing capital from all sources.” “We are suggesting setting up a tourism promotion fund to serve this purpose,” he added.
This responsibility rests upon the hand of Vietnam Administration of Tourism, in addition to radical changes in the promotional processes and methods. It is imperial to utilize digital marketing tools and reap other 4.0 Industry benefits to incorporate them into the Vietnam tourism.
Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh province, Da Nang city, Hoi An Ancient Town and Phu Quoc island all have developed their own brand of tourism and position themselves in the international markets. However, the unsolved problem is to expand the scale of Vietnam tourism in an effective and sustainable manner. With abundant and untapped potential, Vietnam needs to tackle these problems to affirm and heighten the position of its tourism in the region and in the world.
VinaPhone targets 61.6 million USD pre-tax profit
National mobile network operator VinaPhone targets a pre-tax profit of 1.4 trillion (61.6 million USD) in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 6.7 percent.
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), VinaPhone was established for the main business of telecommunication products and services, namely information technology and broadcasting services.
Its development plan for 2017-2020 period targets a total revenue of more than 183.84 trillion VND (8 billion USD) and profit of nearly 5.9 trillion VND (260 million USD), equivalent to a growth of 8 percent and 10 percent per year, respectively.
In terms of business results of 2017, VinaPhone recorded over 39.8 trillion VND in sales and services and over 1.3 trillion VND in pre-tax profit. In addition to this, VinaPhone has contributed approximately 1.22 trillion VND to the State budget.
Last year, the corporation hit 34 million telephone subscribers, including 3.1 million fixed-line subscribers and 31.1 million mobile subscribers, besides 4.6 million internet subscribers.
VinaPhone’s total investment last year was 646.5 billion VND.
Phu Tho province calls for more Japanese investments
The northern province of Phu Tho hopes Japanese businesses will continue expanding investments in the Vietnamese locality and commits to creating favourbale conditions for their operation.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Bui Minh Chau made the remarks at a conference in Tokyo on April 12 to promote Japanese investments in Phu Tho.
The event was jointly held by the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), and the ASEAN-Japan Centre, with the participation of representatives of over 50 Japanese businesses and investors.
Chau highlighted the province’s advantages such as its proximity to Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport as well as the modern and synchronous port system and socio-economic infrastructure.
The province has great potential in manufacturing, assembling industry, construction material production, hi-tech agriculture and forestry, he said.
There is also a large room in tourism development as Phu Tho is home to two world cultural heritage recognised by UNESCO, which are the worshipping of Hung Kings and the traditional “xoan” singing, he added.
The chairman noted that Japanese firms are running seven projects worth nearly 40 million USD in the province, mainly in the fields of wood processing, garment-textiles and footwear.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong said relations between the two countries are at the best stage and thriving in all spheres, particularly economy, trade and investment.
Apart from big companies, small-and medium-sized enterprises from Japan are increasing investments in Vietnam, he said, noting that 1,800 Japanese businesses have registered to partake in the Japan Business Association in Vietnam, making it the largest association of its kind in the world.
The ambassador hoped through the conference Japanese enterprises will choose Phu Tho as a reliable investment destination.
Lang Son expects to serve 2.7 million tourists in 2018
The tourism sector in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son is striving to receive 2.7 million visitors in 2018, including 408.000 foreigners, raking in 970 billion VND (42.7 million USD).
Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Phuc Ha said to realise the target, Lang Son has implemented a number of measures to develop tourism markets and diversify tourism products such as ecotourism, resort tourism and cultural-spiritual tourism.
In addition, Lang Son has worked with tourism management agencies of China’s Guangxi province to promote tourism cooperation in the border area, he added.
Lang Son province has also paid attention to creating tourism links between its localities and developing tourist destinations in Bac Son district and Lang Son city, notably the tangerine forest in Bac Son and hydrangea garden in Mau Son Tourism Site of Loc Binh district.
According to the department, the province welcomed more than 910,800 tourists in the first three months of 2018, a rise of 10.8 percent year-on-year and equivalent to 33.7 percent of the year’s plan. Of the figure, 108,900 are foreign visitors.
Earnings from tourism services in the period hit 305 billion VND (13.4 million USD), up 11.7 percent against the same period last year.
In early 2018, Lang Son organised various activities to foster tourism like the second Lang Son Culture, Sports and Tourism Week, a peach blossom festival and a cuisine festival.
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